Mirrors With Bad Edges Can Be Saved!
by Jim Muckle
When bathroom mirrors get older the silvering that causes them to reflect may start to chip away around the edges because of constant exposure to moisture. Rather than replace the entire mirror, which except for the edges is doing a fine job of reflection, I glue a wooden frame to the outer edges.
Measure and select the wood
Take the outer measurements of the mirror, determine how wide your molding has to be to cover the black parts, and then go to the hardware store and pick up the required wood.
Different woods provide a different mood to the bathroom. A darker redwood, or mahogany, though beautiful, darkens the bathroom somewhat. A lighter pine, as pictured, lightens it. I recommend using a wood that “works,” aesthetically for you in your bathroom depending on the color of your walls and decor. You can hold up scraps of different types of wood around your mirror and get a pretty good idea of the effect the wood will have in relationship to your existing environment. I guarantee that almost any wood you choose will be an improvement over the blackened edges of the mirror.
Use the right glue
While you're at the hardware store you can also get a marine type glue that will hold up well in a humid steamy environment. There are several waterproof glues, including Probond Ultimate Glue, Elmer's Stixall, Household Goop, and others that will work fine for this type of project, but I have settled on one called Multi-Grip. It is a hardware, household and marine glue that bonds tile, brick, concrete, wood, glass, leather, fabric and plaster and it is waterproof. I selected it because I had two projects I was working on, one involving wood and glass and the other leather. It seemed like the perfect fit, and it has passed the test of time with the wood frames around the mirrors, as well as the leather project. (The first wood frame I installed was two years ago and the tenant has never complained about it coming loose.)
Preparing the molding
Cut your molding to the desired lengths. Mark with a pencil, and then cut indentations in your molding around the brackets that hold your mirror to the wall. I make two cuts in my molding with a little handsaw and then chip out the center piece using a mallet and chisel. To make it look more professional you can sand the rough edges.
Lightly sand the face of your molding, apply varnish and allow it to dry per manufacturer's instructions. I only apply one coat of varnish to keep the wood waterproof, but, if you like you can apply more coats, sanding in between each one, and build up a glossier finish. You can also change the color of the wood to match the vanity or other trim by using wood stain before varnishing.
Installing the finished moldings
Apply a squiggly line of glue to the back of your molding and place it in position on the mirror. If you glue in the bottom piece first you can rest the two side pieces on it, and then after they are dry rest the top piece on them. That way you don't have to hold them in place to long while they dry. I held each piece in place about ten minutes and that seemed to be enough time for them to stay on their own. It will take about another hour or so for them to completely set up.
If your mirror is more centered and doesn't go from wall to wall like the one pictured you can gently plane off a bottom portion of the molding along the edge that attaches to the mirror so that when you glue it to the mirror a lip will overhang and cover up the mirror edge.
That's it. The tenants I've done this for have stated that even if we had gotten them a new mirror they still would have wanted the frame.
About the author: Jim Muckle is a professional apartment complex manager. He has self-published a collection of tips and experiences in his Google eBook The Journey to Simplicity.