When to back or not to back, that is the question.
Well, not “The” question, but one we get asked an awful lot, so here I’ve simplified the “what’s what” of mirror backing.
To start with, there’s basically three main types of safety/backing films.
Standard Laminated Safety Backing Film, woven safety backing and foil backing.
All have benefits, some more than others and each with its own price tag of course.
The cheapest, but not by far is the clear standard laminated safety backing. This film is used for normal mirrors, the ones that are screwed or clipped or hung on a wall, normally the bathroom or over a sink. The purpose of this type of film is to solely hold the mirror together in the event of an accident, so that sharp shards of glass and splinters don’t end up spread across your bathroom floor. As you can imagine, not very conducive with bare feet, ouch…
The film can also be used in framed mirrors, where safety is a concern, such as public access areas, but primarily for the same reasoning.
But sadly for the film, being silicone based, it doesn’t stick with adhesive very well, if at all.
For the technical, such film meets BS EN12600 2B2 & BS 6206 Part B standard
Moving on to foil backing. This backing was originally used as barrier between wall and mirror backing, with the need to stop any potential moisture or chemical seep from the wall into the mirror. On cheaper quality and old style manufactured mirror, this was deemed essential to stop such moisture and chemical corroding and eating into the mirrored backing, often leaving tell-tale black marks or cloudy mirrors.
Architects often specify such foils for this very purpose. However, when used in conjunction with mirror adhesive, they don’t always provide the protection that’s expected. Whilst the adhesive may stick very nicely, thank you, to the foil itself, the foil that stuck to the mirror is all that’s holding it to the wall. Saying that, we’ve never heard of one falling from the wall due to this physical fact. However, it must be stressed that the foil backings are NOT safety film and should the mirror break, it’s more than likely the foil backing will split with it. All’s not quite lost yet. As the fact that the mirror is stuck all over with mirror adhesive normally means if the mirror breaks into smaller pieces then each piece will be still held to the wall with the adhesive. Phew, hope this made sense...
Again for the technical buffs, the foil complies with the following regulations BS476 PART 6 & 7 & MEETS CLASS 1 & CLASS 0 FIRE REGULATIONS.
And finally and undoubtedly saving the best until last, but with a price tag to match, is the woven safety backing. This combines both the strength of the laminated film with the barrier properties of the foil.
Meeting all these safety standards it certainly ticks all the boxes.
Meets ANSI Z97.1-1984,HUD, CPSC, CAN 2-12.1,16CFR1201 Category II, British Standards BS-6206 Class A, 400 fp