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Thread: How To Remove Plate Glass Mirror From Wall ..... ot sort of

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default How To Remove Plate Glass Mirror From Wall ..... ot sort of

    A friend's son is renting some space to start a small machine shop. I think that's great.
    The space is in a block building where there used to be a dance studio or martial arts school and one of the walls is covered with mirrors, which have to go.
    He asked me to help him take the mirrors down so the electricians can run conduit for outlets along the wall.
    So, I said lets look first and then come up with a plan.
    The mirrors are 1/4" plate glass. There are four of them in a row. Each one is like 7' long x 4' high. Quite a bit of weight there.
    They are sitting in a piece of thin stainless channel that's screwed to the block wall and there is a strip along the top holding them... so we thought.
    After removing the top strip we figured that the mirror would just tip so we could lift it out of the channel..... wrong.
    Apparently they are glued to the block wall. Who ever put them up must have used silicone or some other adhesive to stick them to the wall.
    He was going to try and pry one loose with a screw driver. I said don't even think of trying that.
    Other than standing on the other side of the room with a bucket of rocks and start throwing them until all or most of the mirrors are broken and on the floor where the pieces can be safely cleaned up and what's left on the wall can be scraped off with an ice scraper I don't have any ideas, other than call a glass company and let them deal with it.

    JL................

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    They're probably glued on with PL construction adhesive or something like it. They're not coming off in one piece. Probably the quickest way to get them off is with a hammer, a big floor scraper or bark spud and a big grinder to get the glue off. It's going to be messy. And the next 7 years of your lives are going to be rough....

    You could try to get a thin wire behind and run it back and forth to try and "saw" them off, but that all depends on what they used to glue them on there. You're not going to do that with PL, but might get away with it if it's silicone. Maybe get a salamander and point it at the mirror for a while to softer up the glue.

    Good luck.

    Alternatively you could leave the mirrors, and set the mill up along that wall. No more troubles trying to read an indicator while picking up the backside of a hole

  3. #3
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    A length of music wire with handles slid behind the plate may get it loose so it can be taken out intact.
    Smaller setups are used to cut out auto glass that is bedded with urethane adhesive. Some glass cleaner dribbled onto the wire eases the process and keeps the adhesive from “healing” behind the cut. Needs to be thin stuff and securely attached to the handles.
    Joe

  4. #4
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    Sep 2007
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    North Carolina
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    You might try some abrasive wire and with two people work it back and forth to cut through the glue. Or maybe weld up a 6' long hack saw blade. I've gotten off glued-on mirrors using a piece of flat steel with one end sharpened but it was much smaller.

    Edit: Look at that! Three of us with the same idea at the same time!

    Steve

  5. #5
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    Dec 2003
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    Streamwood, Illinois
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    We had the same issue in our house. There was a 4’ high by 12’ long 1/4” think mirror mounted to the living room wall above the fireplace. The bottom was resting in a channel, the only other attachments were the 4-6” round blobs of black mastic gluing it to the wallboard. It was successfully removed in one piece by using a series of tapered wood shims along the top edge. They were incrementally and gently(!) forced between the wall and glass. Keeping the pressure even along the top edge allowed the glue to slowly release without breaking the mirror. Some of the adhesive released from the mirror, some from the wall and some tore the paper from the wallboard.

    Wear safety gear (goggles, gloves, etc.). While ours was successfully removed, I expected it to shatter or fall unexpectedly. You will need at least one assistant since it will be fairly heavy (>100lbs.) and big.
    Last edited by Ausserdog; 02-01-2019 at 10:46 AM.
    Tom

    Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it!

  6. #6
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    Jan 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    You might try some abrasive wire and with two people work it back and forth to cut through the glue.
    Two syncronized sawzalls, connected by the wire.

    Do you have one of those high frequency oscillating tools? How about a custom long thin blade of thin sheet, to motor in between the wall and mirror? I'm not sure how large of a blade they can jiggle..

    How about one of those BB machine guns Flylo posted a couple years back?

    It sounds like the wall is block, so you can't dig into drywall to probe the composition of the adhesive - whether it is hard or soft stuff, and whether heat would make any difference.

    Also, if the glass shatters, the thrown shards and slivers could impale your skin. Complete eye coverage with tight fitting goggles is a given. But if there is a major shatter- as their likely will be - even the flying shards could embed in your skin. Also, how would you get the glass out of your work clothes? Just a thought.

  7. #7
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    Mirror mastic not construction adhesive. Sawing through with a wire as suggested can work if you can get behind it. I'd contact the tech. service line of some of the mastic makers for advice before smashing them.

  8. #8
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    I had given thought to music wire or some type of saw / abrasive wire but doubt we could ever pull 27 ft. of wire with enough force to cut through the hardened blobs or lines of what ever adhesive was used. There are some places along the edge of each side of the end mirrors and along the top where they are so tight against the block wall that we could never get a wire behind them and who knows how many tight spots there are in between. Certainly not a two man job either way.


    JL............

  9. #9
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    Would it be easier to cover them up? Few studs and sheets of plywood and they are gone. Might cost more but depending on what you get into and what it looks like when you are done (might want to cover the wall/glue anyway) maybe not.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wdtom44 View Post
    Would it be easier to cover them up? Few studs and sheets of plywood and they are gone. Might cost more but depending on what you get into and what it looks like when you are done (might want to cover the wall/glue anyway) maybe not.
    Great idea! All in all, probably faster and less dangerous.

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