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I'm going to drill a couple of holes in a tiled wall in my bathroom. Is it best to drill through the seams or the tiles? Should I avoid vertical or horizontal seams, or does it really not matter?

The holes are for a shower riser (i.e. just a couple of screws with plastic wall plugs/dowels). These look like the plain old ceramic tiles, and they have cracked where they were drilled through by whoever installed the shower.

P.S. I'm aware of the possibility of drilling through a water pipe; will take the necessary precautions.

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Generally you go through the tile, not the grout. Otherwise the masonry bit will catch the edge of the tile and crack it. – Chris Cudmore Sep 12 '13 at 17:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would buy a set of glass bits. I linked to some cheap ones - no idea if they are great or not but probably doesn't matter.

It also doesn't matter if you do it on grout or tile - you need to anchor either way.

The key is to start with your smallest bit and work your way up to the hole size you need. The tile breaks because of pressure. By slowly increasing the hole size you are putting less force on it.

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Would you use glass bits on stone tile as well? – Tester101 Sep 12 '13 at 17:56
I do all the time. A masonry or regular bit is flat. And I have messed up the surrounding area using them. Also I have had issues with kickback on regular bits, then you scratch the tile in another place. I only use diamond head glass bits now. I have a set I have used for a couple years and since I started using them I am at about 95% no issues compared to 70-80% before. You are always taking a chance of cracking, especially with cheap or smaller tiles. – DMoore Sep 12 '13 at 17:59

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