How to drill a hole in a tile: about methods and tools

How to drill a hole in a tile

There can be many reasons to make a hole in a ceramic tile: you need to install a power outlet, hold a water pipe, cut in a heated towel rail or hang shelves on the wall. Yes, and drilling a hole just does not constitute a big problem, but the fact that in the process the tiles can crack or crack, is a lot of trouble. Setting themselves the task of how to drill tile so as not to damage its integrity, craftsmen and professionals have tried many ways. Below are only the most effective of them..


  • How to make a hole for a dowel
  • How to drill under a pipe and socket
  • Diamond coated hammer drill
  • Drill with a crown with a diamond coating “Ballerina” – a circular drill on the tile
  • Diamond Tip Drill

How to make a hole for a dowel

A similar question arises when it is necessary to hang any shelves, cabinets, lamps or other accessories on a wall from a tile. Moreover, the tile has been laid for a long time, and we have no right to make a mistake. If the tile in which the hole will be made is cracked or cracked, you will have to change the whole area.

The best option would be to drill a hole in the seam between the tiles. In this case, the risk of breaking the tiles is minimal. But this is not always possible..

If you still need to drill a hole in the tile, then you will have to use some tricks.

Important! When calculating a place for drilling a tile, try to step back from the edge of the tile more than 15 mm. So the risk of cracking will be much less.

To drill a tile, you need a drill with a diamond tip

For drilling tiles it is necessary to use special drills: with a diamond or a victorious tip. To drill a concrete wall, replace it with a regular one

When drilling holes in a ceramic tile, there are two “unpleasant” moments:

  1. The surface of the tile is very slippery – the drill constantly slides.
  2. Drills for concrete and brick are not suitable for tile – they split it.

And if the first problem is easily solved with the help of masking tape, which is glued to the surface of the tile so that the drill does not “flicker”, then the purchase of a special drill can cost a pretty penny. To qualitatively make a hole in the tile and not damage it, you must use a drill whose cutting edge is much harder than the surface of the tile.

First option – diamond tip drill. The most expensive and most effective way. If it accidentally “rolled up” among your stocks, then everything is just wonderful. But not everyone can afford to buy such drills for the sake of a couple of holes. It makes sense to buy “diamond” drills, if you are professionally involved in apartment renovation, then it will pay for itself.

The second option is drill bit. It is much cheaper than diamond, several times. Such a drill can be purchased in a specialized store, or can be on the market – from the “jack of all trades”.

The third option is special drills for ceramic tiles and glass. Theoretically, they can be useful in later life. So if the funds allow, you can buy.

The sequence of steps to drill a hole in a tile looks like this:

  • Glue a piece of masking tape to an approximate place where we will drill a hole.
  • A cross mark the point where to drill.
  • We insert a drill into the drill or punch to make a hole in the tile. It can be a diamond, a victory or a special drill.
  • We drill a hole in the tile at low speeds.
  • After we drill the tile, we replace the drill with the usual one – for concrete. The size will directly depend on the size of the dowel.
  • To get a hole of the required depth, you can use a special limiter. A simpler way: stick a piece of electrical tape on the drill, noting the depth.
  • Drill the hole to the end, remove the drill.
  • Blow out a hole to remove dust and crumb from concrete.
  • We insert the dowel into the hole, drowning it in the tile for a few millimeters.

Important! In this way, a hole with a diameter of maximum 15 mm can be made. There is no big drill with the right tip. But you can use crowns with diamond or victorious spraying.

How to drill under a pipe and socket

It is best to make such holes before laying the tiles. It is both easier and more practical. If the tile accidentally cracked, take the next one and practice until it works out well..

In the case when you need large holes in the laid tile, you can use methods 2 and 3.

Important! Before drilling a tile, it is necessary to soak it in water for 40 – 60 minutes. This greatly reduces the possibility of cracking or chips. You can even drill with a drill at low speeds directly in the water.

Diamond coated hammer drill

You can drill a hole in the tile using a carbide drill bit.

You can drill a hole in the tile using a carbide drill bit or diamond-coated drill bit.

The cost of diamond crowns depends on their quality, but in any case it is “pleasure is not cheap”. Alternatively, you can use a crown with victorious teeth. It should be enough for 20 – 30 holes.

Before drilling a tile, it must be laid on a flat but not too hard surface, such as a wooden one. On the front side, we outline a place for drilling. Using a hammer drill a hole.

This method is the fastest and most dangerous. In most cases, large chips form at the edges of the hole, which cannot be hidden by the cover of a socket or switch.

Diamond Crown Drill

How to drill a tile using a tile crown

Drilling a hole in a tile with a special crown is the easiest way.

You can use a hammer, but in drill mode, without a fight. This method will require more time, but the tile will not be damaged..

We outline and drill on the front side of the tile. At the same time, we do not press too hard on the drill. If the crown is in normal condition, relatively new, you can wipe the required hole in 2 to 5 minutes.

“Ballerina” – a circular drill on the tile


Drilling a tile with the help of a “ballerina” will not be difficult. The main thing is not to swing the drill

Drilling a tile with the help of a “ballerina” will not be difficult. The main thing is not to swing the drill

A ballerina or nibbler can be used if you need to make 10 to 20 holes. She can’t stand it anymore. Even if it bends at the second hole, you can buy a new one – its price is low.

The main thing is not to swing the drill during the drilling process. If there is a special tripod for a drill, be sure to use it.

Diamond Tip Drill

Drilling a large diameter hole in a tile without using a crown

Drilling many holes along the contour with a drill, and then breaking out the core – the longest way

This method can be used if you do not want to buy a crown, or if there is no such opportunity.

On the front side of the tile we outline the diameter of the hole. If it is a socket or switch, you can take the box, attach it to the tile and circle with a pencil. If the hole is under the pipe, then it can be marked with a compass.

We drill as many holes as possible around the entire contour of the hole (about 20). Diameter 4-6 mm, the edge should protrude beyond the intended line by at least 1 – 2 mm.

Carefully knock out the core. We break out the remaining teeth with pliers or nippers. The cut surface can be sanded.

This method is the longest, it will require considerable skill and patience..

Also, instead of diamond crowns, you can use tungsten with a centering drill, which is simply necessary if the tile is already laid. So that the crown does not move during the drilling process, it is advisable to use a template with the required hole diameter. If you press the template firmly against the wall, the crown will not move.

And also, do not forget to wet the tile with water. Even if you need only one hole, do not take risks, moisten the drilling site. Thanks to this precaution, you don’t have to redo the work or “God forbid” replace a whole piece of masonry.


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