Take A Closer Look

18/11/2011 3:14 p.m.

Our distributors regularly receive enquiries from people looking to replace their existing convex mirrors. If their original mirror has provided many years good service this is not such a problem however all to often this is not the case. Increasingly we find that the alternative brands of budget mirrors fall short of expectations due to poor materials, manufacture or inappropriate choice of design.

When selecting a convex mirror, it is essential to determine if it is to be used inside or outside. Many supplyers do not differentiate between the two with the result that mirrors more suited to indoor use have a very short life span when used outside. A general purpose budget mirror can appear to be a cheaper option than selecting a mirror designed specifically for outdoors but in the long term it will need to be replaced several times over the life span of a good quality outdoor mirror.

Budget mirrors tend to degrade fairly quickly outside so they become less effective at providing safety and security protection. Many have unsealed fibre board backing which is easily penetrated by moisture casing warping and splitting. Another problem with using these mirrors outside is that the fittings and fixings are usually a lot lighter which results in the mirror flexing and brackets bending in the wind making the reflection difficult to see clearly. Brackets are often not treated with a protective coating so in addition to continued bending they are unprotected from rain and temprature change. The mirror will require regular re-adjustment and positioning to compensate for the distortion and eventually corrosion makes the mirror unsightly, weakens support capability and will eventually fail.

Even mirrors marketed for outdoor use can fail to meet even the most basic design criteria. Often the curvature of the mirror is complely wrong for the purpose resulting in a reflection which is difficult to see clearly or badly distorted. Road safety mirrors need to create a clear wide angle reflective view with minimal distortion.

Take a Closer Look

A) The first mirror has failed in the heat resulting in a complete distortion of shape. The backing is unsealed fibreboard with rod fittings presumably chosen to spread the weight across the weak backing material.

B) The stripped fittings on the second mirror has failed to support the weight leaving the mirror unstable and has already moved out of position the minute it has been re-adjusted and now requires wooden blocks to hold it in place.

C)The third mirror's inferior back has warpped in the heat and will proably need replacing before it breaks completely.

D) The forth mirror is an outdoor traffic mirror which has an inadequate reflection. Notice the distortion towards the edge of the mirror which is unsuitable for improving safety.

When comparing mirrors check the brackets are strong enough to withstand harsh winds, temprature and weather changes. Fibreboard backing is not suitable for outdoor use, instead choose ACM Aluminium Composite Material or an alternative strong weatherproof material. The reflected image should be clear and sharp across the whole mirror with minimal distortion.

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