Changing Out an Old Bathroom Mirror

Here’s the story… of a bathroom mirror removal process gone slightly awry.  Small disasters aside, Dan and I were so excited to take the next step in our downstairs bathroom renovation, and we couldn’t be happier with the result.  Let’s jog our collective memory and take in the great beauty of our wall-to-wall 80’s mirror.  Aren’t those handprint smudges beautiful?

When we first decided to embark on our Phase 1 renovation, Dan and I wanted to get creative.  I had seen a lot (and  I mean a LOT) of Pinterest tutorials (here’s one for reference) on framing wall-to-wall mirrors, an easy and inexpensive fix to our problem.  However, I had been dreaming about a mirror as a focal point in this bathroom: well-designed and hung like a piece of art, rather than framed as a quick fix to a larger problem.  We started brainstorming and brought everything back to my original mood board plan.

I loved this chunky dark wood mirror from Wayfair, but at $319, it was going to take up most of our budget.  It was around this time that Dan and I had a brainstorm: we were going to find a frame and custom cut a piece of mirror glass to fit it.  I loved the idea of having a custom mirror, and Dan (obviously) loved any excuse to start a new project.  We got our thinking caps on and drove excitedly to Home Depot.  After looking at glass, we started picking out our supplies and estimated that this project was going to cost about $80.  On a whim, I meandered over to the bathroom section (I do a lot of meandering at Home Depot) and heard angels singing from above.  I found this framed copper and bronze mirror for $49.

Thrilled with the prospect of saving time, money, and the inevitable tears that come along with a stressful custom project, we brought this baby home and got to work removing our old mirror.  I wish we had taken a picture of the earliest stage of the process: getting dressed for the part.  Because we would be removing the mirror and running the risk of glass shattering, Dan and I had to dress appropriately: covered from head-to-toe in clothing.  I believe my outfit involved knee-high socks and sweatpants.  It also involved some mighty attractive safety goggles.  Here’s the step by step process for changing out our mirror.

1) Clean out the room: Make sure you remove everything from the room.  As I mentioned before, in the case of glass shattering, we wanted to make sure that our belongings (and our bodies) were protected.

2) When in doubt, duct tape it: Dan duct-taped the entire mirror before we started the process.  Again, this was used in order to prevent the mirror from shattering into small pieces of glass all around us.

3) More than just elbow grease: As you can see in the above picture, Dan secured an industrial strength suction cup for this project.  We soon realized that because our mirror was actually adhered to the wall (and has probably been up there for 30 years), it would take more than just some elbow grease and a suction cup to remove it.

4) Heat things up: Dan also used a heat gun for this project, which is essentially an extra-strength hair dryer.  We started taking turns moving the heat gun (which we set alternating between 500 and 1,000 degrees) back and forth across all corners and sides of the mirror.  Here’s where the fun began.  We noticed that the mirror was only very slightly loosening its grip from the wall, even after about 10 minutes of using the heat gun.  The smoke alarm went off, as it always does during the most convenient times.  In the end, the heat gun/suction cup/elbow grease combination did not work for us.

5) Prepare for seven years of bad luck.  Dan took to the mirror with a hammer.  Because the mirror was duct taped together, and the adhesive had been loosened from the heat gun, this was actually the most efficient and effective way to remove the mirror.  We had to be extremely careful not to shatter glass or send shards flying, but we also had to take care not to remove the drywall accidentally.  We removed the mirror, chunk by chunk, peeling as we went along.  It was a slow process but it absolutely worked out for the best – all drywall remained intact!

6) Clean up.  I doubled as clean-up crew at the end of this project and tried to make sure that we had adequate garbage to pick up all of the glass pieces from the mirror.  We double-bagged all of our trash to prevent shards from sticking out and to carry the full weight of heavy chunks of glass.  Additionally, we swept everything up and used a dustbuster to cover all of our bases, both in and outside of the bathroom.  The wall needed some TLC as well: we had to sand and spackle over those holes multiple times to return the wall to its pre-adhesive state.

7)  Measure out space for the new mirror.  Our new mirror measured at 24.5 inches tall by 34 inches wide.  We placed a piece of tape at our desired height of the mirror and measured an even amount of space on each side of the wall so it would be centered.  We actually discovered that the sink was not level, so we used the tape markings for each side of the mirror as our guide.  Dan and I measured the location of the hook loops on the back of the mirror and placed tape on the wall for where the hooks would be located.  We made sure that the space between both hooks would be level, marked each hole with an ultra heavy duty nail (no mirrors falling, please), and put the hooks in the wall.

8) Hang the mirror.  We placed the hook loops on each side over the wall hooks! Lastly, we checked to make sure it’s level, and voila!  We have a new mirror!  Sidenote: how does my hair take up this entire picture?  It’s full of secrets.

Our new mirror and light fixture combination has me all giddy inside.  Now Hilary has a friend to play with, and I have a new mirror to admire every time I use the bathroom.



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  1. Pingback: Guest Bathroom Reveal | Creating Krista

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