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Category: Home Improvement

Can I Hang A Mirror On A Plaster Wall?

We received a call from a lady recently who asked “Can I hang a mirror on a plaster wall?”


Just the word alone conjures images of dust, debris, and cracks in the wall the length of a football field. Plaster is generally found in older structures (predating 1950). It is a type of wet mud that is trawled onto wooden or metal lathe. The plaster pushes into the lathe and hardens. The older it is the more likely it is to crack or crumble. So needless to say the idea of hanging a heavy framed mirror on a plaster wall makes even the most experienced installer cautious.

As you may or may not know, according to the unofficial installers handbook:

rule 7

If you should “never hang a mirror on a wire”, what should you do?

A large portion of our business has been mirror and artwork installations. For almost every mirror that we have installed over the years, we have used either a french cleat type mounting or we a direct mount technique where the mirror has D-Rings attached to the back of the frame and heavy duty hooks on the wall. Hanging a mirror using one of these methods is more difficult than a single hook on the wall to catch a wire, but these methods, when implemented properly, are more secure and distribute the weight of the mirror better.

In the installer’s perfect world, the mirror will have a nice, thick wooden frame around it, with no wire attached to it and the D-Rings will already be in place and they will be at identical points on each side of the frame.

However, this Utopia does not exist.

Some older mirrors have thin wooden frames and rusted wires that can’t be removed or adjusted. In that situation, the installer has to disregard Rule #7 and hang the mirror as is. Some mirrors have metal frames and there is no way to add or remove hardware to the back so the installer has to work with what he has been given.

How do you hang a mirror on a plaster wall?

For this project, we held the mirror up for the client to determine how high they wanted it installed. We then measured the back of the mirror to find out how far from center each D-Ring was located. We then transferred those measurements to the wall to mark the location of the hooks.

hang a mirror on a plaster wall (1)

Because these walls were plaster, we have to take additional steps to reduce the risk of cracks and crumbling wall materials. We used a small piece of painters tape to hold the hook in place temporarily. (The hook is actually larger than it looks. It is rated for up to 100 lbs.) We also used a Post-It note as a makeshift dust catcher.

hang a mirror on a plaster wall (2)

With our dust catcher in place and the hook loosely secured to the wall with tape, we used a 1/16″ drill bit to pilot a small starter hole for the nail to be used with the picture hook.

hang a mirror on a plaster wall 3

After the hole has been drilled, the nail is inserted into the hook and tapped flush into the plaster wall.

hang a mirror on a plaster wall 4

The painters tape (and dust catcher) are then removed and the process is duplicated on the other side.

hang a mirror on a plaster wall (5)

The mirror is then hung on the hooks and we made sure to remove any fingerprints or smudges from the glass.

hang a mirror on a plaster wall (6)

If are in the Upstate SC area and you need someone to hang a mirror on a plaster wall, or any other type of wall, please contact us. We would love to discuss the project with you.

How Can I Treat My Corner Window?

We don’t get this question very often, but from time to time someone will have us come out to measure and they point to it and ask “How can I treat my corner window?”

how can i treat my corner window

When I see things like that I tend to cringe. You see, I have come to the conclusion that architects, builders, and especially window manufacturers are all part of a vast conspiracy to try to cause me to have a nervous breakdown. Even if they aren’t trying to cause me to go bonkers, they clearly do not appreciate the value of building a home with windows where you can actually install window treatments.

These windows were fairly shallow. So much so that installing regular wood blinds or woven wood shades would have been almost impossible (especially in the corner). Even cellular shades or roller shades would have been problematic.

This was the breakfast area off of the kitchen so vertical blinds were out also because they would get bumped or “clack” every time someone tried to sit on the back side of the table.

The client chose to go with plantation shutters. I love shutters. I’ve installed a lot of shutters over the years. But I was still a bit concerned about this window. The window was not deep enough for a fully recessed inside mount shutter. We also had to address the issue of the various changes in the depth of the trimwork.

But after measuring and referring to my shutter handbook I was able to write up a measure sheet with the dimensions for a shutter that would cover the windows and would be fabricated as one complete unit that utilized a custom corner post. You’ll notice we also incorporated vertical T-Posts to give the frame some added structural integrity.how can i treat my corner window

A project like this is simply more than one guy can safely handle on his own, so I called in some back up. It took the two of us, just under an hour to assemble the frame, mount it, align all of the panels correctly, and make any final tweaks but I think the end result was well worth it.

How Can I Treat My Corner Window

Just in case you are wondering, the designer on this project ordered these shutters from Norman Shutter Company. They are the black walnut stain on a real wood shutter with antique brass hinges. They have a 3-1/2″ louver size with the invisible tilt upgrade.

All We Do Is Install

We promise. We aren’t trying to sound conceited. We just know what we are good at and we specialize in it.

We don’t lay carpet. We can’t paint, we’ve tried and it’s not pretty. We don’t build cabinets. We don’t do plumbing. We can’t cook unless you count microwave popcorn and even that is sketchy sometimes. We don’t do landscaping. And we won’t do electrical.

All we do is install. We don’t have a workroom to make window treatments, but we know several in the area and we can install them for you once they are made.

All we do is install. We are not interior decorators that help you place your artwork, but we can connect you with one if you need one and we can professionally hang the artwork once it has been placed.

All we do is install. We don’t build plantation shutters but we know some dealers in the area that sell a quality product and we can install them once the order is delivered.

All we do is install. From tab top panels… to roman shades… to decorative valances… to artwork on staircases… to cornice boards… to silk draperies… to wood blinds and shutters… to motorized shades on hard to reach windows… we believe there is no job too small and no window to tall.

So, if you have something you would like us to install please Contact Us today. We’d love to discuss your project and see how we can assist you.

Draperies Installed On Medallions

We recently had the pleasure of working once again with Judy Peters, owner of Palmetto Drapery in Anderson, SC.

Judy has been fabricating window treatments since 1995. This most recent project was the installation of a set of stationary draperies installed on medallions around the sides of an arched window. The medallions were sourced from Select Drapery Hardware Co.

To successfully pull this installation off, Judy provided us with a template showing the exact locations that each medallion was to be installed.

Below is a time-lapse video we created to show the evolution of this project. If you are having trouble loading the video, try viewing it on our YouTube Channel.

Have a project you need help with? Give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to discuss it with you.

Want to keep up with our latest articles, project success stories, press releases, and news updates? Look for our “Subscribe via Email” form at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

7 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring An Installer

So you’ve got a garage full of blinds or maybe your dining room table is covered with the drapery panels waiting to be hung and you’ve decided to call a professional to help you on this project. Just like hiring anyone else to work for you, there needs to be at least a short interview process to determine if the installer you have found can fit your requirements.

Here are 7 questions you should ask before hiring an installer:

steaming custom curtainsAm I in an area where you work? Since most installers are self-employed, they tend to have the mindset that if the project is big enough or profitable enough they will go just about anywhere you want them to. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that but if you can find a quality installer that is closer to your area you are less likely to have to pay for travel time or trip charges. That being said, sometimes you will not be able to find a good installer in your neighborhood so you may have to bring in some “outside talent” in order to get the job done correctly.

Is my project the kind you do regularly? Some installers have a favorite type of product they like to work with. Some installers are good with any type of treatment. Some installers are fine with any sort of “hard treatment” (such as blinds or shutters) but struggle with “soft treatments” (such as draperies and swags).

Can you get it done by my deadline? Especially around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays most installers will be very busy. Some installers are busy year round. If you have a specific deadline you are trying to meet, let the installer know. They may be able to move something that does not have such a firm deadline or they may need to refer you to someone else that may be able to meet your needs.

What services do you offer? Not all installation companies are created equally. Some installation companies do audio/video projects, some do complete home automation projects, even down to having an electrician on call to handle the wiring. At South East Installation Solutions, we have a running joke that goes “we can install anything that makes a hole in your wall, as long as it’s not electrical.” Basically it means we install all types of window treatments as well as pictures, mirrors, and oil paintings but don’t ask us to hang a ceiling fan or a chandelier.

artwork installation serviceDo you do the work yourself or do you have employees or sub-contractors do the work? This can be an important question to ask. Sometimes when you hire an installer, it is a “one man show” and you get the owner of the business. Sometimes the company has a staff of several installers who do the work while the owner of the company is more of a project manager that goes into the field as necessary. Sometimes the company uses sub-contractors to assist on projects. All of these have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages but knowing who is coming to your house is vital.

Do you provide an estimate before beginning work on the project? Unless you need an installer to come to the house to measure the windows for your blinds or to tell you what size drapery rods to purchase, it is unlikely that they will send someone out to “look at” the project beforehand. But if you can provide the installer with accurate information over the phone or via email, they should be able to provide you with an approximate installation cost before you even schedule the appointment.

What do you mean “accurate information”?

  • Total number of blinds, shades, or shutters to be installed…
  • Total number of drapery rods to be installed…
  • Approximate width of the curtains to be installed…
  • Are these “high windows” that will require an extension ladder….
  • Will anything have to be installed into concrete or plaster…

Do you charge by the item or by the hour? There is not a hard and fast rule about this but most professional installers tend to charge by the item. If they charge by the hour, can they tell you approximately how long the job will take in advance? If not, that can get expensive fairly quickly.

Hopefully this list will help you get started finding a quality and qualified installer that can assist you with your project.

Have a project you need help with? Give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to discuss it with you.

Want to keep up with our latest articles, project success stories, press releases, and news updates? Look for our “Subscribe via Email” form at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Skylight Windows

Do you have hard to reach windows, such as skylight windows?

Are you concerned that the sunlight may be damaging your furniture and floor? Are you concerned the heat passing through these windows is causing your HVAC system to work harder than it should? Perhaps motorized cellular shades are what you need.

The video below shows a set of motorized shades we recently installed for a client.

You’ll notice that instead of a hand-held remote that can easily be misplaced, this client has a controller mounted on the wall. It is wireless and mounts on top of the existing drywall so you do not have to hire an electrician. Also, the controller has 4 programmable groups. On this project we programmed one shade for each “group” as well as the “ALL” setting so she can control all four or just one of her shades. If this client decides she needs a hand-held remote or a wall switch added on the other side of the room, it is very easy to “clone” the controllers without having to touch the shades themselves.

Cellular shades are the most common window treatment used for skylight windows. And adding motorization gives you the highest “ease of use.” But if cellular shades do not interest you, there are other options for skylight windows – including aluminum mini-blinds, pleated shades, roller shades, solar screen shades, as well as plantation shutters.

skylight windows with plantation shutters

Have a project you need help with? Give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to discuss it with you.

Want to keep up with our latest articles, project success stories, press releases, and news updates? Look for our “Subscribe via Email” form at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Two Story Draperies On Medallions

So what do you do when your client has a two-story great room with a vaulted ceiling with angle-top windows and they want stationary drapery panels to dress up the room? You do what one of the interior designers we work with did.

You have your workroom make a set of two story draperies on medallions. Then you call us.

Two Story Drapery on Medallions in Marietta SC

Not only did these linen tab-top panels have to be installed above the upper set of windows, the medallions had to follow the line of the angled window. Also if you notice, the room is actually a shallow bay, so the walls also angle and the medallions for each panel are mounted on both the center wall and the angled walls.

Two-story draperies on medallions - Marietta SC

These are stationary panels so the designer wanted a small break at the bottom, but the panels still required a fair amount of steaming and hand dressing in order to work out some of the more problematic hard creases and wrinkles.

Installation of draperies on medallions Marietta SC

The most difficult part of installing a set of two story draperies on medallions was getting the initial spacing between each of the medallions and making sure the angle was followed correctly as we transitioned from the center wall to the angled walls. Overall, the project turned out to be a success and both our client (the designer) and their client (the homeowner) were pleased with the finished product.

Marietta SC draperies on medallions

Have a project you need help with? Give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to discuss it with you.

Want to keep up with our latest articles, project success stories, press releases, and news updates? Look for our “Subscribe via Email” form at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

How To Install Window Treatments

Have you ever wondered about how to install window treatments in your home?

Not everyone can find a professional window treatment installer. And some people like to do things for themselves.

Here is a quick list of tips you can use to get you started. But seriously, if you want to make sure it’s done right, take time to find and hire a professional – even if it’s not us.

I wrote this piece for TraVerse: A Window Coverings Blog last year. It’s still one of the most popular posts on the site.

I called it “The 8 (Previously) Unwritten Rules Of Installation

  1. Hire A Professional
  2. Don’t Bleed On The Draperies
  3. Never Use The Screws They Send
  4. Don’t Cut The Window Treatments
  5. Some Fabrics Don’t Respond To Steam
  6. There’s No Such Thing As A Standard Window
  7. Never Hang A Mirror On A Wire
  8. Understand The 3-to-1 Rule of Roller Shades

Want to keep up with our latest articles, project success stories, press releases, and news updates? Look for our “Subscribe via Email” form at the top of the page. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.