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How do I drill through tile without breaking it?

Q: How do I drill through tile without breaking it? My wife wants me to hang a knife rack on our kitchen backsplash.

 

A: Installing a knife-rack or other such kitchen amenity often requires pre-drilling through glazed tile for the mounting hardware. Standard twist-drill bits aren’t strong enough to cut through the glaze, so you’ll need to use a carbide-tipped masonry bit. For very hard tiles, you may need a diamond-tipped drill bit, which will not burn out as easily as masonry bits. The bit will have a tendency to slip or skate off the glossy surface, so first apply an “X” of masking tape over the hole location to provide traction for the bit during drilling. Start drilling at a low speed, increasing the speed as you go. Apply firm pressure, but not so hard that you risk breaking through the tile. Use a spray bottle of water to keep the bit lubricated, which reduces friction heat during drilling. Drill all the way through the tile and wallboard. Ease the pressure at the end of the hole for a clean cut, which provides a solid area for fastening if using a hollow-wall anchor such as a toggle bolt.

 

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