How to replace the glass in a broken mirror
No home, office, or commercial space is complete without mirrors. Whether it’s a decorative wall mirror or a standard bathroom mirror, they not only show reflections, but also reflect light around the space and make it look more attractive.
However, mirrors can crack or shatter under extreme stress or heavy impact, or they can fall down if they aren’t mounted properly. In some cases, framed mirrors may crack or break into pieces, even if the frame remains intact around the glass.
If you’ve accidentally broken a mirror, don’t waste time worrying about 7 years of bad luck or being left with an empty frame. In most cases, it’s possible to replace the mirror glass and restore your broken mirror to its former glory.
Can broken mirror glass be repaired?
Mirrors are typically made using clear glass with a reflective silver backing – though some can use a coloured backing or tinted glass for a stylish effect. Some mirrors use toughened glass to make them more resistant to breakage.
However, mirror glass can be chipped or cracked at any time. If it’s in a frame, the broken glass could be held in place, but filling in chips or cracks can be difficult. If you try to DIY, it will likely result in a loss of quality, and if you go to a professional, detailed repairs are likely to be expensive.
Whether your mirror is cracked but still intact or has shattered into pieces that fell out of the frame, your best option may be to simply remove the broken glass and order replacement mirror glass.
If it’s a particularly complicated shape, or the frame is an antique or heirloom with sentimental value, you may prefer to go to a specialist glass shop that can fit new glass into your mirror frame for you.
On the other hand, if it’s a straightforward shape and size and you would rather save money and time by replacing the mirror glass yourself, it could be much easier than you might think.
Ordering replacement mirror glass
Whether you need to replace the glass in a small or large mirror, for any room or piece of furniture, the first step is to find a reliable supplier of mirrors cut to size.
They’ll have the specialist equipment and experience necessary to provide mirror glass cut to bespoke measurements, so you can receive a new mirror with the exact dimensions you need.
Of course, it’s essential to make sure that you submit accurate measurements – which is why you should double-check the height, length, and thickness of the glass you need to replace.
While you’re ordering new mirror glass, you could also choose to add a safety backing that will hold the pieces in place if it breaks for easy removal, or a foil backing to prevent moisture from damaging the reflective backing if it’s a bathroom mirror.
If your décor needs a bit of a refresh, you might also take the opportunity to make a bolder design choice. You could opt for grey tinted glass instead of the usual silver – or even bronze tinted glass or a speckled antique finish for a more unique look.
Additionally, while you’re ordering mirror glass cut to size, it’s likely you can also find any fittings you might need to re-mount the mirror, so you can order them at the same time from the same supplier.
How to replace mirror glass
In the case of frameless mirrors, replacing one will be very straightforward. All you have to do is remove the glass and dispose of it safely, then order a new sheet of mirror glass to take its place.
When it comes to framed mirrors, replacing the mirror glass will be similar to changing the photograph in a picture frame. Here are the steps you should follow.
Step 1 – Remove the Broken Glass
Lay out newspaper or a similar material on a flat surface, which will protect it from scratches and catch any small pieces of glass that might fall out of the frame.
Wearing gloves and some form of eye protection, carefully pick up the frame and lay it on its front so you can access the back. Open the frame clips and remove the backing board.
Using caution to avoid injury, remove the mirror from inside the frame. Collect all fragments of broken glass and check for any smaller glass crystals, clearing the frame out entirely.
Wrap the glass shards up securely in several layers of newspaper* before placing the sealed bundle in the appropriate recycling bin.
Step 2 – Measure for Replacement Glass
Typically, you can measure the height and length of the backing board that fits in the frame to get an idea of the glass size that will also fit in the frame.
To make sure it will definitely fit into the frame, you might prefer to measure the inside of the frame, where the mirror will be sitting, from the back.
It’s advised to allow a tolerance of at least 2mm in these measurements. To ensure there’s no confusion in converting measurements, you should measure in millimetres from the outset.
Standard mirrors are usually 6mm thick, but some may be thinner or thicker than this, so be sure to check – *you may want to measure the thickness of the old mirror pieces before disposing of them.
Once you have the dimensions, you can place your order for mirror glass cut to size.
Step 3 – Prepare for the New Mirror
When your replacement mirror glass arrives, you should first clean the frame and allow it to dry before proceeding to install the glass in the frame.
This will ensure there is no dust, dirt, or leftover debris stuck in the frame that could dirty or damage the brand new mirror glass.
Similar to when you removed the old glass, prepare a flat surface covered with newspaper and carefully lay the frame facedown.
Make sure the clips are open and the backing board is removed, ready to insert the mirror.
Step 4 – Install the New Mirror
Unpackage your new sheet of mirror glass, and if it has a protective film on it, gently peel this off.
Lower the mirror facedown into the frame, so the reflective side will face outwards. Make sure it’s properly aligned, then place the backing board on top and close the clips.
Once the mirror and backing are secured in place, you can turn the mirror over and give the glass a polish if needed to get rid of any smudges or streaks.
Finally, your replacement mirror is ready to hang up again. Follow the instructions for your chosen mounting method, whether it’s adhesive, mounting plates, or screws and hooks.
There you have it – a beautiful mirror, good as new!