Drilling holes into tile is often a time consuming, frustrating experience. While tile saws, diamond saw blades and careful planning can reduce much of the hassle, there are simply many scenarios where you have to break down and put one right through the middle of a placed tile. For typical hole saws that do allow drilling in the middle of a tile, they typically come with a pilot bit that adds additional drilling time and a level of complexity to the process of putting a hole where you need it. Instead of this being a harrowing experience, filled with hours of planning, frustration and scratched or cracked tiles, Porsadrill aims to simplify the process with their Porsadrill diamond drilling system. These include a series of diamond hole saws and an anti-slip guide plate.
The Porsadrill diamond drilling system includes tile hole saws and bits in a variety of sizes – a very large variety. According to their website they have over 35 sizes to choose from, ranging from 6mm (1/4″) to 125 mm (5″). There are a variety of sample packs as well as single bit sizes, each coming with a non-slip drill guide plate. Why a guide plate? Because as we mentioned earlier, these hole saw bits don’t come with a central pilot bit to guide the way. Instead, you begin cutting immediately, in the exact location you choose. Porsadrill provides standard hole saws that fit into a cordless drill, or you can get larger sizes (70mm, 2-3/4″ or greater) equipped for use in a drill press for cleaner, more precise, cuts. They also carry a line of hobby craft bits that are smaller in size (3-5mm) and more suited for drilling pebbles, pendants, rocks or glass beads. These are designed for use with either bench drills or a Dremel tool.
With respect to their Bathroom Fitters Kit Max (BFKMX), Porsadrill puts the individual costs of each of the components, if bought separately, at $182 dollars. We thought that sounded about right, but wanted to do the math on our own using a known supplier. Here are our numbers:
- 1/4″ – $17.50 x 2 = $35
- 5/16″ – $20 x 2 = $40
- 5/8″ = $29
- 1-1/4″ = $42
- 1-5/8″ = $47
Grand total = $193 (not including the guide plate)
What we came up with was close enough to see that Porsadrill isn’t messing around when it says that their Bathroom Fitters Kit Max (BFKMX) delivers a bargain value. Now that we knew we could trust Porsadrill on their numbers, how about their claims? The concept for the Bathroom Fitters Kit is that you can use the various sizes to complete 98% of all bathroom drilling needs. When you break it down it makes sense. The 1-5/8″ saw is perfect for 1-1/2″ sink drain pipes. The 1-1/4″ is what I’d use for all shower head and larger faucet supplies. The 5/8″ hole saw is ideal for making perfect 1/2″ supply line holes. Possibly the most useful, however, are the oft overlooked 6mm and 8mm (1/4″ and 5/16″) hole saws that are absolutely perfect for setting plastic or metal anchors in drywall or any other building material that exists behind the tile. These little diamond bits are the perfect way to hang a mirror, toilet paper dispenser, or even a shower door on top of tiled surfaces – and you don’t have to go searching for a grout line, you can put it exactly where you want it.
Porsadrill Diamond Drilling System Testing
Typically we like to test products in practical application, but our intended bathroom project was too far off and we were really itching to try out these hole saws. Fortunately for us, we have in our possession a trusty home-made tile testing kit, which features a ton of leftover tile from recent projects – including some very hard porcelain pieces. Ah porcelain, that extra tough tile that everyone hates to cut. It’s thick, it’s tough, it’s loud… and it’s got a special place in our hearts for testing out diamond bits and saw blades. If you’re not up to the task, our tile samples will eat you for lunch.
Setting up our test pieces, we began with the largest bit size, the 40mm (~1-5/8″) bit. We took the included guide plate and set it onto the tile, with our thumb and index finger holding it tightly in place so it wouldn’t slide or twist. Just to see what would happen, we began without water and kept our drill at a slow speed to see how well the blade would begin to cut through the robust tile. We quickly found that drilling with water sped up the process significantly, perhaps because it was easier for the blade to remove the dusty tile material as it sped through the cut, or because the reduction of heat on the blade allowed it to do a better job of cutting. In either case, it took about 8 minutes for us to get through the tough tile. Our first cut was a tad clumsy and, as you will see from the photos, we got much better as we acclimated to the proper use of the tool.
Next we tried a smaller sized bit, the 8mm (5/16″), which is perfectly suited for larger wall anchors such as those used for towel racks or installing the metal frame for a shower door. The smaller bit cut through in just a few minutes and our use of water, and a slow and steady pace, helped it to work its way through the tile quickly and cleanly. We next moved over to the 30mm (1-1/4″) bit and again added an ample amount of water. Porsadrill also gave us a couple samples of their dedicated sponges, which are intended to keep the blade cool and wet the work area when drilling vertically into a wall – something that will happen quite frequently when working in a bathroom project, be it new construction or remodel. With this new hole saw we experienced a much better cut time and a smoother finish. In fact, it gave us the impression that after only a few test cuts, we were ready to begin using the system like a professional.
To remove the waste material from the bit when you are completed, we used a nail, which we inserted into the provided slot on each of the bits. With a simple pushing and leverage motion we found we could eject the round tile piece easily from within, similar to how other hole saws function.
About the only negative with the Porsadrill system is the fact that the yellow guide plate will simply not work on wet tile. If you expect to forego making a pilot hole, you’ll need to completely dry off the surface and apply ample pressure. We’re not sure what’s out there, but my guess is that Porsadrill could benefit from additional materials research – somebody at 3M should be able to help. The other potential for error lies in the ease with which the yellow guide plate is easily damaged by the act of drilling. Be sure to quickly remove the plate once you have successfully started your hole and expect to need a new one by the time your diamond drill bit wears out – if not before. Fortunately, with each size hole saw you buy, you get a free plate included.
We feel that this kit is a decent value, earning a 9/10 for its innovative pilot hole-free system and excellent packaging options. Even with overseas shipping it’s far less expensive than many domestic sources for diamond bits. For performance we felt that Porsadrill made good on its promises, and with a little practice it’s easy to get a clean cut every time in a variety of tough materials. If it can handle porcelain tile, ceramic, brick, fiberglass and travertine aren’t going to be a problem. For this we gave it an excellent 8/10. I’d encourage anyone coming up on a bathroom project to at least give this kit a test run. It will save you time and money and, once you’ve mastered the technique, give you clean results every time.