With the previous interview, Gerry Whelan (owner of Archer Glass) talked about different types of Safety Glasses. With this new segment, Gerry shows the different kinds of mirrors and describes the uses of each type. He also shares the services they can offer to customers who would like to have their mirrors repaired, replaced and installed. 

Wayne Bucklar:   Today I’m joined by Gerry Whelan of Archer Glass. Gerry has been with us before and today we’re going to look into a new topic “Mirrors.” I know it’s an awful pun but someone had to do it and I thought I get it out of the way. Gerry welcome to the program.

Gerry Whelan:   Thank you Wayne.

W:   Now Gerry our topic today is “mirrors” and I have to say as a non-glazier, mirrors is something that I just take for granted. Tell us about mirrors.

G:   I’ll try and fill you in a bit as we go. I’ve got some samples to hold up, the best I can being the reflection is a bit difficult but I’ll try. So we’ve got “normal painted back mirror” that you would put in a little frame in your room. You’ve got bathroom mirrors with “vinyl back safety” which is well to be used in a gym. And you’ve got “beveled edge,” “polished edge” then you’ve got “painted back mirror splashback” for laundries, kitchens and uses like that which can be toughened.

W:   Okay.

G:    And used behind the stove because it can take the heat and won’t crack. So I’ve got some samples of them all here and as I go, I can hold them up. This one here is just a normal piece of mirror obviously everyone knows, piece of 3 millimeter thickness mirror, paint on the back that you would buy cut to size maybe to put in your own frame, that we can cut for you here. Then we’ve got a “beveled edge mirror” which has been around for very long time that people always use in maybe a hallway or a lounge, all that. And hopefully you can see there the way the edge is beveled or tapered back from the side to create that beveled look and give sort of like a double reflection along the edge, around the edges to make it look I suppose more expensive which it is but it’s got that more spectacular look to it. Then we have “framed mirrors” that we can put an aluminum frame around the mirror, cuts to size whatever size you either and put an aluminum frame around which are available in different colors like silver, matte silver, black, white, cream, stuff like that. And then we’ve got the, but the “vinyl back” here which is the safety on the back. It’s like a strong thick mesh that if somebody in a gym or a bathroom were to fall into the mirror, were maybe with the weights in the gym or in a bathroom whereas they’re unprotected, the vinyl on the back would hold the mirror together so it can’t crash down and injure you, which makes it a backroom safety mirror or a gym or other uses wherein public areas that might be a problem for people falling against them. Then also, we’ve got the “splashback mirror” which can be toughened and comes in different tints. I’m trying to show the tints here, the edges are polished but this can also be toughened into safety glass and put behind your stove where it can take the heat of the stove and not crack because of the toughening process. And comes in 3 or 4 different tints, hopefully you can tell the difference between them as I show them up. And they look terrific in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries, places like that behind the bar where it finishes off the look maybe between shelving etc.

W:   Now Gerry every time we chat I’m always amazed at my own ignorance of things and impressed by the depth of your knowledge of glass and glazing. How do you take an ordinary piece of glass and turn it into a mirror? You’ve talked about it being painted back, what do they paint it with?

G:   It goes through the silvering process first, where the glass is silvered and then the paint behind that is just a protective coating to protect the silver.


W:   Oh I see. And so the mirror itself isn’t what shows you the reflection. It’s the silvering on the back that makes it a mirror.

G:   Correct. With the high gloss reflection then through the glass to the silver is what gives you that perfect reflection.

W:   And Gerry the glass is mirrored or silvered before it’s cut to size or anything else?

G:   Yes. It comes in various stock sizes and is cut to size then first and then the edge treated whether polished, ground, or beveled. And then whether it’s framed and then brought out and fitted on site or picked up in the shop whichever is the case.

W:   Yeah. And I guess this is equally true for residential as it is for commercial premises.

G:   Yes for both.

W:   Am I correct in assuming that you can do all the things with mirrors that you do with safety glass?

G:   Pretty much, that’s why I pointed out the toughening for the mirror splashback.

W:  Yup.

G:   And normally in the bathroom you would just use the protective mesh on the back because if you toughened ordinary mirror, then you lose that perfect reflection. So first the glass is affected by the toughening process, well it works better on for splashbacks because you don’t need it to be as 100% reflection. And that’s why we’re able to use the toughening and painting in that situation.

W:   Gerry for the people who have the bad luck to break a mirror, are you able to replace it with contemporary glass?

G:   You can. Yes, you could change it to glass if you wanted glass instead for some reason or we can cut the new mirror to size and fit that.

W:   Okay. So my question I guess really is that if I’ve got an old mirror that’s made of old style glass it’s going to break into shards. If I do break it I would replace it with a new stall mirror that was safe.

G:   Yes, you could put the vinyl back mirror back in, and then if it’s to happen again, same thing it won’t crash down. It will be held together within the frame by the vinyl back.

W:   So there so many puns I can bake now about the bad luck you have for breaking a mirror twice but I’ll avoid all those puns. Gerry it’s always a pleasure chatting to you when you come on the program, is there any advice you have for people about looking after and caring for mirrors? Is there anything special they need to do with them?

G:   In the bathroom, it’s a good idea if you have silicon seal around the edge if it’s a frameless mirror. And that would stop the moisture from dripping down behind and damaging it. Beyond that, there isn’t enough a lot. If it’s framed just protected by the frame. Beyond that, there isn’t very much you can do. They do have a life span usually 15 to 20 years for the mirror before the edge starts to come in and then you need to replace it.

W:   And Gerry Whelan from Archer Glass for anyone who’s thinking of either fitting mirrors in the house or needs to repair broken mirrors, I guess all they need to do is ring you.

G:   Just call us, and we’ll ask some questions on the phone, help you with the information required to give you what you need or if you need us to come out and do a measure and quote and we can do that too.

W:   And what’s the number Gerry?

G:   07-3849-2664

W:   Gerry Whelan, once again it’s been a pleasure having you on the program. Thank you for your time today.

G:   Thank you very much Wayne. Thanks again, cheers.