Drilling through porcelain is an arduous task that takes a lot of time and careful precision to ensure you don’t make any mistakes. It also requires specific drilling tools made to tackle such a delicate job.
Because drilling hard porcelain tile is so challenging, you need the right tile drill bit designed to cut through your tiles without cracking or chipping them, leaving broken edges, and ones that won't wear down when used on such a tough base.
In this article, we offer a list of all our favorite drill bits for porcelain tile to help you pick the best option for your upcoming job. Here we also provide a few great tricks, tips, and tools to ensure your tile turns out amazing.
The Best Drill Bits for Porcelain Tiles
You need the proper equipment when you are about to tackle drilling into porcelain tiles. Your typical drilling tools can’t take on such a difficult task; using them will only result in a botched job.
Carbide or industrial diamond-tipped drill bits are the best choices for drilling into porcelain tiles.
Porcelain is a hard material, leaving only a few types of drill bits suited to the task.
- Industrial diamond-tipped drill bits: These bits are made from a solid metal shaft with particles of industrial diamonds coating the tip. This ensures the drill creates a nice smooth hole without too much pressure.
- Carbide drill bits: Carbide-tipped drill bits are bits with a coating of carbon and metal covering the tip. Carbide bits are solid tools that will easily drill into porcelain without cracking or breaking it.
- Masonry drill bits: If you already have a masonry drill bit set lying around, you can take a bit from this set for your porcelain tile project.
- High-speed steel drill bits: You can also use a high-speed steel bit as an absolute last resort. Although they are strong enough to make their way through porcelain or ceramic tile, you will notice they wear down quickly and may need replacing after only a few holes.
- Hole saw bit for larger holes: Instead of forcing a huge bit into your porcelain and risking the chance it will break, crack, or ruin the bit, pick a diamond-tipped hole saw bit to get those larger holes done. This is the best choice for pipe holes and making space for other fixtures.
Always choose the bit that matches the job at hand.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Drill Bit
Now that you know what type of drill bit you should choose, it is time to consider the factors that ensure the bit does a good job.
Drill Bit Size
The size of your drill bit will be based on the size of the hole you are looking to drill into the porcelain tile.
Most of these jobs only require small holes, 10mm and under. However, some situations, especially in the professional field, require larger holes.
- 12 mm holes and under: Diamond drill bit
- 13 mm holes and over: Diamond bit with a carbide bit to create a starting point
- 10 mm holes and under: Carbide pilot bit if a diamond drill bit is not available
A pilot bit is used to create a small hole that starts the drilling process. After opening a small space, you replace your bit with a diamond tip one.
Tools and Equipment
Having the right tools and equipment is just as important when drilling porcelain as the drill bit is. Below is a list of tools and equipment we recommend when drilling hard porcelain tile.
- An electric drill
- An RCD breaker
- Safety glasses
- Safety gloves
- Water cooling equipment
Of course, we always recommend using safety equipment when working on any home improvement, DIY, or professional job. Although this isn’t the most dangerous task out there, you don't want to risk damage to your eyes or cutting yourself on sharp objects.
Placement of Tile
Where the tile is when drilling plays a huge role in the outcome. If you are drilling a small hole, 13mm or less, you should do this with the tile already in place. However, if you are drilling a larger hole, 13mm or more, the tile should be free and somewhere where dust collection can easily take place.
How to Drill into Porcelain Tile: Tips and Tricks
(196) How to Drill Through Porcelain Tile - Easy Mode - YouTube- Check out this great video for tips on drilling through porcelain tile.
Now that you have your equipment and a good idea of where to start, look at these professional tips and tricks on drilling into porcelain tile.
Keep the Area Wet
Because porcelain is so strong, drilling into it creates a good amount of friction. This heat can cause a lot of damage to your tiles and your tools. Dripping water onto the drill bit as you work will reduce the heat and keep things well-protected.
Another way to reduce friction and heat is by using drilling oil. This is specifically designed for this type of task.
Water is also useful in these types of projects because it reduces the flying dust particles that enter the air.
Apply Pressure, But Not Too Much
Sometimes it seems like drilling through porcelain takes forever. Unfortunately, this is all part of the process, and while you need to apply a certain amount of gentle pressure to help the drill bit do its job, too much pressure will cause the tile to crack.
X Marks the Spot
Use masking tape to make an X over the location you want to drill. Doing this will prevent the drill bit from moving around while trying to penetrate the first layer of the tile.
The tape is also a great way to prevent cracking and chipping during the process.
Drilling porcelain tiles can be a challenge and a nerve-wracking process. However, if you have the right tools and the best drill bit for the job, you shouldn’t have any issues getting it done.
Look at the above information to understand the best drill bits for porcelain tiles.