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Unread 12-04-2007, 07:12 PM   #1
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cannot cut hole

I've been tiling (for my own houses) for 30 years. I am now redoing a bathroom shower. This is a new problem for me. I cannot cut a hole for the plumbing. I have a brand new 1 3/4" hole saw bit. It still won't work. The center is now about 1/8" deep and the outer ring is about 1/16" after drilling for ages. I have never before had a problem putting floor tile on the wall. I did the floor a darker shade and the wall the same pattern in a lighter shade. I will have 3 holes to do, spout, shower head and the 5" center control. Any suggestions? Thanks, Wendy
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Unread 12-04-2007, 07:15 PM   #2
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I usually cut all the holes i need with an angle grinder fitted with a 4" diamond blade. Cut from the back of the tile most of the time.
There is a right way and a wrong way, take your pick!!
You can only choose one!

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Unread 12-04-2007, 07:45 PM   #3
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Is it porcelain tile?

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Unread 12-04-2007, 07:47 PM   #4
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As you've discovered, today's porcelain floor tile are quite hard! I'd get a diamond core bit. Do a search here, and you'll find some sources. Carbide is just not hard enough to cut a good porcelain. An alternative is some diamond bits for say a dremmel...you may wear them out and the hole won't be as neat, but you'll probably make it.
Jim DeBruycker
Not a pro, multiple Schluter Workshops (Schluterville and 2013 and 2014 at Schluter Headquarters), Mapei Training 2014, Laticrete Workshop 2014, Custom Building Products Workshop 2015, and Longtime Forum Participant.
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Unread 12-05-2007, 02:47 PM   #5
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30 years? and this is the first time, WOW.
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Unread 12-05-2007, 04:25 PM   #6
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I just had the exact same issue. I bought a carbide bit at the home depot. I drilled for about 20 minutes and barely made a dimple. The porcelan tile is much too hard for these types of bits. You need a diamond, they go for around $60 to $80.

I marked where I needed the holes and took them in to my tile shop (World of Tile in Denver) and they drilled them for me for $3 each. Of course, if the tiles are already installed this will be harder.

There is another way I've read about but never tried. You can cut a squre hole by plunging your diamond saw blade to the appropriate depth. Your trim should cover the square OK.
Denver, CO
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Unread 12-05-2007, 09:43 PM   #7
Brian in San Diego
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My customary recommendation is to go to this eBay seller. I've bought a bunch of diamond products from them. They are inexpensive but work. They aren't for production jobs but should work for anything you'll encounter. I used the diamond hole saws for porcelain in my shower and had no problems.

If that doesn't work, I'll always think it should have.
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Unread 12-06-2007, 12:11 AM   #8
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Diamond hole saws are the best, but the trick is to take out the centering bit, it just slows you down. You have to have a steady hand to get it started but once your in it should be no problem... or you can back cut it with the grinder, or tile saw.
Northern California
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Unread 12-06-2007, 06:07 AM   #9
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Another site to get diamond bits is here...
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Unread 12-06-2007, 06:24 AM   #10
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That guy Todd from Minnesota just posted a test of some cheap diamond core bits here about a week back. They were good if you didn't do this a lot. Carbide ain't gonna work on porcelin. Are you using water to cut with? You can put the tile in a tray with some and it should work wonders.
Honestly the easiest way is your grinder like someone else said. Mark your hole front and back. Lightly score the front without going outside the box. Then flip and cut all the way through the back. Makes it easy if you do X's through the center. Just check now and then to make sure your through without going outside the box on the front. I cut 3/4" holes all the time this way.
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Unread 12-06-2007, 04:08 PM   #11
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Ramondai makes a great hole saw that will go through the strongest porcelain tiles. There usesd to be a website www.tiletools.com you could order them from.
Gary, Laticrete Contractor Sales Rep
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