Knowing how fragile tiles can be, taking a powerful electric drill to them seems like a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately though, if you need to secure something to a bathroom wall, drilling into tile is in fact very effective and quite easy to do - as long as you've got the right tools for the job.

We’ve put together the following guide to teach you how to drill into tiles without damaging them. We also cover how to choose the best drill bit for tiles, while recommending a handful of extra tools for tiling jobs.

Choosing a Suitable Drill Bit For Tiles

If you think that any old drill bit will do, think again! You’re gonna need a particular type of drill bit for tiles. Attempting the job with a standard one could cause significant damage to your walls.

This is because regular drill bits are simply not strong enough to penetrate the hard glazed surface of tiles without using exceptional force. Even if you do succeed with force, you’re highly likely to chip, crack or leave an unsightly hole in your tiles.

So, what’s the solution?

Drilling into tile safely and effectively will require the use of either a carbide-tipped or diamond-tipped masonry drill bit.

These specialist bits boast tips that are stronger than tile, allowing them to make quick work of drilling without causing any damage.

Carbide-tipped bits are perfect for drilling into ceramic tile.

Diamond-tipped bits are typically more expensive but are your best bet for glass and porcelain.

If you’re unsure what type of tile you have, we strongly recommend that you opt for a diamond bit as these will comfortably cope with most materials.

3 Simple Steps to Drilling into Tile

You’ll Need:

  • An Electric Drill.
  • A Carbide or Diamond-tipped Drill Bit.
  • Masking Tape.
  • A Pen or Pencil.
  • A Spirit Level.

  1. Make Your Marks
  2. Roughly figure out where you’d like to place your holes and apply masking tape to the area. Mark where you are going to drill using a pen or pencil. We recommend choosing an area away from the edge of your tile as drilling here will heighten the risk of chipping or cracking your tile. If you’re drilling multiple holes, to mount a shower caddy, for example, take your spirit level and make sure all of your markings are level and in line.

  3. Slow & Steady
  4. Here comes the fun part! The trick to drilling into tile is to start slowly. Align your carbide or diamond-tipped bit with one of your markings and apply moderate pressure as you gently bring the drill up to a moderate speed. The key here is to work gradually - too much too soon could overheat and damage your drill bit.

  5. Finish Up
  6. Once you’re through that tough first layer of glazed tile you should feel much less resistance. When this happens, ease off the pressure but speed up your drilling. If you start to feel more resistance as you drill, reapply moderate pressure but ease off the drill speed. When you’ve drilled as far as you need to, clear the area of dust - using a vacuum if necessary.


Our Recommended Extras for Tiling Jobs

If you’re yet to install your tiles or you’ve damaged yours using an unsuitable drill bit, we think you’d benefit from using the following simple tools. All of which have been designed to make tiling jobs easier and to ensure that the finished job looks that bit more professional.

Professional Seal Smoothers - These handy seal smoothers are used to guarantee smooth, consistent lines of bathroom sealant without any bumps or gaps. Though this task can usually be done by hand, seal smoothers give you Any excess sealant is wiped away to leave flawless lines, and each of the two seal smoothers features different grooves - allowing you to choose between a quadrant or triangular finish.

Tile Rite Professional Seal Smoothers (Pack of 2)
Tile Rite Professional Seal Smoothers (Pack of 2)

A Grout Finishing Tool - Working in a similar fashion to the seal smoothers above, grout finishing tools are used to provide smooth, even lines of grout between tiles. The curved end is used to gently score between your tiles, while its bladed side is ideal for scraping away any excess grout before it hardens for a professional finish.

Tile Rite Grout Finisher
Tile Rite Grout Finisher

Long Leg Tile Spacers - These 2mm long leg tile spacers are the industry standard option used by professionals to guarantee even spacing between each and every tile. Trying to complete a tiling job without quality tile spacers could result in an unruly, dishevelled look that you’ll struggle to correct without having to start over again entirely.

Tile Rite 2mm Long Leg Tile Spacers (Pack of 250)

Feel up to the job? Need some accessories to hang on your bathroom’s freshly tiled wall? Try our extensive bathroom accessories range, featuring numerous options that can be fixed securely to the wall as well as alternatives using hooks and suction cups. For all other bathroom inspiration, stick with us here at the Victorian Plumbing blog.