- What Type of Tiles Do You Have?
- Tools you must have for drilling into tile
- Mark the points where you want to drill
- The right drilling process
Drilling seems easy until you want to drill through a tile. Tiles are tougher than walls. But they have low bearing strength. So, drilling through tiles needs much more precision and care. Otherwise, you will end up cracking the tiles. This situation is more overwhelming when you are drilling holes in newly installed tiles.
Hence, to avoid such situations, you need to know how to drill through tiles without breaking them. To drill through tiles, you have to follow the proper instructions for drilling. Moreover, you have to make sure you are using the right tools and instruments. Let’s check out some tips and tricks for this written by powertoolspro.net.
What Type of Tiles Do You Have?
Before you start drilling a hole in the tile, check out which type of tile you have. This will help you choose the right tools for drilling. There are different types of tiles available on the market. But the most common tiles that you will find in your home are ceramic tiles with polished surfaces. These tiles are the lightest ones, so you can easily drill through them. Porcelain tiles or natural stone tiles are the hardest of all.
Drilling through ceramic tiles is easy. However, drilling through porcelain tiles requires high precision, high power, and special drill bits. Otherwise, you will end up damaging the tiles. Glass tiles have medium hardness. However, they are not commonly used in homes now because they are more likely to get crack.
Tools you must have for drilling into tile
When trying any kind of DIY with mechanical tools, the first thing that you should care about is safety measurements. You should cover yourself properly to avoid any kind of injury. Use a dust mask and safety glasses to protect your nose and eyes from the particles that turn out during drilling. You have seen that the basic drilling tool that is required is a power drill. You can also use a hammer drill, but you shouldn’t turn on the hammer action on it. Instead, work with it by turning on the regular drill function.
One more thing that is important in drilling is the drill bit. You should choose a suitable tile drill bit. If you use the incorrect drill bit, it may slip from the polished surface of the tile, resulting in the formation of cracks. Regular masonry drill bits are not suitable for glaring surfaces like those of ceramic tiles.
You will require a carbide-tipped drill bit or a diamond drill bit for this purpose. The latter one is more expensive; however, it can bear high heat-buildup and can easily pass through the toughest surfaces like porcelain tiles. Carbide-tipped drill bits are less expensive, can pass through the polished surface, and are suitable drill bits for ceramic tiles. They cannot bear much heat, so they are not recommended for natural stone or porcelain tiles.
The following are the tools you must have for drilling into tiles:
- Protective gloves
- Dust mask
- Safety glasses
- Masking tape
- Multi-purpose drill bits
- Diamond drill bits
- Carbide-tipped drill bits
- Water Sponge
- Measuring tape.
Mark the points where you want to drill
Whether you are drilling tile holes for fitting your towel rails, bathroom holders, or a mirror, you will have to measure and mark the position of each hole accurately. This is to make sure that you are drilling the hole in the right place. You already know that tiles have glossy and slippery surfaces, so keeping track of drilling positions becomes difficult. Also, marking the points will help you keep your drill in an exact position and prevent it from sliding.
Thus, take a measuring tape and precisely measure the position of each hole. After measuring each spot, mark them with masking tape. A masking tape will make the surface less smooth. For further precise marking, use a marker and mark the exact position of the hole by making a cross. However, if this method still does not result in precise drilling, then you can also use drill guides for this purpose. Drill guides easily get attached to the tile. They have built-in holes of different sizes, so you can easily drill holes through them. However, if the drill guide is unavailable, you can also use a block of wood as a drill guide.
The right drilling process
Drilling a hole in a tile is hard unless you know the right drilling process. Every step of the process is significant, so try to complete one step before you move on to the next one.
Step 1: Identify the material of the tile
To identify the material of the tile, look at the glaze over it. Glazed tiles are typically ceramic; however, porcelain tiles are occasionally glazed as well. In such a situation, look for the chips in the tile. Ceramic tiles have chips in them, while porcelain tiles have one consistent color from top to bottom.
Plus, porcelain tiles are denser than ceramic tiles. Look out for these signs to identify your tile material. But still, if you can’t find the difference, then try to perform identification tests like water penetration tests to see the distinction. In this test, you have to soak the tiles in water. You have to wait for some time. If a tile absorbs 1% to 5% of the soaked water, then this tile is surely a porcelain tile. However, ceramic tiles don’t soak up water.
Step 2: Selecting an appropriate drill bit
After identifying the tile, choose the suitable drill bit according to it. If your tile is made of porcelain, choose a diamond drill bit. It is expensive, but it is worth the price. Diamond drill bits are available in different sizes. Choose the size of the drill bit according to the size of the hole you want.
Here I am using a 6 mm tile drill bit for the hole I want. If your tiles are made of ceramic material, try to choose carbide-tipped drill bits. You can also use diamond drill bits, but carbide-tipped drill bits are good for polished tiles, like ceramic tiles.
Step 3: Select the spot and check it out
Select the spot where you want to drill the hole. I suggest not drilling holes in the middle of two tiles or at the edge of a tile. In both situations, there are high chances of cracking. Always try to drill in the central area of the tile. After you have selected the spot, check the spot. To know that the point you are drilling into is safe, you should check for any kinds of cables, pipes, or metallic things. For this purpose, you can use a multi-purpose detector.
Step 4: Mark the spot
After checking the spot, mark it using masking tape or a marker. The masking tape will provide more friction while drilling the hole. Moreover, with the help of a marker, you can drill holes precisely. You can also use a drill guide if you want more accurate drilling.
Step 5: Drilling the hole
Finally, it’s time to drill the hole. Take a regular power drill. You can also use a hammer drill, but make sure it’s on the regular drill function. To prevent overheating, put some water and a sponge aside. Afterward, put the drill bit on the marked spot and start applying low pressure to prevent cracking. After some seconds, you will see a light hole in the tile. If your drill bit feels hot, dab the sponge on the drill bit, but make sure that water doesn’t go into the drill.
Step 6: Changing the drill bits
When you feel that the drill bit is into the tile, switch the drill bit for a multi-material drill bit. This is because tile drill bits are not designed for drilling into the materials that are behind the tile. For example, bricks and cement materials. If you do so, the tile drill bits will get damaged. After switching the drill bit, drill to the length you want. After this, fix a plug into the hole. Use a regular screw rather than a tapered screw to avoid cracking.
The best way to drill through tiles is to make sure that you are using suitable drill bits while drilling. Moreover, switching between the drill bits is also important to avoid any kind of cracking. Plus, make sure to use the right plugs and screws for the holes.