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BillDit 03-10-2012 10:33 AM

How best to put a hole in my shower?
What will I need to put a 4 inch hole through a 2 inch wall in my shower? The wall consists of 1/4 inch ceramic tile over mortar.

md2lgyk 03-10-2012 01:38 PM

So what's behind the mortar? What is this hole for? Does it need to be square, round, or does it matter?

Jackofall1 03-10-2012 02:06 PM

Hello Bill and welcome the best darn DIY'r site on the web.

Hope you don't get caught, thats a big lens on that camera.......:eek:

4" hole in a 2" wall? 2" thick? 4" round?


BillDit 03-10-2012 06:46 PM

The 4" hole is to accommodate a single handle water supply control valve. The instructions specify a 4" opening.

The edges of the 4" hole don't have to perfect. The faceplate that covers the valve will hide the rough opening. I'll also insulate, with foam, any open spaces once the valve has been installed, is secure, and there are no leaks.

So, do I rent a hammer-drill and put a lot of 1/4" holes around the circumference, purchase diamond-tipped masonry bits and use with an ordinary drill, purchase a 1 1/2" carbide-tipped coring bit, or what?


Jackofall1 03-11-2012 10:12 AM

4" hole in a wall that is already tiled, hmmmmm, not really sure how you can pull that off, I would say the best bet would be do a series of holes just inside the OD required. The problem is there is very high probability that a tile will crack when you try and complete the hole.

No hammer drill on tile! slow steady pressure, keep the bit cool, carbide tipped bit (cement bits) is what I would be attempting to use.


BillDit 03-11-2012 06:52 PM

- My local Home Depot says a relatively inexpensive 4" coring bit, carbide or diamond tipped should exist on the market. They've directed me to Ferguson Plumbing. I'll check on Monday.
- Cracking tiles is of concern but remember that I already have a hole in the wall to the left of what will be the new single handle control valve. I'll have to find and affix new tile over that hole. If I can localize tile damage to the single tile within which I am attempting to drill the hole I'll be okay. Come to think of it the ceramic tiles are ~4"x4". I should just remove the tile that already has a smaller hole in it: The one I want to expand to 4". Then redraw the 4" circle on the cement/mortar and proceed to bore multiple holes around the edge of the circle as you suggested. I'll center the new valve there. The faceplate will completely cover the 4"x4" tile(hole). I have this latitude as I've yet to cut and solder the copper pipe and fittings to install the valve.


ktkelly 03-13-2012 11:02 PM

Chip out the 4" tile, then use a RotoZip with a tile bit to grind out the circle?

BillDit 03-15-2012 06:21 AM

A RotoZip had been suggested. I looked at the ZotoZip bits at Home Depot but they appeared to be considerably shorter than the 2" shower wall I need to penetrate.

The hole I'm looking to make in the shower wall doesn't have to be perfect. Since I have access to both sides of the wall I could attempt it with a RotoZip in 2 stages: Part from within the shower, then fully penetrate the wall with a longer masonary bit at enough points along the circumference to enable me to draw the circle on the otherside, then finish it from the other side of the wall. The money I'd save on renting a coring bit/drill would pay for the RotoZip. How many RotoZips bits would you estimate it would take to complete the task?

Thanks ktkelly

psydoc 03-22-2012 03:29 PM

I would simply use a diamond tipped hole saw to cut through the ceramic, I think you can get them in 4 1/8" diameter. Then use a 4" regular hole saw to get through the 2" wall behind.

HotelRenovator 03-23-2012 08:36 PM

Real advice
Take it from me, or don't.

I have been remodeling high end hotels for the past 4 years and there is always constant drilling in tile for grab bars,hardware,shower rods, etc..

Anyway its simple but it is not going to be perfectly round, the only way of accomplishing that is when the tile is laid and cut out, therefore you will have a minor box!

1.Mark out your 4 inch box,
2. grab a masonry bit(sizes available) from "home desperatenCalled "Wingit" drill bits"-bosch makes a good series.
3. Prestart your hole by taking a simple screw or nail and lightly tap it on the spot you want to start drilling(NOT HARD)this is so the tip of your bit wont slide around causing more damage
3.( APPLY WATER WHILE DRILLING) easiest way poke a hole in the top of a water bottle and have somebody hold it for you while you make your hole.
4. After complete even if your hole didnt come out as pretty as you hopes, there are many "scution" plates of all sizes,stainless,chrome, whichever you want slip it over and nooone will see the hole, as they shouldnt anyway

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