How to Drill Into Tile?


Tiles can be a stunning addition to any home. Whether you are remodeling your bathroom, upgrading your kitchen backsplash, or simply adding some decorative flair to your walls or floors, tiles can instantly transform the look of your space. However, if you are planning to install shelves, hang artwork, or attach other fixtures to your tiles, you may need to drill into them. Apart from the tiles, there are various types of drill bits available for various purposes such as drill bits for aluminum, drill bit for wood, and more.

Drilling into tiles can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. But with the right tools and techniques, you can easily and safely drill into tile like a pro. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to drill into tile, so you can complete your DIY project with confidence.

Preparing for the Task

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you start drilling into the tile, you will need to gather the following tools and materials:

  • Drill
  • Drill bits (diamond-tipped, carbide-tipped, or ceramic-tipped)
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Lubricant (water, oil, or wax)
  • Safety goggles or glasses
  • Dust mask or respirator
  • Gloves (optional)

Choosing the Right Drill Bit

The most important tool for drilling into tile is the drill bit. There are several types of drill bits that can be used for tile, including diamond-tipped, carbide-tipped, and ceramic-tipped bits. Diamond-tipped bits are the most expensive but also the most durable and effective for drilling through hard materials like porcelain or stone. Carbide-tipped bits are more affordable and versatile but may wear out faster and produce more heat. Ceramic-tipped bits are ideal for softer tiles like ceramic or glass but may not work well on harder tiles. Choose the right type and size of drill bit for your specific tile and project.

Identifying the Type of Tile

Before you start drilling into tile, you need to know what type of tile you are dealing with. Different types of tile have different hardness levels, textures, and thicknesses, which can affect the drilling process. Porcelain, stone, and glass tiles are generally harder and more brittle than ceramic tiles, which are softer and more forgiving. Use a tile cutter or nipper to test the hardness of your tile and adjust your drilling technique accordingly.

Marking the Spot

Once you have identified the type of tile, you need to mark the spot where you want to drill. Use a pencil or marker to make a small dot or X where you want to drill. You can also use masking tape or painter’s tape to create a guide for the drill bit. Place the tape over the spot and mark the center of the tape with a pencil or marker.

Protecting the Surrounding Area

Drilling into tile can create dust, debris, and even flying chips, which can damage nearby surfaces or objects. To protect the surrounding area, cover it with a cloth or plastic sheet. You can also use masking tape or painter’s tape to create a border around the drilling spot. This will prevent the drill bit from slipping and scratching the tile or adjacent surfaces.

Drilling Into Tile

Drill Into Tile

Setting the Drill Bit

Before you start drilling, you need to set the drill bit to the right depth and angle. Use a ruler or measuring tape to determine the depth of the hole you want to drill. Then, adjust the depth gauge on your drill or wrap a piece of tape around the bit to mark the desired depth. Make sure the drill bit is perpendicular to the tile surface and aligned with the mark or tape.

Starting the Hole

To start the hole, use a low speed setting on your drill and apply gentle pressure. Start with a small pilot hole to guide the drill bit and prevent slipping or wandering. You can also use a nail or awl to create a small indentation on the tile surface. This will help the drill bit to stay in place and prevent cracking.

Drilling Through the Tile

Once you have started the hole, you can increase the speed and pressure of the drill. However, do not push too hard or apply too much pressure, as this can cause the tile to crack or shatter. Keep the drill bit lubricated with water, oil, or wax to prevent overheating and reduce friction. This will also help to prolong the life of the drill bit.

Finishing the Hole

Once you have drilled through the tile, you can remove the masking tape or painter’s tape and clean the area. Use a tile nipper or sandpaper to smooth the edges of the hole and remove any rough spots or burrs. You can also apply a sealant or adhesive to the hole to reinforce it and prevent water or moisture from seeping through.

Tips and Tricks

Using a Tile Nipper

If you need to make a larger or irregular-shaped hole in your tile, you can use a tile nipper. A tile nipper is a tool that can cut and shape tiles without cracking or breaking them. Simply place the nipper on the tile and squeeze the handles together to chip away small pieces. Use the nipper to create a rough outline of the hole, and then use the drill to finish it off. Based on the purposes to drill, different drill bits were used such as drill bits for metals.

Cooling the Drill Bit

To prevent the drill bit from overheating, you can cool it with water, oil, or wax. Simply dip the bit in the lubricant every few seconds while drilling, or use a spray bottle to apply the lubricant to the hole. This will reduce friction and heat, and prolong the life of the drill bit.

Cleaning the Tile

After drilling into tile, it’s important to clean the area thoroughly. Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe away any dust, debris, or lubricant. You can also use a mild cleaner or solvent to remove any stubborn stains or residue. Make sure the tile is completely dry before applying any sealant or adhesive.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

When drilling into tile, it’s easy to make mistakes that can ruin your project or damage your tile. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Using too much pressure

Applying too much pressure can cause the tile to crack or shatter. Use a gentle touch and let the drill bit do the work.

Using the wrong drill bit

Using the wrong type of drill bit can result in a dull or broken bit, or a poorly drilled hole. Make sure you use a bit that’s designed for the type of tile you’re drilling into.

Using a dull drill bit

A dull drill bit can cause overheating, friction, and poor drilling results. Make sure your drill bit is sharp and clean before you start drilling.

Not cleaning the tile

Leaving dust, debris, or lubricant on the tile can affect the quality of the hole or the adhesion of the sealant. Clean the tile thoroughly after drilling and before applying any sealant or adhesive.


Drilling into tile can be a daunting task, but with the right tools, techniques, and tips, you can achieve professional results. Remember to identify the type of tile, mark the spot, protect the surrounding area, set the drill bit, start the hole, drill through the tile, and finish the hole. Use a tile nipper for irregular-shaped holes, cool the drill bit with lubricant, and clean the tile thoroughly. Avoid common mistakes such as using too much pressure, using the wrong drill bit, using a dull drill bit, not lubricating the drill bit, and not cleaning the tile. With these tips and tricks, you can drill into tile like a pro.

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