How to: Use a Diamond Core Drill Bit for Porcelain Tile

Written by sarabeth asaff
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How to: Use a Diamond Core Drill Bit for Porcelain Tile
Porcelain tiles are hard and dense, making them tricky to drill. (Tiled floor image by Simon Amberly from

Porcelain tiles are made of clay dust that has been compressed under tremendous pressure before being fired to high temperatures. This makes the tile much harder and denser than other tiles. When using a core drill on porcelain tile, the core may skip or slide over the tile as it attempts to gain traction on the surface. To prevent this, a diamond bit should be used in the centre of the core drill. The diamond bit will drill into the tile first, holding the drill steady for the core to bore out the larger hole.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Grease pencil
  • Cooling oil

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  1. 1

    Mark the centre of the hole you want to drill on the porcelain tile with a grease pencil. This is where you will place the diamond bit, while the core drill bores around it.

  2. 2

    Pour cooling oil over the porcelain tile and dip the diamond bit into the oil. As the drill is boring through the tile, it will generate a tremendous amount of heat from the friction used to bore through. The oil will keep the drill from overheating as you drill.

  3. 3

    Place the diamond bit on the grease pencil mark and turn the drill on its slowest setting. Apply steady pressure to the drill as the bit bores into the tile, and the outer edge of the core drill comes down on the tile. Slowly increase the speed at this point until the hole is bored through the tile. If at any time the tile begins to smoke, or the drill turns bright red, stop and add more oil to the tile.

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