How to Have a Mirror Resilvered

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If your mirror is dull, has black spots or has lost some of its reflective quality, consider having it resilvered. This process involves stripping the existing paint and silver from the back of the mirror glass so that a new coat of silver can be applied.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone Directories
  • Mailing And Packing Supplies
  • Soft Dry Cloth
  • Glass Cleaners
  • Clean the mirror thoroughly to determine whether it needs to be resilvered or is simply dirty.

  • Check the mirror for scratches, chips or cracks. Know that resilvering will accentuate any surface damage.

  • Look for a local resilverer. Resilverers will be listed in your local telephone directory under "mirrors," "mirror resilvering" or "glass." Be prepared to ship your mirror to a resilverer if no one in your area performs this service.

  • Check with local antique dealers for the names of reputable resilverers. Many antique mirrors are resilvered before they're sold, so a local dealer will more than likely be able to make a recommendation.

  • Search the Internet under "resilvering" for names of businesses that perform this service. Look to this option if there are no resilverers in your area and you receive no recommendations.

  • Discuss your expectations and concerns with the resilverer before you deliver your piece for restoration. He or she will be able to explain the resilvering process and tell you if your expectations are realistic.

  • Expect to pay from $20 to hundreds of dollars for resilvering. The cost will depend on the size of your mirror. Expect to pay more for special services such as polishing the mirror's surface to remove scratches and removing stains left by the old silver.

  • Investigate the possibility of resilvering the mirror on your own. There are a few instructional Web sites on the Internet; however, the time, cost and hazardous nature of the chemicals involved usually result in the search for a professional resilverer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ask the resilverer for references, especially if an antique dealer or other professional has not recommended him or her.
  • Be prepared to have the resilverer refuse to work on some mirrors from the mid-19th century. Some were treated with mercury instead of silver, and removal of the mercury is considered extremely hazardous.
  • Consider making arrangements to have a securely mounted mirror removed professionally. This will lessen the chance of breakage resulting from mishandling.
  • Make sure your mirror is appropriately packed for transport even if you're only transporting it in your vehicle. Check with the resilverer for suggestions on how to safely transport or ship the mirror.
  • Make sure you use protective clothing, eyewear and masks if you choose to attempt resilvering on your own. If your antique mirror has been treated with mercury, leave the job to a professional or leave the mirror as is.

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