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Porcelain Shower Tile

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When your new tile shower is finally finished, you begin to celebrate. Then you realize you have to hang a shower curtain rod or grab bar. And you have no idea how to drill through those expensive porcelain shower walls you just wrote a big check for.

The good news is doing this correctly with the right tools is easier than you think. For a supply line or valve hole, you should use this method during the shower tile installation.

Tools for drilling through porcelain tile
First, you'll need a few tools that bathroom tile contractors use:

• Cordless drill with fully charged batteries

• Level

• Tape measure

• Stud finder

• Pencil or marker

• Sponge, bucket of water and rag

• 100-percent silicone sealant (clear)

• Special diamond-tip tile drill bits

Use a diamond-tip drill bit for porcelain tile
Like most DIY projects, this one starts with a trip to the home improvement store. In the tile tools section, you should find a “diamond-tipped hole saw” or “diamond drill bit” that comes with a plastic wet containment piece.

Absolutely do not get a standard bit from the hardware section, even if it says it will drill through brick or other materials. Normal drill bits slide all around and fail to penetrate tile, which could damage your shower tile. Diamond-tip drill bits are more expensive, but they do exactly what you need.

The diamond-coated end of the tile bit or hole saw is specifically made to drill through tile and porcelain. Really, when you’re drilling through porcelain or tile, the bit isn’t actually drilling at all. It’s grinding. The diamonds create friction and rub through the tile.

The water containment piece cools the bit and serves as a guide to keep the bit from sliding around when you start drilling. Water is essential, and without it, the bit will wear down in seconds. A spinning diamond bit generates a lot of heat, so even keeping a damp sponge around will help. If it heats up, you'll see steam and you’ll want to pour water on the wall so it trickles onto the bit.

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