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I need to secure a range hood on my new subway tile backsplash. Behind the tile is the thinset, drywall, then concrete block. I don't think my furring strips are ideally located for mounting purposes.

My plan is to use 1/4" Tapcons which require a 3/16" pilot hole. That's fine, but should I first drill the full 1/4" through the tile, thinset, and drywall until I reach the block? My concern is that driving the Tapcons through the tile and thinset at 3/16" could potentially crack the tile or affect the integrity of the thinset.

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Yes, that would be wise, particularly for the tile. You can drill a 1/4" or maybe 3/8" hole in the tile using a masonry bit in a non-hammering drill. Then switch the hammer mode on and pop in the 3/16" bit for the screw hole in the non tile layers.

  • This is probably what I'll do (5/16" is the best I can do around here, probably with this). But I actually thought I may drill 3/16" through the tile first, that way I can just switch to my masonry bit and drill the pilot for the Tapcons. Then I would go back and enlarge the hole I made in the tile. Not sure if I should use a step bit for that, but I think that way I can ensure that the 3/16" pilot hole is centered within the larger hole I put in the tile. How's that plan? – cfx Jan 5 '18 at 3:12
  • That sounds probably fine. My main concern would be that you do not use a drill in hammer mode on the tile. So I'd probably first drill through tile and just a bit into cement with the small bit in non-hammer mode, then expand the tile hole with the bigger bit (also in non-hammer mode), and finally deepen the hole with the small bit in hammer mode. – Shimon Rura Jan 5 '18 at 18:53

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