stainless steel and acrylic mirrors

Acrylic vs Stainless Steel Mirror Showdown

stainless steel and acrylic mirrors

Glass Mirror Alternatives – Acrylic vs Mirror-Finish Stainless Steel

It’s been said throughout history by the superstitious that a broken glass mirror brings forth seven years of bad luck, but these days, the reaction of many would simply be to sigh, shrug and buy a new mirror. We’re quite fortunate to live in the era of plastics and high-polished surfaces, and when it comes to mirror breakage, luck is now on our side with glass alternatives that provide mirror quality with safety and style in mind. In today’s article, let’s explore two alternatives to glass mirrors that provide not just the same high-quality reflective properties, but also come in handy for a myriad of situations and tasks where finish and structure are of the utmost importance.

When to Use Acrylic Mirror Sheet

mirror finished acrylic sheet
Acrylic mirrors are a perfect starting point for DIY projects on a budget and are a breeze to handle and manipulate in the fabrication process. Acrylic is an excellent lightweight alternative to glass (50% lighter and 8 times as strong), and provides shatter resistance suitable for locker rooms, restrooms, shower rooms, dance studios and any place where breakage needs to be kept to a minimum. Our acrylic sheets come with a back-side coating which provides a protective layer when fabricating or trimming and because it’s a high-grade plastic, trimming and installing is a breeze compared to glass. Because acrylic is less rigid than glass, we recommend using a backing material such as plywood to ensure perfect clarity and support for years to come.

When to Use Mirrored Stainless Steel

mirrored stainless steel sheet
Boasting seven times more tensile strength than acrylic, T-304 Stainless Steel is not just durable, it’s the most commonly-used stainless for all types of applications. If you work with your hands for a living, you already know about its high resistance to rust and its ubiquity in the kitchen. For our purposes, we recommend using mirrored stainless steel if you need a solid, heavy-duty alternative to glass and acrylic, all while demanding crystal-clear precision from its output. It can also be used as decorative trim, auto molding and virtually all food and cooking needs. While 304 stainless steel doesn’t react well with concentrated levels of sodium chloride due to its lack of molybdenum, the mirror-polish (#8 Polish) on our stainless sheets improves corrosion resistance by removing crevices where pitting can occur and helps keep its quality long-lasting for years to come.

Which Mirrored Surface Should I Use?

Before making a decision, first determine what type of usage you’ll need. Acrylic handles fingerprints much better than stainless and when handled raw, is a much safer alternative than the sharp edges that its heavier metallic counterpart possesses. One point of concern with acrylic is that while it may be a shatter-resistant alternative to glass, it does allow for warping and distortion when improperly mounted. To ensure that this isn’t an issue, we recommend mounting on a smooth flat backing like plywood and making sure that the connecting surfaces are treated with sealant to keep moisture and air pockets out. Following these simple steps will ensure that your acrylic mirror will last.
As we mentioned earlier, 304 stainless steel has its issues when it comes to corrosion and sodium chloride, but with a high-level mirror finish, stainless can handle the elements that acrylic can, plus whatever else comes its way. When polished fully, mirrored stainless will not tarnish, oxidize, crack or peel, and it’s no wonder that its usage can be found across all aspects of architectural design ranging from office buildings to correctional facilities. While stainless tends to cost more compared to an equal-sized sheet of acrylic, its durability pays for itself in the long run and is more adept at keeping its quality against the elements than acrylic.

Two Alternatives to Glass That Shine

Regardless of whether mirrored acrylic or mirror-finished stainless steel suits your needs, trust that the folks here at Online Metals have what you’re looking for. Simply visit our website to find what you’re looking for, or give us a call at (800) 704-2157 and let our professionals get your order squared away. We deliver worldwide and make a concerted effort to ship fast, ship correct and fulfill all of your specification requirements.