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trekkaround 10-30-2012 10:43 PM

Mirror Removal - Demo Advice?
This is going to make me sound like I've never done any DIY renos before, but I swear this has got me stumped. I'm doing a reno of our small guest bathroom, and there's this mirror that was behind the toilet that covers 3/4 of the wall (why anyone would want a mirror there I'm not sure, or at least I don't want to think about the possible answers...)

Anyway, I have no idea how this thing is attached. At the bottom there's a thin metal bracket that appears to be screwed into the walls only at the two ends, and at the top it appears to be held in place by the crown molding. I tried to leverage the mirror up a bit to see if it moves, and it seems pretty well stuck in place. I'm not sure if they glued it on - the small mirror that was clipped to the wall over the sink had this goopy black glue smeared on the back, extra support I guess - so I'm wondering if they used the same thing here.

I need to figure out how to get this down. All I have so far is the "heavy handed" approach, which involves a hammer and gloves. Any suggestions for getting it down in one piece?

Photos are here

BabsHoney 10-30-2012 11:57 PM

It sounds to me, without seeing it, that it is glued down, which is common.

I recently removed a very large glued down mirror and managed to get it off in one piece. I did a ton of research so I will share what I did and it worked. But keep in mind every suggestion I read came with the warning that this may not work and your mirror may break. So be warned!

Use lots of tape on the front of the mirror. Good painter's tape should work. Cross the tape lines, I did lots of large x's.
Using a blow dryer, start to heat the mirror around the edge. Now, using shims, start to push them in around the side. Very, very, very slowly keep working the heat and pushing in the shims. At some point you will have to double up the shims.
The hard part is that you don't know where the glue is. It may be large squigglies, in my case it was nine large circles. So you have to work very very slowly.
Have a helper ready to "catch" the mirror when it finally pops lose and you should be good, but remember it takes lots of slow steady patient work and even then your mirror still may break (hence the tape).

oh'mike 10-31-2012 05:52 AM

I use shims----driven in from an exposed edge----never tried a heat gun---

This can be extremely dangerous---so wear a heavy shirt--goggles and gloves----and if it splits and falls---get out of the way and DO NOT try to catch it----

BabsHoney 10-31-2012 07:34 AM

By catch it I meant the whole solid piece. Yes, please do not try to catch a breaking mirror.

Haha, it didn't occur to me to use an actual heat gun. I just whipped out the hair dryer. :D

SeniorSitizen 10-31-2012 08:21 AM

If there is a space at the top to insert a length of dental floss, glue spots can be sometimes located with it and give a clue where to apply the heat and indicate progress.

Blind spot mirrors on vehicles can usually be removed with floss only without mirror damage.

jjrbus 11-01-2012 06:53 PM

The bottom piece is likely a J channel. Nailed into the studs where you cannot see it ie behind the mirror.

The mirror is likely held in place with silicon. To remove car windshields set in silicon or similar a piece of piano wire is worked through outside to inside and two people using a sawing motion cut it out.

A piece of wire started in a corner might be used to cut through the silicon in a similar manner? Not saying it would work, just a thought. JIm

trekkaround 11-12-2012 09:40 PM

good suggestions
All really good suggestions, thank you. I figured it was glued since, as I mentioned the small bathroom mirror on the opposite wall was glued on - squiggles of some black tar like stuff. Since last checking this posting, my dad suggested that I cover it with shelf paper instead of tape, which is what I did. So now it's totally covered with that stuff in case it breaks (or when it breaks). I like the heat/shim idea, but I'm not going to be able to get that bracket on the bottom off to be able to get underneath the mirror, and it's tight to the walls/ceiling on the other three sides. I guess I could track down a Dremel or similar and cut the edges of the bracket. I'll have to think about this a bit. I think though the heat method is going to take a while since it's such a big mirror, likely lots of glue. I'm still leaning towards peeling it off the wall with a crowbar.

BabsHoney 11-12-2012 09:51 PM

The crowbar will most definitely (probably) break the mirror.
In my example, I couldn't use wire because the mirror was very large and spanned a double sink area almost to the ceiling. The upper edge was exposed but I only had a couple of inches on the sides and on the bottom it rested right on the counter's backsplash. So yeah, the shims and heat felt like it took a really long time but in reality it was probably less than thirty minutes.
Your shelf paper idea was a good one. :)

BabsHoney 11-12-2012 09:54 PM

I just reread your post and understand it better the second time.
So it's tight to the walls/ceiling on three sides and the bottom is obstructed by the bracket? Am I understanding correctly?

Yup, just break it. Safety gear and all that to protect yourself, but hit it with a hammer.
A new mirror won't break your budget. :D

oh'mike 11-12-2012 10:25 PM

If oyu want to spend money---which I doubt---renting a pair of glaziers suction cups will allow you to jerk most mirrors right off the wall without shims and such----

trekkaround 11-13-2012 11:01 AM

It's not worth trying to save it, we don't want it there in the first place. Someone suggested that I use a glass cutter to score the mirror into smaller sections to minimize the shatter, I think I'll try that before getting under it with a crowbar. We shall see.

oh'mike 11-13-2012 02:04 PM

Tape--then tap with a hammer---

ddawg16 11-13-2012 02:20 PM


Originally Posted by oh'mike (Post 1051387)
Tape--then smack with a BFH---

I fixed it for you.....

edit.....yea, I know it's wrong....but a lot more fun

bangan 11-18-2012 10:34 PM

cover it with cardboard piece as big as the mirror and smack it with hammer. start at the bottom, place cardboard on the floor/bottom to catch broken glass. Have a plastic garbage bin ready to scoop broken glass. broken glass is easy to dispose than a large piece of glass. wear protection and do shop vac several times afterwards.

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