The final part of my recent shower project was to install the glass shower surround. The idea was fairly basic with each piece of glass connected to the wall with a couple simple mounts. Most only needed one screw into the wall to attach the mount. The dificulty came with the heavy glass door. It had two large hinges that had three screws that needed to go through the tile into a stud in the wall.
I have several carbide-tipped drill bits and hole bits that I usually use with ceramic tile. After breaking a couple tiles with gusto, I realized that for this super-hard porcelain tile I would need a different approach.
The answer is to use diamonds!
For the small holes that I needed for the hinges I bought a small kit that came with a diamond-tipped bit and a resevoir that holds water to keep the bit cool. It was a world of a difference. Each hole was drilled quickly and perfectly with no more issues. The water resevoir seemed to flow a little too quickly and was a bit of a mess, but once I got the hang of it I was quickly drilling all the holes I needed.
For any larger holes, like where the faucet handles go, you have a couple options. You can purchase a diamond-tipped hole bit of the dimension that works or you can actually take the tile to a place that fabricates granite counters. They will usually have a larger hole-cutting press that can quickly make holes of any size that you need. This can get expensive, so you might consider all the holes you need as you do the layout. Sometimes, the tile can be shifted just enough to eliminate some nasty cuts or complicated holes.