Drilling through porcelain tile

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by rsmith99, May 17, 2011.

  1. rsmith99

    rsmith99 New Member

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I need to drill some holes in porcelain tile to screw down a toilet flange.

    Should I drill the holes before or after the tile is set?

    Can anyone recommend the bit and or technique to use?

    Thanks!
  2. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    Masonary bits will work but, they make special other bits specifically, for tile, take your pick. It doesn't matter when you drill the holes, but you may find it easier after it is down, but harder to fix if you crack it. Take your time and drill slowly.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I would notch the tile just short of where the screw hole is and let the screw go through mortar instead. If I have to drill, I use a diamond bit in a Dremel.
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,010
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I like using a spacer beneath the closet flange, that way I can screw it down and then tile around it.
    Or you can pick up some tile bits. It normally takes more then one bit, depending on the hardness of the tile.
    Sometimes we use a 1/4" rotohammer bit. :)

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,020
    Location:
    New England
    Diamond core bits work. And, while you may not want to buy an industrial one, the ones sold at Lowes (from Hitachi) will work long enough to do multiple toilet flanges if you treat it right. The thing needs to be kept wet, or it will overheat, and wear out quickly. The easier way to do this on a horizontal surface is to use some plumber's putty to make a circular dam and make a pool of water.
  6. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    I like Terry's idea better, what do you use for spacers Terry?
  7. rsmith99

    rsmith99 New Member

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Thanks for the replies.
    I picked up a 5/16" diamond core bit for about $17 at the local hardware store.

    I didn't want to take a chance of the tile breaking after I installed it so I decided to do it before.

    I drilled a hole in a piece of 1/4" plastic that was just slightly larger than the bit size. I placed a piece of wood under the tile. I then made a thin ring of plumbers putty and put it around the marked hole. Then I clamped the 1/4" plastic on top of the tile and putty. The clamp was not clamped tight. Just enough to keep it from sliding.

    I filled the hole in the plastic with water as well as the reservouire? in the drill bit.

    Once the bit starts cutting the jig only serves to hold water.

    Took about 15 minutes total.

    This same method could be used on the floor with a jig large enough to put your foot on.

    Again, thanks for your help!

    Here are some pictures:

    Attached Files:

  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,010
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    This is the Sioux Chief spacer that I use.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  9. rsmith99

    rsmith99 New Member

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    After setting the tile the pipe coming up through the floor is pretty low. I will only have about 5/8" of glue surface between the pipe and the PVC toilet flange.
    The flange will be bolted to the concrete floor.

    Is 5/8" enough to hold and seal the flange. I assume ther is no force or pressure on the fitting.
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,010
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    5/8" will be fine. Bolting down the flange should hold it in.
  11. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,989
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Make sure the inside edge of the pipe is well deburred. Normally the edge would come flush to the fitting but with only 5/8" there, the cut edge of the pipe will show and solid matter could catch on it.
  12. PlumbPowerHouse

    PlumbPowerHouse Plumber

    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    South Carolina
    nice work! We usually use diamond bits as well.
  13. rsmith99

    rsmith99 New Member

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I screwed the flange to the concrete floor using Tapcon screws. After seeing how plastic flanges crack under tension, I will not install another flange without screwing it to the floor.

    Thanks for the help!
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,020
    Location:
    New England
    Don't use an all plastic flange! Get one with a SS ring instead. Still needs to be anchored, but won't crack or rust.
  15. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,171
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
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