Drilling holes in ceramic tiles isn’t as difficult as it might seem
Are you afraid of drilling through ceramic wall tile in case you crack or scratch the tile? I know that I was the first time that I did it. The thought of having to replace a perfectly good tile because I had destroyed it with my drill was just a little daunting. Don’t worry though, it isn’t nearly as difficult as it looks and if you follow a few simple rules your ceramic tile drilling should turn out just fine.
Use the correct type of drill bit
You need to use a carbide tipped drill bit for drilling into ceramics. The more common twist-drill bits that you might use for drilling into metal are not suitable because they will not be able to cut through the hard ceramic glaze on the tile. You may find that your DIY store has drill bits specialy marked for the purpose of drilling through ceramic tile.
Prevent the drill bit from slipping or skating on the ceramic surface
Take 2 pieces of masking tape and stick them on the ceramic tile in an ‘X’ pattern so that the hole will be in the center of the cross. This will help to stop the drill bit from slipping off target when drilling. Use a variable speed drill and start very slowly until the surface glaze has been penetrated to give the drill bit a guide. I like to drill very slowly all the way through to be on the safe side.
Change the drill bit when you are through the ceramic tile
When you feel the drill bit reaching the back of the tile be careful to slow down the drilling to ensure a clean exit at the back of the tile. When you are all the way through change the drill bit for one more suitable to drilling through the material that the ceramic tile is mounted on. You most likely will need either a wood drill or a masonry drill bit at this point.
Drilling a pilot hole
Unless I’m drilling a large hole in ceramic tile I never drill a pilot hole first but I do know that some people advise that you do. I prefer to be very careful and start drilling very slowly to make sure that I’m on target and the bit doesn’t slip. I don’t have to buy 2 ceramic tile drill bits that way.
Choosing a drill
When drilling ceramic tiles make sure that you use a power drill that has a variable speed control, which can be set to rotate very slowly. Portable battery operated power drills can be very good for this purpose.