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Cutting large holes in Tile

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  • #454116
    ChadM
    Moderator
    East Palestine, Ohio

    How does everyone go about making large, round holes (like for toilet flanges, shower valves, etc) in floor and wall tile? I have used grinders with diamond wheels and have also used small diamond drill to make a series of holes around the perimeter then knock it out.

    The company I am working for now does a lot of bathroom remodels and I will be doing my fair share of them so I am strongly considering buying some large diameter diamond hole saws specifically for toilet flanges and shower valves. Anybody use these? I am looking at redeeming for the Bosch diamond hole saw set on the list then buying some larger diameter bits to round out the set.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #454119
    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    On my last bathroom Reno, I used a 4 1/2″ diamond blade on my angle grinder. Round hole can be done with a lot of patience. I ended up watching a few Tube videos on it. Can you get a diamond hole saw big enough for a toilet flange?

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it Dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #454121
    ChadM
    Moderator
    East Palestine, Ohio

    Can you get a diamond hole saw big enough for a toilet flange?

    Most flanges are 6&7/8″ diameter – 7 inch diamond hole saws can be bought for between $150 and $400…..I mostly want a 4&3/4″ for shower valves, if I could find a decent 7″ for the right price I would go for it but it isn’t that important.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #454123
    CrpntrFeak
    Pro
    Globe, AZ

    4 1/2″ grinder with Diamond wheel for me. Just have to be careful not to chip the face of the tile. Of course with a cutout for a toilet, your cuts don’t need to be perfect.

    #454126
    ChadM
    Moderator
    East Palestine, Ohio

    4 1/2″ grinder with Diamond wheel for me. Just have to be careful not to chip the face of the tile. Of course with a cutout for a toilet, your cuts don’t need to be perfect.

    Yeah, a toilet is pretty forgiving on ugly cuts but some of the trim rings on showers are pretty exacting. Doesn’t take a lot to get outside of what it will cover.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #454138
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    4 1/2″ grinder with Diamond wheel for me. Just have to be careful not to chip the face of the tile. Of course with a cutout for a toilet, your cuts don’t need to be perfect.

    Exactly, but it’s a perfect place to practice cutting with a grinder.

    I try to use diamond bits whenever the hole is small, and if not I use a grinder.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #454141
    crotalusco
    Pro
    west bend, wi

    for ceramic a good diamond grit jigsaw blade will do. porcelain and you are are stuck with your grinder or one of those large diamond hole saws

    #454158
    CrpntrFeak
    Pro
    Globe, AZ

    Yeah, a toilet is pretty forgiving on ugly cuts but some of the trim rings on showers are pretty exacting. Doesn’t take a lot to get outside of what it will cover.

    Gonna stick with a grinder. Although the picture is travertine, as I prefer stone, I have done many showers with a grinder. I prefer the grinder for the most part. The very small holes is when I will use a diamond hole saw. 3/4″ or smaller.

    #454169
    Doobie
    Moderator

    I redeemed last year for the 11 piece Bosch set which I have yet to use. It is a good bang for your points redemption imo.

    I researched what was the best way to do the holes larger than the 2 1/2 inch size in the Bosch set, and the most reasonable method is the aforementioned grinding out method. Even @AndyG who we haven’t seen post here for a while I believe mentioned that as well months ago.

    Then again, if you are going to be doing a lot of them that are large and the same size(s), it may be worrth it to pay the bucks for some bigger hole saws. Beyond the Bosch ones, which are very good quality per many reviews I’ve read, there are a lot of crappy ones out there apparently, so be careful what you buy Chad.

    #454177

    @ChadM how many times does the tile end up with the entire hole in one tile? To me that is when a full size hole would be nice.

    I usually use my grinder or wet saw to cut a bunch of relief cuts and then smooth out the cut. I do have a diamond hole saw for water lines and shower head arms. Those almost always end up all in one tile.

    Do you have a big, variable speed grinder to run that large of a hole saw? Slow, steady, and wet seems to work the best especially in hard tile/stone.

    Andrew

    A Working Pro since 1995!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #454206

    Yup 4 1/2 inch grinder for me as well, like other members mentioned, most of the time the cuts are not in the center of the tiles, but I have done some a couple of times. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try hard to do a clean and nice job.
    Imo the grinder is the fastest way so far.

    #454262
    ChadM
    Moderator
    East Palestine, Ohio

    @ChadM how many times does the tile end up with the entire hole in one tile? To me that is when a full size hole would be nice.

    I usually use my grinder or wet saw to cut a bunch of relief cuts and then smooth out the cut. I do have a diamond hole saw for water lines and shower head arms. Those almost always end up all in one tile.

    Do you have a big, variable speed grinder to run that large of a hole saw? Slow, steady, and wet seems to work the best especially in hard tile/stone.

    Not often but I would like to have it for the times it works out. I have always used a grinder and have never had any issues but it would be nice to have the option.

    I do not have a vs grinder but this would make a good excuse to get one.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

    #454263

    I use my jigsaw…JS572, in fact with the the blades Bosch sells and some water sprayed on the blade. Did a perfect job cutting lots and lots of curved pieces in my travertine. Might not be perfect for all jobs, but it worked perfectly. Otherwise, a large hole saw would do the trick.

    Orange County, CA

    #454264
    Warren6810
    Moderator
    Akron, OH

    I remember cutting out for the toilet on my first tile floor. I spent 30 or 40 minutes with a grinder getting the cutout just right.

    Then I found out I measured from the wrong edge.

    #454267

    @ChadM how many times does the tile end up with the entire hole in one tile? To me that is when a full size hole would be nice.

    I usually use my grinder or wet saw to cut a bunch of relief cuts and then smooth out the cut. I do have a diamond hole saw for water lines and shower head arms. Those almost always end up all in one tile.

    Do you have a big, variable speed grinder to run that large of a hole saw? Slow, steady, and wet seems to work the best especially in hard tile/stone.

    Not often but I would to have for the times it works out. I have always used a grinder and have never had any issues but it would be nice to have the option.

    I do not have a vs grinder but this would make a good excuse to get one.

    Maybe look at that Flex grinder/polisher I bought then. Obviously I bought it for wet polishing but it has VS and the same thread as most diamond hole saws. I will put on a 100 grit polishing pad and dress cut edges too. That and every once in a while I need to polish a tile edge or marble shelf and use this for that too.

    Andrew

    A Working Pro since 1995!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #454291
    redwood
    Pro

    I usually use the grinder, but I have used the jig saw with some success. It’s slow though. Grinder is much quicker, but not nearly as clean.

    Mark E.

    Pioneer, CA

    Working Pro 1972 - 2015
    Member since Jan 22, 2013
    www.creative-redwood-designs.com

    #454324
    Doobie
    Moderator

    Never knew you could use a jigsaw with a proper type blade for it.

    #454477
    AndyG
    Pro

    Hey guys, im grinding out the big ones as well….and Chad is right, coverage is pretty critical on a lot of these valves…just not much room for error .

    #454478
    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    I spend a lot of time laying out where joints will be so the hole will be in 2 or more tiles if possible . I use the 4 1/2 inch grinder with diamond blade. I have got pretty good with it!
    I personally think a large hole saw would be pretty hard to hold steady in one perfect place. The grinder lets you start your hole a little smaller than needed and dial it in a bit at a time.

    #454482
    ChadM
    Moderator
    East Palestine, Ohio

    I personally think a large hole saw would be pretty hard to hold steady in one perfect place. The grinder lets you start your hole a little smaller than needed and dial it in a bit at a time.

    The larger diamond hole saws that I was looking at have a pilot bit like a traditional hole saw for wood.

    Also the trend, at least locally, is leaning towards larger tile in the shower. We have 3 other bath remodels going on and all of them have large tile (two with 16×16 and one a 18×18/9×9 mix), the larger the tile the more likely the entire cut is in one tile.

    Really, if I am using large tile and if I had the hole saw I might even make my layout work to where the cut is in one piece.

    Chad

    A Working Pro since 1993

    Member since 12/07/2013

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