Drilling into porcelain tiles

Drilling into porcelain tiles is a lot trickier than drilling holes in ceramic tiles as porcelain is a much harder material. Therefore rather than using a standard spear shaped tile bit that is used for ceramic tiles (see my guide – ‘Fixing into tiles’), you need to use a diamond drill bit, which is specifically designed for making holes in hard tiles. Like any drill bits, diamond bits come in a number of different sizes, so you need to select the right size of bit for the job at hand and for the example below I’m showing how to use a 15mm diamond drill bit for drilling into porcelain tiles.

diamond drill bit  1. Diamond drill bits for cutting holes in tiles are effectively hole saws that simply fit into the chuck of any cordless drill.
masking tape on tile 2. Mark on your tile where you need the hole to be cut, and cover with some masking tape. This tape will help stop the drill bit slipping when you begin to drill.
Drilling porcelain tile 3. Start the drill up on a slowish speed, keeping it well supported in both hands. It can help to hold the drill so that the bit is at a slight angle to the surface of the tile. This helps to stop the bit slipping and gets the hole started.
drilling tile 4. Once you’ve made a start, move the drill up into a vertical position and continue to drill, applying even light pressure as you drill down through the tile.
cooling tile bit

5. You need to keep the bit cool whilst drilling, otherwise it will wear out incredibly quickly. One way to do this is to keep some water in a container next to where you’re drilling, and regularly dip the bit in the water to cool it down.

how to drill a hole in a tile

6. The diamond bit will cut through the tile providing your required hole, after which you simply clean up the residue and dust the tile off.

Porcelain tile drilling tips

  • In this example the tile is being drilled before being fitted in place. I’ve simply positioned the tile on an offcut of plasterboard, alternatively you could clamp it on a workbench. In whichever case, make sure the tile is adequately supported.
  • If the tile is already in position on the wall or floor, the principles of the technique remain exactly the same.
  • If you prefer, you can buy a drill guide tool to help start off the hole in the tile.

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