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Mirror Repair: You've Got Options

by Matt Goering

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Many homeowners are confronted with the problem of deteriorating antique mirrors. When your mirrors begin to lose their shine, you're going to be faced with the question of whether to have a repair mirror installed, invest in resilvering, or just leave your antique as is. To make the right decision you need to be fully informed on the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.

Replace or Repair?
Regardless of the state of your mirror, the big repair mirror question is always whether to repair the mirror or simply replace it. That's not always an easy decision, since the most common mirror repair needs arise with antique furniture. To be honest, if you don't care about the original mirror, replace it. It's going to be a lot cheaper to simply buy a new one rather than investing in repair mirror alternatives. Add to that the fact that mirror manufactures can produce an exact imitation of the original piece, and you can be assured that no one will be able to tell the difference.

Except for the Antique Guy Down the Street . . .
Of course, if your mirror is an antique and you're more interested with retaining its value than seeing your reflection every morning, replacing that mirror probably isn't the best idea. In that case, consider resilvering over a repair mirror for your mirror repair needs. With resilvering, you'll send your mirror off to a resilvering company, where the original silver backing will be removed and replaced, making your mirror look like new (though keep in mind this it isn't a guaranteed procedure). It will cost more, but resilvering rarely brings down the value of an antique mirror or its accompanying furniture.

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Repair Mirror

If Your Antique is a Prized Possession . . .
Of course, there's an exception to every rule, and with mirrors there are certain antiques where resilvering will damage resale value. Talk to an antique dealer or auction house to get the definitive answer on whether a repair mirror will negatively affect the value of your antique. If so, remember, an antique isn't supposed to be perfect. Those scratches and non-reflective areas only add to the charm. In these cases, your best bet is to install a cheap full length mirror in the closet for your personal use and let your prized possession be.

On a Budget?
For some homeowners, neither replacement mirrors nor re-silvering is a viable option. If you fall into this category you could try a do it yourself re-silvering kit, though don't expect these kits to work any wonders. You'll see a slight improvement, but no major breakthroughs. In fact, taping a smooth piece of tin foil over the damaged silver on the back of your mirror will probably do just as much good at a fraction of the cost and labor. Beware of this option as well, however, as removing the tape can lead to further damage of your mirror.

Depending on your situation, replacement, resilvering, or just letting your antique mirror be are the best options available and will get you the best results.

Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.