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Today, Doug Cornwell, chief operating officer of Alure Home Improvements, takes us into the bathroom in this video installment of Alure Home Improvements’ “60 Second Fix: How To Drill Through Tile Without Cracking It” so we can learn how to do it right without destroying the tile in the process.
Drilling through wallboard and wood is a breeze, but tile penetration presents a challenge. A slip of the drill bit can leave a chunk, a crack or gouge that can never be fixed. One false move, and the tile is ruined.
No, you want to do it the right way, and here’s how.
But perhaps you’re asking yourself, why would you want to drill a hole in your bathroom tile anyway? For a host of reasons. Say you want to install a towel rack by the shower stall or a toilet paper holder where it’s most convenient. Perhaps you want to put up a shelf for your reading matter or a flower pot. Whatever the reason, here’s how to learn to drill a hole in the tile without boring a hole in your head.
The first step is perhaps as important as actually getting the drill bit to bite into the tile. You must mark out the location as exactly as possible. Preparation is the key. You can always erase a pencil mark, but if you drill a hole in the wrong place, forget it. You’ll have to change your project to fit the hole, and sometimes overcoming that mistake could prove impossible.
“Make sure that your measurements are specific,” says Doug Cornwell, “because once you’re drilling in tile, it’s impossible to patch. It’s not like sheetrock.”
No, you can’t spackle, paste and paint your way out when it comes to drilling in tile.
“Once you put a hole in tile, you’re pretty much done,” says Doug. “You have to remove the tile if it’s in the wrong place.”
So be very careful and conscientious about how you mark it out.
Fortunately for the homeowner, most of these fixtures come with their own templates or guides, so you can lay them against the wall to help you designate the properly distanced holes for your drilling.
In this video Cornwell has the luxury of demonstrating the technique just for instructional purposes. But watch him and learn from the master. He takes his pencil, and with a quick gesture, his X literally marks the spot!
Next up, choose the ideal drill bit.
“I prefer this pointed spade masonry bit to a typical masonry bit,” he says, pointing to it with his finger. “It has a little point on it, which helps to keep the bit from traveling along the tile.” That’s the issue with drilling into the tile’s hard surface. If the drill doesn’t catch immediately, the momentum of the spinning bit could throw you off line.
The pointed drill bits will actually stay in one location.
And here’s another quick tip before you begin to drill. Before you insert the bit into the drill, line up the tip at the marked location and give the end a gentle tap or two with a hammer, just so it makes a good first impression.
Then put the bit in your drill and aim it at the intersection of the X. Then turn on your drill.
“We’re going to start slow,” he says. “You can actually hear it grind a little bit.”
That’s how you know it’s digging into the surface, he advises. Next you see the dust come out of the hole from the drilling.”
Once you see that, and you know the bit is on track, you can speed up the drilling.
“Push it until it goes all the way through,” he says.
The keys in this process are marking the exact location and using the preferred drill bit with the pointy tip so it won’t travel along the tile face. Then, start slowly to make sure the drill bit has penetrated the surface. Once you’re in, then you can speed up the drilling until you can push the drill completely through the tile.
See? That’s the way to do it! Thank you, once again, Alure Home Improvements!