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Old 08-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #1
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


I'm tiling a shower and I need to cut the hole for the shower head. I have tried several methods and cannot seem to cut through this tile... the tile is procelain 6x6s from a big box store. I have tried carbide drill bits. Diamond tipped drill bits and A carbide hole saw... either, the bit wears down, snaps or the tile cracks... I am using water to cool as I go. Nothing seems to work, any help?

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Old 08-11-2009, 12:01 AM   #2
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


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I'm tiling a shower and I need to cut the hole for the shower head. I have tried several methods and cannot seem to cut through this tile... the tile is procelain 6x6s from a big box store. I have tried carbide drill bits. Diamond tipped drill bits and A carbide hole saw... either, the bit wears down, snaps or the tile cracks... I am using water to cool as I go. Nothing seems to work, any help?
A diamond hole saw is your best bet. For a really thick porcelain, sometimes I'll cut a square out with the wet saw--from the back side of the tile.

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Old 08-11-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


Hm, so you mean with a table wet saw? Just lift up the guard and make kind of like a reverse plunge cut?
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:51 AM   #4
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Hm, so you mean with a table wet saw? Just lift up the guard and make kind of like a reverse plunge cut?

I'm not sure the type of saw you're using, but essentially yes.
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Old 08-13-2009, 06:27 AM   #5
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


dremel & diamond blade
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:28 AM   #6
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I'm not sure the type of saw you're using, but essentially yes.
One of those cheap, workforce, small table wet saws...

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Old 08-13-2009, 08:23 AM   #7
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


A table-type wet saw for drilling a hole in a tile to pass a 3/4" diameter pipe through? No thanks.

A diamond holesaw on a drill works beautifully when used properly. Lay the tile on a piece of plywood or other solid surface that will support it and allow the pilot bit to penetrate. USE A HAMMER DRILL. The cordless variety hammer drills are great for this. Put the garden hose on the tile to wash the slurry away as you cut. That'll keep the abrasives on the holesaw cutting properly. GO SLOWLY. Let the bit work. It might take a minute or more to get through the tile.

I have this exact bit and have used it for numerous holes in a variety of tile materials.


They're under $20 at Lowes.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:46 AM   #8
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


Actually the plunge method does work. You have to make sure you don't get saw marks outside of the area on the tile that will be covered. Those carbide hole drill bits are worthless. I've used them and all you end up doing is cracking the tile when you put pressure on it. They might work if your tile is porcelin or something else stronger, but for ceramic it won't work that well.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:52 AM   #9
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Those carbide hole drill bits are worthless.
I guess my numerous successes with them can be attributed to some sort of miracles.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:16 AM   #10
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


KC's method it pretty dead on I use similar bits and a similar method and have always had success. Every now and then you may have a tile break but this is probably more attributed to a defect in the tile then the aforementioned method used. I don't like the back cutting method, it's sloppy, unprofessional, and unnecessarily weakens the tile. The key to drilling the tile is patience and touch. Don't get in a hurry and start bearing down on the drill. Also dremil is not a good choice for a drill that may be the reason you are breaking the tiles.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:06 PM   #11
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


KC, that is exactly the method I knew to do it, but that's the bit I have that didn't work... I wonder if I should try another one....
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:22 PM   #12
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KC, that is exactly the method I knew to do it, but that's the bit I have that didn't work... I wonder if I should try another one....
Were you using a hammer drill? You need to.

Don't push down hard at all. As I said, you've got to let the drill do the work. Adding elbow grease will lead to a broken tile every time.

As ARI001 said, you will occasionally break a tile when drilling or cutting. It is inevitable unfortunately.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:44 PM   #13
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


this is amazing,,, i NEVER use a hammer drill even when the tile's back'd up w/plywood carbide works fine - just install'd new shower door enclosure using new bit & 14.4v drill into existing tile on the shower walls w/no problems at all,,, hammer drill'd get me every time but if YOU guys're successful, i gotta try it again

dremel's good for what i need when i have to act like a diy'er or h/o
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Old 08-17-2009, 03:50 PM   #14
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Trouble drilling/cutting through tiles...


Got it finally - had to go out and buy a $40 premium diamond holesaw. Definitely didn't want to have to that, but it worked. Oh well. Thanks.

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