Happy Homeowner: Upgrade that Builder Basic Mirror

(This is the sixth segment in a series chronicling my DIY bathroom remodel. Read parts OneTwoThree, Four and Five.)

Before I started working on this bathroom I honestly didn’t think much of the large, builder basic mirror in the hall bathroom. It was big, and in a room with no natural light that was a plus.

Once I started fixing up the room I knew I needed to do something about the mirror. I had seen Pinterest pins on framing mirrors before. Perhaps I would give that a try. After all, with all the hard things I had completed, this seemed easy. One person did gently suggest that framing mirrors is hard and that we should find an already-framed mirror at a home store. Fortunately I tend to ignore nay-sayers until I’ve given it a try myself. Certainly buying the moulding and doing it myself was going to be less expensive than buying a new mirror already framed.

I had a few hiccups along the way.

To begin with I decided to buy MDF moulding instead of wood. The lighter weight MDF seemed a safer option for something so big that I would affix with glue instead of nails.

I began by cutting the pieces to size. You don’t need to have major power tools for a job like this. I borrowed a mitre box and saw from my friend, but I could have just cut the pieces at the store with the mitre box and saw set up in the moulding aisle for just this purpose.

While the big box store where I made my purchase labeled the moulding as paintable and stainable I found that not to be accurate. I had planned to stain the mirror to match the cabinetry. I quickly learned that was not going to work. MDF is not porous and doesn’t have a natural grain. There was no way I would get the look I wanted. I needed to pivot. Paint to the rescue!

I settled on Blackboard from the new Magnolia line. I loved the depth! While it’s technically a black it has very deep navy undertones. As I’ve discovered with this bathroom, the blue undertones really come through. I think this colour is my new favourite. My husband and I are already looking around the house for more things to paint this colour.

I had a few struggles in assembling the frame. The Liquid Nails for moulding that was conveniently placed in the aisle near the moulding did not work as I expected. I was so frustrated when neither that nor any of the other super glues I tried worked. I found some finishing nails to tack the pieces together but the frame was still very delicate. When my husband returned home that weekend he casually asked why I hadn’t used brackets.

The family loved stepping over/through the massive frame in the kitchen during the final phase.

Don’t you hate it when you’re so far in your own problem that you can’t see the obvious solution? He made a quick trip to the hardware store and returned with 90 degree brackets we quickly screwed into the frame to give it support and stability.

He also picked up a special Gorrila Glue that fits in the caulk gun and works on mirrors. Would it also adhere to the frame? I was nervous after my earlier failed attempts. We taped the frame for about a week to ensure the mirror and the frame would stick. I didn’t want to take any chances after all that work.

The adhesive seemed to work immediately but I left the tape up for a week because I was so afraid that my final stage would let me down.

Finally we purchased new faucets. Those old grimy things had to go!

Our shut off valves under the sink were corroded and useless so I called my handyman to help me replace the valves and supply lines. (Fortunately I had just had the city out a couple weeks before to repair and replace our water main control!) I have the best handyman. He is honest and fair and instead of being bothered my questions he lets me help.

I totally used this hacksaw to cut off the old valve! I am super slow and will never make it as a plumber or handyman.

I’m pretty slow. I’m sure it doesn’t save us any time when I help, but I like to feel useful and learn new things.

Out with the old and in with the new.

By the time we had done all that work I decided to keep him on and have him install the new faucets. Good thing, too. He had to cut the old ones off with a power hacksaw! We do not own one of those. Imagine doing it by hand while swatting the curious children away? Paying the handyman to stay an extra hour was an investment in my marriage.

Ewwwwwwww. It was worth replacing the faucets just to be able to get in there and clean!

Oh what a difference new faucets make!

And just like that, the bathroom is done. Eventually I’ll reglaze the tub, but there’s no rush.

Did I know the bathroom would look like this when I started? No. Nor did I know it would take two months. But I’m glad I did it, even if my 13 year old tells me he doesn’t know what I started this big crazy project in the first place. Kids are such critics.

Tell us what you think! Have you ever done something similar?

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