Photo: Brian Vanden Brink
Mirrors are great for knotting ties and putting on makeup. But when installed on a wall or ceiling anywhere in your home—whether in a hall foyer or on the kitchen backsplash—mirrors can make almost any room look bigger. How? They expand the space you see by reflecting the depth and height of a room and sometimes by bringing a pleasant outdoor view inside. They can also brighten a dark room or corner by reflecting light from a window or fixture. And, in a pinch, they even cover surface imperfections or a dated wall treatment. Home centers sell precut, full-length mirrors that are ready to install on the back of a closet, bedroom or bathroom door. But if you want to mirror a wall or replace the broken mirror above your bath vanity, you'll need a local shop that specializes in cutting and installing mirror and glass. As a rule of thumb, consider hiring a glazier if you're dealing with a mirror bigger than about 2x3 ft. Trying to transport, cut and mount anything much larger is risky and not really cost effective given the capabilities and prices of most glaziers. But before calling a glass shop, consider these tips from designers and installers on how to make the most of a mirror's space-stretching ability and how to tell if you're getting a quality installation. OPTIONS AND PRICES
Glaziers stock mirror in sheets as large as 110x144 in., cutting it to size with large specialty saws. Mirror stock is available in three thickness: 1/8 and 3/16 in., both used in frames, and 1/4 in., which can be attached to walls in large sections with mastic and mechanical fasteners. Retail prices for standard, 1/4-in.-thick wall mirror range from $8 to $15 or more per square foot installed. The variation in price depends not on the mirror stock but on the complexity of the installation, how the edges are finished and if the mirror is carved or decorated. "Mirror is mirror," says Greg Csaki, a vice president of Galaxy Glass, a Fairfield, New Jersey-based installer. "The finishing and installation determine how it looks and what it costs." For example, beveled edges can boost the price of a mirror 50 cents per linear inch. Sandblasted or carved designs and gold or silver inlays also add to the cost. Mirrors installed as single, large pieces with hidden mountings cost more than several pieces held in place with molding. And seams concealed by beveled glass strips cost more than plain-butted seams. You'll also pay more for cutouts around outlets, switches, plumbing and molding. And because mirror is difficult to ship, the farther you are from the manufacturer, the more you'll pay (most are located in the southeastern United States).
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