How To Drill A Hole In Ceramic Tiles Without Damaging Them

Ceramic tile is commonly used on the house wall, floor and alike due to its excellent characteristics as a covering material. However, it’s rather delicate as well, if you handle ceramic improperly then you can end up in a nasty mess. Drilling and cutting ceramic tile are tasks which require a lot of patient in order to achieve the desired result.

Before you attempt to break into the ceramic, keep in mind that it’s hard and brittle at the same time.  Knowing how to drill a hole in ceramic tiles is essential if you don’t want to damage the tile or the bit.  Down below is a list of necessary tool and gear for the job along with detailed instructions on what you should do.

The preparations

Regular but is inadequate to deal with the ceramic toughness, you need either carbide-tipped or diamond-tipped drill bits. Carbide-tipped bits are designed to punch through hard surfaces and with enough patience, you can use it to good effect here. In the other hand, diamond-tipped bits have an expensive price but they are considerably stronger than carbide-tipped bits.

The preparations for How to drill a hole in ceramic tiles

Besides the bit, you obviously need a reliable power drill, ideally a variable speed one to better accommodate different demands. The drilling will generate plenty of dust and very noisy as well so make sure you have the right gears. Put on a pair of goggles, gloves, facemask and ear protection until the very end of the task.

It’s a good idea to prepare masking tape and cleaning product to help you with the drilling. The former provides the bit with surface traction while the latter help cleanses the ceramic before and after the drilling. Grab a couple pieces of cloths as well to apply the cleaning product later on.


When you got all the necessary stuff then it’s time to get to work.

The procedures

  • Step 1: Inspect and cleanse the tiles surface

Take a closer look at the titles to see if you are able to detect potential defects anywhere. If you manage to spot a suspicious sign, replace that particular title as soon as possible before doing anything else. Faulty tiles tend to crack or break apart when you drill through so instead of keeping them, purchase new tiles.



Should the inspection return no result, proceed to cleanse the tiles of foreign particles then move to the next step.

  • Step 2: Equip your drill with a suitable bit and mark the planned holes location

Again, ensure that the bit you intend to use for the drilling is either carbide-tipped or diamond-tipped. The hardest part here is getting through the hardened outer surface of the ceramic without destroying the tiles in the process. To do it, you can’t simply use regular bit since it will increase the risk of shattering the brittle ceramic.



If you are out of option, a high-speed steel bit (HSS) is an adequate substitute for the bits above.  The downside of the bit is that it wears out extremely quick after drilling a hole or two. Prepare replacement bits if you intend to stick with the HSS bit, you might use a lot of them.

Ceramic tiles are strong enough to ensure tremendous abuse and it’s the reason behind the material popularity as home products. Yet that excellent characteristic also poses a formidable obstacle if you ever want to drill through it. To prevent the bit from skipping on the tile surface, mark an “X” at the drilling point using masking tape.

  • Step 3: Start drilling

Use a hammer to gently tap the bit into the center of the X till a small dent is visible. It should be enough to serve as a pilot hole for the drilling, now reconnect the bit with the drill.  Set the drill on the low speed, push the drill toward the pilot hole with moderate pressure then start drilling.

Let the drill work at its own pace and try not to get impatient, rush drilling could crack the title. Increase the drill speed as you see fit but remember that if you drill too fast then the bit will be damaged. Constant lubrication is a great way to protect the bit from overheating, water is more than enough in most case.

The key to a successful drilling operation is to maintain the ideal amount of pressure on the drill. Press it down too hard and you will break through the ceramic instead of drilling into the title. Keep an eye on the material friction as well, spray some water in there once in a while to cool down the bit.

  • Step 4: Backside processing

When you have finally punched through the title, it’s smooth sailing from there. Now the next thing to do is to drill the wallboard or whatever surface behind the title. Decrease the drill speed and replace the current bit with a regular one then simply go back to the drilling.


Once you are done, insert wall anchors into the holes, preferably ones that accept screws with an unthreaded top section. A threaded screw is capable of cracking the tile so stay away from it to be on the safe side. Only depend on the surface that lies behind the tile for anchoring.

  • Step 5: Finish and clean up

With the completion of the backside drilling, now you can mount items on the ceramic tiles without problem. Wipe cleanse the remaining dust from the drilling, remove the masking tape then you can do whatever you want.  After multiple tries, you shall slowly yet surely become adept at drilling through ceramic tiles.


And that is all you should know about how to drill a hole in ceramic tiles, easy to absorb, right? It could be a bit tricky to perform at first but with time and effort, you will eventually master techniques. Keep practicing and you shall see that it’s actually quite a simple process which everyone can do.

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