Drill Porcelain Tile?

We have a porcelain tile shower and need to attach handicapped grab bar. How do we drill this tile? Diamond bit? What do they cost? What is procedure...small hole first then move to 1/8 bit?
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Not to be mundane, have you considered that the tile is not there for support of a grab bar? When I put up my fathers grab bars I ended up ripping out the plastic tub surround and attaching backing to the support members to get the bars in the right places.
A diamond bit would be a good start. Be very careful near the edges. Go slowly and you will be rewarded. A bit of water sprayed on the bit helps as well.
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Chamblin wrote:

1/8" is a small bit, but you have the right idea to start smaller and work up. Try something like this: http://tinyurl.com/azxnz
Use a spray bottle of water to spritz the hole as you drill. I also use a cup of water to periodically quench the bit. Make sure you hit the studs if it's a grab bar.
R
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Many thanks. Looks like Hitachi specializes in a bit set made for porceline tiles. Other brands only indicate ceramic tile drills.
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Chamblin wrote:

I have done this with a carbide-tipped bit they sell for this purpose, the business end is shaped like the ace of spades. I think only the one size was needed.
As others have said, grab bars must be attached to the studs behind the tile. You can use a stud-sensor tool (electronic gizmo) to find them.
--


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Heathcliff wrote:

Don't think a stud sensor will find studs behind tile and drywall, to thick. At least mine won't and I have a good one. You might want to do this on the opposite side if you can get to it. Locate studs then measure from a predetermined spot and transfer this measurement to the side you're working on. Hoping you have better luck with your stud sensor.
Rich
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Look here:
http://www.diydata.com/tool/drillbits/drillbits.htm
Your bit is about three fourths of the way down the page; a carbide tipped spear point. You can find these at any good hardware store, maybe even Wal-Mart, etc.
Cost is $5-8 apiece, depending on size and quality.
You drill the final sized hole; no stepping up. Drill for screw clearance plus a little for wobble. It is difficult to drill precisely located holes with these bits.
Buy at least two. They wear fast in some ceramics. Heat from friction is the biggest cause of failure. Keep the bit cool by dipping it in a cup of water every few seconds. When it gets dull, throw it away and use a fresh one. You are probably not equipped to resharpen carbide tools.
Grab bars require drilling through the tile, its backing, and firmly mounting into studs or solid wood blocking in the wall. I think code in most places acknowledges this.
-Frank
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The ohthers have good tips. Use a carbide tipped drill. To start with you may want to use a center punch or other sharp harden tipped tool to break the glaze of the tile. Don't hit too hard or you will crack the tile.
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Chamblin writes:

Diamond.
Good porcelain will ruin a carbide bit before you finish the first hole. Then you have no hole, and no bit.
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Richard J Kinch wrote:

I have drilled porcelain tile with a carbide bit, and it did not ruin the bit. Once the bit gets started into the hard surface, it goes nicely. Even if the bit is "used" by the hard service, it is cheap to replace if needed. My carbide bits seem to last forever, and they are the cheap ones, too. --Phil
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Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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Phil Munro writes:

Depends on the porcelain. There are 6 grades of abrasion resistance. A PEI 5 type will quickly take the edge off a carbide hole saw.
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