Commercial and Residential Glass Installer and Manufacturer Resource

A Guide for Commercial Mirror Installers: Handling & Upkeep

Aug 26, 2021 8:00:00 AM / by Greg Martell

Commercial mirror installers

Designers use commercial mirrors to make rooms appear larger, and brighter, and to create a focal point.

Like any glass product, mirrors should be handled with care. Being careless when handling, installing, or maintaining a commercial mirror can lead to damage, breakage, or injury. It is important to handle, install, and maintain commercial mirrors with care to avoid these risks.

Mirror installers need to be careful to protect commercial mirror sheets, staff, and customers from delivery to installation. 


Commercial Mirror Installers: Receiving & Storing Mirrors

Once the mirror reaches your shop, it is your responsibility to ensure its safety and quality. Once your mirror delivery – no matter how large – arrives on-site, be sure to: 

  • Before opening the package, check for any visible damage. This will help you avoid the hassle of cleaning up broken glass if the mirror breaks during delivery.
  •  If moisture is present on the mirror, wipe it off with a dry cloth to prevent staining or degradation of the silver backing. 
  • Keep your order in a dry, well-ventilated area with a stable temperature. Shifts in temperature – especially the cold – jeopardize the integrity of a mirror’s silver backing. When exposed to changes in temperature, moisture may condense on the surface. If not a sealed mirror, moisture can get between the glass and silvering, causing the reflective layer to deteriorate. 
  • Store mirror panes vertically. When you pick up a mirror and lay it flat, it puts strain on the sheet, increasing the risk of breakage

Need help choosing the right mirror?

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Guide to Choosing Commercial Mirrors


How to Move a Large Mirror Safely 

Heavy and cumbersome, large mirrors can be tough to move – even a short distance. And the bigger the mirror, the bigger the mess is to clean up should it shatter. 

Here’s how to move a large mirror the safe way:

  • Use two hands. This improves stability and reduces the chances of a drop. 
  • Wear gloves. Not only do gloves give you an improved grip, but they also protect your hands from cuts or splinters from mirrors with unfinished edges.
  • Seek assistance if moving a large pane seems like too big a job for one person. Don’t drop a pane because of overconfidence in your abilities to move it!

How to Install a Commercial Mirror Safely

While professional mirror installation is the final leg of a mirror’s journey from manufacturer to customer, it’s no time for mirror installers to relax. A mirror can break or sustain damage during installation just as easily as it can during transport

When installing a commercial mirror:commercial mirror installers

  • Have the right tools readily available to help you work efficiently to secure the mirror in place. Most mirror installation jobs call for a:
    • Pencil
    • Level
    • Measuring tape
    • Stud finder 
    • Screwdriver
    • Drill
    • Hammer
  • Have an assistant. An extra set of hands goes a long way to keep a mirror sheet safe and stable during installation. A helper can reduce your chances of damaging the glass while also offering a second opinion on placement.  
  • Follow instructions, use recommended products to hang a mirror with standard hardware, J-channel or L-bar, or adhesive. If you deviate from the instructions, you may hang your mirror improperly, which increases the odds of it falling.
  • Fasten mirror mounting hardware to wall studs. This is especially important for heavy pieces. Building materials such as drywall or plaster do not have the strength to support heavy objects.
  • When using an adhesive to affix a mirror, be mindful of the piece’s safety backing and the type of adhesive you’re using. Certain adhesives may not bond properly with safety backing, increasing the chances for the mirror to fall. The chemical composition of some adhesives may also damage a mirror’s silvering over time.
  • Surface preparation is critical – especially when hanging a mirror via adhesive. If someone recently painted the wall, make sure it has had enough time to dry and cure. An uncured painted surface can’t support the stress placed on it by an adhered mirror.


Maintaining a Mirror’s Appearance 

Whether it’s in your shop or with the customer, a mirror is meant to be looked at and to reflect light. That’s why keeping it clean makes all the difference in its functionality and presentation. 

To clean a mirror properly, use a non-ammoniated cleaning product. Spray the cleaner onto a cloth, and wipe down the glass surface.

One of the worst things you can do to a mirror is to spray an ammoniated cleaner directly on the surface. While this doesn’t damage the glass, it may affect other components of the mirror. Moisture from the cleaner can roll onto the mirror’s edge and damage the back of the mirror, causing its silvering to flake. Ammoniated cleaners may also damage a mirror’s frame over time.


Mirror Installers: Protecting Commercial Mirror From Day 1

Standard commercial mirror sheets are versatile. They aren’t, however, as durable as some enhanced glasses. By paying careful attention to handling, you’ll ensure your mirrors remain fully intact through each leg of their journey to the customer. 

Need help with your commercial mirror project? Get in touch with us:

Contact New Angle Beveling

(Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2021 and was recently updated.)

Topics: Insider, Mirror

Written by Greg Martell