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  1. #1
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    Drilling Bathroom Wall Tiles

    I suppose we should also include kitchens wall tiles in this aswell as there isn't any difference that I can think of apart from bathrooms generally have a lot more fitments in a lot smaller area.

    The first problem with drilling wall tiles in Thailand is that we use percussion drills and not nice gentle hammer drills, percussion drills are great for getting tiles off of walls really quickly and this is what happens if your not careful when you drill your holes into the tiles.

    The next problem is you will find that normally many of the wall tiles are actually blown or have air pockets behind parts of them, just need to tap them lightly say with a screw driver and you will hear the difference between well stuck tiles and blown or tiles with air pockets behind them, if you just drill into a blown tile with a percussion drill it will most likely fall off, if you drill into a area with an air pocket behind it it will most likely crack before you have drilled through the tile.

    So, if your tile has either of the above problems you need to weaken the tile where you want your hole, in the picture below you can see a cross in black insulation tape, you don't want to use insulation tape but it is better to see in the photo, use white masking tape in a cross where you want the hole, mark it on the tape, with a small center punch or a 3inch concrete nail and hammer tap away at where you want the hole, the outside glazing of wall tiles is really hard, but the inside is quite soft, once you have weakened the area you can now drill it, but be gentle

    The tape near the edges of the tile shows the area of where you really don't want someone drilling holes, try to drill too near a corner and the tile may crack, also too near the edge and it is quite likely to crack, if you can you really want all drill holes to be in the grout between the tiles, obviously this is not always possible or wanted due to tile placement.

    Insulation tape tends to move all over the place when it is on a tile and your trying to drill it, ordinary masking tape doesn't, also it is easy to mark, the idea of the tape is to help stop the drill bouncing all over the tile when you first start drilling into it.



    So what to do about those broken bathroom fitments, the odds are your not going to find anything that will line up with the old holes, so you can leave the tatty old piece of metal up, or, take it down and fill the holes.



    Pretty grubby underneath there aint it, green scourer and some bleach soon cleans it up, that high raw plug needs to be knocked in or the bit sticking out cut off.



    Bit of grout the same color and it all looks good, don't forget these pictures are showing the area a lot larger than it actually is so generally nobody would notice the repair unless it was at eye level and in an often looked area.



    With this shower head it was pretty lucky that the tile spacing worked out right, so, nice and easy to drill and fit, these tiles are 30cms high so it could have been as much as 15cms out, probably the best bet is one of those shower rails that you can slide the shower head up and down on though.



    Bit of a mess this one, the reason it is so big is that the valve screws into the pipe fitment, it's behind the toilet so don't really matter but if a stainless or chrome plated cover had been used it would have hidden the mess that it actually is.

    Last edited by dirtydog; 09-05-2009 at 10:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    that high raw plug needs to be knocked in or the bit sticking out cut off.
    I always pull them out

  3. #3
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    I always firstly and accurately mark out my hole position and to start use a very small masonry drill (never hammer setting) and make a small guide spot and drill in about a 3 mm to make sure the final bigger hole will be in the correct position.

    Then I use a spindle mounted stone grinding point with a 60 degree nose angle and I run it at about 600 RPM until I get through the hard tile outer layer and until I have achieved the correct hole final diameter. These stone mounted point normally are mounted on a 6mm (1/4") shaft which fits into your drill chuck.

    Then when I am into the softer clay coloured tile structure I use the same small masonry drill to drill through the tile into the wall and to the correct depth.

    Then I finish off the hole with the correct size drill running it about 150 RPM making sure I don't burn the drill out or crack the tile and again never on the hammer setting.

    Never cracked a tile yet and by using this method you will always get your hole in the correct position and with minimal effort.

    Also good when drilling granite or marble.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy
    Never cracked a tile yet
    Really!! I know who I will call next time!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy
    Also good when drilling granite or marble.
    I used to drill 8 X 2 inch dia holes in granite with no problem - all at the same time - easy when you are 500 ft underground driving a drill jumbo ready for blasting


    Seriously though, the spindle mounted stone grinding point with a 60 degree nose angle is the way to go with heavily glazed ceramic tiles.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    I've got a tile with a soap holder cup attached that is broken.

    How do I get that tile off the wall ?

    Thanks

  7. #7
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    ^^^^But you have turned a 2 hour job into a 2 day job, you reckon on 10 items with between 2 and 4 screws each.
    terry, you probably got to angle grind it off the wall

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    But you have turned a 2 hour job into a 2 day job
    High End Houses!!

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post

    Terry, you probably got to angle grind it off the wall

    FOK.

  10. #10
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    ^^But when your fitting an item in the bathroom, ie mirror, bum gun holder etc the drill hole is hidden underneath the item, so there really is no need for neat holes in the tile, just got to make sure the tile stays on the wall, doesn't crack, and doesn't lose its adhesion to the wall.

  11. #11
    lom
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post

    Terry, you probably got to angle grind it off the wall

    FOK.
    Don't listen to DD, he's just lazy doing it with machines.
    You can easily chisel out a tile with the help of a hammer and and a concrete nail.

  12. #12
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    ^Naaa, I would angle grind it to create weak points in the tile, ie near the edges etc, then chip it off with a cheap chisel and hammer.

  13. #13
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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  14. #14
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    Get a set of these glass drills, no need for tape, I drill through the tile with these, then change the drill for a masonary drill to save glass drill or you could do the lot with a glass drill if you wanted to.


  15. #15
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    ^They won't fit into a percussion drill though, well unless you add the chuck extension but that makes it very inaccurate on where your drill hole will end up.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgit View Post
    Get a set of these glass drills, no need for tape, I drill through the tile with these, then change the drill for a masonary drill to save glass drill or you could do the lot with a glass drill if you wanted to.

    Put a little ring of 'Plastcine' or putty around where you want to drill with a glass drill, and fill it with parrafin ( kerosine) makes it a lot easier and the drill lasts longer .
    NOTE!!
    This only works on a floor tile - on a wall tile the parrafin won't stay in ! l

  17. #17
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    Just so we all know what is what, this is a percussion drill, not a namby pamby hammer drill.



    This is an extension that can be added so the drill will take normal drill bits.



    These are the percussion drill bits, they just push fit into the chuck.


  18. #18
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    Not used much? judging by all the rust

  19. #19
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    I just use a hammer drill and have never had any problem other than it taking a long time and something the wholes aren't straight or exactly in the right place.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    ^^^^But you have turned a 2 hour job into a 2 day job,
    On the contrary mate!

    I have seen Thai labouring for hours to drill 2 holes and I come along and get the same job done in ten minutes.

    Got the tools and the talent!

  21. #21
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    ^4 drill bit changes for each hole wastes a hell of a lot of time.

  22. #22
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    ^ Try it one day DD.

    Based on my experiences (over 20 homes) my method would run rings around conventional means regarding time taken, more accurate for things like towels rails etc and the drills stay sharper and last longer for sure.

    Then again who am I to tell you how to suck eggs!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    ^They won't fit into a percussion drill though, well unless you add the chuck extension but that makes it very inaccurate on where your drill hole will end up.
    I have no trouble with my Bosch rechargeable STS with chuck extension if I am too lazy to use my pistol type Desoutter drill.

  24. #24
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    I don't know loytoy, I reckon it takes me about 9 seconds to do one hole in a properly fixed tile, one handed, whilst videoing it ok I admit I didn't center punch it which I would have done if it was someone elses bathroom, ie 4 whacks with a concrete nail just to break the glaze and help with the starting point for the drill bit.


  25. #25
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    thats SDS system

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