How to remove a mirror from a wall
Mirrors in many rooms are simply glued to the wall without being framed or attached to nails. A wall mirror like this one is great because it is cheap, easy to install, and poses little risk of falling. It can be difficult to remove a mirror that is glued to the wall. It is possible to remove the mirror in two ways, both of which will leave the mirror intact for future use. Wire saws are best for cutting the adhesive behind large mirrors. Using a blow dryer or a heat gun, you can easily remove small mirrors by melting the adhesive on the back. The drywall behind a wall mirror will need to be patched if you remove it.
Broken glass from a mirror can cause severe cuts if dropped or shattered while removing it from the wall. When prying a mirror loose and carrying it outside the bathroom, always wear gloves and eye protection.
STEP 1: Wear appropriate clothing to prevent injury.
To protect skin and feet from flying or falling glass, wear long sleeves, long pants, and work boots. All the way from the start of the project to the final cleanup, wear heavy leather work gloves and eye protection.
STEP 2: Organize your work area to make cleanup easier.
Under the tiles, extend a heavy canvas drop cloth as far into the room as possible to catch any shards of glass. Plan to empty a metal garbage can often throughout this process — glass will be heavy, so you won’t want to wait until the end to haul it all out!
STEP 3: Adhere self-adhesive contact paper to the wall mirror tiles.
Apply the sticky vinyl film across the mirror, pressing firmly against the glass, after peeling off the back of the self-adhesive shelf or drawer liner. Broken pieces should be held together to reduce flying pieces of glass. This also helps keep work areas safer and cleanup easier.
If you have tiles instead of unframed mirrors, you can use a utility knife to separate them if you are dealing with tiles.
STEP 4: Heat the tiles and pry them off.
Start by wedgeing a drywall knife between the mirror and wall in a corner or on the side where there is the most space. The easiest place to put the mirror is one that won’t be butted up against a wall or counter.
You can then use your hairdryer set on high heat for a few minutes to warm the adhesive behind a glass tile or large bathroom mirror so that it can be peeled off easily.
Locate the adhesive by sliding a 3-inch drywall knife behind the tile and moving it around. The glue is usually applied in five blobs per tile – one blob near each corner, one blob in the middle – rather than directly around the edges because the adhesive would have bled out the seams. Using a 6-inch drywall knife, partially slip the blade under the glass tile to begin separating it from the wall enough to insert a small pry bar.
Pry the tile out slightly by gently wedgeing the pry bar in at one adhesive area. It is less likely that you will damage the wall behind the mirror with your tools if you pry against the drywall knife instead of the wall. Soften the glue as necessary with additional heat.
At each adhesive location, repeat the process until the entire tile is free of adhesive. As soon as you get your fingers underneath it, you can carefully grab on to its edges and pop it off. Following that, only heat the mirror in the area directly above the adhesive, after you’ve determined which pattern the glue went on in during installation. You’ll save a lot of time that way.
STEP 5: Clean off any adhesive that remained on the wall after the mirror was removed.
The walls that were once covered with mirrors are likely to still have some adhesive left on them from the tiles you just peeled off. You can patch the drywall paper if the adhesive tears off with the hairdryer and the 3-inch knife next.
Using a putty knife, remove any adhesive residue from the drywall. Score only the drywall paper around the damaged area with a utility knife, and then peel off any loose drywall paper inside the circle. Using this method, any leftover adhesive or paper from the gypsum below will be removed. The patch will also blend in better with the surrounding area.
Scored areas are surrounded by sand. Over the damage, brush on a thin coat of primer, allow it to dry, and then sand smooth. The area over the exposed gypsum should not be saturated.
With a 6-inch drywall taping knife, apply several thin layers of spackling compound, allowing each layer to dry before adding another. Patches should be sanded to match the surrounding walls and primer should be applied to them. Now that the patched area has been painted, you can paint the rest of the wall.