Glass is fragile, so any number of accidents could crack or break your bathroom cabinet mirror. But there’s no need to replace the entire fixture if you can just substitute a new piece of glass for the old one. It’s an easy project for most DIYers and it could save you a little time and effort in the long run. Check out these step-by-step instructions and have your medicine cabinet back in proper condition sooner than you think.
Step 1 - Wear Protective Clothing
Even if your mirror isn’t broken, it’s delicate and can break when you’re just trying to remove it if you aren’t careful, so make sure that you wear appropriate protective clothing before you attempt to remove the old mirror from your medicine cabinet. Protect your eyes with a pair of goggles, your arms by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, and put on a pair of leather gloves as well. Consider a hat too if you’re shorter or if there is just any chance glass could fall onto your head. This way you protect yourself from all potential injuries that could be caused by broken glass. Also, use tarps as a shield to cover the area in which you are working.
Step 2 – Secure with Duct Tape or Suction Cups
Start the job by placing duct tape on the top or the sides of the mirror. In case the mirror is too large, use handled suction cups instead. Ask two people for help, and tell them to hold the mirror using the suction cups so that it will not fall when you remove whatever is holding it in place.
Step 3 - Find the Glue Behind the Mirror
The mirror of a bathroom cabinet is usually fixed firmly in place with either adhesive or mirror clips. Mirror clips are far more common with newer cabinets since they’re simple to screw and unscrew in the event of a broken mirror, but some older or cheaper products may still use a construction-grade adhesive that will be more problematic to remove. If the glass is secured with mirror clips, use a screwdriver to loosen the screws; then, remove the clips and just slide the mirror out.
For adhesive mirrors, you will first need to determine the spots where the previous builder applied the glue in order to attach it. You can find these spots by gently pressing on the mirror to feel if there are any empty spaces underneath. Draw a circle on the mirror to mark every spot where you think there is glue so you know which places to focus your efforts on first.
Step 4 – Remove the Mirror with Heat
Use a heat gun to soften the glue so that it will be much easier for you to pull the old glass out. Make sure that you do not damage or break the cabinet door when you pull off the mirror. If you want, you can remove it instead by working a putty knife or a flat metal yard stick in behind it. Then, slide the knife or stick from one edge to the other to cut the glue between the mirror and the cabinet door.
Step 5 – Secure the New Mirror in Place
To purchase a replacement mirror, you’ll need to first measure the dimensions of the cabinet door. Pre-cut mirrors will be available at some home improvement stores, or you can go to a glass cutter to have a mirror sized for your needs. Also, before you fix the new mirror, use a brush or a cloth to remove any dirt or dust from the cabinet door.
Installing mirror clips are the easiest, most secure method of putting your new mirror in place. Start by fitting the glass into the frame on the door. Then, center the first clip along the top of the door frame, about 3/8 of an inch from the edge. Begin with a pilot hole for the screw, if you think you need it, and then tighten them with either a manual or electric screwdriver. Depending on the size of cabinet door, you will want one or two clips at the top, one or two at the bottom, and two clips on each side. Note that split mirror doors will only have clips on one side instead of both.
Once your screws are all tightened, your project will be finished and your cabinet good as new.