How to Drill Through Ceramic Toilets

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Drill smooth holes through ceramic toilets.
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Drilling through a ceramic toilet means dealing with two issues: the hardness and the thickness. It's essentially the same as drilling through ceramic tiles, but the thickness can vary on toilets. The thicker it is, the hotter a drill bit can get, so this is a job that depends on a couple of things — the right tools and the right techniques.

Remember, Safety First

Drilling into ceramic produces fine silica, and it's quite hazardous to the lungs. Always make sure you're wearing a mask or respirator before you get into such a job. Wear safety gloves and goggles too, because the drill can slip or chips can go flying. Once you've geared up, you're good to go.

Use the Right Tool

Carbide-tipped drill bits have long been popular for drilling into tile and ceramics, but some sources suggest modern glazes are tougher than ever and carbide won't do as well as diamond-tipped drill bits. But a carbide-tipped masonry drill bit should get the job done for you.

Just remember, when buying drill bits, you often get what you pay for. If you'd like your bits to last, pay for quality bits that will last through this job and the next. Buying carbide-tipped masonry drill bits online means getting to see peer reviews on products. There may be fake reviews, but look for ones where users share experiences similar to the job you're wanting to tackle; then buy accordingly.

That said, a diamond-tipped drill bit will likely be a smart choice given the thickness of the porcelain on toilets and how badly things can go wrong. According to Angie's List, using a diamond tip is how to make sure you do the job well and with less fuss. Look for a drill bit that comes with a water containment piece to help keep the bit cooler during the process.

Marking Your Measurements

Measure and then mark your spot for drilling. Use masking tape to make an "X" on the toilet where you plan to drill, then mark the drilling spot on the tape for accuracy's sake. The tape does two things – one, it helps the drill to sink into the tile by minimizing slippage, and two, it may help prevent cracking or splintering around the hole.

So, ensure you start with a fully charged drill battery, insert your bit, fill your water containment piece, don your safety gear and get drilling.

Drilling a Porcelain Toilet

The trick is to hold the drill firmly but not force it. Hold the drill against the marked spot and press it just enough so the bit grabs hold and begins grinding into the toilet. Press in just enough to make progress.

Be careful of overheating, though. Pros recommend just drilling for six to 10 seconds at a time. Press it in, back it out and repeat this throughout the process. A bucket of water and sponge nearby will allow you to wipe the surface as needed or provide additional water for the cooling process.

All told, it shouldn't take long to drill through. Just be patient and don't force the drill. Once you feel the give of the bit eating through the last of the tile, you'll have successfully drilled through your toilet.


Steffani Cameron is the daughter of a realtor and interior decorator mother and a home contractor father. Steffani is a professional writer with over five years' experience writing about the home for BuildDirect and Bob Vila. Raised with a mad love for decorating, Steffani gave up her Art Deco apartment to travel and work remotely for five years. She's in love with experiencing traditional decor around the world, including stays in Thai teak plantations on the Mekong River and cave homes in Turkey.

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