While many such tasks should indeed be left for the professionals, it is often surprising what can be achieved with a little ingenuity. Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started around the house.
Be Aware of What You Are Working With
Before attempting to begin any project involving glass or mirrors, never underestimate the task at hand. All such projects should be completed as a two-person team. Remember: mirrors and other glassware are much heavier than they look! Also, be sure to familiarize yourself with the anatomy of what you are working with – especially windows. This is crucial if you plan on dismantling or replacing certain pieces.
Glass, as we know, is quite breakable! For this reason, it’s always safe to start with a little duct tape. Taping two or three large X marks with two-inch duct tape will help prevent cracking or shattering when removing large pieces of glass that you plan to dispose of.
That large bathroom mirror mounted on the wall may seem a bit intimidating, but it is probably not as treacherous as it seems. When determining whether or not it is a job for the professionals, first check how it is mounted. If it is secured with metal or plastic clips, wire hangers, hooks, or other hardware, it should be fairly easy to remove with a few sturdy hands. If it is a large mirror with no visible hardware, it is most likely adhered to the wall, and only the intrepid do-it-yourself workers should proceed.
To get the mirror off the wall, you will likely need a couple of pump-powered vacuum cups. Secure the cups evenly along the face of the mirror and gently pry around the edges with a spackle or similar tool. The mirror should loosen and pop right off. Be sure to have at least two pairs of arms on that slab of glass!
When considering replacement windows, it is very important to determine which parts of the window need to be replaced. Single panes of glass can be bought to size at most hardware or home supply stores, although working with double or triple-paned glass is better left to the professionals. When removing a single pane, be sure to remove the sash and any other parts of the frame before taking it out.
When replacing whole frames, be sure to equip yourself with the proper tools. Be aware of the different types of windows and how they function. Also, pay close attention to how the window is insulated. If a window seems out of whack or not fitting properly, it could just be a result of poorly installed weather stripping, caulking or other insulation.
Replacing glass and mirrors in the home doesn’t always have to be left for the professionals, assuming you know what you are working with. It is important to use common sense: know your limits, check your tools and equipment, and decide whether or not this is a job for you.
Shahab Shokouhi is a glass design expert at Dulles Glass and Mirror, an innovative manufacturer of glass table tops, glass shelves, and all other glass and mirror products. Follow Dulles Glass and Mirror on Pinterest to see how they’re changing the way glass products are manufactured, customized and delivered.