How to Core Drill Through Tile

Written by sal marco
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How to Core Drill Through Tile
Core drilling creates round holes in tiles. (Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Ceramic tiles offer a hard and durable surface on floors and walls. Boring through a ceramic tile with a core drill leaves a hole in the tile. Core drilling allows homeowners and tile installers to slip the tile over obstacles. Using specialised core drill bits prevents chipping and fractures on the ceramic tile. Core drill bits come in a variety of sizes to match the size of the hole you need for your project.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Grease pencil
  • Towel
  • Container
  • Wood
  • Variable-speed drill
  • Diamond-tipped core drill bit

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  1. 1

    Mark the placement of the hole on the back of the tile with a grease pencil.

  2. 2

    Lay a towel over a flat and level work surface. Place a flat-bottomed container large enough and deep enough to accommodate the tile and a flat piece of wood. Place a flat piece of wood that is at least as large as the tile into the container and set the tile on top of the wood.

  3. 3

    Fill the container with water so that water covers the tile by 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Water keeps the core bit cool during drilling. Dry drilling causes too much heat and damages the core bit.

  4. 4

    Equip a variable-speed drill with a diamond-tipped core drill bit made expressly for ceramic tile and stone. Choose a core drill bit that exactly matches the size of the hole you intend to drill.

  5. 5

    Set the variable-speed drill to the lowest speed setting. Line up the core bit with the guideline for the hole. Turn the drill on while applying light steady pressure. Continue to bore through the tile until the core bit hits the wood. Add water as necessary to keep the tile submerged while drilling. Keep the variable-speed drill at its lowest setting to avoid fracturing or chipping the tile.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear eye protection and gloves while boring tile.
  • Practice boring holes in tile with scrap tile.
  • Use care when using power drills in water. Keep the floor dry and the power cord out of the water.
  • Avoid heavy pressure on the drill; the bit may break and cause injury.

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