In your efforts to create a new interior space for your commercial facility, you may find that mirrors play a vital role in the space’s ultimate functionality and aesthetics. Commercial environments use mirrors for a wide range of purposes, from increasing the sense of spaciousness to providing important services both for customers and for managers.
If you have never had to deal with the issue of choosing, installing, replacing, or maintaining commercial mirrors, you can profit by cultivating a basic understanding of these products. Use this introductory look at commercial mirror options and considerations.
Why You Might Need Commercial Mirrors
Different kinds of businesses and industries may employ commercial mirrors for different purposes. In gyms and fitness studios, for instance, mirrors play a vital role in helping customers check their posture, work out with the proper technique, and monitor their progress as they lose weight or build muscle. They can also alert customers to nearby dangers from other, less careful patrons.
Any store that allows customers to try on clothes will use wall-mounted mirrors. In addition to multi-angle mirrors in private changing rooms, your facility may benefit from smaller mirrors in public areas that allow customers to check the fit of a hat or eyeglass frames.
Commercial mirrors can also enhance security for retail spaces and industrial facilities. One popular application involves one-way mirrors, which allow light to travel through the glass in one direction only. These apparently solid panes of glass allow security personnel to monitor customer, visitor, or market research participant behavior as discreetly as possible.
Corner mirrors offer yet another security function. Flat or convex mirrors mounted in the upper corners of a commercial space enable employees to spot shoplifting or other unwanted customer behaviors at a glance.
Even if you do not need commercial mirrors for any of these purposes, you may want to increase the apparent interior size of your facility. A strategically positioned wall mirror can do just that by making your space look twice as large and twice as busy as it actually is.
Where to Mount Your Commercial Mirrors
If you want your employees and customers to get the maximum benefit from your commercial mirrors, you must consider the issue of mirror mounting position and height. This consideration holds especially true for mirrors in changing rooms or restrooms, which may see regular use by children or wheelchair-bound individuals.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies mirror mounting height guidelines for restrooms in compliant facilities. These guidelines include a maximum distance of 35 inches from the floor to the bottom edge of the mirror (or 40 inches for mirrors mounted above sinks). Alternatively (or additionally), you can install a wall-length mirror to make sure that you meet ADA compliance requirements.
If you have a facility that wheelchair users frequent, consider installing one or more tilted mirrors. A mirror at a slight downward tilt will help these individuals to see themselves more clearly and easily. Your building code may even require you to install this type of mirror in your restrooms.
How Mirror Materials Differ
You can choose commercial mirrors from a variety of materials, each of which has its pros and cons. Silvered glass has long served as a traditional choice for common restroom or changing room mirrors. However, glass can shatter, potentially injuring nearby workers or customers. Even tempered glass designed for shatter resistance can still create jagged little pieces of debris.
If you plan to set up a mirror in the vicinity of weight sets or other heavy, mobile items, take the risk of shattering seriously. Consider adding safety backing to your mirror. If the mirror breaks, it holds to the safety backing and won’t fall out. Instead of ordinary glass, think about installing an acrylic or polycarbonate mirror. Mirrored acrylic offers the same reflectively as glass at many times the strength. Polycarbonate offers even greater shatter resistance than acrylic, but it also sustains scratches relatively easily.
What to Do About a Damaged Mirror
Scratches, cracks, and other deformations can ruin the looks of your commercial mirrors if you allow them to get progressively worse. A breach in the mirror’s silver nitrate and copper sulfate backing can create black spots known as mirror rot. A cracked mirror has lost some of its structural integrity, making it more likely to fall out of its mounting and cause injury.
Ken Caryl Glass, Inc., can help you choose the right kinds of commercial mirrors to enhance your facility. Contact us today to tell us about your needs. We look forward to speaking with you.
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