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Old 06-07-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


So I have a 3-handle tub faucet.
I'm using 12x12 porcelain tile on the walls in a "stacked block" pattern - very simple. 1/8" spacing.
I'm using a 1-3/8" diamond head hole bit that's made for porcelain (Brutus brand).

And so today I started to try to drill the holes for the 3-handles. . . my tiles keep breaking. These tiles weren't cheap, either, too many more screwed up cuts and I'm suck in for another case.

So I've stopped - I need to figure this out. Why are they breaking?

There are 3 holes I need to drill into one tile - two cracked tiles later I thought that maybe the slightly off center holes were a problem so I reworked this wall so now the holes will be centered. One right in the middle, the other two 1.5" in from the edge of the tile.

But at the last hole it breaks - the entire corner breaks off.
I've gone through countless tiles this way - adjusting my approach each time (redoing the order - outside first, then inside) - same thing - at the last or 2nd hole it breaks. I've tried using less pressure, resulting in a far longer cutting time - I've put the tile on different surfaces (wood, the ground) - break break break.

So my only other idea is to stop trying to stick with the pattern - and for this one area take a strip of tile length cut from a diagonal and then drill the holes in that - and then cut the surrounding tile to fit on the outside.
(see quick-sketch attachment)

I'm frustrated and think this would be great.
Is it stupid? will I just have the same problem?

Any other ideas or solutions let me know please!
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Old 06-07-2010, 04:57 PM   #2
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


Are you using anything to cool the tile while drilling, such as trickling water on the bit or submerging the tile slightly in a shallow tray of water? I think the heat of drilling is causing your tile to crack.

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Old 06-07-2010, 05:14 PM   #3
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


Indeed, I'm using a steady flow of water - tiles are fully submerged (when doing it on ply-wood I had the wood sitting in the bottom of a bucket - with enough water to cover the surface while drilling.
On the ground It's actually nestled in mud.

This drill bit came with a plastic housing that you stick down, fill with water, the hole acts like a guide for the bit. It works great to prevent overheating but doesn't keep the tile from cracking.

I went through all the sponge stick-ons that came with it, though, so I just stuck a hose on my tile when drilling on the ground for a steady stream - so the tile is bedded in mud, really, while I drill.

But maybe you're right - 20 minutes of persistent drill-baby-drill might be *slowly* overheating. . . so, maybe I should try one hole - wait a few minutes - another hole - wait - another hole?
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Last edited by Snav; 06-07-2010 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:25 PM   #4
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


Does this hole saw use a center pilot bit?
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:03 AM   #5
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


Snav--I had the same problem using that same cutter--I think the diamond count is mighty low--

I'm ordering a couple of higher quality cutters before the next job. That darn hole cutter requires to much pressure to get a bite into the porcelain tile.

I may also bring a small drill press to the next job and see if that helps.---Mike---
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:31 AM   #6
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


When I did my bathroom the place where I bought the tiles was also an installer. They agreed to do the tricky cuts for me. I just dropped them off at their shop marked with a felt tip pen where I wanted the cuts. Maybe you can do the same.
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Old 06-20-2010, 10:31 AM   #7
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Tile keep breaking - my bypass idea (is it dumb)


After all the headache this caused me - for which I took 2 weeks off of working on the bathroom - my husband got it done on his first go at it.
I have no idea what I did wrong - but he did it right and thankfully we don't have to do it again!

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