Drilling Ceramic Tiles

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Drilling Ceramic Tiles – Ask the Expert

How to Avoid Expensive Damage when Drilling Ceramic Tiles

We all like a bit of do-it-yourself, don’t we? It’s always better if you can do your home improvements yourself, without having to increase the cost by paying a professional. However, it doesn’t always turn out how you expected, does it?

I’ve been called in, more than once, to ‘pick up the pieces’ by wives driven nearly mad by husbands who have gone at the task of drilling ceramic tiles like a bull at a gate. The sight of a husband standing in front of an expensive ceramic tile installation – that he has damaged in repeated attempts to show that drilling ceramic tiles isn’t beyond his capabilities – is not a pretty one!

Floor tiles and ceramic wall tiles have been popular for many years, especially in bathrooms, shower stalls and kitchens. Drilling ceramic tiles badly has also been pretty popular too, in my experience, and when it comes to fixing a new toilet roll holder or a towel rail in the bathroom, it’s far better to get some advice before you start. Tiles are not cheap and it’s all too easy to damage them whilst having your very first try at drilling.

• The most important thing you need when drilling ceramic tiles is the right tools for the job.

• You should definitely use a special bit designed for drilling ceramic tiles.

• Next on the list is a variable speed drill, because you will be working at a very slow speed. This is important so that the drill bit doesn’t get too hot and it’s also necessary to stop any slipping of the drill. If your drill bit slips, the chances are that you will a nice long scratch on your lovely, shiny tiles and your wife will not be happy!

• Now, the choice of drill bit is another hurdle to jump over and for drilling that are the basic type, always use a carbide masonry tip and make sure it’s new. You won’t get a satisfactory result with one that’s been used before. Of course, if you’re working on porcelain tiles, a diamond-tipped bit is your best bet.

• If you don’t want to lose control of the drill and damage the whole ceramic tile installation, use some duct tape to cover and protect the tile you’re working on. Mark the tape with a pencil, to give you a guide as to where the hole needs to be and the tape will help the drill bit to get a purchase on this spot.

• If you do this part of drilling carefully, you’ll completely avoid the risk of drill-slip and you won’t damage the tile. If the bit does happen to get away from you, the tape will stop it scratching the expensive decorative ceramic tile underneath.

If you follow these rules and approach the job of drilling with a bit of foreknowledge and care, you won’t end up in the dog’s house with your wife. And when she says that she wants you to put up a herb rack in the kitchen, you can be confident in giving her the answer she most wants to hear, ‘No problem, honey!’