Drilling a Hole in Tile – 7 Easy Steps (How-To Tips)

So, you’re thinking of mounting a toilet paper holder or a towel rack on an existing tiled wall? If yes, then you will have to drill holes through the tiles.

Unfortunately, cutting a hole through tiles can be tricky. This is because tiles are not only brittle but are also prone to cracking.

But don’t worry because we’ve put together this guide on how to drill a hole in tile to help you. That said, before we provide you with the steps, let’s first check out exactly what you need.

What Accessories & Tools Will You Need?

If planning to drill into tiled surfaces, the first thing you need is to invest in the right protective equipment. This includes safety goggles to prevent dust from getting lodges in your eyes and a dust mask.

Additionally, you will need a pair of non-slip latex gloves to provide you with enhanced grip and extra protection. Other tools you will need to help you perform a successful job include the following:

  • Drill bit
  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Wooden block
  • Wet sponge

Tips on How to Drill Holes in Tile – 7 Easy Steps

Looking for the correct procedure on how to drill through tiles? Here is a step-by-step guide just for you.

Step One: Know What Type of Tiles You Have

Before you start thinking about drilling into your freshly installed tiles, make sure you know what types of tiles you have. This way, you will have a better understanding of the task at hand. Some of the common types of tiles include:

Porcelain & Natural Stone

These are the hardest to drill through since they are very dense. Therefore, drilling through these types of tiles will require more work and preparation compared to other tiles. You will also require a specialized drill bit that can penetrate the hard surface of the tile.

Glazed Ceramic

This is the most common type of tiles and also the easiest to drill holes through. You see, glazed ceramic tiles have a softer and more powder content. Therefore, you won’t have to exert a lot of effort to break on through to the other side.


Glass tiles are not very easy to drill. This is because the material is slippery, making it hard to get the drill bit to grip. As such, you are likely to veer off course with the drill bit and scratch the surface when drilling through glass.

Step Two: Choose the Right Drill Bit

Now that you know the type of tile you’ll be drilling through, the next step is to choose the correct drill bit. Unfortunately, you cannot use standard drill bits because they are not strong enough to penetrate through tiles.

Therefore, you should opt for either a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit or a diamond-tipped drill bit. Generally, carbide-tipped masonry bits are the most common for making holes in the tile. However, they are not the best for porcelain stoneware type of tiles. But, you can check those drill bits, who are best for porcelain tile.

Diamond-tipped bits, on the other hand, are more durable than their carbide-tipped counterparts and don’t burn out easily. As such, they can drill through the hardest tile surfaces like porcelain. However, they are a little bit more expensive.

Step Three: Measure & Mark the Area

Ever tried to drill a hole in tile? Well, it can be difficult to keep the drill bit steady on the surface when you start drilling.

The good news is that it’s possible to prevent the bits from slipping around by creating some tension. You just use masking tape over the surface where you want to drill the hole.

But before placing the masking tape, measure the area you need to drill and mark it with an X. And after placing the tape, measure again just to ensure you did not misplace the hole.

Additionally, if you will be making multiple holes, you can create a small template using a block of wood. This way, you won’t have to repeat the process of measuring over and over again.

You just drill a hole through the wood that is of the same size as the drill bit you plan to use. Next, place the wood over the drill hole and hold it tightly with your hand.

Step Four: Start Drilling

Tiles are built to withstand a lot of abuse. This, therefore, makes them resistant to drilling. So, if you rush through the process, you could damage your freshly installed tiles. Also, if you drill at high speeds, the drill bit could overheat and create vibrations. 

For this reason, when you start drilling, make sure to do it slowly and at a low speed. It might take a while before you can penetrate the hard glazed surface, so be patient.

Once the drill bit has penetrated through the first layer, you can increase your speed and pressure. Just make sure to do it gradually.

Also, make sure to apply constant pressure but not a lot. Otherwise, you may end up breaking through the tiles rather than drilling into them.

Also Check: https://drillingadvisor.org/best-drill-bit-for-ceramic-tile/

Step Five: Let the Bits Cool

One of the secrets to successful tile drilling is to ensure the bits don’t overheat. You can use a small wet sponge to cool them down.

Another trick you could use is to stop from time to time and spray some water on the drill bit. Just be careful not to pour water into the motorized sections of the drill.

You see, carbide drill bits are designed to stop the moment they overheat. However, diamond-tipped bits will continue to work even when they overheat. Therefore, you must let them cool down when they heat up.

Step Six: Change the Drill Bit

Once you’ve successfully cut through the tile and hit the wall surface, the next step should be to change the bits.

You should change the drill bit to match the material the substrate your tiles are attached to. For instance, if the tiles are attached to concrete or stone, you will need a masonry drill bit.

However, if the tiles are attached to timber or fiberboard, you will require a drill bit specifically designed for wood.

Just make sure to follow the existing hole and drill through the substrate material. Also, be keen not to enlarge the hole or even veer off course.

Step Seven: Clean the Hole

Using a vacuum cleaner, suck out all the debris inside the hole you just drilled. You should clean the hole thoroughly to ensure the wall anchor fits properly and does not slide out.

You can also use a sponge with water to wipe away any stubborn residue. And when you’re done, you can take a step back and admire the result.

Check those drill posts, who are best for drilling through tiles.

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Other Tile Drilling Tips

There are few important takeaways you should remember when drilling through tiles. It does not matter whether it is ceramic or porcelain tiles. These include:

  • You need to be patient
  • Having the right tool is essential
  • Diamon-tipped bits are more hard-wearing
  • Carbide-tipped drill bits tend to quickly fade after heating up
  • Always speed up at the end
  • Try to drill close to the center of the tile as edges can crack easily
  • You need to be persistent with drilling to become perfect

Wrapping Up

Drilling holes into tiled walls is a common task whether you want to install toilet paper rolls or a medicine cabinet. But for you to make clean holes without cracking the tiles, you need to know what steps to follow. So, we hope you find the above tips on how to drill a hole in tile helpful.

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