How to Drill Through Floor Tile to a Concrete Slab

Written by larry simmons
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How to Drill Through Floor Tile to a Concrete Slab
Drill through a tape covered tile to prevent tile damage. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Installing objects onto a floor covered with tile, without first removing the tile, requires that you drill through the tile in order to install whatever anchors the object requires. Drilling through a tile can damage the tile in the process, causing cracks or breaks to develop, or can dull the drill bit as you break through the tile and begin to drill against the concrete slab beneath. In order to avoid the damage you'll need to make allowances for the tile's material make-up, choosing the proper drill bit and drill speed and preparing the tile surface before drilling a hole.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Electric drill
  • Diamond or carbide top drill bit
  • Duct tape
  • Spray bottle
  • Hammer drill
  • Mask
  • Goggles

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  1. 1

    Attach a diamond bit drill head onto an electric drill to drill holes through thick stone or porcelain tiles. Use a carbide tip for thinner ceramic tiles.

  2. 2

    Place two pieces of duct tape over the tile at the drill point in an "X" pattern to prevent the drill bit from breaking the tile around the hole and to keep the bit from sliding as you begin drilling. Mark the tape with a pencil to guide the placement of the bit.

  3. 3

    Set the drill to low speed, 100 to 200 RPM. Spray the surface of the masking tape with water at the hole location. Start the drill and begin drilling your way through the tile at the hole location. Spray the location occasionally to keep the bit from overheating as you make your way through the tile. Stop the drill when you reach the concrete surface beneath. You'll be able to tell when the drill is through the tile by listening for any changes in the drill pitch.

  4. 4

    Switch to a hammer drill to create a hole in the concrete beneath the tile, using the drilled tile hole as a guide for the bit.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling tile dust during drilling. Wear safety goggles during the drilling as well to protect against both dust particles and flying shards if case the tile breaks.

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