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How to Cut a Hole in Tile

Don't splice ceramic tile around fixtures

FH98APR_CHCERT_01-2Family Handyman

Splicing ceramic tile around pipes and plumbing fixtures looks tacky. Cutting holes in tile makes the job look more professional. Here's how to do it.

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Video: How to Cut a Hole in Porcelain Tile

If you are tiling a bathroom, you are sure to run into a pipe or two you have to cut holes for. The Family Handyman editor, Jeff Gorton, shows you how to layout the hole and how to cut it with a Brutus hole saw kit for a perfect fit.

How to cut holes in ceramic tile

Cutting a hole in ceramic tile with a hole saw

The easiest and neatest method is to buy a ceramic-tile hole saw. Keep the tile wet and the drill speed low.

What it looks like

This is what the hole saw does.

Or use a coping saw

For more size and shape flexibility, take the low-tech route of a masonry bit and a coping saw with a ceramic tile blade.

Does it bother you when you see tiles that are split to fit around pipes, valves and spouts? It should. Split tiles look pretty shabby, especially since cutting a hole in tile is neither difficult nor expensive. The easiest and neatest method is to buy a 1-1/4 in. ceramic-tile hole saw (from about $10 for individual bits to about $50 for kits). It has carbide grit embedded in the rim that allows it to cut into vitreous tile. The 1-1/4 in. size will work for most applications, but measure your valves to make sure. When using this saw, keep the tile wet and the drill speed low.

For more size flexibility, take the low-tech route of a masonry bit and a coping saw with a ceramic tile blade (available at a home center). First, drill a starter hole with the masonry bit. Next, detach one end of the coping saw blade, feed it through the starter hole, reattach it and go to work. Although it’s slower, the advantage of the low-tech method is that you can make any size hole without buying more tools.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Carbide-grit ceramic-tile hole saw
  • Ceramic blade for coping saw
  • Coping saw
  • Corded drill
  • Dust mask
  • Extension cord
  • Hearing protection
  • Masonry drill bits
  • Safety glasses
  • Tape measure