Drilling A Hole Through Ceramic Wall

2012-05-27 Updated

2012-04-29 Initial Post

I had to drill some holes through my bathroom's ceramic wall to install a towel bar. I was very hesitant about doing this even after reading several posts on how to do it. I read one post where someone commented that a regular plastic anchor could be used, so that made me feel better about doing this. In the end, it was very easy as long as you're meticulous and measure 3 times and do a dry run before you actually drill the hole. I've included pics for reference. Note that I only drilled one hole for each mounting bracket because I wasn't sure if drilling two holes that close to each other would break the ceramic tile. After doing this, I think drilling the second hole would not be a problem.


  1. Ryobi 4 Piece Steel Glass and Tile Bit Set. This worked really well and easily went through the tile even with my crappy old drill. The anchors I used are 3/16 inch, so I first drilled a pilot hole with the smallest bit (1/8 inch).
  2. Power drill. Make sure the battery is fully charged and go slow. I have a crappy old Ryobi drill and it actually shot out sparks and smoke because I had it running too fast. [2012-05-27: The drill issue is actually my fault! I should have set the speed setting lower and  the torque setting higher. I've never had an issue with drilling holes through wood and metal, but ceramic is very hard (which is why a special drill bit is required). I didn't think about this until I got a new Ridgid drill and read the instructions for it and realized that the Ryobi has pretty much the same torque and speed adjustments (it looked like the same company wrote the instructions for both brands).]
  3. Phillips head drill bit and screwdriver.
  4. #4-6 x 7/8 in. Ribbed Plastic Anchor with Pan Head Combo Drive Screw (50 Pieces). Make sure the lip of the anchor is larger than the hole of the mounting bracket--get a larger anchor set if you need to.
  5. Straight scratch awl.
  6. Level.
  7. Blue masking tape.
  8. Regular pencil.
  9. Drop clothes.
  10. And of course, the towel bar. This brand, Gatco, is excellent quality. I'm not a metallurgist, but I know good quality metal parts when I see them. The weight and plating of the Gatco products is top notch.

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