Removing a Mirror Wall

This is the true story of our Dancing Queen Mirror Wall, and how we got it removed from our house, thereby bringing our home into the 21st century.

70s mirrored wall - how to remove it

We bought a house in October (I should have been blogging that whole process for you – it was intense! Let me just say that Zillow was my best friend all summer long). After months of looking at every house in town, we visited an amazing house the day after it was put on the market. We KNEW it was a winner, and that it would get snatched up immediately. The previous owners had spared no expense on details in the house – from top-of-the-line blinds, to a fully landscaped yard. They had spared no expense… in the 70s. Including this giant bronze mirrored wall.

So, we put an offer in on the house right away, and so did two other families. Lucky for us, the sellers chose our offer, so we had ourselves a house! We had all the awesome landscaping, and party-ready backyard (complete with hot tub), and all the once-trendy but now-tragic decorating choices, from Pepto pink wall paint to floral swag window treatments, to geometric wallpaper, to that giant mirror wall.

The giant mirror wall: discotastic. But not fantastic for a family with three little boys (that’s thirty fingerprint machines, for those who are counting!). We had to get rid of the mirror wall.

DIY Mirror Wall Removal?

Removing a mirrored wall

I will admit, I am a DIY home-owning legend in my own mind. I wish I could be an awesome DIYer like Ana White or Beckie Farrant, but the truth is, my mind works quite a bit faster than my body does. My DIY spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. I can come up with all the awesome DIY plans in the world, but it’s really hard for me to actually carry them out. Still, I researched removing mirrored walls.

The mirrors were floor to ceiling panels about four feet wide, all laid next to each other across the wall, and then the seams were covered with eight inch strips of mirror. It looked like we could remove the skinny strips, reveal the seams on the big mirror panels, and then pull those down.

I searched the internet for info on DIY mirror wall removal, and the outlook wasn’t good.

Not only were the articles on the internet discouraging, but one of my big phobias is broken glass, and we were pretty sure the mirror removal project would result in quite a bit of those shards of death. And then, once the glass was down, how would we remove it from our home? Who wants to handle all that glass? And even if the panels remained intact, how would we move four by eight foot panels of glass? It all seemed quite a bit above our pay grade.

Finally, I called a local glass place and asked for an estimate for removal. At about $250, it seemed like a bargain.

Let the Professionals Handle It

Taking down a mirrored wall

Our friendly glass company professionals tackled the mirror wall with crowbars, suction cup handles (wonder what those tools are called?), cutout wire, and shims. There were two of them, and they each had over twenty years of glass experience (plus, one of those nifty glass trucks with which to haul the panels away — all part of the fee).

The mirror panels were attached with blobs of silicone glue (or similar), about every 12 inches along the wall. The workers told us that the installation was funky, but that the panels themselves were high-quality and would have cost a lot of money to install back in the 70s. They also told me they knew the guys who had probably installed these panels, that their companies couldn’t keep the mirrored panels in stock back in their heyday, and -surprise- they had even worked on some other glass projects in THIS HOUSE for the previous homeowners.

Mirrored wall removal

The glass guys were so friendly and professional, I was super impressed. They weren’t allowed to accept tips, but one did say if I had any cookies, he’d take one. And he gave me the number of the office and the person to talk to, should I want to give feedback about the job they did (I did call in and give my compliments to these guys for their great work).

Mirrored wall gone

Bottom line, don’t try to remove a whole mirrored wall yourself. Leave it to the professionals, who know what they’re doing, have the right tools to do it, and are able to remove the panels intact and take them away for disposal.

After the mirrors were gone, we were left with a big wall covered in adhesive and some strips of wallpaper (grasscloth along the edges — I am imagining a tiki-feel to this room back in the 70s! I bet they had some fun parties here!). Next post, I’ll tell you about how we fixed the wall!