Mr-Skill often baulks at situations requiring him to drill holes through tiles, simply because it is such a risky task. The alternatives are to use contact adhesive or two-sided tape, neither of which are ideal in the long term. Fred is one of our regular London tilers, and he advises that drilling through tiles is quite straightforward once you know what to do.
Essentially, there are two safe methods of making holes through your tiles. Well, you could add a third if you decide to rather find a tiler and leave the problem to them! The first method is to locate your holes precisely on the grout line that separates one tile from the other. The other way is more nerve-racking, because it involves drilling through the tile-face itself.
A somewhat nervous Mr-Skill says that before you choose one of these two options, make sure you have a spare tile to replace the broken or cracked one should things go wrong. Nothing is more eye-catching than looking at a broken or cracked tile, or having to use a mismatched replacement one.
Should you find that you have no back-up spares, you need to choose between using the grout line, and drilling through your lovely tiles. You could of course elect to get a tiling quote to sort the problem, but that could prove quite expensive when all you need is a couple of holes!
Fred is against using grout lines for drilling holes, and that is because you have limited space in which to work, and grout is not the ideal medium to hold a plug and screw either. He goes on to say, “Imagine the consequences of the bit jamming in the grout line as you drill. Rather mark up your holes as desired on the tile face itself. Then, you need to test to see that the tiles you plan to drill through don’t have air space where they attach to the wall. A simple tap with your knuckle will soon confirm if there are any hollow gaps to be avoided.” Thanks for the tips, Fred!
Easy Does It
Once your holes are marked (and checked), stick two pieces of magic tape over each marked hole in the form of a cross. This is to stop the tile from crazing as you drill. Gently tap a pointed punch to create a small guide hole for you to drill out further with a new masonry bit. Now drill slowly and make your hole to the desired depth. Once you have drilled through the tile – you should feel this happen – you can safely use the hammer function on your power tool.