Mirror Installation

DEAR MIKE: I replaced a bathroom vanity and now need to install a mirror above it. What is the safest way to do this? -- Shawn W.

DEAR SHAWN: The safest way is to have someone else do it, of course.

You can buy mirrors at a home center, or you can go to a glass shop for special shapes and features, such as beveled edges.

I'm assuming that the mirror you are hanging is fairly small and square, but even if it isn't, there are several ways to hang it.

You can buy mirror clips, which are padded clips with a slot in the center. This slot will allow you to stick the mirror to the wall and then lower the clip onto the mirror to hold it in place.

You will need to do a little measuring first. Draw a level line on the wall about an inch higher than where you want the bottom of the mirror. Use a studfinder and mark where the studs are located.

You want to mount the mirror clips in four locations: two on the top and two on the bottom of the mirror, each about 4 inches from the corners. If you find a stud, then screw the clip to the wall. If there is no stud, use wall anchors.

Measure the height of the mirror and position the top clips so that when they are lowered, they will hold the mirror in place.

It's best to have a helper when it's time to move the mirror. A mirrors is heavy and you don't want to damage it or the wall as you try to guide it into the clips.

Set the mirror gently into the bottom clips first, so that you don't damage them. Push the top of the mirror against the wall, and then drop the top clips down on top of the mirror to secure it.

If the mirror is a little larger, you can use a mirror channel. This is a metal channel that runs the entire length of the mirror. It is held into the wall just like the clips, but since there are more points to secure it to the wall, it can support more weight.

In addition to these methods, you can also use mirror mastic. This essentially glues the mirror to the wall. The only danger is that if you ever want to remove the mirror, you may end up breaking it while removing it from the wall. Your seven years of bad luck will start with you patching the wall, because in addition to breaking the mirror, you may break out chunks of the wall.

If your mirror is an odd shape, like an oval, you will have to do some careful measuring. You can still use four clips, but they will hold the mirror along its curved edge.

Measure one-third of the way down and one-third of the way up the mirror. Draw a level line on the wall for the bottom clips and secure the clips to the wall according to your measurements.

Set the mirror in the clips and make light marks with a pencil along the edge for the location of the top clips. Remove the mirror, secure the clips and set the mirror in the clips. Now you can admire your own image, as well as the job well done.

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