Summary: What to use and methods of hanging a mirror.
There are various methods of hanging mirrors on a wall, if you are buying a mirror from a glass merchants cut to your specific size, a neat way of fixing is to have holes drilled through the glass and to utilise mirror screws. These are widely available from various outlets such as hardware stores and DIY centres. They are typically sold in packs of four. They employ a screw which is tapped in the centre to allow a domed cap to be screwed in after fixing.
If you enjoy a challenge and are brave enough, you could drill these holes yourself. The method is to use a ring of putty surrounding where you intend the hole to be and to buy a glass or tile drill bit, which looks like a speared tip.
The notion is to fill the putty ring with a light oil to cut down on glass breakout and to cool the bit, whilst drilling. The initial stage after marking, is to lay the mirror onto a flat surface, ensuring it is well supported. Clamp the mirror in place with some form of cushioning, to avoid cracking the glass.
Felt pads, self adhesive foam pads or cardboard can be used for this, as long as the glass is prevented from moving. With a hardened nail or tile scoring bit or even a glass cutter, slowly etch your mark on top the glass surface, making a small indentation where the drilling is to take place.
Put the point of your tile drill bit in the indentation and drill slowly. Allow the tool to do its cutting and do not force it. Glass/tile drills come in various sizes, but 6mm is the optimum size for standard mirror screws, which are number 8 gauge (4mm).
If your mirror has a timber frame, you can treat it as if it is a picture and use string or wire running between screw eyes at the back - see our project on How to Hang Pictures.
Another method for a timber framed mirror, for a more secure fixing, flush to the wall, is to utilise mirror plates. These are typically metal electro-brassed with a key hole type of slot. At least two will be required fixed to the frame at the back at the top. Depending on size and weight, it may be best to use four, one at each corner, then four screws in the appropriate positions to be fixed to the wall. The mirror is then hooked on to these four screws. Accuracy is important, to ensure a firm fixing and a plumb mirror.
With metal framed mirrors or mirrors without any frame, the manufacturer will usually supply some form of mounting kit. This takes the form of four J shaped brackets, which are attached to the wall and then clip down onto the mirror to keep it in pace. Frequently however, the clips supplied are made of plastic and may break.
A far better solution is to purchase a mirror fixing kit that is hidden behind the actual mirror itself. The Fischer Mirror Fixing Kit (see left) which has concealed metal brackets with strong edge clips to securely retain the mirror.
This is available from Screwfix and other DIY outlets and is suitable for glass up to 5mm thick. The top brackets are spring tensioned for easy installation and this kit can also be used for signs and panels.
The modern method of dry lining interior walls using the dot and dab method, and internal stud partition walls with 12mm (half inch) plasterboard present a problem when trying to hang large mirrors in the exact position required, because behind the plasterboard there is a void.
There are a couple of fixing options available, the first is commonly known as a Redidriva (see picture to the right). This type of fixing involves a large coarse screw, which can be in plastic or metal with an attached centre screw, which is used to drive in the coarse female part of the fixing. The fixing screw is then undone and taken out of the housing, to be used for the actual fixing of the item.
Another device is known as a hollow wall anchor. This method will provide a very secure fixing in a plasterboard or hollow wall, but unfortunately requires a special setting tool, which is a little expensive if you are not a frequent user.
The centre machine screw of this type of fixing is available in various lengths, following the manufacturer's instructions, the method is to drill the appropriate sized hole, where required, push in the anchor, use the setting tool which grips around the head of the centre machine screw and with pressure applied, squashes the anchor behind the plasterboard.
The centre machine screw can then be withdrawn to be used again as the fixing screw, or used as a hook for a string line or wire for the mirror or picture or could be used in conjunction with mirror plates if required.
Large pictures can be treated in the same way as mirrors; if they have wooden frames, mirror plates can be very effective. If the picture is a large but light weight canvas, it can be hung the same way as a smaller picture, with wire stretching between two hooks. Alternatively many canvas prints which are purely canvas stretched over a wooden frame come supplied with a keyhole fixing already embedded in the top horisontal part of the frame.
This can also be a triangular plastic piece, with a keyhole cut out of it. To mount the canvas using these fixings, fix a screw into the wall, leaving 12mm (half an inch) sticking out and hook the canvas directly on to this.
Some houses still have picture rails and there are proprietary picture hooks which rest on the rail. Again, there are many designs available and these can be purchased from most hardware shops.
If you have a lot of large valuable pictures to mount, there are also gallery systems available which are suited to galleries, museums, universities, offices and homes. The hanging system is made up of aluminium track, hangers and adjustable hooks.
All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards
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