When drilling into porcelain tile, it’s important not to use the wrong drill as this can cause the surface to crack or damage. Porcelain is highly durable, so a standard drill bit is not good enough to penetrate it. However, you can drill into porcelain tile successfully with the right tools and techniques.
Here’s how to drill into porcelain tile without breaking it:
- Gather drilling, taping, measuring, and sealing supplies.
- Prepare your work zone.
- Measure to pinpoint drilling location.
- Begin drilling using medium pressure.
- Cool the drill bit to avoid overheating.
- Wait for the area you’ve drilled to dry.
- Seal the holes using a silicone sealant.
Drilling into porcelain tiles can be intimidating as it’s an expensive material, but breakage can be avoided by following the correct procedure. Keep reading as I guide you on how to drill a hole into porcelain tile without breaking it.
1. Gather Drilling, Taping, Measuring, and Sealing Supplies
Before beginning this project, you need to gather the necessary supplies to drill the hole into the porcelain tile. Most of these tools can be purchased at your local hardware store or from Amazon.com. Here are the tools you need to drill into porcelain tile:
Diamond- or Carbide-Tipped Drill Bit
A standard tipped drill bit will not be sufficient to drill through a surface as hard as porcelain. To drill through a material, you need to use something harder than that specific material. With porcelain, the only drill bits capable of penetrating it are diamond- or carbide-tipped drill bits.
If you want to buy a diamond-tipped drill bit, you can purchase a set of SHDIATOOL dry diamond-tipped drill bits from Amazon.com. These are one of the highest quality diamond drill bits on the market.
Diamond drill bits are extremely tough and the best tool for the job. They can drill through any porcelain tile without breaking it if you take the proper steps.
A carbide-tipped drill bit will also be sufficient for thinner pieces of porcelain tile. Carbide is a durable material made with carbon and metal.
I recommend using Cross Tungsten Carbide Tile Drill Bits from Amazon.com, an excellent tool for drilling porcelain tiles. Carbide-tipped drill bits will not get the job done as quickly as diamond-tipped drill bits, but they are a more affordable option.
Water (in a Cup, Spray Bottle, or Sponge)
Keeping water nearby when drilling into porcelain tile is crucial to ensure the drill doesn’t get too hot. Water can be kept in a cup to drip over the drill hole, in a spray bottle to be sprayed, or in a sponge to be squeezed over the hole. The water will act as a cooling lubricant during the drilling.
A Power Drill (Preferably a Chargeable One)
Using a multi-speed power drill is preferable, so you can drill the hole at a low speed if needed. A battery-operated power drill will be valuable if you need to drill in areas far away from electrical outlets. Since there will be water near the drilling site, having a chargeable or battery-operated power drill can help avoid electrical risks.
If you need a good power drill for the job, check out the Bielmeier Cordless Drill Set from Amazon.com. This drill is chargeable and has two different speed settings.
The Bielmeier drill is also lightweight and easy to use. It even comes with an LED light on the drill to help you see in poorly lit areas.
You may use duct tape to provide traction for the drill bit. When drilling into porcelain, the smooth surface of the porcelain can cause a drill bit to slip.
Prevent slippage by placing a piece of duct tape over the porcelain before locating your drill spot. The duct tape also serves to mark the point where to drill on the porcelain tile.
Use a tape measure to pinpoint where exactly on the porcelain tile you want to drill. Triple check that you have found the right spot because once you drill it, it can be difficult to fix if you drilled in the wrong place.
A tape measure can ensure the hole you are drilling is aligned with other holes being drilled.
Pencil or Marker
You can use a pencil or marker to mark the point on the duct tape where the porcelain will be drilled. A pen can also be an alternative.
Marking the exact location of the drilling point can help ensure you are drilling in the correct spot.
Silicone sealant will be used after the hole has been drilled to prevent water from entering areas it shouldn’t. Because silicone is resistant to water, coating the hole in silicone sealant before using it for other things will help prevent water damage to the surrounding structure.
Gorilla 100% Silicone Sealant from Amazon.com is a reliable and durable sealant that can be used. Professionals and DIY-ers use this product by Gorilla to easily seal cracks and spaces. This brand of sealant is affordable and will effectively seal the holes in your porcelain tiles.
Once you have collected the required tools, you can get started on the next step.
2. Prepare Your Work Zone
Prepare your work zone by placing a strip of duct tape over where the drilling will take place on the porcelain tile. This will help provide traction to prevent the drill bit from slipping on the smooth surface of the porcelain.
The duct tape will also provide you with a surface to draw a reference point for where to drill your hole. Before moving forward, make sure the area is clear of any safety hazards.
3. Measure to Pinpoint Drilling Location
Using the tape measure, pinpoint the exact drilling location on the duct tape and mark it using a pencil or marker. If there are other holes to be drilled concerning the hole you are working on, use the tape measure to ensure they are all aligned.
Check several times to make sure the holes are in the right places before drilling. Any mistakes made in this process can be costly to fix.
4. Begin Drilling Using Medium Pressure
Starting on the lowest setting of your drill, hold the drill bit at a 45-degree angle to the surface and slowly begin drilling. Be sure not to use too much pressure so that you don’t crack the tile.
Once you have broken through the surface, slowly move the drill up, holding the drill bit at a 90-degree angle to the porcelain. Using a drill guide, you can drill straight into the hole at a slow and steady pace.
Be patient and continue to regulate the pressure so that you aren’t pushing too hard. Too much pressure will crack the porcelain.
To successfully drill into porcelain without breaking it, you need to apply medium pressure to the drill when making the hole.
It’s good to remember that a diamond-tipped drill bit will get the job done faster than a carbide-tipped drill bit. However, both will require a few minutes of gradual and careful drilling.
5. Cool the Drill Bit to Avoid Overheating
Be sure to cool the drill bit every 15–30 seconds to avoid overheating. Use water to coat the drill hole and cool the drill bit down.
If you have a cup of water, you can pour it. Spray the area if you have a spray bottle of water instead. Meanwhile, if you have a wet sponge, you can drip it over the hole.
Continue alternating between drilling and cooling until you have fully drilled through the porcelain tile. Remember to drill at a slow and steady pace to avoid cracking the surface. Forgetting to keep your drill bit cool could result in cracking your porcelain tiles.
6. Wait for the Area You’ve Drilled to Dry
Once you have entirely drilled the hole into the porcelain tile, dry the area to prevent water from soaking into places it doesn’t belong. This step is vital before moving on to the final step of drilling into porcelain without breaking it. The sealant will not be able to properly cure if the surface it is applied to is wet.
7. Seal the Holes Using a Silicone Sealant
You can use silicone sealant in this final step to seal the holes after they have been drilled. Coat the holes in sealant and allow them to dry before doing anything else with them.
Sealing the holes in the porcelain tiles will prevent water from seeping into areas where it shouldn’t be. This final step is essential to avoid any potential water damage that could take place in your home due to unsealed holes.
Remembering to keep your drill bit cool is essential to protecting your porcelain and your drill bit. With the proper tools and techniques, you can successfully drill into porcelain tile without breaking it.
Avoid cracks and scratches by using a drill bit sufficient for the job, such as diamond-tipped or carbide-tipped drill bits. Being patient and taking your time while using medium pressure will help prevent the porcelain tile from cracking.