How to Drill a Large Hole in Tile

To drill a large diameter hole in tile:

    1. Mark the outline of the hole with an indelible marker.
    2. Use a nail set to punch a series of indentations around the perimeter of the tile.
    3. Use a 1/4″ carbide-tipped masonry drill bit to drill holes through the tile at each of the indentations.
    4. Cut through the glazing between the holes with a cold chisel.
    5. Use a hammer to gently tap out the plug of tile.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: There’s a number of situations where you may need to drill a large diameter hole in an existing ceramic wall, such as a plumbing stack that may be protruding through the wall.

Now you can buy the carbide tipped hole saws—really expensive, forty or fifty dollars—or you can try Joe’s inexpensive method of obtaining the same results.

Joe Truini: You start by marking the outline of the hole on the tile, and then use a nail set to punch a series of holes all the way around. Then take a quarter-inch diameter masonry drill bit, and drill a series of closely spaced holes all the way around the tile.

Then simply use a cold chisel to punch out the glazing from between each hole. Then you use your hammer to gently tap around the perimeter of the hole and knock out the plug of tile.

Danny Lipford: Now the perimeter of the hole may be a little rough around the edges, but your plumbing escutcheon will cover all of that up.

Joe Truini: This isn’t the type of tip you’ll use all the time, but when you need to drill a large diameter hole, it can really save you a lot of time and trouble.


  1. 1. What if the drill slips
    2. Won’the knocking with a hammer crack the tile
    3 in the demo you were applying pressure down wards into a board please show how to drill on the wall tile itself
    4 if the tile has rough edges won’t it damage the product it surrounds
    5 you said in your proceeded inch advert to the demo use the right tools for the right job

  2. While I give you good marks for intentions, there’s a real problem with the first step. My first tap with the nail set didn’t punch a hole, but shattered the tile. Now a have a whole different issue.

  3. Put a wide piece of masking tape over the area first. Draw the hole outline on the masking tape. You won’t need a starter hole because the tape will hold the drill bit in place. Also the tape keeps the ceramic piece together. Kind of like taping over a rock chip on a windshield.


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