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Drilling a tile

Drilling a tile

No bathroom makeover is complete without refreshing fixtures such as lights, mirrors and shelves. All require safe and stable fixing on the wall. Most bathrooms have tiled walls to cope with humidity and withstand intense cleaning - you can even use a steamer for a deep and hygienic clean.  However, they are notoriously difficult to work with – especially if you’re trying to drill a hole without cracking them! Luckily, we’re here to show you how to do it.

Drilling through tiles

Our easy-to-follow guide should help you drill through tiles. If you’re still feeling unsure, you can also ask for the help of a professional. Make sure you’re wearing all the proper safety gear before you start:

  1. Using a stud detector, check the area you want to drill. This step is especially important in a bathroom as there are pipes and wires.
  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. Your drill bit should be for masonry, specifically a carbide-tipped drill bit.  If your tiles are porcelain, you’ll need a stronger drill bit, such as one with a diamond tip. 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. Put a piece of light-coloured tape over where you want to drill. The transparency of the light colour helps you see where you’ve marked it for drilling and can prevent the drill from slipping.
  6. Put your drill on the mark and press the 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 you 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, 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 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 and apply a bit less pressure. This way, you’ll get through the wall with ease.

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