Proper preparation is essential when it comes to hanging a mirror, especially if it's a heavy one that you want to securely mount on a wall, whether it's above a vanity, on a brick wall, or serving as a bold statement piece.
Mirrors have the ability to reflect light and create an illusion of more space, making them an effective tool for decorating. However, the task of hanging a large and heavy mirror can be daunting. Mirrors possess both sturdiness and fragility, presenting a challenge when it comes to mounting them on drywall or plaster walls due to their size and weight. While most new mirrors come with mounting hardware, it is crucial to carefully choose the right installation hardware, such as screws, bolts, and anchors, that will fasten the mirror securely to the wall. By determining your wall type and selecting the appropriate supplies, you can follow the guidance below to hang a heavy mirror firmly, refreshing your room while safeguarding your walls and decor.
How to Hang a Heavy Mirror
To ensure success, gather the necessary tools and take accurate measurements. Obtain the key details required to select the most suitable installation hardware for hanging your mirror.
Determine Mirror Weight and Mounting Hardware
Check the product specifications to find the weight of the mirror or simply weigh it using a bathroom scale. Most new mirrors come with included mounting hardware. Look for D-rings, wire, clips, or brackets (also known as French cleats) attached to the back of the mirror or provided with the purchase. If your mirror doesn't have mounting hardware, you will need to install it yourself.
Identify Your Wall Type
Newly constructed or recently renovated homes typically have drywall, while older homes often feature plaster walls. If you're unsure about your wall type, press a thumbtack into the wall. If it goes into drywall easily but not into plaster, you have drywall. You may also encounter masonry walls, such as brick, which require different hanging techniques.
Locate Studs and Potential Obstacles
Decide where you want to hang the mirror and mark the corners or edges using painters tape or a pencil. This will help you visualize the mirror's placement in the room. Then, use a multi-function stud finder to locate any studs, pipes, or wires in the area. While studs can provide support for hanging a heavy mirror, be careful to avoid drilling through pipes or coming into contact with live wires. For exceptionally heavy mirrors, it is best to secure at least one screw into a stud, so you may need to reconsider the chosen location.
Make the Mirror Level
Not only does an unevenly hung mirror look unsightly, but it can also exert pressure on the fasteners, potentially leading to failure, shattered glass, and damage to the wall. Proper measurements are crucial for ensuring a level mirror. Start by measuring and marking the top of the mirror using painter's tape, then use a level to ensure the line is straight. Also mark the center on the painter's tape, as you will need to refer to this point when marking the placement of screws and wall anchors. When transferring the installation dimensions to the wall, it is imperative to maintain a level measurement between the mounting points.
Leveling Tips for Different Types of Hardware
This type of mounting hardware is the easiest to level. Measure from the top of the mirror to the bracket, as well as the length of the bracket. Transfer these measurements to the wall. When you're ready to install, start with the middle screw to have something in place, then level it out before installing the remaining screws.
- D-rings or Keyholes
Measure from the top of the mirror to the top of the D-ring or keyhole. Then measure the distance between the two mounting points. When transferring these measurements to the wall, pay careful attention to leveling the two mounting points.
Measuring for wire requires a bit more effort as you need to determine the mounting points yourself. We recommend using two points to distribute the weight evenly. With the mirror propped against the wall or lying face down, raise the wire to make it taut and identify two points that will distribute the pressure equally along the wire. Ensure that the points are not too close together. For a large mirror, start with a distance of around 12 inches (equivalent to a standard ruler length) and make adjustments as needed. Once you have identified the two points, measure the distance between them, as well as the distance between the taut wire and the top of the mirror. When transferring these measurements to the wall, make sure to level the two mounting points.
Hanging a Heavy Mirror on Different Types of Walls
While it is preferable to hang a heavy mirror from a stud, the studs may not always be located where you want them. In such cases, you can use wall anchors to secure the mirror. The weight of the mirror and the type of wall will determine the appropriate wall anchor to use. It is recommended to choose a fastener that can support more weight than the mirror requires. The packaging of most fasteners provides information on weight capacity, suitable wall types, and installation instructions, including the required drill bit size, if applicable.
D-rings, keyholes, and wire-mounted mirrors can all be hung on an anchored screw. Remember to leave a quarter- or half-inch of the screw protruding. On the other hand, brackets need to be in place before screws can be installed.
How to Hang a Heavy Mirror on Drywall
If you are screwing into a stud, a 1¼-inch or 1⅝-inch screw is usually sufficient for secure mounting on ½-inch drywall. When hanging a heavy mirror on drywall without stud support, you will need drywall anchors capable of supporting the mirror's weight. Sleeve expansion anchors are suitable for lighter weights. To install them, drill a pilot hole and then insert the anchor, tapping or screwing it flush against the wall. As you screw the screw into the anchor with a screwdriver or drill, the anchor expands and wedges firmly into the wall. Self-drilling drywall anchors work similarly but can handle heavier weights. They don't require a pilot hole and can be directly installed using a drill.
Molly bolts and toggle bolts are hollow wall anchors that work on both drywall and plaster. Toggles are recommended for heavy objects on both drywall and plaster walls.
How to Hang a Heavy Mirror on Plaster
If you are screwing into a stud, a 3-inch screw is usually sufficient. This allows the screw to go through 1 inch of the plaster wall and extend 2 inches deep into the stud. If you are hanging a heavy mirror on plaster without a stud, your best option is to use a hollow wall anchor, such as a toggle bolt, which expands and secures behind the plaster wall. In addition to choosing an anchor with the appropriate weight capacity, ensure that the length of the hollow wall anchor extends beyond the wall to allow for expansion.
Molly bolts are medium-weight hollow wall anchors. To use them, drill a pilot hole and then insert the entire bolt (sleeve and screw) into the hole until it is flush against the wall. Tighten the bolt to expand the anchor. Once the bolt is fully tightened, unscrew it slightly to create space for hanging the mirror. A metal toggle bolt is the strongest wall anchor available. Start by drilling a pilot hole, then thread the toggle onto the bolt with the wings opening toward the wall (not away from it). Push the toggle (with folded-down wings) through the pilot hole. Once inside, the wings will open. Pull the bolt toward you to secure the wings against the wall, and then screw the bolt into place, tightening the wings.
How to Hang a Heavy Mirror on Brick and Other Surfaces
Similar to plaster and drywall, brick walls require wall anchors when installing a heavy mirror. Plastic sleeve anchors designed for masonry or masonry sleeve anchors are suitable for heavy decorations. Unlike other surfaces, installing on brick necessitates specific tools such as a hammer drill and masonry drill bits.
If you are hanging a heavy mirror on a surface covering, such as tile or beadboard, consider the materials required to drill through the surface as well as the type of wall behind it. For example, use a glass and ceramic drill bit to prevent ceramic tiles from cracking while drilling holes for anchors.
How to Hang a Frameless Mirror
Many frameless mirrors rely on mirror clips installed at the top and bottom (and sometimes sides) of the mirror. A new purchase usually includes the necessary hardware, but you can also purchase a pack of clips separately. Ensure that the thickness of the mirror matches the indicated clip thickness. There is a variety of choices in terms of shape, material, and finish for mirror clips, and some are designed to be visible around the edges of the mirror.
Once you have determined the right location, level the frameless mirror and mark the top and bottom corners. Follow the manufacturer's instructions if available, or measure 2.5 inches in from the top and bottom corners and mark those locations for the outer clips. Install the bottom clips first, then slide in the mirror and install the top clips.
If you are unsure about clip placement or the number of clips to use, consider referring to similar products currently available at home improvement stores. These products usually include directions and mounting hardware, which may also be accessible online, offering guidance on how to mount your own mirror. Check out our range of Wall Mirror products and blog advice here at Simply Home!