Brighten up Rooms with Mirrored Doors
DEAR TIM: I need to brighten up the bedrooms in my house but am really concerned about energy costs. Is there a way to add more light or create the illusion of light without giving more money to the utility company? I am on a fairly tight budget and can't afford to hire someone to make the improvements. What do you have in your bag of tricks for me? Ron F. Amelia, OH
DEAR RON: Magicians often employ smoke and mirrors to create a spectacular illusion. Forget about the smoke and consider using mirrored closet doors in the bedrooms. Not only will these doors make the rooms brighter, they will also make the rooms feel bigger. The best news of all is that these products can be very affordable and they are quite do-it-yourself friendly. You don't have to limit the use of these in bedrooms. They are excellent choices for entry hall closet doors.
Mirrored interior doors are really nothing new. For many years builders and homeowners simply purchased a large plate glass mirror and use different clips and channels to mount the mirror on the back of a door. The trouble is when the closet door was closed, the mirror was hidden from view. Placing the mirror on the room side of the door is a modern application that looks smart and distinctive. The glass is available with beveled edges and special decorative V grooves as well.
You can often add a mirror to an existing door but I feel switching out your doors and installing new mirrored door kits may be a better long term solution. The mirrored door kits tend to look much better and the glass is far safer than traditional large mirrors.
The new mirrored door kits are available in either hinged bi-fold doors or sliding by-pass doors. They are available with either full coverage frameless mirrors, doors that have a narrow metal frame, doors that have an attractive wood molding frame or doors that have a rich wood surround that are very traditional in appearance. The wood framed doors are available in cherry, whitewash oak and white ash. They will take your breath away.
Mirrored door kits come in various sizes to fit most standard openings. Standard kits reach up to eight feet tall. If you need a custom size door, some of the manufacturers will make it. This is a great option in case your current door opening is an odd size. You can get doors that fit openings as wide as twelve feet and as high as eight feet. The extra cost to make a custom door above and beyond the door kit cost is usually just $75.00.
The installation of these doors is not difficult. The doors have excellent hardware that is often pre-assembled at the factory. Typically you just have to install a top and bottom track. The by-pass or sliding doors are easier to install than the bi-fold doors. Bi-fold doors simply require tighter tolerances with respect to the opening being square and plumb. If you try to install a bi-fold door in an opening that is out of square the gap at the outer edges of the door adjacent to the wood or drywall jambs will not be consistent. The door will operate fine, but the gaps may look a little unsightly.
The mirrored door kits are not budget breakers. A simple door kit can often be purchased for less than $70.00. The top of the line wood door kits that fit the largest openings can cost over $500.00. But if you are building a new home, the eight foot tall floor to ceiling mirrored doors can actually save you and your builder money. By eliminating the drywall and framing above the doors a builder can often save up to $170.00 per closet. That is a significant savings.
Be sure to look for mirrored doors that offer jump proof rollers for the tracks. Not all mirrored door kits offer this hardware. This hardware will keep the doors on the tracks for many years to come. Poorly designed tracks and roller systems allow mirrored doors to jump the tracks regularly. There is no need for this to happen if you simply purchase the best door kits.