Aquia and drilling holes in tile

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by ChrisG, Jan 27, 2006.

  1. ChrisG

    ChrisG New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NC
    I've been reading Terry's and other's impressions of the Aquia toilet and think it sounds great.

    That is, until I read that installing it requires drilling 6, 1/4 holes into my recently tiled floor. Quick aside: I'm one of those fledging DIYers who takes at least 8x longer than anyone else. So the though of drilling into my floor seems awful. Just checked with my wife, she assuremed me that I take 10x longer. :)

    Is this difficult enough that I should look at the Drake instead?

    From what I've seen others say - to drill into tile you should:
    1. use clay to build a little dam around the area to drill
    2. pour water into dam
    3. drill slowly

    Any other suggestions for those that have done this before?
    Is it sufficient to buy a carbide tile drill bit from one of the big box's?

    Thanks much
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    Depending on the hardness of your tile and the type of drill bit you have, it can either be no worse than drilling into hardwood, or a major pain. I put in two Toto unifit adapters - one on granite tile - a piece of cake, another on a really hard porcelain, a pain. It is eminently doable. A glass drill bit, maybe a carbide drill, or (best) a diamond bit probably will work. I used the carbide drill on the porcelain - it took about 10 minutes per hole, but I did it. The drill on the granite took maybe 30-seconds. A diamond drill would probably take 15-30 seconds on a hard porcelain.
  3. ChrisG

    ChrisG New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NC
    Thanks Jim. Any suggestion on where to buy a diamond drill bit? Do the big boxes carry those?
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
  5. ChrisG

    ChrisG New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NC
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    A carbide bit did it for me...but, it took forever and the bit is basically shot. Course, even if you had to buy two, it would be less than half of that. If you expected to want ot drill more holes, or if you were a pro, having the right tool is important. A DIY'er isn't as critical of his time. I used a hammer drill, as the normal drill mode didn't do much with it. If the tile is properly supported, and you're not drilling near an edge, I don't think you will have a problem with cracking. If you are near edges, then the diamond bit makes sense. Who knows, you might need it again. Got another bathroom?
  7. ChrisG

    ChrisG New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NC
    Good points Jim. You're right about the cost of the bit. I suppose there's not a lot of risk in just trying the carbide bits when the toilet arrives.

    I tested on an extra piece of tile that I had and it took 30 minutes and the tile broke in the end. Although I'm thinking it broke because it was such a small piece (only 1 inch wide). I also have an old, fairly wimpy drill without hammer.

    As you said, the likely trade-off is my time. Without experience it's difficult to know when it makes sense to spring for the better, more expensive tool and when it's not warranted.

    Once everything arrives and I've drilled my holes I'll post how it worked out.
  8. Johnl

    Johnl New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Drills

    Chris,

    I just installed my Aquia today and had to drill the required holes through the ceramic tile in my bathroom. I used Black & Decker ceramic and glass drill bits from Home Depot and they worked fine. I drilled dry and once I was through the surface they easily cut the rest of the way. I found that the 1/4-inch hole Toto recommends is a bit tight and I had to drill the holes out a bit more to get the plugs in without breaking them. The template that comes with the toilet really helps for positioning (tape it in place according to the directions).

    I've only installed about six toilets in my life, and this one is by far the most complicated, but it looks great and works well. It took me about four hours, including one trip to get supplies and time taken for a thorough cleaning and bleaching of the old grout.
  9. Joerg

    Joerg New Member

    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    Califonia
    Hello Chris,

    Is it porcelain tile? I had to drill porcelain tile for one of those swing doors. The dam and water trick worked but I switched to fast (and VERY gentle) percussion after having ground through the glazing for the hole diameter. After that it took about 10 minutes for one hole. It was a diamond bit. I doubt the carbide ones would last more than a minute.

    Check that the water in the dam doesn't begin to cook. In my case it did and then it's time to let the bit cool off (extra pot of water) and move on to the next hole.

    To avoid slipping out of center and making a nasty scratch you can unplug the drill and grind the chuck back and forth by hand until the glazing has crunched. Forgot where I got the diamond bit but it was well under $10.

    For six holes I'd wear ear muffs. The racket was so bad that our dogs scurried into the far corner of the house.

    Regards, Joerg.
  10. ChrisG

    ChrisG New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NC

    Attached Files:

  11. Joerg

    Joerg New Member

    Messages:
    138
    Location:
    Califonia
    Hello Chris,

    Nice job. Looks like you'll have to drill close to the grout on some tiles. Seriously, I'd consider a toilet that can be flange mounted like usual. Otherwise I hope you had back-buttered the tiles when laying so there won't be any hollow spots where you'd have to drill. A mortar void under a corner would almost be a guarantee for a crack if you have to drill there.

    Regards, Joerg.
  12. jnov

    jnov New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Don't know about the diamond and carbon bits, but I used a regular tile drill bit I bought for $7 and it went through my marble tiles just fine.

    If you're worried about a few bad drilling locations, consider this:
    I was worried that I would hit the pipes underneath the floor if I drilled the last two holes located in the back of the trap. Instead, I just bolted the trap down normally in the other areas and liquid cemented that portion of the trap to the floor. I let it set for a day just to make sure it was secure. Nothing short of a sledge hammer can make it move. This may make the eventual removal of the trap a little difficult, but I don't forsee myself replacing this toilet anytime soon.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2006
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    Marble is butter compared with a hard porcelain (almost as hard as diamond on the Mohs hardness scale. BTW, he is done...used a glass bit.
  14. PA

    PA New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Coral Springs, Florida
    Drilling through ceramic tile

    I mounted my Aquia last night and ended up using diamond burrs in a rotary tool to cut through the ceramic tile. It was surprisingly easy cutting through tile using this technology. The Rotary Tool Kit with Diamond burrs I used is inexpensive and available online at HarborFreight.com, Item # 41695 or 94076.
    After cutting down to the concrete I then used a Tapcon Drill Bit and 3/16" Tapcons for fasteners in place of the ones provided by Toto.
    I'm now enjoying great looking and easy to clean unit, using .9 GPF for everything.

    Thanks again go to Terry for this site.
  15. ChrisG

    ChrisG New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    NC
    Hello Jim and PA,
    Actually I haven't finished yet Jim. I just ordered the toilet last week.

    Thanks for sharing your experience PA - I have a Dremel I received as a present so I'll give that a try too.

    I've never heard of Tapcon bits and fasteners. Since I haven't received the toilet yet, I've wondered how the fasteners attach to the drilled holes. In other words, do I go all the way through the tile, hardibacker, and plywood to attach or do you put something into the drilled hole and screw into it. From what you're saying, sounds like the fastener does not go all the way through.

    Are those fasteners available at the big boxes and does the bit require a special drill?
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    A tapcon is a brand name of concrete screws. You use their specially sized drill bit to make a hole in the concrete, and then just screw it into the concrete. The steel in those things is hard enough to actually cut threads in the concrete as you screw it down. They work quite well. I'd be leary about using them through tile - the tile is much more brittle and likely harder than concrete, and you might risk cracking it. You need to drill entirely through the tile and backer. If the subfloor is wood, you can use a wood screw, or use the plastic insert that they include; then, you use what is essentially a long sheet metal screw. This bites into the plastic and jams against the sides of the hole.
  17. PA

    PA New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Coral Springs, Florida
    Tapcons and tile.

    Hello ChrisG,

    I used the TapCons concrete screws on the concrete subfloor as Jim stated, but I routed the hole slightly oversized through the tile with the diamond burr so that the screw threads do not contact the brittle tile. I then drilled into the subfloor with the drill bit diameter needed for the screws.

    I puchase my TapCons and diamond tip masonry drill bits at a big box.

    I'm also am not a pro
  18. mts

    mts New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Have an Aquia toilet, need to decide whether to install

    I recently needed a new toilet on short notice. The plumber said "Go buy any toilet" and I went to the Toto dealer and bought an Aquia Toto. When I finally got the nice plumber to the house it was 7 PM on a Friday night-- he looked at the Aquia and said he couldn't install it because he needed more time and special drills and tools. Instaed, he put in a "builder's standard" white toilet that he happened to have-- which got us a functioning toilet within an hour and in time for 50 arriving guests....

    So, now I have a functioning toilet (generic in size and shape) and a Aquia Toto toiled sitting in a box. And I need to decide what to do. Do I try to return the Aquia toilet, or do I try to get it installed?

    The enviro aspects of the Aquia appeal to me, and I'm fairly convinced that it will perform well and flush it all down despite the low water levels. I think "splash back" is the grossest thing about going to the bathroom--- so I'd probably like the low in bowl water level thing I've read about.

    I am not a DIYer. I am dependent on the wonderful plumbers available in San Francisco. Here are my concerns:

    (1) It appears the Toto is difficult to install (i.e. all this talk of extra drilling holes). How can I be sure a plumber will "know what they are doing"? The plumber who came said that he could probably do it. He had installed lots of Toto toilets, just never an Aquia. Should I trust him to do the drilling through my tile? Or should I try to find a plumber that has already installed an Aquia?

    (2) It appears that the plumber needs to know that the inside of the toilet bowl needs to be sanded. Should I tell the plumber that, or will they know to sandpaper it?

    (3) I am worried about the sounds & noises of the Toto Aquia. I have perused all the forumsm for discussion of Toto Aquia-- and it appears that they drain out liquid while in use (i.e. urine runs down while you are using it)-- Does that really odd? Is it noticeable? Also, does the flushing mechanism sound super-industrial? I am worried that my household toilet might sound like an airport toilet (i.e. super loud flushing noise) or that the flushing mechanism inside the tank is going to be really loud.

    (4) My house is old and the trap is an extra 4 inches away from the wall. My recently installed toilet leaves a big wide gap between the tank and the back wall, and I assume the Toto will as well. My old toilet tank was flush to the wall, but was installed 30 years ago... not sure how they did it. I can't afford to move the trap (sounds pricey) so I think I am just stuck living with a toilet tank far from the wall. Should I be worried about that? Should I be worried about the open part of the back side of the Toto -- since it isn't going to be anywhere near flush against the wall? Should I use a different type of toilet entirely?

    Thanks in advance!

    This website is amazing. If I lived in Seattle, I would just call you... but I live in San Francisco-- a bit far for Terry's house calls.
  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,003
    Location:
    New England
    Most toilets are just dropped down onto the flange on the floor with a wax ring, bolted down, and then the water hooked up. The Aquia, and some other toilets made by Toto use an adapter that must be attached to the floor, then the rest is pretty much the same. That adapter would offer you a couple of advantages - it comes with one designed for a normal 12" offset (the distance from the finished wall to the bolts holding it down to the flange). You can purchase one designed for a 14" offset (rough-in), which would move this same toilet back towards the wall two inches. For that reason alone, you might find it a good idea to install. One other thing, though, because this toilet is wider at the back because of the skirt, you normally need the water supply a little further to the side than you do with a normal toilet. Because you have so much room still behind the toilet, especially if you use the adapter that came with it, you would not have any problems other than having to maybe reach behind the toilet to shut it off. Your supply may be situated fine where it is, too. This may help you to make an informed decision. Someone who has one installed can probably give you some real-time comments.

    Note, depending on what you have on the floor (it was tile?), and the type, it may not be all that bad to drill the needed holes to mount the unifit adapter. WIth the right tools, it is a piece of cake.
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,002
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    [​IMG]
    A homeowner installed Toto Aquia on a Marble floor.
    Looks like a nice job by the homeowner.
    If the homeowner can do it, the plumber should be able to do it also.

    JD has a lot of it right, except the Aquia only has a 12" adapter.
    The toilet would still stick out a ways in your case.
    With a standard 12" rough-in, it would stick out from the wall about 1/2"
    The Aquia toilet has a fairly quiet flush.
    I don't even think about the water in the trapway sound anymore.
    It's like how you get used to the fan on your computer being on all the time.

    If you have a tile bit, I bought one at the hardware store the other day for $5.95 that was made for tile. It looked like an arrow head. It's the the type I use the most.
    If the tile is really hard, I just pull out my rotohammer.
    Tile on the floor or concrete has never stopped me.
    I couldn't even imagine selling someone a different toilet and getting away with it, when the customer already had a very nice toilet there.
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