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How to remove a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor mirror

I'm renovating an apartment which has wall entirely covered by a mirror (actually several rectangular pieces) which I will be removing.  I'd like your suggestions on how to do it.  I'm thinking an oscillating saw to get started and pry bar or mason's chisel to get underneath the mirror.  The rectangular mirrors (totaling 6 to 8) tightly abut one another, and go right into the corners of the adjacent walls.  I don't know type of adhesives were used to attach the mirrors to the wall, and I'm guessing the mirrors have been there for 50 or 60 years.  I'm also assuming the mirrors will break into many pieces as I remove them.  I'd also like your suggestion on replacing the wallboard or plaster & lath once I have removed the mirrors.  Thanks

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Posted 2010-11-21T16:45:34+0000  by booneflash booneflash

Hey booneflash.


It sounds like we have a project on our hands. We are gonna need to be able to get a stiff metal putty knife under these mirrors. The very first thing I recommend doing is running strips of duct tape from ceiling to floor all over the mirrors, just incase they break. SAFETY IS A MUST, therefore it is also recommended that you wear safety glasses and leather gloves. You will want to get behind the panel with the putty knife, gently lifting the edges. This is going to be quite a challenge to not break the mirror, so let me stress “lots of tape”. We also do not know what kind of glue they use or how much, therefore the paper on the sheetrock should give before the mirror does (that is in a perfect world). I must say, this has to be one of the harder questions I have had. Because glass does not bend, there is no good way to do this.


After the panels are down, you are going to need some sheetrock mud, putty knife and some sheetrock sand paper. This is certainly a daunting task that I would not wish on anyone and I wish you luck. Thanks for  your question and welcome to the community.

Posted 2010-11-21T19:29:35+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL

Hey booneflash,


I am a Home Depot associate from the Atlanta area, and I wanted to give another bit of information alongside the great information that greengiant has already stated. I would just add if I can that if the mirrors are as old as you say they are, they most likely have a cement based adhesive on them, which means your'e up against a cured layer of something very difficult to break apart if they installed it correctly . Great idea with using the mason's chisel, if you can't get a pry bar or putty knife back behind the mirror, start with the center of the mirror with your chisel and start demo-ing away. A moil point chisel works best for this job. And like what greengiantsaid, you do have a big and cautious project on your hands. Alongside the leather gloves, wear things like long-sleeve shirts and as much face protection as you can when the shards of mirror come off. Any scratches or injuries  like that can be mainly avoided with the duct tape and proper protection. Be mindful too of disposing of the mirrors as well, many trash collection services may not pick them up or have capability to handle them.By putting them inside something like a crate or hard container, you'd also reduce the risk of cuts or injury as well.


Best of luck on your project!


Posted 2010-11-22T15:28:55+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
dont forget safety glasses( full sealed) and good gloves. duck tape glass if your going for the demolition method. This will keep glass under control when breaking. Get lots of boxes
Posted 2010-11-23T05:40:18+0000  by scann2

I just have taken down three mirrors myself.  What is left is what looks like a hard black adhesive which looks like a hard tar left on my wall.  I was trying to figure out the best way to remove this.  It is rock solid.  Can anyone recommend  a product that would remove from the drywall.



Posted 2011-01-22T23:07:21+0000  by fueldeacon

Welcome the the forum fueldeacon. What you're looking at is mirror mastic and honestly it's not going to go down without a fight. I have had some success with applying heat to soften it a bit then scraping it away, sanding any residue. In the end though depending on how much mastic is present it might be easier to scrap it off and then repair the surface damage to the wall. I'll check with some of the other community associates to see if they have any input as well.



Posted 2011-01-24T17:23:02+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL


If the remaining mastic patches are on drywall, it is a waste of time to try to remove it. Simply cut around the mastic  and   through the outer  drywall paper with a sharp utility knife. Now peel off the white outer layer of drywall paper. This will leave the brown, pulpy drywall paper showing. Now seal the brown paper with an oil based primer, such as CoverStain or Kilz. This will prevent the water in the subsequent patching compound from causing the paper to wrinkle up. Two or three coats of drywall compound and sanding will leave a smooth surface ready for priming.


In reality, the mastic will often pull off some of the drywall paper anyway. You are just finishing the job. Even where the drywall paper was ripped off, it is a good idea to cut around the ripped area  to leave a nice clean edge to patch after peeling away the ragged edge.

Posted 2013-10-13T05:03:10+0000  by ordjen
Exactly right Ordjen!

If you chose a wetting solvent, you'd ruin the face of the wallboard anyway and expose yourself to caustic chemicals.

So, as you indicate, simply cut and tear the wallboard surface, use oil-based primer, patch wall damage, and prime again before painting.

Even faster and easier; cut and remove adhesive-covered wallboard, screw repair wallboard to studs, seam with wallboard joint compound, sand, prime, and paint.

This third option ignores the adhesive damage, ignores the patching process, and simply replaces unusable wallboard with new ... most DIYers will find this much easier.
Posted 2015-12-17T19:11:49+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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