Some home improvement tasks are easier than others. And then, there are those which just sound easy, but in fact require skill and experience. Such is the example of drilling a hole in your tile without cracking it.

Indeed, it’s a rather different task compared to drilling holes in wood, the latter being a walk in the park compared to the first. But do not fear, as this post will provide you with all the necessary information on how to perform the task, such as what kind of drill bit is best so that the risk of mishaps is out of the equation

Table of Contents:

Know your tiles

Different tile materials have different thickness. When you know your tiles, you will have a better idea of how much work would go into the project. Also, how long it would probably take. Porcelain tiles are very dense and thus, harder to break, compared to ceramic ones. Stone tiles are another good example of hard-to-drill tiles.

Choose your drill bit

When you have the right tool at your disposal, the task will not only be easier, but less time consuming. The default one on your electric drill doesn’t count. With that said, here are the best drill bits on the market for drilling tiles:

  • Carbide-tipped masonry drill bits. These are probably the most popular choice for drilling into tiles. They can be used to make holes into rock-hard surfaces.
  • Diamond-tipped drill bits. These are also specially designed to make holes into tiles without cracking them. Well, they’re more expensive, but that’s because they’re significantly more durable than masonry bits.
  • Masonry bits are produced from carbide-tipped steel. They will do a good job, however, their shape might shatter porcelain or other brittle types of tiles.

Never use an old and/ or worn out drill bit to bore a hole through a tile of any kind. It’s quite possible that the bit will damage the surface of the tile because it’s not working at optimal efficiency.

Prepare the surface

Start by cleaning the tile. All you need is a rag soaked in mild soap water and a gentle touch. Afterwards, examine the tile. If you notice small cracks, then it needs to be replaced, otherwise it will most likely end up shattered by the drill.

And now the essential step. Cover the area you plan on drilling with masking tape. You don’t need to go overboard, two pieces forming the letter X are more than enough. The tape will give more traction to the drill bit and thus, reduce the chance of it slipping. Chipping on the outer rim of the hole would unlikely happen, as well, thanks to the masking tape.

Measure one more time where the hole should be, after you’ve put the masking tape. Is it in the same place? Good. Now, hold the drill bit over the center of the X and tap it in gently with a hammer. The point in doing this is to make a small dent.

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Drill through

Set your electric drill to low speed and apply modest pressure while drilling. Allow the bit to work its way in, rather than pushing it aggressively. If you use too much pressure, you will likely crack the tile and get a much larger hole than anticipated. The drilling process might take several minutes, but it will be worth it.

Lubricate the drill bit with water as you go. A great deal of heat is created while the drill is making its way through the hard tile material. This is due to the generated friction. The heat can scorch the bit and even break the tile. That’s why you need to dip the drill bit in some cold water every few seconds. Or, use a squirt bottle to squirt water into the hole. Every 15 to 20 seconds, pump the drill with a slight up-and-down motion to give the water a chance to reach the tip of the bit.

The drill bit should never feel very hot. If this happens, leave it in the water until it cools down.

Hire a pro

If you still feel unprepared to drill a hole through a tile, just let a professional handle the task. All the handymen, we work with at Fantastic Services, are experienced and fully equipped to perform any kind of home improvement and maintenance jobs. From standard to odd jobs, we’ve got you covered. You can also book a service, either by phone or online.


  • Choose the right drill bit
  • Clean the surface of the tile before drilling
  • Always use masking tape for better traction of the drill
  • Go slowly and let the drill work its way in


Was your drilling experience successful? Maybe you have something to add to our post? Let us know in the comments below and let’s start a conversation.

Image Source: Shutterstock/ by chonlasub woravichan

  • Last update: May 13, 2020

Posted in Home Improvement

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