Choosing a Quality Convex Mirror

25/05/2011 8:38 a.m.

Convex mirrors can be a major help in reducing accidents or in improving security in many situations. Purchasing and installing the wrong convex mirror, if not researched thoroughly, can be a waste of money and more importantly not fix the problem that the mirror was originally purchased for. Hopefully the information here will help those that are unsure of the process to make the right choice.

Inside Mirrors

If the mirror is to be used in a sheltered and dry environment then you can select almost any mirror for this purpose. If for outside use but in sheltered areas where there are light winds and very little moisture then better quality Indoor/Outdoor mirrors such as DuraVision's will be ok in most situations. Be wary of mirrors with hardboard backs as these will break down very quickly with little moisture resulting in the mirror at the wrong angle to be useful or even falling out onto the ground. Painted hardboard backs are better but again not recommended that they be installed in environments where there is any moisture as they too will deteriorate fairly quickly.

Some Indoor/Outdoor mirrors such as DuraVision's Indoor/Outdoor range are fitted with ACM backs being a composite aluminum and plastic sandwich. This ACM back is completely weather proof, very strong and an added bonus for retail environments is that the mirror back looks attractive with the brushed aluminium finish.

Aluminium Composite Material ACM

Dome mirrors are another option but are suitable only for indoor use or where there is no moisture.

Outside Mirrors

These need to have a quality weather proof back that will not break down in wet conditions. Avoid hardboard backs even painted as they will not last.

You also need to take a good look at the bracket system. Some are easy to install with single piece brackets or messy where there are several legs that need to be attached. This type of mirror is hard to line up for the optimum view.

Mirror J Bracket

The j bracket shown above has proven to be reliable and easy to adjust fixing system quick to install.

Also take a look at the way the bracket is attached to the back of the mirror. A popular system with many manufacturers is the ball and socket system. These tend to deteriorate and can become unreliable in the medium term as they often come loose in windy conditions and often impossible to retighten. Corrosion is often an issue with this system as well.

Brackets should also be checked for corrosion resistance. Many manufacturers paint their brackets which is generally ok for Indoor locations but don’t last long outdoors, particularly near the coast. Look for a bracket that has been zinc coated as it ensures many years of protection from deteoriation and rust.

There are a number of options for the mirror face itself. The most popular is acrylic which is a good material for mirrors being impact resistant as well as having good clarity at least as good as glass. Then there is polycarb which is unbreakable but generally scratch easier than acrylic faces. Stainless steel is a good option for areas where there is a risk of vandals or where other objects are likely to hit the mirror. Another unbreakable option is polished steel mirrors which are unbreakable but they are at risk of corrosion despite being protected with a chemical layer. Steel mirrors are best for interior use as they will break down in wet environments particularly near the coast.

For acrylic and Polycarbonate mirrors, there are different quality levels of material used. Check to see if the material is manufactured using recycled material because these mirrors will craze or yellow very quickly and hence view quality is reduced significantly. The attraction to manufacturers in using this recycled material is that it is cheap to buy. Manufacturers that are focused on producing a quality mirror will use virgin grade acrylic and the better ones will go for optical rated acrylic. Make sure you check it out as these additional features do make a difference in terms of the quality of the image in the mirror as well as giving a mirror that will last many years longer than the budget mirrors.

Back to News