Bathroom mirror frames — 2 easy-to-install sources + a DIY tutorial

framed-bathroom-mirrorOver time, moisture  and age can cause bathroom mirrors to develop dark, chipped looking edges — also referred to as “mirror rot.” Instead of replacing your ‘rotted’ bathroom mirror, you can — which can upgrade the existing one using custom-made, easy-to-install mirror frames. I found two companies that create these frames, which cover mirror rot and create a decorative, finished look at the same time.

delaminated-bathroom-mirrorAccording to Frame My Mirror — one of the two mirror frame sources — mirror rot happens because:

Mirrors are created when one side of a piece of glass is coated with silver nitrate, transforming it into a mirror. A coat of copper sulfate is applied over the silver nitrate to protect it from damage, then a coat of paint is added to seal the back of the mirror. This prevents the elements from coming in contact with the silver nitrate and copper sulfate coatings.

“Mirror rot” happens when those protective coatings are compromised and the silver nitrate is exposed. Even if your mirror is mounted on the wall, the silver nitrate will begin to react with particles in the air, moisture, or even the products you use for mirror cleaning. The silver nitrate and the copper sulfate oxidize, and the result is black edges on your mirror. The good news is that black edge doesn’t usually advance further than a couple of inches from the edge of your mirror.

The two custom mirror framing companies I found — Frame My Mirror and Mirror Mate — both have a very similar product, installation and ordering process. I compared company policies, frame selection, and cost below. For cost analysis, I priced out a 36″ wide by 24″tall mirror with six clips in similar style and frame thickness.

stick-on-bathroom-mirror-frame1. Frame My Mirror

  • 59 different styles of frames to choose from
  • $122 for a 36″ x 24″ mirror with six clips
  • Easy step-by-step pictorial instructions on their website
  • Free shipping for mirrors under 100 inches long
  • Accepts returns even if you measure incorrectly, you must pay shipping for return and new frame
  • Can assist with ordering for large or unusual mirror situations
  • $1 samples with free shipping
  • Frames are made of MDF or wood (see individual styles)

framing-a-plate-glass-mirror2. Mirror Mate

  • 66 styles of frames to choose from
  • $128 for a 36″ x 24″ mirror with six clips
  • Helpful installation instructions video in addition to instructions. Installation is made easier with the help of cardboard placement corners
  • Shipping for our 36″ x 24″ frame would cost an additional $11.95
  • Only accepts returns for damaged frames or order errors by Mirror Mate
  • Can assist with ordering for large or unusual mirror situations
  • Free samples with $5 shipping
  • MDF construction

I found the two companies to be very similar, but I liked the look of the handy cardboard placement corners that Mirror Mate provides to aid in ease of installation. Mirror Mate’s helpful installation video (above) was also a plus. While Frame My Mirror seems to be a little less expensive and offers free shipping, choosing to order from one company or another ultimately will likely depend on which company offers a frame style that best suits your bathroom.

If you are handy, you can always make your own mirror frame using casing or similar wood moulding — I found this tutorial on Lowe’s.

Framing your mirror using one of these methods is a great way to freshen up your existing bathroom mirror, keep it on your wall and out of the landfill, and maybe save some money in the long run.

  1. Jim H says:

    Thanks for the info on edge damage. did not know it had a name. I came up with the same idea, but cut down an old frame to trim the edges of a new in wall medicine cabinet. What a difference, but I do have a compound miter saw. Cool website.

  2. Heidi Swank says:

    There is a great mirror hanging system that we used in our house for our bathroom mirrors. I can’t seem to find the name of it right now though.

    It comes with metal strips that you affix to the wall behind the mirror and with clips that slip onto the affixed strip that hold the mirror. This allows you to hang very larger mirrors as you mount the strip into the wall in several places but only have two clips showing at the top and at the bottom of the mirror. I guess this is a commonly used system in motels and hotels because it is so sturdy.

    This system also keeps the mirror about 1/8″ away from the wall, so you can avoid mirror rot and keep your bathroom mirror looking like it did when it was mounted.

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