Installing fixtures like towel bars, toilet paper holders, and soap dishes is often the final step when tiling a bathroom or kitchen. While it may seem simple, properly installing these fixtures into tile requires some specific techniques and tools to get a secure, long-lasting mount. Follow these pro tips to add the perfect finishing touch to your tiled space.

Prepping the Tile Surface

Before installing any fixtures, the tile surface needs to be prepared. Here are some tips:

  • Use a tile drill bit to open holes where fixtures will be mounted. Check the fixture’s specifications for the right size bit and drill depth. Go slow to avoid cracking tile.
  • Clear away any debris, grout, or caulk from the mounting area so fixtures sit flush to the tile.
  • Consider using a hammer drill for porcelain or natural stone tiles. The impact function helps drill through dense material.
  • Make holes slightly wider than the anchor hardware to allow room for adjustments.
  • Vacuum holes to remove all dust and particles which can prevent adhesive from bonding.

Choosing the Right Anchors

Fixtures require secure anchors to keep them firmly mounted to the tile. Consider these anchor options:

  • Plastic anchors – Good for basic applications in ceramic tile. Expands when screwed into holes.
  • Molly bolts – Ideal for drywall backing. Use with toggle wings to distribute weight behind the wall.
  • Hollow wall anchors – Designed for installations where there is no backing behind tiles. Grips the hole edge.
  • Screw backings – Simple anchored screw plates. Lay flat against the tile for a secure hold.
  • Epoxy or silicone – Used for stone tiles. Bonds fixture in place without mechanical anchors.

Installing the Fixture

Once holes are drilled and anchors selected, follow these tips for installing fixtures:

  • Test fit the fixture and adjust hole width if anchors don’t fit flush.
  • Use masking tape on the mounting plate to prevent adhesive dripping.
  • Apply silicone or epoxy around and inside the holes. Use waterproof versions for wet areas.
  • Push anchors into holes and attach the fixture screws. Avoid overtightening.
  • Allow adhesive to fully cure for 24-48 hours before using the fixture.
  • Apply a silicone bead between the tile and fixture edges for water protection and a finished look.

Choosing High Quality Fixtures

The fixtures themselves also matter. Look for:

  • Solid brass or stainless steel construction that won’t rust or corrode.
  • Sturdy mounting plates with enough screw holes for secure attachment.
  • Matching finishes and styles across the product line for a coordinated look.
  • Brands that offer warranties and support for product defects or issues.
  • Style and size that fits the intended space. Oversized fixtures can look too heavy.
  • Reviews from other customers about ease of installation and durability over time.

Hiring a Professional

For large or complex fixture installation jobs, consider hiring a professional tile contractor. They have experience with:

  • Proper placement and layout of multiple fixtures.
  • Drilling tools and methods tailored to your tile type.
  • Securing fixtures on challenging surfaces like glass mosaic or large format tiles.
  • Dealing with plumbing or electrical systems hidden behind walls.

While a professional costs more, it saves the headache when installing tricky fixtures in high-end tiled spaces. Their workmanship also ensures fixtures are sturdy and safely installed.

Finishing Touches: Pro Tricks for Installing Fixtures in Your Tile

Installing fixtures is the final step that takes a functional tiled space into a finished, beautiful room. With the right drilling tools, anchors, and techniques, you can securely mount fixtures for a flawless look. Pay attention to details like hole size, adhesive selection, and using silicone for water protection and aesthetic appeal. Sturdy brass fixtures and hiring a tile pro for specialty materials can also help ensure your fixtures withstand the test of time. Follow these pro tips when adding the finishing touches to your tiles.

Frequently Asked Questions about Installing Fixtures in Tile

What type of drill bit should I use on ceramic tile?

Tungsten carbide drill bits are best for drilling into all types of ceramic tiles. Use the manufacturer’s recommended speed setting on the drill.

How do I keep drilled holes from cracking tile?

Go slowly with the drill and use a piece of tape over the hole area to prevent cracking. Lubricating drill bits also keeps friction lower.

What kind of anchor works for shower fixtures in drywall?

For mounting in drywall behind tiles, use plastic toggle wing anchors or molly bolts. This provides more backing support than hollow wall anchors.

Should I use silicone or caulk around fixture edges?

Use silicone for a waterproof finish. Silicone also flexes with movement better than caulk. Match the silicone color to your grout.

What do I do if a fixture starts to come loose from tiles?

First try tightening the anchor screws if possible. Alternatively, carefully remove the fixture and install new anchors. Anchors can loosen over time with use.

How long should I wait before using fixtures after installing them?

It’s best to allow silicone or construction adhesive to fully cure for 24-48 hours before regularly using fixtures. This prevents loosening.


Adding functional yet beautiful fixtures is the satisfying final step in a tiled space. With detailed precautions like setting anchors correctly, sealing edges with silicone, and using quality brass fixtures, your towel bars, hooks, and grab bars will stay securely mounted for years of use. If undertaking large fixture installations or working with difficult materials like natural stone or glass tiles, also consider hiring a professional tile contractor. Their experience can save you headaches in tricky situations. But with some basic DIY tips on prepping, drilling, and anchoring, you can confidently install fixtures as the crowning touch on your dream tile project.