What I'm Seeing Now

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When Mirror Silvering Fails

When mirror silvering fails.

Mirrors are simple sheets of glass that have been coated on the backside with aluminum oxide.

This is a process that has been around for hundreds of years.  In the past everything from tin, and mercury, and silver were used to coat the backside of glass.  That silver was used is likely the reason for the name "silvering."  Today's process uses aluminum.

But the glass must be very clean prior to the silvering process.

If it isn't clean the aluminum oxide will not stick.

This house is 10 months old, and we were doing a one-year warranty inspection.

Many builders have the one-year warranty expire in 11 months (go figure), so this client, for whom I did a pre-drywall and final walk-through inspection, had me back to do the warranty inspection.

This mirror is in the hall bathroom that the children use.

The silvering was failing in many places along the lower edge.

The stains all looked fairly uniform, like you see in the photo.  What does that mean?

I don't know - tape residue on the glass had not been completely removed, or perhaps it had the silvering damaged in some way prior to installation.

But mirrors should last a long time, and certainly longer than 10 months!

My recommendation:  there is nothing typically found during any home inspection.  And certainly the same defects don't show up on a one-year warranty inspection from house to house.  Every house is different!  So they all need a thorough going through.  When things like this are found they are noted.  The mirror's defect here is not the builder's fault, obviously, but now it becomes the builder's problem.  Hopefully it can be returned to the supplier for a manufacturer refund.  This is an unusual defect to find on a home inspection, from my experience.  But a defect nonetheless!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 11 commentsJay Markanich • October 27 2017 10:12AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay Markanich that's a rarity with a new home, but maybe he got a deal on the mirrors!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) 10 months ago

If by "he," Barbara, I assume you mean the builder.  Of course!  Cheap crap from China. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 months ago

I have to admit, I had no idea mirrors were glass with aluminum oxide on the back to make it reflective. I learned something new today!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) 10 months ago

Keen eye....in a new home...WOW....water between the tape residue...? Who knows....Time to call the builder !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) 10 months ago

Kat - if they were still coated with silver people would be scraping it off and selling it!

S&D - this was only one of MANY things that were on the list for the builder!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 months ago

Good Morning Jay Markanich 

I always wondered about this. Now I know why it happens.

Posted by Doug Dawes, Your Personal Realtor® (Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA) 10 months ago

I have seen this, not necessarily on a new home around the sinks and always thought it was caused by water splashes from the sink. You da man! 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) 10 months ago

I haven't seen a mirror go bad that quickly in new construction but there is always something new.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) 10 months ago

Doug - now your mind has been stretched and it cannot go back to the former dimension!

Fred - I have a hand mirror that was my grandmother's.  It is silver plated, has her initials in a very fancy scroll, and a little silver problem, but not much.  Date - maybe 1900?

Me neither, Joe.  But it got into the report!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 months ago

Hi Jay- I've never seen it in a new home either. I can remember that we were told not to spray cleaner directly on the edges of mirrors because it was cause it to desilver. Who knew. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 10 months ago

This is obviously a defect in the mirror, Kathy, and not from cleaning.  But I have also heard not to wipe the edges!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) 10 months ago

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