How to drill limestone

Written by melissa busse
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How to drill limestone
Limestone can be a challenging material to drill through. (limestone bricks background image by starush from Fotolia.com)

Limestone tile, blocks and natural walls are some items you may need to drill into when working on home improvement projects. Although limestone rock can be harder to drill through than many other types of materials, such as wood, the task can be made easier if the proper supplies and techniques are used. Luckily, modern equipment makes the task of drilling through limestone much easier than in previous years, when long hours of labour were often needed to complete the task.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Variable speed drill fitted with diamond bit
  • Masking tape or duct tape
  • Pen
  • Spray bottle filled with water

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cover the area you want to drill with a piece of duct tape or masking tape. This will help the drill to stay put while creating a hole in the limestone. Make a mark on the tape with a pen on the exact location you need to drill.

  2. 2

    Fill your spray bottle with water. Hold the drill at a right angle against the spot you plan to drill.

  3. 3

    Have an assistant stand next to you with the spray bottle full of water. Tell the assistant to spray a constant flow of water above the drill bit as you are drilling. This is important, as diamond drill bits are meant to be kept wet during use.

  4. 4

    Drill into the limestone, using light pressure. Too much pressure may damage the drill bit. Continue drilling in this manner until you have reached the desired depth. Stop and refill your spray bottle, as necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the drill you are using is a variable speed drill, rather than a hammer drill, which may damage natural stone surfaces.
  • If you are drilling through a limestone-tiled wall, immediately stop drilling when you hit a stud behind the wall. Replace the drill bit with a more appropriate one before continuing.
  • Do not hold the drill at an angle when drilling into limestone. This may cause the limestone to crack.
  • Natural stone often has fault lines running through it. Avoid drilling through the fault lines, if possible, since the vibration of the drill could cause the fault to open.
  • To prevent cracking the edges of the limestone, avoid drilling near the edges.

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