Drilling through Ceramic, Porcelain, Slate & Travertine Tiles (Your Queries Answered)

In a variety of your projects, you will come across drilling through different kinds of tiles. Now, the thing about this is that different tiles have different requirements. You need to meet them to get the best drilling results.

Here, I give you all the information you need to understand before you start drilling through ceramic, porcelain, slate, travertine tiles, etc. So, if you are into drilling and your project involves the process, then stick to the end to get all the necessary information you need.

How to drill through ceramic tile?

Ceramic tile is a bit tricky to drill through. Because it’s hard and brittle at the same time. Sometimes, you damage the tile, and sometimes you damage the drill bit. Either way, it’s difficult to figure out.

Here’s the process of drilling through ceramic tile

  1. First, you have to choose the correct drill bit, which is a diamond drill bit in this case.
  2. Then, you have to create a pilot hole on the tile. To do that, simply tap the drill bit onto the drill site with a hammer.
  3. After that, start drilling slowly. Make sure to lubricate with water while you drill through.
  4. Lastly, penetrate the backing board. You can switch to a regular drill if you want.

Still confused? Then, check out this video to get a proper idea.  

Drilling through ceramic vs. porcelain tile

Typically, drilling through ceramic and porcelain tile is pretty much the same. They both are quite hardy and brittle forms of tiles. Still, there are some things here and there that you can do differently for both choices.

You may sometimes get away with using a standard drill bit with ceramic tiles. Whereas you have to use a diamond drill bit for porcelain tiles. Having said that, a diamond drill bit also works the best for ceramic tiles.

You will need to take the drilling process slow with both the tile options. But when you are dealing with porcelain tile, you have to go through much more lubrication. Also, you have to drill through porcelain very slowly to keep it accurate.

Is slate hard to drill?

No, it’s not that difficult to drill a hole in slate. You can just use a masonry drill bit for this purpose, so you can assume it’s not that difficult to drill through.

Why Your Slate Tile Drill Bit Never Works Out The Way You Plan?

If you read one article about slate tile drill bit then this is the one. Stick to this guide-

  • In order to drill holes successfully, you can use a dedicated masonry bit. Just keep your hands steady and have patience.
  • You can also use spade bits since slate is a soft material and drills effortlessly.
  • Using any-sized carbide-tipped bit will go all the way along with the slate. You can even use any regular wood or metal bit for drilling softer slate.
  • The hole size plays a crucial role in drilling. If the hole size is more than one inch, you need a wet or dry core drill to ensure no damage to the tile.

How to drill through slate floor tiles?

Here’s how you can drill through slate tile –

  • Get a masonry drill bit and load it on your drill.
  • Mark the area and wet it using water.
  • Start drilling through the mark using your drill. Make sure the drill is set to the highest torque or speed setting.
  • Put firm pressure while drilling.

That’s pretty much it. But if you want more detailed instruction, here’s a video of the process.

Can you drill through travertine tile?

Even though travertine tile is usually a soft and porous tile form, you can still drill through it. You can either use a masonry bit or use a diamond drill bit. You will need to use a diamond drill bit if the tile has a glazed or polished surface.

What Experts Are Saying About Travertine Tile Bit?

  • Making a bunch of cuts is easy-going if you look after your Diamond hole saws. Don’t let them get heated. Instead, keep them cool. You can use Milwaukee’s or Bosch.
  • Compared to ceramic, Travertine is softer and easier to drill. Having a tile & glass drill bit is a good rule of thumb. Make sure to use the drill driver in a low-speed mode. Track your drilling to get into the stone. After getting into the rock, utilize your hammer drill and a regular masonry bit.

How to drill through travertine tile?

You can simply follow the steps to drill through travertine tile –

  • First, take a diamond drill bit and install it on your drill.
  • Then, mark the area where you will be drilling through. You can use acrylic to center the hole in the beginning.
  • Next, wet a sponge with water.
  • For drilling through the whole thing, you have to keep the sponge under the drill bit. This provides the necessary lubrication.
  • Finally, start drilling through the hole, and you should be good.

Not getting it? Then, see the instructional video to get a complete idea.

Can you core drill travertine?

Yes, you can easily core drill travertine with the right kind of diamond drill bit. You just have to find the right size based on your needs. Also, you will need to create a template for the hole and use acrylic to start the process.


In summary, now you have the basic knowledge of drilling through ceramic, porcelain, and other kinds of tiles. Yes, it’s not complete knowledge, but you can surely get started with this.

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