How to Drill Through Ceramic Tile? 

Drilling through ceramic tile is a daunting task that many DIYers will face at some point. Whether it’s mounting a shelf bracket, fixing an electrical light switch, or installing a shower rod – drilling through tiles requires the right tools and a bit of patience to avoid any cracks or damage. 

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The key to a successful drill-through is preparing the surface well beforehand and using the right tools. This involves understanding the type of material being drilled through, which drill bits are appropriate, and how to create tension for the bit to stay in place. 

Choose the right drill bits

For ceramic or glazed tile, use a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit (for example the DRYGRES range). These are best for standard glazed ceramic tile and stoneware, but you may also need a diamond-tipped drill bit for porcelain or natural stone tile, depending on what type of material is being drilled through. 

Keep the bit cool

Keeping a drill cool is important when drilling through any materials, but especially so with tile. It helps to spray the drill with water to keep it from overheating. The water also catches the dust that can be created from the drilling process. 

Prep the surface correctly

The first step is to carefully clean the tile before you begin drilling. This will ensure that there are no dirt or particles on the surface which can cause the drill to snag, slip or chip. It’s also a good idea to examine the surface of the tile for any signs of cracking or splitting. 

Once you’ve cleaned the tile, use a marker to mark the desired hole in the tile. Cover this with a small strip of masking tape to create a better grip for the drill bit and reduce the chance of it moving on the tile surface during the drilling process. 

Start the drilling procedure slowly, and continue until you have reached the wall. When you reach the wall, it’s a good idea to stop and change the drill bit to one that is suitable for the substrate. This will prevent the snag and breakage that can happen with a power drill. 

Be careful when changing the drill bit, as it is a dangerous move if the wrong drill bit is used. Always replace the drill bit if it becomes discolored, chipped, or dull, as this can lead to a cracked tile. 

Select the correct drill format

The drill format that is most appropriate for the task at hand is a rotary power drill with a specialist tile drill bit. A hammer drill is not suitable, as it can cause vibrations that could damage the tile surface. 

Don’t overheat the drill:

The most important thing to remember when drilling through ceramic tile is that it is very hard and can be quite brittle, so you should make sure that your drill is not too hot. To prevent the drill bit from overheating, it is a good idea to hold a wet sponge under the drill, or alternatively, use a hose to spray it down with water.