Framing Mirrors

Rob Markoff

PFG, Picture Framing God
Joined
Mar 8, 1999
Posts
5,179
From
San Diego, CA USA
Had to start a new topic on this one because I didn't want to get stuck in the mud......

Hopefully this is some USEFUL information. It is intended for those who are not very experienced in framing/selling mirrors and may want to. It is not intended to insult the experience/intelligence of any framer already doing so. AND, everthing I have suggested MAY NOT apply to the OP's job but has been furnished as a generic guide and food for thought on jobs like this.

The OP wanted to know about pricing beveled mirrors to bid for a job with a developer/contractor for a spec home.

As a retailer who does thousands of dollars in mirror sales and installation, and who teaches a class for PFM on selling mirrors, I wanted to add my two cents....

The source/cost of the mirror is only one consideration in pricing/bidding a job like this.

Other things to think about:

Be wary of dimensions. Framers tend to think of internal frame size, where most designers/developers/architects tend to call out frame OD when specifying. This means that frames need to be built and measured BEFORE ordering mirror. Verify if size requested/specified is frame OD or glass size! Be sure to allow lead time to receive moulding and built frames, then order and receive mirrors and then fit in your time frame.

Mirror industry standards are plus/minus 1/16". This is critical when calculating frame allowance, especially with an ordered beveled mirror. Remember gravity will cause mirror to want to rest in bottom of rabbet. Bevels at top of frame may look wonky (not line up with miters) if frame has too much allowance. Better to have a smaller allowance than usual.

Mirror itself: Some posts spoke of 3/16" mirror. Only slightly less expensive than 1/4" and for a large mirror in a master bath, may show some "ripple." Then if cost is a factor.....Also, I would not put a bevel larger than 1" on a 3/16" mirror or you risk chipping and breakage because edge gets too thin.

Speaking of bevels, some frame lips are larger than others. If the lip is 5/16" and you add allowance, and your bevel is only 1" what will the final product look like.....and does it meet your client's approval? Sometimes a designer will say they want a 1" bevel and they really MEAN they want to SEE a 1" bevel, so you need to order/specify/pay for a 1 1/4" bevel.

Do you seal the edges of the mirror or leave them raw? Or will your fabricator furnish the edges sealed? And I am not talking about dust covers or using silicone to adhere the mirror to the frame. Mirror seal is available from CRL and is used to protect the edges of a fabricated mirror from developing "black edge." http://www.crlaurence.com/ProductPages/G/GN4_3734.html?Origin=

Moulding: Width, shape (where to install the hardware), finish (can it hold up to use in a bathroom or powder room?) Depth of lip (how much backing required?) Condition of lip (can you use rabbet tape to blacken or will it have to be painted?) Do you have resources to obtain moulding cost effectively? (sometimes being a "partner" isn't enough........) If the developer/designer/architect wants a 3/4" wide moulding on a 36 x 48 mirror, do you know how to do it safely?

Hardware: How to hang? If it is being used as a principal mirror, it needs to be parallel to the wall and it should not be movable when cleaning. EZ bar may be necessary and a double channel of EZ bar (top/bottom) may also be required if the bottom of the mirror is to sit near or against a splash because security hardware may be inaccessible to lock. A french cleat and pannel adhesive may be less expensive and easier to use.

Installation: Who is hanging? Who is transporting to job? OP mentioned a quantity. Mirrors are heavy. Do you have an appropriate vehicle to transport? Do you have manpower to physically lift? Do you own suction cups to move/lift mirrors? (Very useful if mirror goes "wall to wall") Have you ever done this kind of installation/job? Seriously, if you hurt yourself trying to lift a heavy mirror over a bathroom vanity, will you be able to finish all the other framing in your shop. Will your framers?

Timeframe: Is your shop physically large enough to handle the quantity required? Do you and your staff have the physical strength to move the mirrors and the framed mirrors? If for some reason you have completed the job as scheduled (held up your end of the bargin) but the developer is "running behind" can you store the framed mirrors? For how long? If you bid the job as COD, and the developer runs 30 - 60 days late, and you cannot do the "D" part (deliver) can you afford to wait for your money?

Backing: What will you use and still be competitive? Do you need to paper back the finished job? In a spec house where you are installing? What kind of fitting staples/nails etc. will you use. Remember, if the rabbet is deep and the maid is PUSHING on the mirror when cleaning, flexi tabs might not be the best hardware to use when fitting a large mirror, no matter HOW MANY you use......

Let the mud slinging begin..........
 

puttyboy

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Jan 28, 2005
Posts
283
From
minnesota
Common sense is priceless.
Rob has given an excellent outline. Maybe he'll include it in an aticle..... Unless I missed it.
 

southernmoon

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Posts
109
From
Charleston, SC
Wow! Great information. Having just framed a beveled mirror, I used Framer's points to secure it. What else would you recommend?
 

Julia

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Feb 11, 2003
Posts
395
From
Portland, Oregon
Rob:
I like your last comment on "let the mud slinging begin"

Your points are very valid and informative. Thank you!
Julia
 
G

Gumbogirl

Guest
Wow. What a great outline and starting points. Excellent advice,
sparks lots of good ideas and things to cover.

Thanks, Rob! I think you just sold out your next class..
 

Mecianne

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Posts
2,229
From
Alabama
Wow is right. Thank you SO much. I really needed all this info, but wasn't gonna ask for it here. ;) I see there are a considerable amount of factors I haven't yet weighed in determining price. I welcome any more tips you can think of. Also...speaking of framers points....what do you or would you use that would have more staying/hold power.

Again...thanks. This info is invaluable.
thumbsup.gif
 

southernmoon

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Posts
109
From
Charleston, SC
Mecianne,
After reconsidering the framers points, I reinforced the mirror w/ offset clips.

Carol
 

Mecianne

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Posts
2,229
From
Alabama
Ahhh...good idea. Thanks!
 

Rob Markoff

PFG, Picture Framing God
Thread starter
Joined
Mar 8, 1999
Posts
5,179
From
San Diego, CA USA
Framers points (rigid kind) are fine as long as they go into sound wood and you use enough of them for adequate support. I was concerned that some framers may use FLEXI (bendable) points.

In our shop, we usually use Senco CO8 staples, but for large mirrors we use an Elpa F18 gun with 18mm brads. We back mirrors with coroplast cut tight to the frame id because it does not absorb moisture.
 

AWG

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Jun 12, 2003
Posts
1,021
From
North Carolina - Picture Framing Capital of the Wo
Rob:

Thank you - great points. It feels good that we do most of what you spoke about already - but your points on installation are especially good. many times we've built mirrors that end up being REALLY heavy and end up contracting the install after-the-fact.

Tony
 

danny boy

PFG, Picture Framing God

In Memorium

Rest In Peace



Joined
Dec 18, 2004
Posts
5,393
From
Oregon's Bay Area
Rob:
Nice job... I appreciate the tips. I must admit a big heavy mirror is kinda scary. I feel better about tackling(with confidence)A client who wants to frame a mirror now.

 
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