If you are faced with the need to drill through tiling but do not know how we have some tips here on how to drill a large hole in ceramic tile as well as porcelain. When you have tiles that are perfectly positioned and aligned the last thing you want to do is cause damage, which drilling with no care could cause. Just a small slip or the wrong move and you could crack your tile and need to replace it completely. Drilling such a smooth surface is not the same as drilling a hole in the wall to put up some shelving.
So here is a great guide on how to drill through a tile that will help lower the chances of that kind of damage. Grab your cordless drill and let’s get started!
Table of Contents
1. Make sure you understand your tiles
When you are considering drilling through tile you need to know the type of tile first. How to drill a hole in porcelain tile is different slightly from how to drill holes in ceramic tile. When you know about the material you are trying to make a hole through you have a better understanding of how to complete the job. Porcelain is harder than ceramic and is denser. This means if it is porcelain you need to drill it takes more prep work and effort than other tile types. It also means you need a special drill bit. This is also true if you are drilling through stone tiles.
2. You need to have the correct drill bit
It is important you do not use old drill bits that are already worn. They are less efficient and are more likely to damage the tile whatever type it is. Also, they can break which would require you some time (luckily, we have a guide on how to remove a broken drill bit that you can check). When looking at how to drill a large hole in the ceramic tile you should look at a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit or a diamond-tipped drill bit. Diamond tipped are more durable and while more costly can get through any hard tile even porcelain or stone. They also do not burn out as quickly. Carbide-tipped is more commonly used but is not best for porcelain or hard materials when you are looking at how to drill into the tile.
3. Make accurate measurements and marking
As you learn more about how to drill through tile you then need to make sure you are drilling in the right place. It is easy for the drill to slip, scratching the tile or even cracking it. If you put masking tape on the tile it gives some tension. Measure, mark with an x and then position the tape and then check those measurements again. The drill will have traction this way.
4. The drilling part can commence
Now you are finally ready to get the drilling started! With the surface marked so you know where to drill and the tape in place you start drilling, but be prepared for it to take some time. Drilling hard tile especially takes a bit of time. When looking at how to drill a hole in porcelain tile patience is important. Start on a low-speed setting and then apply constant pressure without pushing hard. Full speed is not the answer it will just cause things to overheat and potentially cause cracks.
5. Make sure you cool the drill
One of the most important things to remember when researching how to drill into tile is that you need to keep it cool. You can keep a wet sponge in one hand as you drill to squeeze a little water over it, or you can stop now and then and spray it with a water bottle. Just make sure you do not get the motorized part wet. If you hold a water sponge under the drill you can also catch debris and dust as your drill and you stop water pouring down.
Remember there are two bits to use when drilling tiles. In how to drill holes in the ceramic tile you might use the more affordable carbide bit. The problem is they stop when they overheat and need to be kept cool all the time. The diamond-bits are less intensive to keep cool, they keep working even when they heat up but to extend their lifespan still keep them cool with some water and avoid putting them through too much pressure.
Jake is a tool guy – think Tim Allen from Home Improvement but with a much drier sense of humor. He lives in the great state of Ohio and plays the guitar on his downtime. He also spends his time writing on all things tools and DIY-related as this is his passion.