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Old 02-18-2009, 08:36 PM   #1
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Mounting shelves on tile wall

I would like to add some shelves in bathroom, It has ceramic tile walls installed the the early 1940's. What is my best choice of drill bit. Am I better off drilling thru grout or tile? I know i need to start drilling carefully so the bit wont slide across the tile face. These are not big shelves, what sort of anchor should i use? Nothing heavy will be placed on them.

Thanks for any suggestions.


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Old 02-18-2009, 09:36 PM   #2
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Hi dbldee20,

You should be able to pick up a tile drill bit at any local hardware store, but you may also be able to rent one from a tool rental store and save a few $'s.

I would recommend drilling in the field (middle) of tiles as opposed to drilling/fastening at the grout lines. Ceramic tiles are more apt to chip at the edges than they are away from the edges. Don't use too much pressure with the drill, or you may crack a tile.

As far as anchors: I'd probably go with toggles...the ones that have 2 spring loaded wings that fold together to go through the hole and then open up and are pulled back against the inside of the wall as you tighten the screw. Just be careful not to overtighten and crack the tile!

Last but not least: Back in the olden days it was common practice for wall plasterers and tile setters to add asbestos fibers to their mix. I usually take precautions just to be on the safe side.

Good luck!



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Old 02-18-2009, 11:31 PM   #3
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Are these shelves to be installed in the tub surround area?

If so, I'd encourage you to not use mechanical fasteners at all. They're a potential site for water leakage into your wall.

Instead, I'd just buy a short piece of STRAIGHT wood molding and cut it into short pieces, like 12 inch each. The wood used to make moldings is dried thoroughly before being routered to the molding profile, so the molding (and pieces thereof) will remain straight and not twist or curl on you.

Stick two pieces onto adjacent walls at a corner with double sided mounting tape, and then use a strong silicone adhesive like GE 1300 to stick ceramic corner shelves

like the one above into the corner of your shower wall tiles. Maybe use some wide masking tape to prevent the shelf from moving while the adhesive silicone sets up.

The corner shelf will rest on the two pieces of wood until the silicone adhesive/caulk cures, at which time the wood can be removed as well as the double sided tape. Any silicone that came oozing out from behind the corner shelf can be cut off with a razor and the joint between the shelf and ceramic wall tile caulked with mildew resistant silicone caulk.

That way, you don't have to drill into anything, and the shelves can be removed if necessary by just cutting through the silicone holding them in place with a razor knife.

Silicone caulks vary in their adhesive strength. Some silicone caulks are better adhesives than they are caulks. Maybe phone up the places listed under caulking in your yellow pages phone directory to find out who stocks GE 1300 and GE 1700 in your area. GE1300 is a stronger adhesive, but it cures much more rapidly than GE1700. Even the 1700 would be plenty strong enough to hold this shelf securely in place.
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Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 02-18-2009 at 11:40 PM.
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