How to Prevent Black Edges on a Mirror

By Rick on October 23, 2009
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Categories: Mirrors

We occasionally receive calls from repeat home window customers and other consumers about what can be done about the mirrors in their homes when they start to look like they are pealing around the edges.

This is fairly common occurrence particularly on older mirrors. We commonly see this problem on antique mirrors that were frequently installed in back of a bedroom dresser or an antique china cabinet. We have many customers that bring in these mirrors every year to have them replaced and “modernized” with a new custom cut mirror.
Moisture: a Mirrors Worst Enemy
Another more common place where this can been seen are on bathroom mirrors, in shower rooms and mirrored walls in exercise or work out rooms. In these types of applications the mirrors don’t have to be quite so old.

Especially in bathrooms and shower rooms where there is a high level of humidity in these rooms a majority of the time, they may also have water splashing up on them and around the edges. The water and humidity seems to accelerate the process know as “de-silvering”.

The “silver” is the material on the back that gives the mirror its reflective characteristic. Once this ages and is subjected to common every day abuses, it breaks down and starts to lift off of the plate glass.

Prevention- the Best Prescription
Because we cannot totally eliminate humidity, moisture and water in our daily lives, there are preventative measures we can take to minimize these destructive atmospheric conditions.

First of all, a good dehumidifier is always a good thing to have in your home. If remodeling a bathroom, make sure you have a good ventilation fan installed above the shower area… and teach your family members to use it. Even if you have the best ventilation fan installed, it doesn’t do any good if it’s not used when showering or even taking a bath. I’m speaking from personal experience here…uuhg…teenagers.

Aside from prevention, sorry, but there are no real cost saving ways to repair this type of problem. You could cut the mirror down to a smaller size, but this would involve many additional steps.

First, removing it from the wall, which usually leaves a residue or adhesive on the back of the mirror making it difficult to cut and an ugly spot on the wall. Next, find a way to carefully transport the mirror to your local glass shop and then bring it back home to reinstall.

You may also have to deal with moving the mounting clips and/or channels in addition to having to repair or repaint the portion of the wall that is now exposed. It’s usually just as cost effective, and less of a hassle, to order a new mirror and have it installed by a professional who will also remove and dispose of the old mirror for you.