Friday, October 19, 2012

How to Remove a Glued on Mirror

*Note: This method worked for me, but it might not work for you depending on what kind, and how much, glue was used, and your type of mirror.  Please take appropriate cautions and do your research as this can be dangerous.  If you are injured, or the project does not go as planned after following these tips, Live from B5 and myself, are in no way liable.*

So, last weekend, my mom, sister and my BFF Lynn came over to get our painting on in the bathroom.  You can see the transformation here.  First thing we had to do was remove the mirror.  We thought it would be easy since it was simply held on with 4 mirror clips.    Pry the clips up, slip the mirror out, no problemo.

Not so much.  The mirror was glued to the wall.  Who DOES that??  We were not impressed.  I researched quite a bit (thanks Google) on how to remove a glued on mirror.  Everything I read stated that there was a high probability the mirror would break, which was something I did not want to happen as I have big plans for this mirror in my entryway.  We knew just by lightly pulling on it that it was not glued all over but in certain spots.  So we needed to find out where those spots were.  We tried a metal coat hanger, but it was too thick to fit between the back of the mirror and the wall.  The only other thing I had was a small hack saw blade.
We wrapped some tape around the end so it wasn't sharp on our fingers, then removed it from the plastic holder so we just had the blade.  (This was probably not the smartest tool to use, but it was all I had on hand and it wasn't overly sharp to begin with.  Please be careful.)
I got my hair dryer, set it to hot, and blew it right at the mirror while someone else stuck the blade behind the mirror.  When they hit the glue, I aimed right for it in an attempt to melt it.  It worked and we were able to eventually saw through the sticky mess.  (Please be aware your "tool" will get really sticky, so don't don't use your favourite one!) 

The mirror will get really hot, so don't touch it (not that I'm speaking from experience or anything...oops).  Also, don't try aiming the hair dryer behind the mirror.  It doesn't work any better, and just serves to make the edges of the mirror really hot.
DO NOT, under any circumstances pull the mirror towards you until you are 100% sure all the glue is melted and sawed through.  Make that 150% sure.  If you pull the mirror, and it is still glued, you risk breaking it and sending sharp shards flying towards your body and face.  If you are worried about this, or your mirror is quite large, you can cover it in duct tape to prevent large pieces from flying at you.  Also, make sure you wear long sleeves and a face mask for protection.  My mirror was not that large, and only glued in 3 places so we felt confident in not taping it.
After 2 hours (yes, it took that long) the mirror was free!
We were left with lots of tar-like goop on the wall.  We tried with the hair dryer to melt it and then peel it off, but it ended up being easier to peel it dry.  What didn't come off in our fingers, we sanded smooth before painting.
Here's the wall now and you can't even tell:
This method, although it took a little longer, ensured the mirror would not break.  All you need is something to saw through the glue and a hair dryer.  But as stated above, this method worked for me, but it might not work for you depending on what kind, and how much, glue was used and your type of mirror. Please take appropriate cautions and do your research as this can be dangerous.


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