major mirror removal!

Old 02-20-02, 12:38 PM
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Question major mirror removal!


I am in the process of undertaking the project of removing 2 5'x5' mirrors off of plaster walls (1960's house). It looks like they used some sort of black glue or caulk which is placed every 4-6" throughout the backing of the mirrors to the plaster wall.

What is the best way to tackle this job? Do I first use a mirror cutter to section the removal? Will the mirror shatter into a zillion pieces when I start prying? What is the best tool to use (besides gloves and safety glasses)? Will the plaster wall get destroyed?

I'm very nervous about starting but I need to remove them. Any help or advice is appreciated.

Thanks, Dina
Old 02-20-02, 02:27 PM
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Leave it to a professional.
Old 02-20-02, 04:04 PM
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It is hard to say what is the best way to do this, but I can say with confidence--yes the mirrors will break. If I were you I would find someone to help me, as the mirrors will be heavy and awkward to handle. If you have to take them off, try using a blow dryer or heat gun to heat the areas where they are glued to the wall and s....l......o....w.....l......y pull them away from the wall. Use a flat pry bar, with some sort of cushioning between it and the mirror. You may get lucky and be able to pull it off the wall without breaking it. If it does break it will usually crack first and than break along the crack. I don't think it will shatter, but will break in fairly large pieces.
Yes it will more than likely mess up the wall. The glue will either come off the wall with part of the wall, or will stay on the wall and have to be cleaned/scraped off.
Would it be easier to replace the plaster and all? If so, pull the whole thing down at one time. Take the plaster and the mirror off the wall. Once again, have help, go slow and watch out for the breaking glass.
Old 02-22-02, 05:17 PM
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Disregard the above is not based on actual experience........This is not a job where guessing will help you as it can be very dangerous........Prying against a mirror will certainly lead to a crack whether the pry bar be pressed against the glass or against a stack of pillows.....Furthermore glass is not certain to just crack,,,,It will splinter, with the greater potential that the splintered pieces will fly in every direction........

With all that said......
Their more than likely will be wall damage.....although if the paint is the weak link than it's possible a Proffesional could remove the glass in one piece with suction cups.......or remove them with some plaster damage that could easily be repaired.

Other wise:
Your on the right track. Run the glass cutter down to section it.
Insert a screwdriver from the rear top and gently press out to run the score line.
come in from the side with a flat bar or wide scraper to remove. Work to scrape the adhesive from the plaster than the glass form the adhesive.
Wear protective clothing.....including a hat.
You can also cover the mirrors with a blanket and just go to town with a hammer......Just keep your feet back.........
When all is said and done........... the plaster can be fixed, a broom cleans up the floor and you'll be finished in an hour........
Old 02-23-02, 07:02 AM
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Your advice sounds great and realistic. I think that's the way to go. Thanks for everyone's advice.

Old 02-24-02, 08:04 PM
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Recently, on a remodel we removed a 6' x 4' mirror from a living room wall. The mirror was supported with a chrome channel and glued with the same black mirror mastic. I borrowed 2 suction cups from my local glass shop. This glass was 1/4" thick. It is very strong and will not break easily. It is also very heavy. The removal from the wall was not hard. We positioned the cups a little above the center and with a good pull was able to break it free from the wall. Surprisingly it did not damage the wall however scraping off what was left of the mastic on the wall was no easy task. We lay'd the mirror flat on the floor and scored and cut it for easier removal.
1 you need 2 strong people to tackle this job
2 wear heavy gloves and eye protection
3 wear a thick jacket and long pants
4 if you don't feel comfortable with this project ask at your local glass shop to find how much it will cost to have them do this for you. My guess is no more than $60
Hope this helps
Old 02-25-02, 04:11 AM
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Hi everyone,

Well, the mirror removal was a complete success thanks to all the great advice from this board.

We used a big sledge hammer and all took all the safety precautions and voila!...Mirror came off in around 8 large and heavy pieces on each side.

Low and behold, the wall is sheetrock and not plaster and although scraping the black mastic off the wall caused some minor damage, it can easily be repaired with joint compound.

I am sooooo happy....thanks again, Dina

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