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hoosadam 02-01-2011 12:17 PM

install outlet through existing tile?
I have a tile backsplash in the bathroom and would like to place an outlet in the tile (as above the tile may interfere with the mirror/medicine cabinet).

I can drop a line from the attic into the wall behind it, but am concerned about trying to cut into the existing tile (probably 30+ years old). It is regular ceramic tile ... doesn't appear to be special. However if I crack a tile, matching that old tile will be really tough.

With a dremel tile cutting bit, do you think I'll have success? Any tips, tricks or general comments appreciated.


Bud Cline 02-01-2011 12:31 PM

I can tell you that you WILL NOT be able to match tile of that vintage perfectly, just won't happen.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that that tile is likely made of a very soft bisque (as tiles go). In fact, if that tile measures 4-1/4"(+-) square then it is soft and can be cut.

A Dremel Tile Bit will work but you may have to first use a regular masonry drill bit to drill a starter hole. Once the starter hole is complete the Dremel Tile Bit will do the rest.

I would first obtain the electric box you intend to use. This will be a special box made for installation into an existing wall.These boxes have tabs that twist into place behind the wall board while additional tabs on the front of the box hook on the tiles surface. It may be necessary to change the screws in the twist-tab to a longer screw so as to accommodate the additional wall thickness because of the tile.

Most importantly would be to first locate the wall studs and be sure your hole will not come near any interior wall studs. You only get one shot at this but it is very do-able.:)

Place the box in position and trace it with a Sharpie. Do not trace around (or cut around) the tabs that with hook to the tile wall.:)

hoosadam 02-01-2011 12:42 PM

Thank you. I will give it a shot! I've done a decent amount of outlet installs in previous houses so I know my way around an old work box, but haven't messed with existing tile before ... should be an adventure. I have the location marked already and the wire in the right cavity (as best I can tell). I'll make 2x sure about the stud location - that is definitely a concern. Thanks again!

Bud Cline 02-01-2011 12:47 PM

Good Luck!:)

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