The Right Tools for Installing Porcelain Tiles
Cutting porcelain tiles is not as straightforward a job as cutting ceramic tiles and an electric tile cutter with a diamond blade will almost certainly be required. But these tools do not have to be expensive to do the job properly. Even so a DIYer installing porcelain tiles for the first time will be understandably worried about breaking expensive tiles but with the right tools the task will be made easier and there will be fewer breakages.
The difficulty with installing porcelain tiles comes when they need to be laid around awkward shapes so that a straight line cut is not sufficient and this difficulty is substantially increased if the tiles need to be drilled to install any fixtures and fittings. But with care this is a home improvement task that can be performed by anyone used to a bit of DIY and can add style and value to your property. So even if you are thinking of moving house in the near future it is still an investment worth making.
Drilling holes in porcelain tiles will usually require first drilling a small “pilot” hole if the size of the hole is greater than 1cm and the main drilling will always require a diamond drill bit because of the hardness of the porcelain. And because it is so hard it will also need to be cooled with water to prevent the bit over-heating.
It is important to decide what size the hole needs to be before any drilling starts because its size will determine which method is best to use. For holes 1cm wide or less the tile can be drilled once it has been installed but for larger holes it is better to drill the tile before installing it. If drilling before the tile has been installed you should place some tile off-cuts under the tile being cut so that the drill bit does not go through the surface underneath and also do the drilling somewhere where the water required to cool the bit can flow away easily or be caught on some sort of basin.
Water and electricity are never a good mix so ensure you avoid electric shock by using an RCD (residual current device) and always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from small particles of tile.