How to Drill Through Porcelain Tile: A Step by Step Guide

Tiles are hands-down, the first choice of millions of people around the world when it comes to choosing the correct flooring for their household. No matter what style a family has in mind, one or another type of tile will be able to rise to the occasion. 

When it comes to bathroom tiles, there is no other option but to choose porcelain, which is known for its harder material and ability to withstand water. There are so many great options to choose from as well, as porcelain is available in every form, from textured tile to plain ones. So, if you are a do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast just finished with installing porcelain tiles, you might be looking for a way to drill through porcelain tile.


Pieces of Equipment You Will Need

  • Water Cooling Kit
  • High-End Diamond Core Drill Bits
  • Electric Drill
  • Carbide Drill
  • Safety Goggles
  • RCD (Residual Current Devices) Breaker


Note that you will not need all of the drills, I just mentioned all of them at the same place for your benefit. As you go through the step-by-step guide, you will be able to tell when you need which drill.

Choosing a Drill

  • There are different kinds of drills available in the market. They can range from very expensive to cheaper products. It would be unwise to buy a drill machine if you are only going to use it once. So, if you are just a do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiast like me, it is better to rent a drill or buy the ones that are tailored for home-usage.
  • If you are planning to learn to drill for professional reasons, I would suggest you buy a carbide drill that will cut 15-20 holes even on a sturdy porcelain surface. But, beware that this is only for professionals. 
  • If you are already a professional, in which case you are not supposed to read an article on how to drill holes, then you should definitely buy the expensive product for more extended usage.

Without any further ado, let us go through the step by step guidelines:

Distinguishing the Size of the Hole 


As the first step of the process, this is pretty important. This is important because, when you can know or identify precisely how big of a hole you want on your porcelain tile, you can choose your drill machine accordingly. Different hole sizes require different sizes of bits and drills.


  • When drilling holes more substantial than 13mm, make sure there are scrap tiles or similar materials underneath it. 
  • Also, make sure that it is placed in a tray that will collect the wastewater that gets produced.
  • Ensure you are wearing safety equipment like goggles and gloves while you are drilling holes.

For Diameter Holes That Are 10mm or Smaller

  1. Mark the heart of the hole to be drilled into the tile by using a pencil or marker.
  2. Fit the proper diamond core bit to the electric drill and guarantee that there is a constant supply of cold water using a cooling water system.
  3. It is crucial to guarantee that there is a continuous supply of cold water directed at the drill bit in order to keep the diamond core chill.
  4. Warrant that the drill is in “standard” mode and always set the drill to between 1000 and 1500 RPM. 
  5. Substitute the diamond core with the suitably sized masonry drill bit and place the drill to available “hammer” mode. 
  6. Apply at a slow speed for drilling into stubborn materials to warrant that the tip never overheats. 


For Diameter Holes That Are 13mm or Larger

  1. To cut holes that are 13mm or larger in diameter, it is essential to first pierce an indicator hole. The indicator hole will work as a locator for a big diamond core and will assist you to drill a precise hole in porcelain tile.
  2. Join an 8mm diamond bit or 8mm carbide drill bit to your drill. Obey the directions depending on whether you are using diamond cores or carbide drill bits. Drop out the final step in either case as you will not be drilling a fixing hole after the tile.
  3. After the indicator hole has been put, it is possible to drill the main (13mm or larger) hole. 
  4. In that case, connect the relevant diamond core and warrant that there is a consistent supply of cold water through the cooling water system. You can follow the previous instructions for details.
  5. Diamond cores that are bigger than 13mm will require an adaptor with an indicator pin that positions into the indicator hole that has been cut earlier, to warrant that the precise hole will be made.
  6. Start vertically and begin to drill in an annular motion with adequate force until the sound of the drill changes. 
  7. Drilling porcelain tiles should not take more than seconds, it should take only some minutes. If it is taking you minutes or more, it is probable that you are not using enough force. 

Whether you are learning the method for professional reasons or just to do it yourself, these drilling etiquettes will come in handy more than once in your life and you will be grateful for knowing your way around with a drill.

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