25 February 2020

Mirror Polished Stainless Steel –
A Versatile Replacement to Standard Glass Mirrors

By: Chris Roland

Recently, our team was tasked with the installation of a complicated custom powder coated metal ceiling panel as part of a project’s unique finish elements. This ceiling detail was originally an integral part of the design for a relaxation area where workers could escape from their desks for meet-ups, a quick one-on-one chat, or a cup of coffee to reset for a few minutes before going back to work. The powder coated metal panel had cut outs of binary words custom to the client’s mission and company ethos. Simply looking through these cutouts to a drywall finish would be too simple, so included in the design was a back drop of a glass mirror above the metal panel. The entire design element was something the team was excited about from the beginning of the project, and we were looking forward to seeing in the finished space.

Factoring in Project Challenges

The challenges with an installation of this nature were numerous, and the glass mirror was going to be an especially complicated piece of the puzzle. With such a delicate and heavy piece of material, we were mostly concerned about the install process as there were several different scenarios that could cause the glass to break if it was not mounted perfectly. After several meetings with our glass subcontractor, the team determined that a glass mirror wasn’t our best product for this application, and we began looking for other alternatives.

Alternatives that Maintain Design Integrity

At the recommendation of our subcontractor, we began exploring other options. After looking through several alternatives, we determined the best choice for this application was the #8 304 Stainless Steel. This product is a highly polished piece of stainless steel with a flawless mirror finish. There were many advantages to using this material over standard glass, most importantly being that it could be cut and installed without easily breaking. We received final approval from the design team and the client, both of whom were thrilled they’d be able to achieve this element with no disruption to their original schedule or budget.

While the final install did have its challenges, all the issues were related to the final powder coated metal and not the mirrored metal material. Looking back, if we had used a glass mirror in this installation, we would have likely broken 4-5 pieces before we got the final product adjusted and set just where it needed to be. We are grateful to our quality subcontractors and this innovative product for saving us from those headaches on tight deadlines and for helping our team deliver the highest quality work.

The possibilities for using this material in future design elements are limitless. We could wrap corners of elevator lobbies, follow curved walls and millwork details, and cut a logo or intricate design out of mirror, none of which were previously achievable with traditional glass mirrors. The options with polished stainless steel will provide countless options for design finishes in future projects, and we are excited to help execute them!

About the Author

Chris Roland is a Project Superintendent at Clune’s Washington, DC office. He has 16-years construction industry experience. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from George Mason University. While not on-site as a Project Superintendent, Chris enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to the beach, and working on various woodworking projects. He is a die-hard Washington Capitals’ fan, and an avid hockey player and bowler.

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