Articles, Tile Cutter

How to Drill a Hole in Ceramic or Porcelain Tile (Quick Tips)

November 18, 2019

So here’s the question of the day: How do
you cut perfect circles or perfect holes in ceramic or porcelain tile for a shower arm
like this one over here or a tub spout in your tub surround? We’re going to tackle that question today. This is the tool that you use to get to those
perfect holes. So obviously this has been used. I’ll show you the packaging that it comes
in. So here’s the question of the day: How do
you cut perfect circles or perfect holes in ceramic or porcelain tile for a shower arm
like this one over here or a tub spout in your tub surround? We’re going to tackle
that question today. This is the tool that you use to get to those perfect holes. So it is the best wet tile saw
obviously this has been used. I’ll show you the packaging that it comes in. This is
a 1 ¼” diamond hole saw by Milwaukee. This is a retractable starter bit right here.
So this was the package that that hole saw came in. Like I said, this is a 1 ¼” diamond
hole saw. You can find this at your local hardware store or online. And this is the
packaging that the retractable starter bit came in. So this goes inside that hole saw.
So what happens is this retractable starter bit helps you get centered on the hole that
you need to make in the tile. And then you have the little slots here on the side. This
is what you use to push a screwdriver into to force out the piece of porcelain or whatever
it is that you cut. So this is a little hole that we cut out over here for the tub spout.
So this is your hole saw right here, and this is the starter bit, right? So the starter
bit starts in the center of the mark that you put on your tile where the hole needs
to go. So it’s as simple as the starter bit starting like that. And then your hole
saw grinds through the porcelain or ceramic tile and cuts out a perfect hole.
So what kind of power tool do you need to use this hole saw and the starter bit? Well,
it’s just a standard drill. This is just a ¼” drill. You can use a ½” drill,
but ¼” is all you need. So the way that you get the perfect hole and
in the right location is to measure off the edges and tiles or wall with a measuring tape
and find the center of that hole. Then you transfer those measurements onto your tile.
Now one way to preserve the life expectancy of these diamond hole saws is to continually
dip them in water as you’re cutting your hole into your porcelain or ceramic tile.
Now one thing I forgot to show you. There’s a little screw right here. You can loosen
or tighten it with an Allen wrench, and that will either help you retract this starter
bit or pull it out. Now in this case I had to pull it out a little bit because I want
to get this started into the tile. That way it’ll set in the tile and allow me to start
to cut out the 1 ¼” piece with the hole saw. So you m ay have to adjust the depth
for how long the starter bit is coming out of your hole saw.
Apply even pressure to the tile while you’re drilling it with the hole saw. What you can
do is dip the hole saw into water to preserve it or to extend its life expectancy. Now here’s
a hot tip: As you see that starter bit go through the other side of the tile, you can
flip the tile over and start drilling from the opposite side. This will help prevent
chipping of the tile. Go ahead and test this and see how it looks.
We got our spacers in place. Looks pretty good. So the top of this tile is lined up
with our laser level, which is lined up with the top of the main wall tile. And I had to
use… obviously we’re putting this tile on these horseshoe shims, but I have to use
two shims over here to get the tile to be absolutely level. But that’s fine. Not a
big deal. And so what we’re going to do is we’re going to go ahead and set the wall.
And we’re going to back-butter the tile, and we’re going to set this in place.
So I really hope that these quick tips on how to cut perfect holes on ceramic or porcelain
tile help you out. We just went over the Milwaukee diamond hole saw. There are a ton of other
ones out there. So if you have a recommendation for a diamond hole saw that you’ve used
for ceramic or porcelain tile, let us know in the comments. We’re always looking for
the best tools and the best accessories to help out with tiling. So add your comment
down below. I know this is a really, really quick video,
and we’re going to come out with another one that shares how to cut out a perfect hole
for a mixing valve in porcelain or ceramic tile. So don’t miss out on that.
I want to thank Marion Stone, Macropedido, and House Numbers for commenting last week.
Always leave your comments. I read them, and I try to respond to as many as possible. So
you can always add your comment down below. And if you haven’t already done so, you
can click the subscribe button right there, and we’d be more than happy to let you know
when our new video is coming out on a weekly basis.
Oh, by the way, you can watch our last video right here, which was on how to tile a shower
niche. If you’re looking to learn how to tile and you’re doing a shower niche, this best tile saw for the money
video right here can definitely help you out with that.
Thanks so much for watching. Take care, and I’ll see you in the comments.
If you’re curious and you’re wondering what the heck are all these different things
on the wall, well these are Tuscan SeamClips, and these are horseshoe shims. They help us
keep our grout joints nice and even and our tiles flush without lippage. I figured I’d
throw that in at the end in case you were wondering.


  • Reply Our Build October 4, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Another great tip Jeff, will that bit will work on Porcelain tiles as well?

  • Reply snakemonkey555 October 4, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks for the tip Jeff, didn't know about the preservation tip by adding water as you drill, thanks.

  • Reply snakemonkey555 October 4, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I've learned that when it comes to DIY, every penny counts.

  • Reply YouGoProBaseball October 4, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Hey brother, just came across your channel. Good stuff! My wife's got me remodeling our bathroom so I'll be checking in often. Thanks! I'm subscribed!

  • Reply Mary M October 5, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Great tip and video! Short, but packed with information. Thanks!

  • Reply Donna Doble-Brown October 5, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Great tips Jeff! I'm guessing it's the shower head pipe that is wrong – right?

  • Reply macrapidito October 5, 2016 at 1:27 am

    Hi what is your level set up? What kind of Track and level you are using?

    Thanks in advance

  • Reply MiJaK123 October 7, 2016 at 12:05 am

    I've always liked Milwaukee's bits.

  • Reply Tommy DeWalt October 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks for the tip Jim! Any reason you used a bucket to lean on while drilling? Any benefit to it or was it the closest thing lol

  • Reply ponddiva1 October 8, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Great info, as usual!!

  • Reply Landberg Tile TV October 22, 2016 at 6:46 am

    Hey Jeff, love your video dude! Been watching your videos for a while and love your channel. Would you subscribe to mine? Same kind of videos, but not as good as yours!

  • Reply Eric Moye October 25, 2016 at 2:34 am

    Hey just wondering what the name of the thin set u guys used for the tile or what do u recommend. And the spacers are they 1/16"?

  • Reply Eric Moye October 25, 2016 at 2:36 am

    Im sorry forgot to ask what caulking you used for the sealing

  • Reply Eric Moye October 25, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks. Keep up the good work

  • Reply BIG JOE 245 December 6, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    what do you do if the tile has already on the wall? you can't turn it over.

  • Reply fatcat007 007 March 1, 2018 at 12:54 am

    A good thing to do when drilling those holes is put a ring of plumbers putty around the hole and fill it with water keeps the bit and tile cool

  • Reply Bruni Bustamante April 6, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Nice hands jiji

  • Reply Anthony chaney April 10, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    I used that same cutter, the pilot bit never went thru the tile

  • Reply Carmen Chaux July 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Thank you It was very well explained. the diamond drill B do not have the center starter. So, I end up with a central pole to get ride off.

  • Reply b kktresxv September 30, 2018 at 1:41 am

    I have 20-plus years in the industry. And this guy is a tool bag. Very simply, he is regurgitating a manual, and poorly at that.

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