Drilling into tiles

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Will__ | 13:40 Thu 15th Dec 2005 | How it Works
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I'm putting some shelves up in the kitchen and was wondering if anybody had any advice on drilling through ceramic tile?

Clearly I need a ceramic drill bit but any other advice would be cool.




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where you drill holes put tape(electrical)on tile before you drill Start with a small bit the enlarge(masonary will do)
You will also have to set the drill to "Hammer Drill", other wise you may have a roblem getting through the tile, again depending on what type of drill bit you use of course.
use a plaster over where you want to drill, it stops the drill from slipping.
There are special drill-bits you can buy, specifically for drilling in to ceramic tiles

You can use a masonary drill - as has been suggested use the smallest first and go bigger. Use tape to give the drill bit something to get a 'key' to rather than the bit skating all over the place.

I strongly suggest that you do not use 'hammer' action on the drill. Once you are through the outer glaze, tiles are very soft.

Use the correct bit as mentioned above, tape also good idea but dont't use the hammer action as you will crack the tile. A masonry bit will go through ok.

If you don't have any tape (and are using a masonary bit) -

  1. put the drill bit in the drill

  2. put the drill next to the tile

  3. manually rotate the drill backwards and forwards to scratch the tile

  4. very gently start the drill

Do not use hammer action

-- answer removed --

i'll go with all the above, masonry bits incresing in size, not on hammer,

Also when you put your wallplugs in, knock them in so they start just after the tile, you dont want the screw to expand the plug in the tile or it will crack.

Oneeyedvic has got it exactly right. This is the method I have used for years and have never cracked a ceramic tile. Do not use hammer action !!!

1. Use a sharp knife (Stanley or tile cutter to mark a cross where you want to drill, this will destroy the surface glaze and stop the drill from slipping.

2. By hand rotate the drill bit backwards to make a pilot hole to locate the point where you want to drill through. As others have said the tile is very soft and does not require any pressure to drill through.

3. Start the power drill rotating slowly and gradually work your way through the tile.

4. If the required hole length is deep enough you might need to drill into the concrete, brick, block or plasterboard under the tile. Only if necessary start to use the hammer drill.

Merry Xmas

Try wherever possible to drill into the edge of the tiles, through the grout. DO NOT use hammer, the tile will shatter. Also be wary of electrical wires or pipes hidden behind the tiles
I always use a tile bit one size larger than the wall plug for drilling through the tile. Once through the tile change to the correct size masonary bit for drilling the brick or blockwork behind the tile and you can then switch to hammer action if needed. Push the plug just beyond the tile so that the screw will grip the plug and the plug will grip into the brick and not the tile. I have never cracked a tile this way.

Use a small food bag and tape. it will collect the dust in the bag :)

saves the tidying up.

Question Author

Blimey, quite a few opinions...

Many thanks, it worked a treat.

very useful page this - thanks for the advice everyone, here is how I did it after reading the other answers.

1. Use tape or plaster to stop drill bit sliding
2. Use a ceramic tile bit - about �8 - better and cheaper than cracking the tiles.
3. I used a hand drill as I was a bit nervous - no problem.
4. Push wallplugs through the tile so they don't expand in it which could crack the tile.

PS I would avoid a hammer drill for this job.

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