How to drill small holes in a bathroom wall tile without cracking it

bathroom drilling

ALL BATHROOMS NEED HOLES FOR FIXINGS

You know the score! Your bathroom tiles are on the wall and looking lovely... So how do you fix your items into hard porcelain tiles without cracking the tile and having to replace expensive stone tiles? Rawl plugs are used and the most common sizes are small 6mm and large 8mm.

bathroom tile

Above is the perfect finished result... AND YOU CAN ACHIEVE THIS AS WELL This picture shows two 8mm holes drilled with mm perfection into very hard porcelain tiles which have even been grouted. The lines marked out are to a 0.5mm tolerance! Wow...

granite wall tile

The first task is to measure out the wall. Use masking tape and a spirit level to get a perfect line. You can use pen or pencil to make the marks. Try to use the natural symmetry of the tiles to work with. For example we used the grout line above as the center point for our loo roll holder. Next mark out the tape at the points where you need your holes. Measure twice. Drill once! Please take your time when marking out. If its your home try marking out on one day and sleeping on it. Next day come and look to see if the location is perfect.

holesaws 8mm

If left to drill freehand all core drills (example above) will wander, slip and cause damage to your lovely and expensive stone tiles. I am sure you are keen to prevent drill slip. So how do we do it?

stone tile

All our packs come with the guide plate. This anti-slip device will prevent the core from skidding and will control its application to the tile. Because your tiles are so hard we have to make hollow drills. The drills go to make a core in the tile. This prevents drilling out too much tile saving you time and money. Take a look at the two examples below.

A: is the result of a standard drill made of carbide and with an arrow tip. This "swathes" at the tile forming a rough and chipped hole. The drill bit does not last very long. Imagine it to look like a paddle.

B: is the result of our PORSADRILL diamond crown. You can see it is much neater, more accurate and will not chip your tile. Think of even the smallest of our cores as little grinders. Their job is to grind out holes not to drill them.

floor tile porcelain

B: You will get perfect results from our diamond core drills even at 6mm

So once you have set our your drilling pattern on the tiles with tape then its time to use the anti-slip guide plate to get started. Just place it over the hole with your left hand and apply pressure. The plate will grip any type of tile (rough smooth, wet dry) and gets you ready to drill.

drilling a wall tile

The plate has been placed over the hole and is now ready to accept the diamond holesaw. Now is the moment of no return..... Once you start drilling then there is no going back. Even the professionals pause for breath at this point!

 

anti slip guide plate

At this stage you only want to drill for a few seconds to get a small pit into the tile... Once the pit is formed quickly dip the drill bit into cold water. Get the heat out of the tip of the drill. If you have multiple holes it is better to get the "starting point" sorted out first. Use the yellow plate and the diamond drill to make small little pits into the multiple holes around the bathroom. Once you have completed that stage you can do away with the anti-slip guide plate. The drill will seat itself into the performed socket.

8mm tile drill

Now we need you to have the patience of a saint.... Use the diamond crown to slowly bore deeper into each hole. The best method is to plunge into the hole for 5 seconds, then draw back on the drill and get it wet.

diamond hole saw

cooling drill bit

Hold a very wet sponge UNDER the drill and count to eight. When you hit eight draw back the drill into the wet sponge and give it a chance to cool down. Don't go beyond eight. Don't think you can count nine and ten because although you are getting results the head of the drill is being to boil. You do not want to get the drill hot. If you count out loud to five and pull the drill out then its better for the life of the drill but it slows the job down. Eight is a reasonable time count. Ten is too much. If you are on a building site its better to do it quietly!

porsadrill

Remember to go slow! It takes a quick three minutes to drill a hole but it wont FEEL like three minutes. The drills are working. Its just you cant see it working. If it helps get a little egg timer and set it to five minutes. Control yourself and don't be tempted to speed up at this point. You will find to your surprise that it really has only taken three minutes but it just felt longer because of all installation jobs this one is just not that interesting. Remember most things have two holes so you are really only going to get them done in about ten minutes when you take time out to stop, change holes and clean up.

365 drills

Hooray! you made it.. So that's it, the final result. A perky little hole ready to accept your rawl plug. But before you finish up there are a couple of bits to do. The first is following through to get the right depth. If you can avoid at all costs using the diamond drill this will be to your benefit. Why? Its not that the core drills wont work (they will work) its that the junk behind this hole like plasterboard and brick will gum up the inside of the barrel. You will spend ages trying to clean out a tiny little barrel. Its better to pull back and only take out the hard stone. Hard stone is much easier to eject. More diamond cores are wasted by filling up the barrel with debris than burn out. If you don't go deep you are at an advantage...

stone core

Each drill ends up with a small core stuck inside the barrel. Most fixtures and fittings come with a little Allen key to install them. Use this Allen key to poke out the core via the little ejection slots we place inside every diamond drill bit. You see we are so nice to you that we cut slots into the cores so you can get these little bits out !

tile drilling

Some jobs just take a long time. In this case we have three pots to go next to a bath. Shampoo, conditioner and soap. Each bottle has four holes. So this section of tiles is going to want twelve holes all without breaking those lovely looking stone tiles....

drilling tiles

Just stick to those rules.... DRILL SLOWLY.... USE WATER.... DON'T APPLY PRESSURE

Other Tips

waste pipe

TIP 1 Block the waste trap on all showers sinks and baths. The stone cores pop out and can be lost down the holes. Also the drill bits can get lost. You don't want to scratch your clients enamel with diamonds so use cover clothes and clean up after yourself.. But you already do that !

drill holes tiles

TIP 2 (Actually Note to self) If you are going to plunge the still running drill bit into cold water - remove the yellow sponge first. When the drill bit gets caught into the sponge (and it will) the centrifugal force of the drill bit spinning the sponge will instantly empty the contents of your paint kettle all over the clients floor. Thankfully its only water....

If you follow our advice in this article you will get many many perfect holes into hard stone tiles.

holes tiles

And finally... These articles can seem a little bit dull so here's something to cheer you up

drilling tiles

tile drills

porsadrill

Available from stock at our main order page