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My bathroom is tiled with an extremely ridged ceramic tile and I would like to mount a floating shelf on the wall.

example of ridged tile

Since the tile is ridged, the tiler is reluctant to drill holes in it for fear of tile breakage.

Do diamond drill bits work on ridged tiles?

Are there any other recommendations on how to mount such shelves (glue, plaster, etc.) onto ridged tile? The shelves are simple planks made of laminated wood, and when loaded will weigh about 4-5 lbs.

Thanks!

  • I think your best bet might have been install the shelves first and then tiled around it. – norcal johnny Oct 20 '18 at 3:26
  • even if the drilled hole is ugly, won’t it be covered by the shelve? – Quoc Vu Feb 16 at 6:03
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Since floating shelves apply a lot of torque to their mounts, I don't recommend adhesives. That's a recipe for a noisy disaster.

You can drill tile like that with a few precautions.

  1. It can be very difficult to accurately start a hole. A small chip in the glaze made with a nail set and light taps can help. Otherwise, brace the drill well against the wall to keep it stationary.

  2. Don't use the hammer setting. Use a grinding bit (diamond or tungsten) at fairly high speed and with light force.

  3. Keep the bit aligned during the entire process. Allowing the drill to cant to the side will cause binding, which could damage the tile.

A stable, light touch should get you good results. If you don't have any spare tile in case the unthinkable occurs, reconsider the value of your fancy shelves. Maybe use a standing unit instead.

  • I'd drill through a piece of wood, hot glue it to the wall, then use a diamond grit hole saw through that hole to accurately drill the tile. Anything else, and the risk of wandering bits is extremely high. – Aloysius Defenestrate Oct 20 '18 at 4:35
  • Thanks a lot for the suggestions! Do you think applying a strip of concrete or plaster over the parts to be drilled to flatten it out would help at all before drilling? If so is there a recommended material for that? The tiles are ceramic. – user2892912 Oct 20 '18 at 12:21

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