It’s quite common to need to drill holes in tiled walls in bathrooms, whether they are freshly tiled or already in use. This may be a challenge. Drilling through tile is going to be necessary for almost everything that mounts to the wall, including installing hardware for toilet paper rolls and soap dishes as well as installing a new medicine cabinet.
Because these bathroom accessories are often attached to the wall using anchors, breaking through the tile is simply the beginning of the installation process.
In addition to this, you will need to drill through the substrate that is located behind it in such a manner that it does not sustain any damage that might prevent the wall anchor from functioning properly.
Procedures to Follow When Drilling Through Tile
The first thing you need to do is identify the kind of tile you have. In general, there are three categories of tile, which are as follows:
- Glazed ceramic tile is the most prevalent kind, and it is also the tile that can be found in virtually all older homes. It is also the tile that can be drilled through most easily.
- Glass tile has only been available for around 15 years and is often used in decorative applications.
- Even though it appears quite similar to ceramic tile, porcelain tile is far more durable.
- Equip yourself with the appropriate bit for ceramic tile.
- Tile cannot be drilled with standard drill bits, but there is no need to be concerned about this fact. Drilling holes in ceramic tile can be done with a carbide bit, while drilling holes in glass or porcelain requires a bit with a diamond tip.
- Even though it seems pricey, a diamond-tipped bit with a 1/4-inch diameter can be purchased for less than $20, and a carbide bit of the same size can be purchased for less than $10. Whenever you have any doubt, get the diamond bit. It is capable of drilling through any kind of tile.
The next step is to design a successful layout for the wall. They say that you should measure twice and cut once, but considering the repercussions of drilling a hole in a tile wall in the incorrect spot, it’s a good idea to measure three times and drill once. This is because drilling a hole in the wrong position may cause the tile wall to crack.
Before beginning to drill, you should first secure masking tape to the wall in the region where the hole will be. Tape, as opposed to tile, makes it much simpler to precisely designate the position of the hole.
When installing accessories like towel bars that have two separate mounting brackets, you should use a level to ensure that both sets of holes are in the correct position.
It is best to position the fasteners as close to the tile’s centre as possible since the edges tend to break more quickly.
- The fourth step is to drill gently. Not only does the tape make it simpler to mark the wall, but it also helps to prevent the drill bit from slipping when beginning the hole.
- Take your time, especially at the beginning, so that the hole may be made exactly where you want it to be.
- You may raise the pace of the drill after you’ve begun making the hole, but you shouldn’t run it at full speed.
- The hole may be drilled by applying constant pressure at a medium pace in order to prevent the drill bit from overheating and becoming damaged.
- Pick up the Pace Towards the Finish
- When the bit is successfully inserted through the tile, you will notice a shift in the level of resistance. You may now quicken the drill while simultaneously reducing the amount of pressure. This will extend the hole into the backer board or drywall while causing as little damage as possible.
- After you are through drilling, you will need to screw the hardware into place, put the anchors into position, and then vacuum up the little amount of dust that is left.
Which drill bit is best for drilling tile?
When drilling into ceramic tile in a bathroom, the ideal drill bit to use is a masonry bit with a carbide tip. The fire-hardened coating is impossible to drill through with standard twist-drill bits.
Using a Drill Bit Instead of a Hole Saw to Create a Big Hole in Tile
However, what if you need to drill a hole that is two inches in diameter for a plumbing stub out? However, there is an alternative to the pricey hole saws with carbide-grit cutting blades that contractors typically use.
You may use a grease pencil or a felt-tip pen to sketch the outline of the hole on the tile.
Drill a number of holes around the circle using a masonry bit that is one quarter of an inch in diameter and at close intervals. The next step is to take a hammer and give the tile a very mild tap along the ring of holes.
Tap within the outline, and be patient, as it may take a number of minutes for the centre of the hole to break free from its hold on the object. You will have a rough edge to the hole, but you may cover it by using an escutcheon plate in a beautiful pattern.
This drill-and-tap method may also be used to create square or rectangular cuts in tile when used in conjunction with the appropriate cutting tool.
It might be tough to choose the ideal drill-bit set when working with various tile materials. In our testing, Owl Tools’ 10-piece masonry drill bits were durable, and the spear points reduced wandering (sliding over glazed tile before drilling). Steel shanks and carbide tips harden the bits.
Owl Tools 10-Piece Masonry Drill Bit Set
Owl Tools pieces were tested on marble, travertine, shale, glazed ceramic, and glass tiles. Masking tape on certain tiles reduced straying and surface chipping; however, Owl Tools bits worked well in both circumstances when drilling holes. Since the bits were drilling dry, we drilled all the test holes without water.
After drilling 10 holes, we evaluated the bits for wear. The spears’ carbide tips were sharp and unbroken. After 30 additional holes in different tile kinds, we observed the bits (one of each size) were drilling slower.
We observed the spear points were wearing out, but we still think it performed well for drilling 40 holes in hard tiles.
Owl Tools’ variety of bit sizes is another benefit.
This tile-drilling bit set comprises 10 bits in 4-inch and 6-inch lengths, ranging from ⅛ inch to ½ inch in diameter, appropriate for various tile hole sizes.
Hillman Tapper Carbide Tipped Drill Bit
Consider purchasing a single drill bit, such as the 3/16-inch diameter and 3½-inch length Hillman Tapper drill bit, for small tile drilling projects. (We tested 3/16-inch holes since they are common for towel rods and toilet paper-holder anchors.)
We drilled marble, travertine, slate, glass, and ceramic tiles using this carbide-tipped spiral bit. Masking tape was used for most holes since the bit tended to wander.
The bit drilled clean holes in ceramic and stone tiles but struggled on glass tiles, so we added a few drops of water to cool the bit and minimise friction (not cooling a heated bit is a leading cause of bit breakage).
After drilling over 45 holes, the Hillman bit slowed down, and the tip softened and wore out. The bit never broke, and its performance and durability were excellent under strain.
If you are simply drilling a few identical holes, a single-size bit is cheaper than several ones.
Bosch GT2000 4-Piece Tile/Glass Bit Set
A carbide-tipped blade and modest drill speed make drilling glass tiles easier than it seems. The Bosch four-piece bit set performed well in glass-drilling tests.
The set includes bits from ⅛ to ⅝ inch in diameter and 2 to 2¼ inches in length. The spear tip with a sharp point on each bit prevents straying, according to the manufacturer.
Unfortunately, each bit wandered on the glass tiles without masking tape, a simple remedy that didn’t affect performance or longevity. When drilling tiles, people often wander, so use tape.
After 10 holes, we checked the bits. The biggest had some spear blade wear, but the others appeared virtually new. They each drilled 30 additional holes, but they slowed down, and we had to apply more pressure.
Luckily, none of the glass tiles fractured during the drilling.
We praise the sharpness and longevity of the bits, but we also thank an old computer mouse pad we placed under several tiles while we drilled, which absorbed some of the vibrations and may have prevented shattering.
In addition to testing these pieces on glass, we also tested them on marble and travertine tiles.
Even though the bits were old, they drilled through both materials neatly and gently.
Masonry drill bit set DeWalt Rapid Load Carbide
DeWalt power tools and accessories are known for their quality, so it was no surprise when their seven-piece set of masonry drill bits drilled through tile. The set contains bits with diameters from 3/16 to ½ inch and lengths from 3 to 6 inches. Three of the parts are ¼ inch, a standard size.
We drilled travertine, slate, marble, ceramic, and glass tiles using DeWalt bits. We tested the carbide spiral bits with and without masking tape. Even without tape, they roamed less than anticipated, but we recommend taping highly glazed ceramic and glass tiles for safety.These heavy-duty pieces were sturdy: We witnessed little blades softening or dulling after drilling 10 holes with each. We drilled 30 more holes each time without slowing down.
The deep flutes in the shank swiftly eliminated powdered tile material as we drilled, leaving clean, consistent holes.
We cracked two glass tiles with the biggest ½-inch bit, although it was likely owing to weary wrists and arm muscles and poor drill stability.
Another test a few days later showed no shattering while drilling glass tiles. We recommend these DeWalt bits for professionals that require sturdy tools.
Q-work 8-Piece Multi-Material Drill Bit Set
An appropriate metric drill bit for tile may be needed since more kitchen and bathroom fittings are metric. Imperial (US) equivalents are near but not always adequate.
We were eager to try these carbide-tipped metric drill bits since we’ve had to guess whether the Imperial bit or anchor matches the metric one.
After drilling 10 beginning holes, we inspected the bit spearheads.
We placed aside the two smallest pieces since their blades were dulled and worn and proceeded with the remaining five. After 25 holes, none of the other bits survived; therefore, the Qwork bits were not the most robust.
The steel may have been lower grade, but these parts are still good for simple chores like installing a towel bar or ceramic soap dish that need metric bits and fasteners.
Interesting; these portions didn’t wander much, even on untaped glass, so they scored there. Consider these light-duty metric tile-drilling bits.
What is the finest porcelain tile drilling method?
We propose diamond-tipped drill bits for porcelain. If the parts grow too hot, put them in water or spray the area while cutting to cool them and cut better.
How do you drill ceramic tile?
Carbide-tipped drill bits are ideal, although diamond ones work too. Before attaching a fixture like a towel bar to a tile wall, drill a hole and then use a screwdriver bit to secure a fastening.
Can I drill between tiles?
You can, but grout is soft and the drill bit might stray. Tile drilling is preferred for precision.
How can I tell ceramic from porcelain tiles?
If the tiles are on a wall, porcelain’s finer texture is hard to discern. At the edge, ceramic tile’s glazed top layer may exhibit a different colour than the core. The colour of porcelain is typically consistent.
What safety gear do I need for tile drill bits?
Whatever you do, use eye protection. Cover your spectacles with goggles. A lightweight dust mask is also helpful.