How to Drill Into Tile: 8 Easy Steps

Now that you are done with the tiling work, your bathroom looks complete and more beautiful. Now comes the hard work of installing the necessary accessories such as shelves, medicine cabinets, toilet paper rolls, and other fittings.

The problem with making these installations is that you will need to drill through the tiles, and we all know how fragile they are. It is this fear that puts off many homeowners from installing the bathroom accessories themselves.

We understand this problem, and that is why we have come up with this simple guide illustrating how you can drill through your tiles without cracking them.

Walk with us to find out.

Steps for Drilling Through Tiles

We shall break down our discussion into a simple step-by-step guide to make everything as straightforward as possible.

Step 1: Know Your Tiles

Before you embark on the drilling process through your tiles, it is important to know that not all tiles are the same, and you should be aware of what you will be drilling through.

The different types of tiles include Porcelain, Natural stone tiles, and Ceramic tiles, with Ceramic being harder than the first two. This implies that you will have to exert more effort to drill through it.

On top of that, you will also require a specialist drill that is would effortlessly penetrate through the sturdy porcelain material.

Also Read: Best Quality Drill Bits for Porcelain Tile

Step 2: Have the Right Tools for the Job

The next important factor is ensuring that you have all the tools needed for a successful drilling process. The first essential tool to think about is the drill bit, whereby you should avoid using an extremely old or worn-out item since it is likely to be less efficient than a new one.

Then, you will need specialist drill bits to drill through tiles since the regular ones lack the strength to penetrate the hard tiles’ surfaces. We will suggest two options for you, and they are:

Carbide-tipped masonry drill bits these are the popular option, and they do a commendable job when it comes to drilling ceramic and other glazed tiles.

Diamond-tipped Drill Bits they may be the pricier option, but these bits will do an excellent job when faced with the toughest materials. On top of that, they do not burn out as fast as the regular masonry bits would.

Other useful items that you should have close include a drill, tape measure, pencil/tile marker, masking tape, wooden block, and a wet sponge.

Besides the tools, you should also invest in the appropriate safety gear such as safety glasses, dust masks, and latex grip safety gloves. After all, you want to come out of the operation in one piece, don’t you?

Step 3: Laying Out the Wall

The general rule is measuring twice and cutting once. However, there is too much at stake when you drill a hole in the wrong area of the tile. For this reason, we recommend that you measure thrice and drill once.

Start by adhering the masking tape to the wall in the area where you intend to drill. We found it easier to make an accurate mark of the hole location on the tape than on the tile.

When dealing with accessories with two mounting brackets such as towel bars, make use of a lever to ensure that both sets of holes align. From here, try and locate the hardware closer to the tile’s center since the edges are more prone to cracking.

Step 4: Start Drilling (Slowly)

Now that you have completed all the prep work, it is now time to embark on the drilling process. The first thing you need to know is that the tape is not only for making it easier to mark the wall but also to ensure that the drill bit does not skid as you start the hole.

In the beginning, start drilling slowly so that you get the hole at the exact spot that you want it to be. As soon as the hole is started, you may increase the drill speed but do not run it at full speed as of yet.

If you apply steady pressure and maintain the speed at a medium level, you can drill your hole without overheating or damaging your drill bit.

Step 5: Turn Up the Speed

As the bit penetrates the tile, you are likely to experience a change in resistance, and this is the point where you should turn up the speed. You should also be keen to back off the pressure, and this act will help extend the hole into the drywall while keeping the damage at a minimum.

When you are done with the drilling, push the anchors into place, screw the hardware and wrap it all up by vacuuming all the remaining dust.

Step 6: Keeping the Bits Cool

One simple trick that may assure you of a successful tile drilling process is ensuring that your bits do not overheat. How do you do it? It is pretty simple; start by wetting the sponge and dab the bit with it repeatedly to make it cooler.

Another method is by holding the damp sponge beneath the drill bit while you are still using it. This will be killing two birds with one stone since, besides keeping overheating at bay, you will also trap the dust and debris that the drilling process gives out.

The only issue here is that it is easy to expose the motorized parts to water which may cause lasting damage.

Step 7: Change the Bit as Soon as you Hit the Wall

Now that you’ve successfully drilled through the tile and hit the wall without damaging anything, the remaining part is boring through the wall and mounting the accents. Maintain the slow speed so that you do not crash into the wall surface.

Should the wall be blown apart, the anchor won’t hold properly while the accents will not be tight enough. Therefore, it would be wise of you changed your drill bit to one that is suited to the substrate you are drilling.

If you do not want to get perfect results without the tile getting damaged, maintain the drill at a slow and steady speed. It is that simple!

Step 8: Clean up and Setup your Accessory

With the drilling process now complete, you should now embark on cleaning the tile surface. Note that if you used a masking tape instead of a drill guide, remove it and use a wet cloth to wipe away any dust on the tile.

At this point, it is now safe to insert the fixing plugs into the holes and then attach your accessory.

Also Check: Top Quality Concrete Drill Bit

Closing Remark

If you follow all the steps that we have provided here to the latter, it is safe to say that you are a maestro of drilling through tiles without causing significant damage. The next time you undertake the project, you will be more confident and deliver better results.

In summary, you should always have the right tool for the job, be patient, persistent and also keep your bit cool to avoid cracking the tile. Lastly, note that practice makes perfect, and you if you undertake this project regularly, the nervousness that was there would gradually wear off.

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