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killdevil 02-26-2007 08:22 AM

Drilling Tile
what type of drill bits are best to use to drill out holes for the 1/2" hot and cold
pipes. this tile is Rialto from loews, think it is ceramic. baked on finish.
should we use the Diamond hole saw and\or ceramic drill cutting bits. Thanks.
Killdevil\Tom :bonk:

Shaughnn 02-26-2007 08:28 AM

Hello Tom,
A carbide hole saw is going to be your best bet. Support the tile while drilling by placing it on a wet towel and keep the bit wet also while you drill slowly. Many pro's simply use an angle grinder with a diamond blade to plunge-cut a square hole, since the estucheon will cover the hole anyway. Or, they will use hand-nippers to carefully "chew" a hole, but that requires a bit of experience.
I say use the hole saw and give it a coat of WD-40 when you're through with it so you can use it again in the future.
Best of luck,

Brian in San Diego 02-26-2007 08:57 AM

2 Attachment(s)

I went on eBay awhile back and found this seller. I bought a couple of different sizes and for the price I don't think you can go wrong. I used them to cut through porcelain and 3/8" travertine. Keeping them wet while cutting is key. I also bought a set of their diamond wheels for my dremel...saved by bacon a couple of times.


killdevil 02-26-2007 09:43 AM

Brian, thanks for the tip, great sight, prices are cool.

did you use a masonary bit or ceramic carbide tip for the center guide drill bit?

Killdevil \ Tom :tup1:

Tim_4_Tile 02-26-2007 10:02 AM

I can vouch for those drills as I bought a set off eBay from the same seller. Arrived very quickly too.

The most I've cut with one bit is 4 holes through hard porcelain. I felt I got my money's worth!

I used a drill press to drill my tile, but I've heard it suggested here to bore a hole through a piece of wood with a similar sized bit, then use the wood as a guide for diamond bit. Maybe you can steady it on the wall tile with some double sided tape or hot glue.

And use water, as was mentioned before!

Brian in San Diego 02-26-2007 11:17 AM


The hole saw I pictured has no center guide drill bit. Either do what Tim suggested (as I did on the sample piece shown) or you angle the edge of the saw and get the hole started and slowly tilt the saw to a vertical position. Variable speed drill is critical here. The only reason I used the angle method is because the hole was about 2 1/2" in diameter and I didn't have a holesaw for wood that was that big.


Tim_4_Tile 02-26-2007 11:26 AM

Just thinking out loud here, but I suppose for a larger size you could even cut a square through the wood. It would still hold the bit in place and would even leave room for squirting water in there...

Brian in San Diego 02-26-2007 11:43 AM

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Yes, Tim, you could do it that way. There's a tool with a suction cup sold at tile stores as well. The large hole pictured below was done by the "angle it in" method. I'm satisfied with the result and I didn't have to stop to cut a piece of wood. I just used a sprayer bottle and liberally wet the area and sprayed as necessary during the cut.


pyropaul 02-26-2007 11:46 AM

I've used these hole cutters from THK - from 3mm all the way up to 43mm. They worked fine through porcelain that was 13mm thick. I did use the trick of using a piece of wood with a hole in it first to guide the drill. I don't know how long they'll last - I cut several holes and didn't see a drop in performance. For the price, you can't go wrong (6 drills from 2-12mm for $10 and 5 hole cutters from 15mm - 43mm for $21).


sandbagger 02-26-2007 05:47 PM


but I've heard it suggested here to bore a hole through a piece of wood with a similar sized bit,
I used a scrap piece of tile with the hole saw. But I started the hole from the back and it was much easier to get a good bite. Very light pressure to start and a steady hand. The bit will walk a little, but that's OK - you're not trying to be pretty. ;)

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