Monday, February 22, 2010

How to and not to drill in glass tile

Eventually I hope to post about the bathroom remodel that Lynn performed on second bathroom on the second floor. It had been my bathroom and will remain my bathroom and Linus' as he gets old enough to use it. It turned out wonderfully.

One of the defining characteristics of the new bathroom is 1 inch blue glass tile in various shades in the tub surround and as an accent back splash all the way up the wall behind the sinks. It looks beautiful. So beautiful that I was nervous about installing the show curtain.

I needed to drill through that beautiful glass tile and I had never done that before. I was very concerned that I would break the tile when I drilled it and and deface this work of art. Thus a little practice was in order.



Guess which tile I drilled first and which I drilled second. The tile on the right was the first attempt and I learned not to press too hard when drilling. The directions which the drill bit (example drill bit) suggested using a nail to mark the surface so that the bit would have something to hold it in the place where you wanted to drill. I had to tape these tiles to some wood for the testing so I couldn't see if I actually may have broken the tile making the nail mark rather than drilling. In any case I left off the nail marking step when I found that I could drill precisely without it.

I drilled two more tiles successfully before I started on the actual wall. It went well if a bit slowly. To use the bit it recommends that it be lubricated with water through the whole process. If you are drilling and you hear the squeak of the bit on the glass that means there isn't enough water. I actually used a clean squeeze bulb (called a nasal bulb syringe) that you might use to clear a babies nose to squirt water as I drilled. The difficulty was squirting constantly to keep water on a vertical wall surface while drilling with the other hand. I also found that gently and very slightly tilting the drill bit from side to side while drilling at a reasonable speed helped the bit to bite into the material and help to speed up the drilling. High RPM's do not help to make the drilling faster and is not recommended.

The holes were drilled perfectly though it took some time because I was being cautious. I actually think I cracked one tile inserting the screw anchor after the drilling, but the drilled tiles were covered completely by the bracket for the show curtain rod. I would be more gentle the next time I need to insert anchors in glass tile.

3 comments:

Paul Loussarian said...

thanks for that information. I'm about to do the same thing and I'm nervous about it as I just got the glass tile installed and don't want to muck it up.

Daniel Gottesman said...

Hi Richard,
I have a 2cmx2 tile (4mm thick), that I'm trying to drill a 1cm hole into.
Would be happy to get your advice and tips on this!
Thanks!
Daniel

Daniel Gottesman said...

Hi Richard,
I have a 2cmx2 tile (4mm thick), that I'm trying to drill a 1cm hole into.
Would be happy to get your advice and tips on this!
Thanks!
Daniel