Whether you are remodeling your bathroom to add tile, or simply fixing tile elsewhere in your home, you want to make sure that you use the right tools to get the job done. There are so many different types of drill bits to choose from, but we've focused our research specifically on the best bits to use for tile, so you know what to purchase to prep for your project.
Tile can easily crack, so you need to choose the right drill bit to fit the material of the tile. Here are some suggestions for the best type of drill bit by type of tile -
- Porcelain tile, the best drill bit is a diamond-tipped type.
- Ceramic, the best drill bit is either a tungsten carbide-tipped or diamond-tipped type.
Now that you know the two main types of drill bits to use for various types of tile, there are still other questions to be addressed and more tips to make sure that your home renovation project goes as smoothly as possible. Keep reading to learn how to drill while keeping your tiles from cracking.
Why Drill Bits Matter For Tile
When it comes to working with tile, using the wrong type of drill bit can shatter or crack the tile, making your project even more difficult because you'll need to repair or replace damaged tiles. So, why use a diamond-tipped bit on tiles? The diamonds in the bit create friction, and this works to rub and grind the tile, making the hole that you need.
Because of the friction created as you drill, bits and tiles can heat up, which is why you need to keep the bit wet to stay cool while drilling. A wet containment piece or ring is a suction tool that holds water while you d to lubricate and cool the bit. The location of the containment piece also acts as a guide, so you know you are drilling in the specific area for the hole.
When it comes to the tungsten carbide tip, you'll need to maintain a slow and steady speed to prevent either damaged or cracked tile and broken drill bits.
Below you'll see some examples of drill bit sets. Of course, it is always possible to purchase individual bits, but opting for a full set provides cost-effective, high-quality options.
Diamond Drill Bits
This diamond drill bit set from Amazon is not only affordable, but it has positive reviews and various sizes. Note, however, that it also reminds you to use water or some lubrication as not to wear the bit down to get more life out of it. There are lots of similar sets online, so find what is best for you.
Tungsten Carbide Bits
This Tungsten Carbide set explicitly mentions it's used for ceramic tile and has lots of great reviews to back up its quality! This set is the right choice if you are looking to save a bit of money. But, if you plan to co projects involving both porcelain and ceramic, this may not be the best choice for you. However, these bits can be versatile elsewhere throughout your home. Find this set on Amazon here.
Here's a pro tip for drilling ceramic; maintain a slow, steady speed when using a carbon-tipped bit, or use a plastic wet containment piece to keep a diamond-tipped bit cool as you drill.
How Much Does A Diamond-tipped Drill Bit Cost?
In general, just for bits, a multi-piece set costs between $12.99 to $25, with most sets ringing-in below the $20 mark. And to keep those bits working, you will want to throw in a wet containment piece, which typically retails for less than $10.
The cost for a diamond-tipped drill bit varies considerably, although they are typically more expensive than other mainstream bit options. The best selling drill bit set on Amazon, which was the example shared above, costs an affordable $12.99.
This similar ten-piece, diamond-tipped drill bit set goes for about $25, slightly more expensive comparatively, but you get more items in the set.
To go along with these bits, you will need a wet containment piece to keep the bit lubricated and cool. This set goes for $8.95 on Amazon, and while it is not a drill bit specifically, it is an important part of any diamond-tipped drill bit set and should be included in the price as well. Find this two-pack on Amazon here.
How Much Does A Carbide-tipped Drill Bit Cost?
Compared to the diamond-tipped bit sets, these sets are more affordable and do not require the extra lubrication accessories. However, they need to be used at a slow speed; otherwise, the bits can and will break easily. In that case, you may need to continuously purchase more sets, which can end up being more costly in the end.
The set in the first part of this article costs approximately $9. Right away, it is easy to compare high quality, high rated carbide-tipped drill bit set as more affordable than a diamond-tipped drill bit set. But remember, carbide tips are not as versatile when it comes to tile, and should only be used for ceramic if you're drilling tile.
This Masonry Drill Bit set comes with ten pieces and is priced at around $13. Still comparably lower than the average diamond bit set, but is very similar to the best selling set on Amazon. This set comes in all sizes and can be used in other projects, making it a good staple for the home. You can find this set on Amazon here.
What Sizes Do Drill Bits Come In?
Technically speaking, you can get a drill bit made in any size. But if you were to walk into a hardware store and ask for a very obscure size, it would probably not be available. That being said, there are standard drill bit sizes that you are likely to find in stores. To see all sizes in general, this image below demonstrates vast sizes and conversions.
Diamond-tipped drill bits come in a range of sizes. On the smaller end, they range from 1mm to 3mm and are best used for small holes. On the larger end, they range from 3.5mm to 60mm. The smallest size typically found in a set is 6mm. Getting a set such as the one below gives you a wide range of sizes, so you are sure to find one that best suits your needs.
This tungsten carbide-tipped drill bit set comes with sizes ranging from 3/16" to 1/2," offering a great variety of sizes to get all of your projects done. You can see this particular set - equipped with 10 bits - here on Amazon.
In summary, using a diamond-tipped drill bit is a good choice for both ceramic and porcelain tiles, and a tungsten carbide tip can be used for ceramic tiles as well. In using diamond tip bits, you will need to keep it cool and lubricated, and with the tungsten tip, you will need to use it on slow speed as not to break the tips. Not using the right type of bit or misusing the proper bit can result in shattering or cracking of your tiles or breaking of your bits, causing you more stress and more money. Using the right bits the first time can make your project go even smoother.
These bits can range in price and size, but they are affordable and come in whatever size you may need for your project. There are general sizes available for all bit types, and with enough searching, one would be able to find one of these bits in almost any of those sizes. However, there are typical size ranges that these bits come in, and a wide variety of common sizes can be found in almost any multipack set sold online or in stores.
Do you have other questions about tile? Check out our post, "Do Bathroom Tiles Need To Be Sealed?" before starting your next project.
And, before you start a complete bathroom makeover, read, "Can Bathroom Tiles Be Painted [Here's How]?" for tips on a colorful facelift without costly tile replacement.