Tips for drilling through tiled walls

Too many homeowners put off bathroom projects because it involves drilling through tiles, but if you have the right tools and accessories drilling through tiles is a quick and easy project. Plus, all these accessories are available at your local Builders Warehouse.






There are a variety of accessories and attachments that can be used in combination with a drill / driver that allow you to drill through tiles with ease. Even if you have never attempted to drill through tiles before you will find the following tips and tricks helpful for your first attempt. With a bit of practice you will soon see that drilling through tiles is not as difficult as you originally perceived.



When you want to mount a bathroom cabinet onto the wall, perhaps add new bathroom fittings, or install a mirror, drilling into tiles will be necessary for securing these items in place. If you don't already own one, you absolutely must invest in an electronic detector. A basic Bosch PDO digital detector costs between R800 - R1200 depending on the model you select, but can save you a small fortune by ensuring you don't drill into plumbing or electrical conduits.



Now that you have ensure the safety of your project you won't be drilling into water pipes hidden behind the tiles!



A drill or drill / driver is the next tool you will need for drilling through tiles. Many of you may already have a 500W corded impact drill that you can use for the project, but if you don't the new Bosch PSB 10,8 LI-2 Combi Drill / Driver offers great value for money and incorporates lithium-ion battery technology in a powerful, compact tool that is lightweight and drill through tiles easily. This model retails at around R2200, which is R200 more than the 18V model that does not have hammer drill function.



Trade in your old, heavy cumbersome drill and invest in a drill / driver that you can use as a screwdriver, a drill, an impact drill and a hammer drill - all in one!



With the tools organised it's time to look at the accessories you will need to drill through tiles. At this stage it all depends on what size hole you need to drill and there are a wide variety of options to choose from.



Don't waste your money on cheap drill bits that will only drill one hole and then need to be replaced. Alpen multi- and all-purpose bits drill through tiles like a hot knife cuts through butter. This is an investment buy, because you will not only be able to drill more than one hole, if you follow our simple tip for using cutting oil or WD-40 lubricant when drilling through hard materials, you will be able to use your Alpen drill bits over and over again.





If you need to drill holes in porcelain tiles you need a system that will drill through this hard material without damaging the tile. Alpen offer the Keramo Extreme range of glass and tile bits in various sizes and these drill precise holes through porcelain tiles without chipping.


If you are planning on tackling a complete bathroom renovation it might pay you to invest in a kit that offers all the above in one. The Tork Craft Diamond Hole Saw kit contains a selection of diamond hole saws in varying sizes ranging from 5mm up to 50mm to allow you to drill holes for screws or pipes in ceramic, marble, grade 5 porcelain, granite, glass and slate.



If you don't need the entire kit, the diamond hole saw bit are available separately.




Always use water (or cutting oil) when using a hole saw. This acts as a coolant to prevent the diamonds from overheating and also extends the life of the cutting edge. You can spray water onto the surface as you drill, or use the handy straw that comes with a can of WD-40v to keep the bit cool. Click here for a video that provides detailed instructions for using a diamond hole saw.


And another very handy accessory from Tork Craft is the hole saw bit guide. Compatible with bits from 4-mm to 35mm, the drill guide is secured onto tiles with two suction cups and is adjusted to fit and guide precise drilling of holes in tiles.






If you don't want to use the guide and need to drill holes in walls, start off by holding the drill at an approximate 30- to 40-degree angle, and at slow speed, allow the bit to bite into the surface of the tile before lifting and drilling the remaining hole at full speed.