Drilling into tile taking way too long, am I using the right drill?

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Madmax83, Oct 10, 2021.

  1. Madmax83

    Madmax83 Member

    Hi all

    I have a lot of bathroom furniture to fit onto a tiled bathroom. The tiles are ceramic.

    I have already drilled a few holes in the tiles but each hole takes ages to drill! I haven't timed it but roughly around 10-20 mins per hole. (Each hole is 8mm).

    I have two drills.

    One is this basic 18v cordless green Bosch drill with 1.5Ah battery (this one).

    The other drill is a very old Black & Decker corded hammer drill. I can't find the exact model but is almost identical to this one. It is 350w and has one speed.

    I have a good selection of drill bits (carbide-tipped bits, ceramic tile bits, blue bosch multi-purpose bits, masonry) so I don't think this is where the problem lies.

    Currently i'm using the Bosch cordless to pierce the ceramic tile glaze with the carbide-tipped ceramic tile bits but then drilling through the entire tile takes ages, so I then switch to the corded Black and Decker drill (ensuring hammer is switched off). I get a lot more power with this but even then it seems to take a long time until I'm actually through to the other side. Then drilling through the actual masonry (behind the tiles) is very quick.

    So my question... is this just how long it takes to drill through a ceramic tile or should I upgrade my hardware?

    I know drilling into a porcelain tile is tough but didn't think ceramic would take this long!
  2. I-Man

    I-Man Screwfix Select

    it can take long, but not that long. Once i've gone through the surface of the tile, i switch over to hammer on a low speed at first to punch through. Never had a tile crack or break so far.
  3. candoabitofmoststuff

    candoabitofmoststuff Screwfix Select

    I would do it in stages...
    3mm hole, then 5mm, then 8mm.
    Bigger holes go much quicker when there is somewhere for the debris to go.
  4. Jiml86

    Jiml86 Screwfix Select

    No it shouldn't take that long, without knowing id say possibly the bit your using is slowing you down as opposed to the drill itself. Also keep the bit cool, take it out every 10 or so seconds and dip it in some water.
  5. I-Man

    I-Man Screwfix Select

    Good point above... start with small drill bits and then work up
  6. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

  7. I-Man

    I-Man Screwfix Select

    Also, keep the drill bit cool by regularly dipping in cold water, otherwise you'll soon make them useless
  8. Madmax83

    Madmax83 Member

    Thanks all for the comments. Yeh I've been doing all the above (drilling small first, cooling as I go, etc) but still takes a while.

    Maybe it is worth upgrading the tile bits I have.

    @FlyByNight those bits look very good although I'm trying to avoid diamond bits if possible as they're quite expensive and these tiles aren't porcelain.
  9. Jiml86

    Jiml86 Screwfix Select

  10. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

    I agree, but with lots to do, it can be a better option. I use the larger 22mm ones to make holes for pipes before fitting - ising a drill press and plenty of water.

    Get a cheap Erbauer 8mm and try it out - use a piece of 18mm ply with a predrilled hole as a guide.
  11. Madmax83

    Madmax83 Member

    You are right. They may not be porcelain but they are definitely tough ceramic tiles and I do have a lot of holes, so yes, this does make sense.

    Screwfix do a 6mm Erbauer for around £18 so will give that a go
  12. FlyByNight

    FlyByNight Screwfix Select

    Don't forget to get a pice of decent ply or perspex, 11/15/18 thick and put a 6mm hole throughtape that in place as a guide - the full kit has a suction version. Use water to cool and clean - see how you go. My garage workbench was covered in 18mm diameter discs from when I was cutting large holes.
  13. Madmax83

    Madmax83 Member

    I was planning on using my current drill bits to create the pilot hole, get the opening wide enough to accommodate the 6mm diamond bit. This will act as the guide. Then once i'm all the way through the tile, then use a regular 8mm Bosch multi-purpose bit to widen the hole.
  14. Adamfya

    Adamfya Screwfix Select

    Toolstaion do a mexco kit for 40 bucks. Its an excellent bit of kit, with uk support in the west country. Highly recommeded
  15. Madmax83

    Madmax83 Member

    I've found these diamond bits on amazon which seem really good value.

    I've been through a few of them which seem to have good reviews but when you sort by 'newest reviews first', there are a lot of negative.

    These links seems to be the best ones...



    I might try one of these before going down the more expensive routes
  16. Adamfya

    Adamfya Screwfix Select

    Toolstaion do a mexco kit for 40 bucks. Its an excellent bit of kit, with uk support in the west country. Highly recommeded

    4 @ under 40 bucks delivered free with local shop backup and uk tech support....??
    We are trying to help you here
  17. chillimonster

    chillimonster Screwfix Select

    You need the heart shaped pointed bits. Last ones I bought were Silverline
    but S/F do a glass and ceramic drill bit set 1598V ( Spring 2021 Catalogue )
    for about £13 . No need for big spending.
  18. Truckcab79

    Truckcab79 Screwfix Select

    Bosch tile bits from Screwfix. About £4 each. Shouldn’t even need to go up in stages and if you’re absolutely certain you’re drilling ceramic then something is wrong with your drill bits. The Bosch ones will go through in seconds. In 20 minutes I could probably lick a hole in a tile, never mind drill one.
  19. Jiml86

    Jiml86 Screwfix Select

    God help your missus
  20. malkie129

    malkie129 Screwfix Select

    In the past, I have used Heller tile/glass bits to drill through the glaze and then followed up with Bosch multi mateial bits. I have a little Makita 10.8v with a 1/4 hex chuck. So quick & easy.

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