Introduction: Drilling Holes in Hard Porcelain Tiles With Diamond Drill Bits Holesaws Granite and Marble

Do you need to cut holes into very hard materials like porcelain tile, granite and marble? We can show you how to use diamond drilling kits made for the construction industry and used by professional installers, tilers, plumbers, builders, electricians and commercial shop fitters.

Step 1: Locate the Area of the Tile to Be Drilled With the Diamond Holesaw

Find the area on the tile where you are going to drill the hole with the diamond tile drill.

Step 2: Locating the Non-slip Guide Plate Onto the Tile Ready for the Tile Drill

Place the anti-slip guide plate into the correct area on the tile ready to accept the diamond holesaw or tile drill.

The more you push against the plate the tighter it grips the porcelain tile, or granite, marble, glass, mirror, or other hard stone material.

Step 3: Slot the Drill Into the Guide Plate Ready to Form the Hole in the Tile or Marble

Place the diamond crown or holesaw into the correct size hole of the drill plate and press the drill bit up against the porcelain ceramic tile or other hard material lik granite or marble.

If you have slightly wet the drill bit first by dipping it into water then this helps to cool it.

Slowly drill for between five and ten seconds but no more. You do not want to build heat into the holesaw.

Step 4: Remove the Drill to Expose a Small Pit Into the Tile

If you remove the drill and the anti-slip guide plate from the wall you will see the porcelain tile now has a small pit sunk into its mass. This will also be the same for marble tiles, granite worktops, travertine, slate, pottery and many other hard materials.

At this point you can discard the guide plate (drill plate) because it is no longer required.

The diamond holesaw will sit back easily into the ring and no pilot drill is required to hold everything in place.

Step 5: Place the Diamond Drill Back Into the Porcelain Tile to Drill Hole

The drill bit will slip back into the porcelain tile and lock into place without sliping.

It is very safe to drill the hole into the tile without the need of the guide plate.

Hard stone tiles including granite, marble, travertine and porcelain are very dense and so of course heat will begin to build up quickly as the diamonds grind away at the surface.

You must control the heat build up of the tile drill

Step 6: Add a Wet Sponge to Cool the Tile Drill As You Work the Stone Porcelain

You will need a small wet sponge about the size of a bar of soap and soaked in water. Using a sponge to cool the diamond drill bits will prevent early wearing of the tile drill as you bore a hole into the porcelain tiles.

Please note diamond drills are not like carbide drills. Carbide drill bits go blunt the second they overheat so must always be kept cool as you drill.

In contrast a diamond holesaw is very forgiving and if allowed to cool it will go on to grind holes into tiles.

But a word of caution: Please treat diamond holesaws with respect. Drill slowly, avoid heat and pressure to increase the lifespan.

This of the holesaw as a diamond grinder on the porcelain tile rather than a drill bit in the conventional sense. The tile drill is scraping away at the hard stone material and needs a little love and care !

Step 7: Holding the Wet Sponge UNDER the Drill Will Cool a Diamond Tile Drill

Hold the wet sponge UNDER the drill bit to cool the diamonds and you drill the hole into the very hard porcelain tile.

There are two reasons:
1) The sponge will actually prevent the water from pouring down the wall and onto the floor. Many bathrooms and kitchens are still in construction at this stage so not yet water tight. Introducing a jet of water via a water pump and an arbour can flood an area. In contrast the wet sponge only contains enough water to cool the drill and not to flood the project.

2) The wet sponge acts a catching device for the dust and spoil emitted from the stone tile. Fine particals of stone are being ground from the porcelain, ceramic or granite material. By holding the sponge UNDER the hole everything that comes out as waste can be caught.

Return the wet sponge to the bucket and rinse out. All the material from the tile drill will be contained and easy to get rid of


Step 8: Final Result. After 3mins a Perfect Hole Is Drilled Into a Porcelain Tile


After about 3 minutes of drilling into a 9mm a 11mm or even a 12mm very hard stone porcelain tile the diamond holesaw will have let you drill a perfect chip free hole into the material,

Because the diamonds are gentle they will slowly ebb away at the stone so no chips or breaks.

This is fantastic for tiles pre-fitted. A worry for installers can be breaking bathoom tiles when installed because of the time and cost involved in fitting them, removing them and replacing them.

Plus the customer is not too pleased.

Step 9: Final Thoughts to Drilling Hard Porcelain Tiles With Diamond Drills Holesaws

Final thoughts.

Diamond tile drills give neat elegant results to drilling very hard stone, granite, marble, porcelain, travertine tiles or materials either fitted or unfitted into kitchens and bathrooms.

They also work well in commercial areas like airports, bars, shops, restaurants, public plaes.

The joy of using this method is that it is quick, safe, easy and does no harm.

For example if you look at the example below the holesaw took a neat plug out of a tile. Because there is no centre pilot in the middle it didnt go deeper to hit or pierce any hidden pipework.

So thats a safe way to drill as well. Flooding bathrooms is messy and expensive.

Thank you!

Richard Hazell

Step 10: This 30 Second Video From 365drills About Porsadrill Shows What to Do

This 30 second video gives a little insight into what to do

And this is the finished result


Final shots of a set of bath taps and a spout completes the sequence. And a bathroom radiator plus a loo roll holder.

I hope this was of use. Richard Hazell.



fmnjewel (author)2014-03-06

with your drilling holes can this tools cut for this kind of porcelain, please advise to, thanks so much.

Birch (author)2011-02-03

This tool is unnecessary. The wet sponge is a great trick, otherwise you're using a squirt bottle. The trick (which does take a little practice), is to start drilling with your bit on an slight angle, so that only a small amount is touching at first. Notice how in the video he doesn't drill straight on? That's to let it cool a bit, too. Just start it on an angle dry, stop, wet the surface, then continue. That's the pro way. If you're only going to be making a couple holes ever then this tool will help you. But then why would you buy a tool for two holes?

hazellr (author)Birch2011-02-03

The anti-slip guide plate does just that... Its a safety device to hold the core central to the tile and guarantees the diamond tile drill will never slip.

Can you imagine the effect of a diamond drill slipping on a very expensive marble tile?
1) You have to remove and replace the tile. Perhaps smashing it off the wall with a hammer and chisel. Regrouting and refinishing.
2) The cost of the tiles to replace and the cost of labour.

It is possible to drill a tile freehand and at an angle with practice.

With the anti-slip guide plate there is no chance of the drill slipping and you will have a 100% accuracy when drilling a hole into a very hard tile.

So the question then becomes: Why risk it?

MechanicallyDeclined (author)2011-01-06

Try using automotive anti-freeze. It's a trick I learned as a glazier. It doesn't boil when heated, and is much more slippery!

lemonie (author)2009-02-22

Could you tell us why you were drilling holes like this? I'm sure it wasn't to spy on people, but I saw a video in the 80's... L

hazellr (author)lemonie2009-02-22

Haha! well yes I guess you could use it to spy on people..... But thats not what this system is for! Its a set of diamond drills to put holes into tiles. Holes are needed for two things. 1) Service Pipes 2) Fixtures and fittings. The service pipes include things like radiator pipes, shower heads, tap feeds, waste pipes for baths, sinks, toilets. Fittings include mirrors, towel rails, loo roll holders, curtains, cabinets. These drills are designed to cut the stone tiles to facilitate this function.

lemonie (author)hazellr2009-02-22

Yes, but what were you fitting? It's quite a wide diameter hole - I'm interested L

hazellr (author)lemonie2010-12-13

This is the item we fitted

Its a hot tap. A cold tap.  And a spout.  To fill a bath.

lemonie (author)hazellr2010-12-13

Thank you, that's my curiosity satisfied (after >20 months)


Lftndbt (author)lemonie2009-02-23

"Yes, but what were you fitting?" LMAO I could so see that coming....

Lftndbt (author)lemonie2009-02-23

I heard B&D; is in the process of dealing with a suit on "drill silences". Some thing to do with public toilets...

hazellr (author)2010-12-13

Karletto555 (author)2010-02-20

i read a tip in diy book that before you start drilling into a tile you should first tape the spot with duct tape. with duct tape it won't crack but still you should drill slowly and don't force.

hazellr (author)Karletto5552010-02-20

 That book tip is accurate but only for the small sizes of say 6mm and 8mm.

The thing with the larger holesaws for items like service pipes, radiator pipes, hot and cold feeds to sinks is that the hole is much bigger.

If you try to drill on duct tape alone the core will not bite into the tile.

On bigger core drills you need some mechanism to hold it securely in place and thats the reason for the application of the yellow anti-slip guide plate.

Once stated the hole actually self guides so the plate is no longer required after about 10 seconds of drilling. 

The Lightning Stalker (author)2009-08-13

Don't push too hard, or you'll push the wall down.

jeff-o (author)2009-08-06

Ah, this reminds me of the sponge cooling method used on my dad's stained glass grinder. Neat trick!

hazellr (author)2009-02-23

Cheers guys great comments. We produce the kits but also give the "how to" so that you do actually "know how to..."

About the cooling of the diamonds - yes it is important to eliminate heat from the crown (or rather the bond that holds the diamond to the metal part of the crown). So I am pleased you noted that we covered that part (Whew...) Agree - Yes a wet sponge simply held underneath is THE quickest way to cool them. And of course it collects the dust! Sometimes the simple ideas huh..... And perhaps thats half the point of sharing stuff on instructables.

YES YES YES we are looking for someone in Australia to help us get this product to the retail market. I will contact and send you details Lftndbot but if anyone out there reading this post knows of any retailers (plumbers outlets, tile shops, builders merchants either large or small) then please call me direct on
0044 1992 410636 or email me anytime at

Lftndbt (author)2009-02-23

As a salesperson in a DiY style store for the past 8 years I commend you on your steps 3, 5, 6, and 7. They all mention the "heating" factor on the bit. When I clicked on this I'ble and noticed it was a product for sale I had all intention of blasting you with all my knowledge of not cooling diamonds whilst grinding. You have successfully halted my tirage and have done yourself a great service by fully describing the downsides of diamonds if not cooled correctly. The cooling methods you describe are innovative in themselves and certainly out do my "spray mist technique". Job well done to say the least! On a side note, I know a major Australia corporation in DiY that would be very interested in bulk well priced kits, as we have no available distributors of kits equalling this standard. Contact me if you want details.

Karel Jansens (author)2009-02-22

This is a sales pitch, right?

canida (author)Karel Jansens2009-02-22

Which is fine if they give an independently useful how-to. This clearly passes.

About This Instructable




More by hazellr:How to remove the front of a smart car to replace headlights headlamps bulbsHow to drill holes into SINKS or toilets WC loo waste pan urinals white bathroom goodsHow to replace the battery in a TomTom Go! 510 satnav device
Add instructable to: