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Outdoor Convex Mirror - The What, Where, When & How For Outdoor Convex Mirrors

The What:

An outdoor convex mirror  can be classified as a safety mirror or security mirror with the following criteria; a round convex or rectangular convex shape, the back of the mirror will have a weather resistant backing material (treated hardboard backing) or even better yet a completely weather proof backing material (such a ABS plastic backing or stainless steel).  

The backing material of the outdoor convex mirror is the first and foremost factor of what separates it from being an indoor convex mirror.  The lens material of an outdoor convex mirror can consist of either a glass convex lens (Good, but only recommended in certain applications), acrylic convex lens (Better, because it’s shatterproof and will survive moderate impacts) or an unbreakable convex lens (Best, because of its superior strength and ability to withstand extreme impacts).  

Keep this in mind, you can always use an outdoor convex mirror for use indoors but never use an indoor convex mirror in outdoor applications. The convex mirror will never be able to withstand the moisture and will drastically shorten the life of the mirror. 

The Where, When:

Simple enough here.  The name outdoor convex mirror pretty much describes where it can be used but there is an asterisk needed here. *

Outdoor convex mirror is a very broad a general term as there are different types of outdoor convex mirrors.  

As stated previously, the backing material is the key component in where you should or should not use a particular outdoor convex model. The lens material also plays a factor but not much as the backing material. For those that know very little about convex mirrors, the backing material is simply the apparatus that the convex lens is attached to. On the front side of the mirror you have the convex lens and on the back side you have the backing material along with the mounting terminal and bracket hardware – so that’s how the term backing material was coined.

An outdoor convex mirror with hardboard backing refers to a convex mirror with a hardboard type material such as fiberboard, particle board, wood or wood like material as the backing material. The hardboard backing is coated with some type of polyurethane or paint to make it water and weather resistant.

As this type of outdoor convex mirror is not completely weather proof, caution should be exercised when using it in conditions other than where the convex mirror will be sheltered from direct exposure to moisture, rain, sleet, snow, etc.  Hardboard backing is the lightest of all backing materials yet is quite sturdy.

The outdoor convex mirror with hardboard backing is great for use as a garage mirror, warehouse mirror, loading dock mirror, or outdoor safety mirror where the mirror is located in a garage, under an awning, eve or any sheltered area.

The next step up is the outdoor convex mirror with ABS plastic backing. So just what is ABS plastic? ABS is the acronym for Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene.  This type of outdoor convex mirror has an extremely sturdy backing. ABS plastic backing is weatherproof, lightweight, shatterproof, flame and rust retardant. The outdoor convex mirror with ABS plastic backing also has a high heat & impact resistance and is moderate chemical resistance.

When paired with an unbreakable lens such as polycarbonate, PETG or Duramir lens, it makes one of the best outdoor convex mirrors available. Applications that call for an outdoor convex mirror in marine or coastal environments, the outdoor convex mirror with ABS plastic backing is ideal because it will not rust, deters warping and will not succumb to the elements as the other backing choices might over a period of time.

This type of outdoor convex mirror is often used as a traffic mirror, warehouse mirror, driveway mirror, road mirror, garage mirror or parking garage mirror.

The best outdoor convex mirror as far as use in any condition is the outdoor convex mirror with stainless steel backing. It offers unmatched durability, ruggedness and strength in all weather conditions. It is also the best outdoor convex mirror when in windy conditions as the stainless backing is much heavier than other backing materials.

Stainless steel is extremely impact, heat, fire and chemical resistant as well as all weather proof. The outdoor convex mirror with stainless steel backing can withstand virtually any extreme weather or environmental conditions you throw at it. Perfect for use as a driveway mirror, road mirror, traffic mirror, parking garage mirror, or any outdoor mirror application.


Installing an outdoor convex mirror is not as complicated as it may seem.  Mounting methods and detailed instructions will vary by the convex mirror supplier, mirror type and diameter.  The tools needed to perform the task are a drill, wrench or socket set, screw driver, pencil or pen and whatever  fasteners (bolts, screws, etc) along with anchors (if applicable) needed to attach the mounting plate to a wall or whatever surface you are mounting the outdoor convex mirror to. Be sure the mirror will be mounted to a sold, sturdy surface and in a location free from obstruction and accident or theft prone areas.

The convex mirror supplier should provide you with the necessary mounting brackets and hardware with the exception of the fasteners needed to attach the mirror to the structure. This is simply because there is not one universal type of fastener available to mount the convex mirror to the dozens of different structures to mount the mirror to.  

Typically, the convex mirror, mounting brackets, and hardware will be disassembled. First you would locate where the mirror is to be mounted. Next take the base plate of the mounting bracket and mark on the mounting surface where the screw holes are located. Drill the holes in the surface and insert any wall anchors applicable to your installation. Now simply mount the bracket with either a drill or screwdriver. Now it’s time to assemble the swivel arm (if applicable) to the terminal(s) located on the back of the mirror. 

Most convex mirror suppliers swivel arm will allow for 360 degree adjustment of the mirror so you may angle the mirror in the best possible position. The final step is attaching the mirror to the wall plate and tightening all the nuts.