What is the Best Drill Bit for Porcelain Tile?

The toughness and slippery aspects of porcelain tile make it highly challenging to drill through, which requires special types of drill bits. Since regular drill bit is unable, learning what is the best drill bit for porcelain tile and use accordingly can maximise the change of success.

Following the guide, we have mentioned some of the best types of drill bits that can handle the porcelain tile drilling project effectively. Plus, we discussed why porcelain tile is special and how to drill through porcelain tile without damage. Lastly, some crucial tips are included to lead you to success on the porcelain tile.

Is Diamond Drill Bit good for Porcelain Tile?

The success of drilling into porcelain tile largely depends on the type of drill bit you are using. Porcelain is an extremely hard material and a typical drill bit can’t handle the task. A regular drill bit can’t endure the excessive friction and heat produced while drilling through porcelain tile, so it requires a special type of drill bit.

Our first recommendation is to use a diamond-tipped drill bit as it is extremely hard and suitable to penetrate this hard material. For a better experience, you can use the NEIKO 00823A 5-Piece Diamond Drill Bit Set. This Diamond Drill Bit Set is an electroplated premium grade diamond and offers a clean-cut over porcelain, glass, ceramic, and marble.

Plus, you can use carbide-tipped drill bits, which can also withstand the tough challenge as made of a combination of metal and carbon.

Apart from these, porcelain bits with electroplated diamonds will also be a handy option to deal with porcelain tile. But make sure you are using lower RPM, lubricating frequently, and drilling slowly.

What Makes Porcelain Tile So Special?

All the tiles aren’t the same, and the hardness of them varies largely. Porcelain tiles are different due to their extreme hardness and are even as tough as granite rock.

The material of tiles is also varied. Porcelain tiles are made of silica. The tile is manufactured using an incredibly high temperature that makes the tile tougher. Apart from these, porcelain is a kind of artificial ceramic material that is solid, weighty, and super hard to drill. Some porcelain tiles come with a glossy or shiny surface. Due to their slippery surface, drilling this type of porcelain tile is also a demanding task.

But because of the water-resistance and higher durability, porcelain tiles are appropriate for plenty of applications. Some of the most commonly used areas for porcelain tiles are kitchen floors and walls, backsplashes, shower enclosures, bathroom walls, and floors, etc.

Since porcelain tile is broadly used as a wall and floor material, the homeowner often needs to drill through its surface for various purposes. Some of the most common purposes for drilling into porcelain tiles are:

  • Hanging decor
  • Installing towel racks, pipes, and a new appliance in the kitchen
  • Cutting tile to fit a floor
  • Remodeling the shower enclosure
  • Installing attached mirrors

These are some of the key applications that encourage drilling through porcelain tile. Due to its durability and toughness, porcelain tile is well accepted among homeowners, and the same features make it tricky to drill through. However, using the right tools and the appropriate process can make the handyman successful at this challenging task.

How to Drill Through a Porcelain Tile without Cracking It

A combination of the right tools, steady hands, and proper process is essential for getting success on a risky project like drilling into porcelain tile. To drill through porcelain tile, collect their equipment:

An appropriate drill bit

The drill bit you will use must be stronger than the working surface, especially when it is trickier like porcelain. Not all the drill bits are tougher like this material, so you will require either diamond-tipped drill bits or carbide-tipped drill bits. While the first drill bit is extremely hard, the second one comes in a combination of metal and carbon to promise superior durability.

A powerful drill

To drill through such hard material, you will require a power drill. A power drill with a variable speed trigger is preferable so you can drill through porcelain tile at an appropriate speed.

Cooling lubricant

Drilling through hard material produces excessive heat, and most of the drill bits will get hot. Thus, using a cooling lubricant like cutting oil or water can be a life saver. Apart from these, use a spray bottle to frequently spray the lubricant from a safe distance.

Mark the spot

Once you have collected those tools, you are ready to drill into the porcelain tile. For accurate drilling, you have to start by marking the exact spot. Use masking tape to identify the desired drilling spot. Another advantage of using the tape is, it will prevent the drill bit from sliding and let you drill accurately.

Start slowly

Adjust the variable speed trigger of the drill to the lowest setting and start drilling slowly with a gentle push. Don’t apply much force at the initial stage as it can cause the tile to creak.

Cool off the drill bit

Don’t drills consistently, as excess heat can damage both the work surface and the drill bit. So apply cutting oil or cold water every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. You can also use a rag to keep the drill bit clean.

Repeat the process

Continue the process until you reach the desired depth. Remember, drilling through porcelain tile requires slow work, steady hands, and lots of patience. Apart from these, apply gentle pressure and frequently apply lubricant to complete the task successfully over the porcelain tile. Drilling too quickly will not only shatter tile but also damage the bit due to excess heat, whether it is carbide bits or diamond bits. The porcelain tile produces extreme heat from friction, so caution is the key.

Tips to remember while drilling into Porcelain Tile

Many DIYers make some common mistakes when trying to drill into a hard surface. Following, we have mentioned some do’s and don’ts to help you lower the possibility of mistakes and boost the possibility of successful operation, especially over porcelain tile:

  • Don’t try to drill fast over the solid surface as it will create excessive friction, resulting in maximizing the chance of ruining the project.
  • Don’t use a hammer drill on the porcelain tile, as it’s back and forth motion will surely creak the tile.
  • If you find any smoke, stop drilling immediately as it’s created due to extreme friction and heat, which damages the bit.
  • Don’t use a typical drill bit over the porcelain surface, as it isn’t hard enough to withstand such extreme conditions.
  • Follow the right process to drill through porcelain tile, as applying incorrect methods can crack the tile.
  • The edge of the porcelain tile tends to crack more than other areas, thus paying extra care while working in such a risky zone.

FAQs on What is the Best Drill Bit for Porcelain Tile

Can I use a hammer drill to drill into porcelain tile?

Drilling porcelain tile will certainly crack the tile due to its rapid pounding. Instead, use the drilling only mode, keep the speed at the lowest setting, and apply steady yet gentle pressure to properly drill a hole into porcelain tile.

What is the best porcelain cutting blade?

Use a diamond blade to cut the porcelain and ceramic effectively. But you won’t have an accurate cut on porcelain using a hand tool or abrasive blades, even if they are designed for tough materials.

Which material is harder: ceramic or porcelain?

Generally, porcelain tile is tougher than ceramic and offers greater flexibility than ceramic.  However, porcelain tile has a low moisture absorption rate, which makes it more prone to cracking and less resistant to stains.

Final words

Drilling through porcelain requires the right equipment, process, and lots of care. As long as you know what is the best drill bit for porcelain tile and how to drill through it, the task will be much more straightforward for you. But make sure the power drill has a variable speed trigger and you have worn the protective gear to get an accurate hole in the porcelain tile and safely finish the application.

Share on:

Sam Morgan is a general contractor based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He does home renovations, extensions, landscaping maintenance, and general handyman jobs for homeowners. He is also the part-time content writer at Machine Handyman and a lifelong tools enthusiast. Sam loves hand tools, power tools, machinery, and DIY gadgets of all shapes and sizes! He is always researching the different types of home improvement tools that will get the best results. This site will cover products like power drills, air compressors, saws, nail guns, screw guns, grinders, cutting tools, and many more.

Leave a Comment