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    Drilling through tiles


    Summary: Learn how to drill titles and through ceramic tile without damaging the tile.



    It is often necessary to fix attachments such as mirrors or utensil racks onto tiled bathroom or kitchen walls, which requires drilling a hole and inserting screws. Drilling into tiles is a difficult process as they are both strong and brittle which makes them resistant to normal drill bits and means they will break if not drilled correctly. It is advisable, where possible, to drill into the grout rather than the tile, but if this is not practical then follow the correct procedure for drilling tiles.


    Drilling tiles

    • Firstly, you will need to check that there are no pipes or wires behind the plaster in the wall you will be drilling into. Use a cable detector and pipe detector to reliably do this.
    • To avoid the dust staining the surrounding grout, after you have finished drilling, you should not let it settle for long. Try and wash it off as soon as you can.
    • Mark on the tile where you want to make the hole using a chinagraph pencil and place a piece of masking tape over the mark. The masking tape will stop the drill bit from sliding over the surface. You should still be able to see the mark underneath the tape.
    • Although it is possible to make a hole in a ceramic tile using a standard drill bit, it is difficult and will only work if the hammer action on the drill bit is not being used. The best type of drill bit to use is the spear headed variety. It has a Tungsten Carbide head and is sharp, making it very suitable for cutting through the tough surface.
    • It is best to start with a small drill piece to reduce the chances of cracking the tile. To make a pilot hole, press firmly on the surface and drill slowly at first. Continue to drill until the plaster underneath is reached.
    • Once the pilot hole is made, find the drill piece that is the right size for the screw and drill through the tile, plaster and into the masonry underneath. A good tip is to drill 3mm deeper than the length of the wall plug you will be inserting. This means you can push the wall plug further into the hole, reducing the pressure exerted to the sides of the hole, which could damage the tile.



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