While the title of this piece may be a take off of the legendary tale of Snow White, there’s no question that proper handling and installation of mirror is crucial.
The mirror products (both etched and un-etched) that Walker Glass manufactures are industry leading and so they deserve the best in technique and approach.
First and foremost the safety of the installer is the priority. Wearing the specified safety and personal protection materials as outlined by your company or the specific jobsite is of utmost importance. From the stand point of Walker Glass we ask that gloves always are used when you are handling the product. Gloves not only protect your hands and skin but also prevent potential damage to the mirror from skin borne salts or chemicals.
The following is just a basic run through on proper installation guidelines. Walker Textures® has quite a bit of detailed information on not only the installation but the handling and cleaning of these products on their website. Just click the “Information” tab and you’ll have multiple resources at your fingertips.
Now on to the installation instructions… Some areas to absolutely never install mirror are on new plaster or masonry. In addition freshly painted walls that have not been sealed would be a poor installation. Take note of the area and if there are heavy-duty solvents or chemicals in the air, avoid installation of the mirror product. Mirror is not recommended for outdoor installation unless additional engineered protection for the backing of the mirror is provided. Last, mirrors should not be installed where it could contact a splashboard or sink back. Mirror and moisture entrapment are NOT a good combination! Obviously mirror gets installed in areas like bathrooms all the time, but make sure that you have at least 10mm of space between the bottom edge of the mirror and other surfaces to ensure drainage.
To attach the mirror, mechanical and adhesive options are the approaches. The use of mechanical is the more secure of the two but in some applications that is not possible. The mechanical means of installation include, J-moldings, clips and screws, and traditional framing. When using these methods utilize a 3mm neoprene setting pad with the install. If you go the adhesive route the main thing to keep in mind is the chemical make up of the product. Ensure that the adhesive you are using does not have any corrosive solvents or acids. Common acidic chemicals such as acetones, toluols, methylene chloride, and acetic acid can severely damage the mirror backing. Adhesives to look for are glazing tapes, mirror mastics, and adhesives that have been formulated specifically to work on and with mirrors.
While the use of the mechanical installation is pretty straight forward, using adhesives is not. If you chose to use the adhesive approach you need to keep the following in mind:
- Do not apply dollops of material, when placed against a wall they will flatten to a larger, pancake-size diameter. Perimeters or diameters will dry relatively fast. This normally causes solvent or curing additives to be trapped centrally, as well as potential chemical attack of the mirror; this can detract from overall adhesive strength.
- Apply adhesive in a straight line with 10mm to 12mm width beads. Beads should be vertical when installed. Do not loop or criss-cross beads. Looping or criss-crossing causes entrapped areas that prevent venting. Vertical application assures that either heavier than air or lighter than air fumes can escape.
- Caulking gun application is ideal. It allows adhesive application without mechanical contact of mirror backing with trowels, putty knives, etc. This minimizes scratch potential. Powered feed guns are available for cartridges, pails, and drums of adhesives.
Your mirror is now up on the wall but you’re not quite done yet. Cleaning of the installed mirror has extreme importance because leftover residue could damage the mirror or be left to someone inexperienced in cleaning glass and mirror to take care of. That scenario could also lead to damage of the product. So before the project is complete, make sure you take a razor blade to the edges to remove any solid soils like paint or excess edge sealant. Then to clean the beautiful face of the Walker Textures® product, make sure you use the right cleaning solutions and you don’t apply it directly to the mirror. Use mild solutions that do NOT include ammonia, vinegar, bleaches, or solvents. Apply the solution to a clean wiping cloth and then take to the face of the mirror. When done make sure the owners of these fine new glass products are aware of how to keep clean and healthy going forward!
As noted above Walker Glass has several resources available at www.www.walkerglass.com to help you through the handling and installation process, as well as cleaning instructions for your customer.