Drilling tiles?

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I guess this is asked a lot, so please point me in the right direction.
I want to drill some holes in large bathroom tiles, to take screws for a grab bar in a shower.
I've been advised to buy a drill bit specific to this task - what should I ask for, and what is different about these bits? I'll be visiting South London Power Tools, which seems to have a great range of these types of things. I'd like to display some knowledge of what I'm after though!
Also, what sort of wall anchors are recommended? The tiles are on the side of a shower stall, which is probably made of plasterboard underneath. I've got some spring toggles and some other expaning wall anchors.
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John Hearns wrote:

Tile Drill -
For sinking red rawlplugs, I'd use a 6mm bit to get through the tile and a 5.5mm regular bit for the plaster/brick if that's what's underneath. Don't do the complete hole with the tile bit as it will sh*g the bit.
It's preferable to have a fractional clearance through the tile so the fixing won't crack it. A dab of silicon in the hole when assembling the fitting won't go amiss.
If you need expanding fittings then beware of rust streaks in the shower if using low cost metallic ones such as this. http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?tsc267&id 229
This is a picture of what you are after. High St price is probably about 5 each. http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?tsb737&id 054
--
Toby.

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And (one of the best tips I was ever given) stick a piece of masking tape on the tile where you are going to drill the holes. It keeps the drill from wandering and stops the glaze from chipping
Peter
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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 09:21:30 +0000, John Hearns wrote:

Shape, they are pear or tear drop shaped rather than fluted twist drill.

As this is for a grab rail the last thing you want is for the fixings to rip through the plasterboard when someone does grab it with all their weight... Try and find the studs that support the plasterboard and fix into those with brass or stainless steel woodscrews (the rust problem, which may or may not have occurred to me without the other posting).
If you can't find the studs or they are really in the wrong place I guess you are stuck with plastic, and brass/stainless screws. The metallic fixing shown in the other posting is very good and solid as it spreads the load over the plasterboard nicely but would probably rust overtime in a shower.
They can be a bit of a begger to set on tiles as well, the little tang on the top flange would normally dig into the plasterboard and stop the fixing rotating while you set it. It can't do this into a tile, if you simply remove it you can't hold the flange to stop it rotating... I found that you need to flatten it a bit and cut a notch in the edge of the hole to take it.
Plastic fixings such as Screwfix ref 69602 are quite good, if you have the depth behind the board. The shank has to match fairly closely the thickness of the board (and tiles) though, there are three shank lengths available Screwfix only stock 2 and don't tell you the shank length... 79612 I've not used but might be OK, if it doesn't stress the back of the board to much.
--
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John Hearns wrote:

Others have described the "correct way" (i.e. tile drill) - having said that I have always found a masonry drill works just fine. Use a bit of tape to stop it wandering, and drill with a slow speed and no hammer action.
Another useful tip I found when using ordinary rawlplugs through tiles, is to insert the plug so it is flush with the surface of the tile, then insert the screw partially into the plug and gently hammer it so that you push the body of the plug further into the wall below the tile. That should ensure that when you fix the final item, any lateral expansion of the rawlplug will not cause the tile to crack.
--
Cheers,

John.

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Another "incorrect way" that I always use is to use an automatic centre punch to break through the glaze (to stop the bit wandering) then use an ordinary masonry bit in a hammer drill (with the hammer action on). I have never broken any tiles using this method but I suspect it depends on how and to what they're fixed. I didn't know any better the first time I needed to drill a tiled wall. It doesn't work on loose tiles. Haven't tried it with the SDS yet.
Andrew
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That's how I did it, normal masonry drill bit, and I really can't emphasise enough about the drill being at a slow speed. Like John says also - masking tape too.
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I supply a range of tile drills on my web site, if it of any help
Sorry there is a minimum order online of 10.00 but if you call me I will send out a smaller order :-)
http://www.tradetiler.com/acatalog/Hole_Cutting.html
David
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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 14:51:46 +0000, David wrote:

Thanks for the reply. I'm sorry I didn't wait for the advice :-( I went out and bought an 8mm drill for 4.50. Yours is cheaper.
I like the look of your Silifix Silicone Tool also (there's another thread today on silicone sealants). My flat is held together with white mastic and I reckon it'll be time to reseal the shower sooner or later.
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John Hearns wrote:

Easiest way I found was to get a nail or srew or similar with a good point and gently tap in the position of the hole. within a fer gentle taps you'll break through the glaze, this enables your masonary bit to go through the tile in a matter of seconds (No hammer action). If you hit a batten (the drill stops penetratiing once past the plasterboard, get a small screw driver/bradawl and push and twist, you'll know whether you're into wood of a nail by feel.
If wood, don't bother with rawl lpugs, just screw straight into the wood.
Don't use cavity fixings, just a red rawl plug and don't screw too tightly.
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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 09:21:30 +0000, "John Hearns"

Use a new masonary drill push the drill onto the tile until you hear a crispy noise then you can drill your hole very slowly.Spring toggles are ok but I use umbrella clips same principal but when you take the bolt out the base stays in the wall without falling out.T.R.
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Strom scribbled :

Also make sure your drill is not on hammer, at least until you have gone through the glaze fully.
--
Gary
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wrote:

A slightly better way. Use a thick black fibre-tip to put a mark where you want to drill the hole. Then use something like a tungston-carbide tipped scribing tool and crack/craze the glaze where you want the hole. Re-mark the hole and put some masking tape over it. You should be able to see the mark through the tape which you can then repeat the mark on top of the tape. Finally drill the hole with a masonary drill NOT in hammer mode - and as slowly (at first at least) as the drilling machine will go. The mark will allow you to get the exact point where you have crazed the glaze and the tape will stop the drill sliding.Once you are established in the tile increase the speed but DO NOT apply pressure or you will crack the tile. It sometimes helps, dependent upon tile type and construction, if you wet the drill tip as you go - it also cools the drill bit.
--
Woody

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From my experience firmly anchoring this kind of furniture on plasterboard is not easy. First many fitments have anchorage holes very close together, quite impossible to achieve in plasterboard - so pick the right kind. Even then something as sturdy as a grab bar needs reliable fixing and I would suggest mounting it on a substantial wooden base that is first secured to the wall Drilling into tile is not difficult, use a piece of masking tape to reduce the masonry drill slipping and do not press too hard, just sufficient to cut. Whatever screw/anchor you decide on it must not put any significant pressure on the tile, or it will crack, I cut the tile hole slightly larger than the mounting hole or this reason. To use toggles requires a very large hole

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I bought a Carbide tipped tile drill bit (Triangular little thing) after breaking all my other bits on my bathroom tiles. With the Carbide bit, it still took all my weight and a lot of sweet, some blood and continuous drilling (800W Bosch Hammer / twin speed bla bla) for 15 mins to put 1 hole through 1 tile. I've put the shower head and sink units in, but haven't got around to the Glass Shower thing yet...I simply can't bare the thought of 60 minutes continuous drilling to get fixing points in.
Any ideas what I'm doing wrong ? These are some imported tiles from Italy with a reactive glaze..they're a sort of natural shape / square'ish...got through the glaze no problem, it was the actual tile that hurt.
Ant.
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The carbide-tipped tile bit is what you should have used, with *no* hammer action, *only* to break through the glaze. Then you should have swapped to a nice fresh "ordinary" masonry bit to drill through the body of the tile - me, I'd still not use the hammer action. Drilling revs relatively low.
It may well be that using the hammer action (if that's what you did) and pushing the carbide bit through the main body has dulled the tile drill beyond any use - sorry.
That's my tup'th... HTH, Stefek
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snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com (ANt) wrote in message

It sounds like these tiles may be porcelain tiles that are dense all the way through rather than usual ceramic wall tiles where the main body is porous and fairly light. From my experience, once you break through the surface glaze on typical wall tiles, a tile bit will go through the main tile very quickly. IME, good floor tiles are porcelain based, wall tiles are usually ceramic.
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(MarkM) wrote

Yup, reminds me of the porcelain sink I just put a hole through. It took me 3 *nights* to get through it.
My little Bosch /drill/ was cherry red, never mind the bit ;-)
Cheers,
Paul.
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On 26 Nov 2003 07:41:25 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@technologist.com (Zymurgy) wrote:

I assume you really meant to put a hole through that porcelain sink? ;)
PoP
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PoP wrote ..

Foolishly I neglected to tell the supplier i'd be using 2 taps :-/
Top tip -> Get someone else to do the holes :-)
It'll also prevent sending the neighbours doolally & them potentially getting the EHO round due to the screeching noise !
Cheers,
Paul.
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