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Drilling big holes (in tiles)

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gerry madden09/11/2019 16:21:09
111 forum posts
45 photos

Hi experts,

After some guidance again... A builder, god bless him, has done a superb job in boxing in my mains stopcock with tiled panels. He obviously thought access through a very heavy removeable granite cover and a long reach down at a funny angle would be a piece of cake. I knew 6 years ago this was going to be a pain and now that I have leaking ball-cocks and other things to attend to I find that is definitely is..

My plan is to make a hole through the tiled panel to gain direct access to the tap. I'll machine up a plastic cover for the hole when not in use.

I'm thinking I need to get a big SDS drill and a diamond toothed hole saw. The tiles, I know from experience of drilling holes for other brackets, are very hard and 10mm thick.

Is a hole saw the most sensible solution or should I do things differently ?



JasonB09/11/2019 16:28:43
18103 forum posts
1994 photos
1 articles

Diamond coated holesaw will do it in a cordless. Cheap enough from the far east, I use Richon

Use it to drill a hole through some 6mm ply or MDF then hold that against the wall to guide the holesaw until it has started the cut, slow speed and keep wet, I just dip the end into a bucket every 20secs or so.

You don't really need it big enough for your hand, make a tool with a forked end to sit over the stopcock handle with a tommy bat on the opposite end. Plastic cap from a cardboard tube may suit to plug the hole.


Edited By JasonB on 09/11/2019 16:31:10

Journeyman09/11/2019 16:30:09
801 forum posts
141 photos

If you have a spare tile or can acquire one, perhaps give consideration to removing a whole tile and making a new tile sized access panel. Good chance of cracking a tile with a diamond hole saw especially if hand held and you are going in across two tiles in your picture so possibly more damage.


mechman4809/11/2019 16:30:32
2663 forum posts
410 photos

The hole you have marked out seems a tad big to drill out, could you not manage with a smaller hole & make yourself a tee bar/tube with a slot in to cover the tee piece handle of the stop cock, say 3/4 - 7/8 ( 19 - 22 mm ) & use that to operate the tap?


Robert Atkinson 209/11/2019 16:39:43
644 forum posts
16 photos

For cutting I'd suggest a diamond core drill rather than a hole saw. Difficulty is holding it in position. Make sure the drill has a clutch, if the bit snatches it will break your arm without.

As an alternative could you cut a slot in a toothed pulley, slip it over and clamp on and then use a belt to turn the pulley? To be fancy a slot half way through on one side could engage with one side of the valve handle. maybe even a shaft and drve pulley across the top of the "wall"

Robert G8RPI.

Edited By Robert Atkinson 2 on 09/11/2019 16:40:19

Brian Oldford09/11/2019 16:40:50
652 forum posts
15 photos

Perhaps you need some help from Joey from Direct Line. **LINK** smile

Robert Butler09/11/2019 16:55:31
150 forum posts
6 photos

Or if you have sufficient clearance and reach cut two opposing slots in a socket with an angle grinder and use a ratchet. Failing which weld a suitable 'u' section to a bar and you may loosen it sufficiently to finish by hand - reach??

Robert Butler

HOWARDT09/11/2019 17:14:19
556 forum posts
15 photos

If you already have a jig saw use a diamond blade, or use a multi-tool to cut a large rectangular ( or any other shape) hole.

Dave Halford09/11/2019 17:28:17
743 forum posts
6 photos

You could try a ShureStop valve after the existing one, then you only need a 1/4" hole for the air tube

DC31k09/11/2019 18:49:49
200 forum posts
Posted by JasonB on 09/11/2019 16:28:43:

Use it to drill a hole through some 6mm ply or MDF then hold that against the wall to guide the holesaw until it has started the cut

Holding the guide in place is not easy, especially on a slippery tiled surface. If time is not pressing, glue the guide on 24h in advance using hot glue or silicone.

I agree with the others that a small hole is all that is necessary. With a bit of careful measurement, you can drill on centre of the tap, expose the screw holding the handle on, remove the screw and handle and use a square socket on an extension to turn it. Remember when finished not to leave it fully open.

Robert Butler09/11/2019 19:00:43
150 forum posts
6 photos

See my earlier post if there is sufficient access is a hole necessary?? Robert Butler

Former Member09/11/2019 19:13:11

[This posting has been removed]

gerry madden09/11/2019 21:41:23
111 forum posts
45 photos

As always, excellent food for thought. Thanks all. …. I learn so much every time I post on here !


larry phelan 110/11/2019 12:41:05
719 forum posts
14 photos

And I thought we were the only ones who had builders/tilers like that ???

Have been there, seen that. A tiler will tile around you sooner than ask you to move.

What happens after he,s gone ? Who cares !!

gerry madden25/11/2019 19:10:31
111 forum posts
45 photos

Hi All, just an update...

After careful thought I went for making a big hole. It was a kind of 'in for a penny in for a pound moment' with the advantage that I can put my hand in to attend to some other things as well, as they become necessary.

Jason B - Thanks for the Richon link. What an interesting site that was too! I ended up buying a 105mm diamond core saw and it took about 10 days to arrive. I cut a piece of ply and fixed this on the tiles with single a screw. The saw cut through the tiles went beautifully with only the tiniest of chipping at the edges of the hole. The cutting part took about 10 mins and I wasn't trying.

I have a sheet of white acetal for the cover. I'm hoping a soak in some coffee should give it a coloured tint to help it blend in with the tiles.


JasonB25/11/2019 19:29:21
18103 forum posts
1994 photos
1 articles

Thanks for posting the results, always nice to know when things work out well.

Emgee25/11/2019 20:52:16
1485 forum posts
217 photos

Sound advice from Jason again, always best to listen to those who have been there and done it.


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