Drilling a tile

Drilling a tile

Bathroom fixtures, such as lights, mirrors, and shelves all need a way to be fixed to the wall in a stable and safe way. Bathrooms are often tiled, because it is so convenient to clean tiles – you can even use a steamer to get them really hygienically clean. Tiles are also great because bathrooms are humid places, and tiles allow you to wipe down the excess moisture. However, they are notoriously difficult to work with – it’s especially difficult to drill tiles without cracking them! If you follow a good guide, however, you needn’t fear drilling into tiles. We’ll show you how it’s done.

Drilling through tiles

Our easy-to-follow guide should help you drill through tiles if you need to – if you’re still feeling unsure, you can also ask for the help of a professional. Oh! And make sure you’re wearing all the right safety gear before you start, too. We don’t want you getting hurt!

  1. Using a stud detector, check the area you want to drill into for pipes and wires. This is especially important in a bathroom, so even if you ordinarily don’t use a stud detector, this time it would be wise to!
  2. Once you’ve got the all clear, measure out where you want to drill the tile. Mark this spot with a pen or pencil.
  3. Choose your drill bit. This should be a bit specifically for masonry, but even more specifically a carbide tipped drill bit – if your tiles are porcelain, however, you’ll need a stronger drill bit, such as a diamond tipped one. Using a weaker drill bit may result in cracking.
  4. Set your drill to the “drill” setting – you don’t want to accidentally use the “hammer” setting here!
  5. One of our favourite tips is to put a bit of light-coloured tape over where you want to drill. Its light colour means you can still see where you’ve marked to drill, but it can help prevent the drill from slipping.
  6. Put your drill on the mark and press the drill’s trigger to start drilling. Use two hands to support the drill and don’t push too hard.
  7. Once you’ve drilled through the tile, you can switch drill bits and put your drill into hammer mode which will help get through the wall. Keep the drill bit straight, or you may still crack the tile.

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More tips for drilling hard tiles

The above steps are the basic outline for drilling a tile. However, if you’re still feeling uncertain or simply want to know more, we’ve got two more tips for you.

Drilling a tile: Go slow

Even if you use our tape trick, your drill bit might slip a bit. That’s why it’s best to keep things steady and slow, especially at the start. Once your drill has a bit more grip, you can increase your pressure on the trigger and go a bit faster. We’d advise not to go at full speed, though, so just be patient, throw on some good tunes, and drill slowly.

Tile drilling: Sprint finish?

Once you’ve drilled through the tile, you’ll notice that you’re done because you’ll feel a change in the resistance of your drill. Stay steady here, as any quick movements will cause cracking. Change the bit, switching to hammer mode if you like. However, you can also simply increase the speed of the drill, but apply a bit less pressure. This way, you’ll get through the wall easily.


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