Mirrors are usually made of a high-quality glass surface with a reflective coating at the back of the mirror. They are used as a great method to make any room look bigger and they are also easy to hang them yourself! However, they are delicate, and extra stress or severe temperatures can cause small cracks or black spots. Sudden impacts can also cause broken glass.
A broken mirror is an unpleasant sight. If you’ve managed to shatter one in your house, don’t throw it away. Instead, you can take on a simple DIY project to fix it yourself. This guide breaks down the steps needed for mirror repair and to ward off seven years of bad luck (if you’re superstitious).
Things you need
If you’re someone who usually takes on do-it-yourself projects, you should have most of the items required for your glass repair kit at home. To begin, you’ll need:
- Microfiber or cotton towels
- Glass cleaner liquid
- Epoxy resin adhesive
- Dishwashing liquid
- Paper plates
- Putty or utility knife
- Curing and pacifier film
Specialized glass and car windshield repair kits come with all the tools you require. You can purchase one from your local hardware or auto supply stores to save time when repairing more minor cracks. With a kit like that by your side, the process only takes an hour or so to complete.
Important things to keep in mind
Not all professionals recommend repairing cracks, whether to new or antique mirrors, as the repair is usually visible. In addition, mirror and glass repair is costly as sometimes the damage is beyond a DIY fix. Therefore, it is always best to check with a professional before trying to repair mirror glass.
But don’t worry. You can use your cracked mirror in creative ways to make unique decor pieces. For example, painting patterns or designs over the damage can cover the cracks. Or, you can add frames and borders for a fun, vibrant twist.
Types of mirrors
Before beginning the process, it is also essential to understand not all mirror glass is the same. There are three types of mirrors typically found in homes: convex, concave, and plane.
Concave surfaces make reflections look bigger than the object itself, typically found in bathroom mirrors and particular wall mirrors. On the contrary, convex mirrors make objects look smaller, while plane mirrors maintain proportions. Mirrors that fit their purpose are easier to install, reducing the risk of damage.
Types of cracks
When a mirror breaks, we often assume it’s due to impact. However, that’s not always true. Many people are unaware that there are three types of mirror cracks caused by reasons other than human error.
1. Stress cracks
Stress cracks frequently start small along the edges of the mirror and expand in size over time. They can occur as a result of: sudden temperature changes, subtle long-term impact with the mirror glass surface, or when a mirror slides inside a loose frame, often falling.
Once stress cracks form, they will continue to deteriorate till the mirror eventually shatters. This is why it is crucial to repair or replace mirrors immediately when you spot a crack, to avoid a fully broken mirror.
2. Pressure cracks
Pressure cracks are uncommon and typically occur when mirrors are installed at either extremely high or low elevations. Additionally, as their name suggests, pressure cracks form when there are sudden, extreme changes in air pressure.
These can occur in a pressurized office building or due to weather conditions, like high-power storms. Pressure cracks are frequently curved rather than straight and, therefore, require complete replacement of the mirror.
3. Impact cracks
Impact cracks are the most well-known type and develop when an object collides with your mirror surface. In most cases, the cracks are minor and can be repaired. On the other hand, numerous impacts can cause irreversible damage or shatter the mirror altogether.
If you have major impact cracks, don’t attempt to remove or fix the mirror yourself. The cracked glass may break more, posing the risk of additional damage and even injuries.
These cracks can also be found on various surfaces. This is why you can use car windshield, glass repair kits, or mirror repair kits if you can’t find one for mirrors.
Repairing a cracked mirror in 6 simple steps
Depending on the extent of the damage and types of cracks, the choice to replace or repair is yours to make. So, if the damage is repairable, how to fix a cracked mirror?
1. Clean the mirror
Before you begin, thoroughly clean your mirror to remove all broken glass pieces, dust, and dirt. You can use a professional glass cleaner or soapy water and a towel. Cleaning your mirror surface is a critical step that should never be skipped. Leftover debris can affect the repair process.
2. Place the stabilizer film over the mirror crack
After cleaning, it’s time to apply the stabilizer film. A mirror pacifier assists in securely holding the resin applied later, making the process more effective and convenient.
Remove the adhesive backing carefully from the edge to install the stabilizer film, peeling away using your fingertips. Remember, always remove the backing just before placing it on the mirror, so it remains tacky.
Place the pacifier film over the crack, gently pressing it. If the film is not placed perfectly, avoid removing and reapplying as it will leave a sticky residue behind. Gently smooth out the pacifier film, removing any air bubbles or creases to seal the crack tightly.
3. Fill the crack with epoxy resin
Next, extract the resin from its container using the syringe. Place the tip of the syringe roughly in the centre of the stabilizer film. Then, push the plunger gently to release the epoxy resin into the crack. Remember to use the plunger with care.
Maintain a steady grip as you do this. The stabilizer film helps contain the resin within but always add small amounts of the adhesive at a time. This will prevent it from filling the crack unevenly or forming bulges.
4. Set the resin
Once you have applied the resin to the crack, carefully remove the syringe tip from the pacifier film. Referring to the resin adhesive’s packaging, allow the resin to set and harden for at least 20 minutes. Ensure you don’t move the mirror and leave it undisturbed.
5. Cure the resin and remove the stabilizer film
Once the resin has hardened, it’s time to peel away the stabilizer film. Again, try to avoid sudden or jerky movements; otherwise, you risk tearing a section of the adhesive backing.
After removing the film, squeeze a small drop of resin from the syringe onto the freshly filled crack. Apply the curing film and cover the crack entirely. If you are unable to peel or smooth out the films, use a razor blade.
Let the resin under the curing film set entirely and fill the crack. Curing usually takes up to an hour, but placing it in a cool area like under a fan speeds up the process.
6. Polish the repaired mirror
Carefully remove the curing strip in one smooth motion. It is important to gently remove the film and ensure you remove it completely. Then, using a remover such as a razor or utility knife, gently scrape the top of the crack to remove excess resin.
Be cautious not to scratch the glass or resin as you could cause more damage. Using a glass cleaner and a clean cloth, polish the repaired mirror in circular motions. You can also use a vinegar solution for a mirror that is flawless and free of cracks.
Black spots on the mirror
If you see dark spots forming on your mirror, it could be an indication you need resilvering. Mirror silvering is caused by an accumulation of moisture between the glass and the back of the mirror. You can easily DIY repair these spots using a resilvering kit and paintbrushes.
Now that you understand how to fix a cracked mirror, you will be able to eliminate any cracks you spot in no time! If you run into additional difficulties, consult a professional glass repairer. This article is here for you for all those “bad luck situations” though. So follow the steps above and you’ll be good to go!