Every little thing needs maintenance, but we do not even realize the consequence of negligence until damage has been done. Such a thing is a mirror. It decorates our home beautifully, but with time, desilvering occurs. So, how to repair mirror desilvering? To do that, first, we need to know what is desilvering?
How to Repair Mirror Desilvering
All mirrors are vulnerable to desilvering, but bathroom mirrors or mirrors which are exposed to moisture in poorly insulated homes are most prone to this form of damage. Everyone loves a hot shower, and when you exit from your shower, you will notice a buildup of steam on the mirror. After wiping it away, if you look carefully, you will find black spots on the edges of your mirror. This happens from repeated steam buildup on mirrors. The moisture penetrates the silver coating on the back of the mirror, causing it to separate from the glass. And if neglected it will grow day by day.
Mirrors are decorative as well as functional. It is among one of the most beautiful parts of home decor. And at the same time, it is a must-have in the bathrooms. However, mirrors are often forgotten to take care of. Regular care and maintenance of mirrors are just as important as anything else, especially the bathroom mirror, because it is exposed to moisture often. Otherwise, black spots start appearing, ruining its look and functionality. It is said that prevention is better than cure. Adequate care and maintenance can prevent mirror desilvering.
The main cause of mirror desilvering is excessive moisture and splashes of water. Some actions like- washing face and hands, brushing teeth, bathing small pets, etc. besides taking a hot shower can cause water to spill all over the mirror and can contribute in generating black spots. So, you need to be a bit careful while using the sink. When water dangles from the edge of the mirror, dry it off immediately. Do not let the moisture dry off on the mirror. Wipe down your mirror after taking a hot shower. This is a very simple and easy technique to care for your mirror. If you don’t follow it now, then the after damage task will become a heavy burden for you.
Mirrors come in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles and the way to make a mirror hasn’t really changed that much over the years. Typically, a mirror is made by covering a thin layer of aluminum or silver on the back of a piece of quality glass. However, overtime for mishandling mirrors can become scratched, cracked, or even discolored. A cracked mirror needs replacing, but a spotted mirror can be cured. Black spots occur because of desilvering. The amount of desilvering matters because of the repairing cost.
If the mirror has antique value or sentimental value to you, then I guess the repairing cost won’t matter. But if getting a new mirror costs less than the repairing cost then you should definitely go for a replacement. The typical range of resilvering a mirror will cost you from $110 to $330 depending on your mirrors size and condition. Resilvering is a complex process which involves mainly repairing the damaged silver or aluminum layer on the back of the mirror. There are a few steps of resilvering a mirror, and they are-
3. Removing and cleaning the old surface material
The first step of the resilvering process is the removal of the old coating. Buy a desilvering kit from the market. A number of desilvering kits can be found in the market which comes with all sorts of stuff that you need for the process. Each desilvering kit comes with specific instructions which you must follow. You need to begin with an industrial-grade paint remover to clean the surface with a moderate amount of solvent. Then, once the paint is removed, you need to use a solution of nitric acid to remove the silver. The amount of harsh chemical used in this process is not good for your health, that’s why if you have access to painters respirator, don’t hesitate to use it.
Always be aware of your safety first and stay careful about cutting your hands from sharp glass edges. Once all of it is removed, clean the glass thoroughly to remove any dirt. It is essential to completely clean the surface before moving on to the next step because dirt left behind will show up as blemishes in the finished product, which won’t look pretty. Thus all the hard work will go in vain. Avoid using any cleaning agent as it may cause the silver to improperly bond with the glass.
4. Applying silver nitrate evenly
The second step is to reapply the silver. To do this, you need to evenly coat the cleaned side of the glass with silver nitrate mixture. This mixture bonds well with glass directly. Allow the coat to dry completely for 24 to 48 hours. Waiting this long will be worth if the final product turns out pretty good.
5. Adding a coat of copper paint
The final step is to apply a coat of copper paint which seals in the silver. Cover this layer of metallic paint with one or more coats of gray paint to make the coating strong. These final layers help prevent scratches and damage to the reflective coating. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one; otherwise, the coats will not be smooth.
Resilvering a mirror is not an overnight task. The glass needs to be left to dry and cure between each coat of material, so make sure that you have a workspace dedicated for this job that will be undisturbed for several days to a week. You need a lot of patience to finish the process perfectly; otherwise, you might end up with an ugly looking mirror. As it is a compound long term task, it is recommended to seek help from any neighborhood expert who has previous experience of doing resilvering. And if you don’t want to go through all these time-consuming methods then simply make a frame thick enough to cover your desilvered mirror area.