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DIY Tales: Installing Bath Hardware in Tile

By Home Improvement | Remodeling | Home Repair || DIY & Pro :: Building Moxie on Dec 23, 2013

Installing Hardware on Tile a Building Skills :: Installing Bath Hardware in Tile :: Vintage Tie Back Edition


When you work in bathrooms, the occasion will arise when you will need and want to mount something into tile. A little intimidating perhaps, but really, with the right tools and a few tips – it can be pulled off pretty effortlessly.

shower curtain tie back 224x300 Building Skills :: Installing Bath Hardware in Tile :: Vintage Tie Back Edition

As I told you in my last post I was working in my daughters’ bath. A standard-type, what a builder might call – hall bath. This room is approximately 6x9ish, it has a standard 5-foot tub and we redid it (actually it was our Other Man) about two years back. Still, and in standard jb-style, I am just now getting to some of the final items in there. (Yeah, how I roll, animal print pants out of control.)

One rather small item I wanted to address was re-installing a vintage shower curtain tieback. It had been lying around for a few years, and truthfully – I’m amazed that it didn’t become misplayed. So I finally did it, right after I installed my new Brizo Hydrati showehead. With that showerhead – I shot the first video (for our new YouTube channel) and in essence, here, I just left the camera rolling.

Here’s the vid – Installing Bath Hardware in Tile:


Now, I want to put out that I was drilling through, screwing into and mounting to a standard ceramic 3×6 subway tile. In the grand scheme of things, a softer material than say porcelain and many other natural stone tiles. Of course, the concern is with all that you can crack the tile you trying to screw through.

shower curtain tie back hanging Building Skills :: Installing Bath Hardware in Tile :: Vintage Tie Back Edition

There are two tips that I offer in the vid that ensure that you don’t. First before drilling make sure that you score your tile. Because I was setting screws, I used a self-centering punch. (This is the one have: Stanley self-centering punch – on Amazon.) You do this to not only break the surface of the tile, but also to minimize the possibility of skating with your bit when you begin to drill.

Second, grab the proper bit. In my vid, I use a spear tip tile and glass bit. While it worked great for my application, in many other situations a masonry bit may work just as well … AS LONG AS you score your tile surface first.

A key thing to remember is that friction and heat may play a role here. Drill using a relatively low speed. And the harder the tile is the greater importance of this. Use light pressure and let the bit eo the work, backing off and clearing debris occasionally.

Here are two articles that offer great tips on scoring and how to approach the task in general. One from, here and two from How Stuff Works, here.

Note too that in this location for me there was no framing behind my tile, in other words – nothing to drill to. And you will find that frequently. While I thought about using an anchor, in the end – I decided against it. I was only installing a tie back and in the grand scheme of bathroom accessories … it wasn’t gonna get tugged on too much. I fortified it with a dab of silicone caulk behind it.

screwing into tile Building Skills :: Installing Bath Hardware in Tile :: Vintage Tie Back Edition

In my case and for added insurance – I verified that I had additional tile on hand … for the just in case. And you should too.


That’s it, hope it helps and oh, if you are in the holiday gift giving mood ( :~) ) feel free to subscribe to the new channel on YouTube. Cheers. ~jb

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