Can You Drill Into Quartz Countertops?

Whether you’re adding an island to your outdoor kitchen or revamping the countertops inside, quartz is an excellent choice. It’s incredibly versatile and durable and offers any space a unique, classy touch. 

When it comes to drilling holes in the stone surface (or cutting holes for a sink), you might question the doability of the task. Obviously, it can be done since many kitchens feature quartz counters with varying fixtures (sinks, faucets, etc.). However, drilling holes in quartz isn’t as simple as drilling into a chunk of laminate or wood countertop. 

We’re here to walk you through what you need to know, so continue reading to learn more!

What Is Quartz?

Quartz countertops are often clumped together with other stone materials, like granite, soapstone, and marble. However, these natural stones are sourced from quarries and available in slabs. Quartz, on the other hand, is an engineered stone. 

The quartz countertops you buy from the store aren’t typically cut from quarries like granite, marble, or soapstone. Instead, the man-made material consists of quartz dust or chips bound together with resin. Good quality countertops have between 90 and 95 percent of quartz particles, either in the form of dust or chips. 

The manufacturer binds the quartz dust/chips with resin binders under extreme heat to create the final product. The result? A nonporous, durable, scratch-resistant surface that is nearly indestructible. 

How Hard Is It To Drill A Hole In Quartz?

Working with quartz countertops isn’t easy and is by no means a walk in the park. One wrong move can compromise the counter’s integrity, such as an improper cut or using an inappropriate bit to drill a hole. These actions can cause a crack in the quartz and may even chip or damage the surface due to the heat generated by the drill/saw. 

While you can drill a hole in a quartz countertop by yourself, we recommend outsourcing the project if you’re unfamiliar with these projects. An avid DIYer can probably handle the task without a hitch, but if you’re new to power tools, DIYs, and working with stone, you might want to pass the project to a professional. 

Quartz slabs are usually fairly costly, so wrecking the slab could be an expensive mistake. If you decide to proceed with the project, ensure you do your research and work with the best tools. You can always outsource the project if you’re not comfortable doing so yourself. 

How Do You Drill A Hole In A Quartz Countertop?

Once you commit to completing your quartz project yourself, you’ll need to gather a few tools for the process. You might damage the stone surface if you don’t have the right tools for the job. So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Diamond-tipped drill bit
  • Power drill
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Template
  • Modeling clay

Gather Your Tools

Before you start drilling the hole in your quartz countertop, gather your tools. Avoid using standard metal drill bits, as these dull rapidly on quartz. On top of that, the friction during drilling with a metal bit generates considerable heat. 

While a diamond bit will still generate heat, it’s less likely to chip or damage the surface of the countertop. If you decide to use a different drill bit, make sure it can handle cutting glass. 

Prep Your Work Area

After you gather your tools, prepare your workspace. Position the bucket underneath the area where you’re drilling the hole. For added water protection, lay a towel underneath the bucket. This is a good idea if you’re drilling a hole in a pre-installed countertop. 

The bucket will catch the water you use to regulate the temperature as you drill and keep the bit lubricated. It keeps the bit cool and rinses away debris, which helps prevent chips and damage. Put the water in a clean condiment squeeze bottle to make applying water to the work site easier. 

Next, position your drilling template on the counter wherever you’ll be drilling. 

Start Drilling

With everything in place, it’s time to start drilling. Hold the template in place, then position the drill bit above to the proper spot. Slowly begin drilling the hole. Don’t go too fast, as mistakes are more likely to happen. 

Instead, take your time, keeping the drill speed slow. Don’t use pressure to force the drill into the quartz – let it work through at its own pace. 

As you work, apply water to the site. Don’t flood the area; just add enough to keep the bit lubricated. Every few minutes, lift up the bit and allow the water into the drilling area. 

Once you drill about ¼-inch into the countertop, stop and remove the template. Dry the area with a towel, then create a dam around the hole using modeling clay. Fill the area about half full with water, as this will help lubricate the site while you work. The built-up edge will hold in enough water to allow you to work without constantly applying water.

Reposition the bit, then continue drilling. Work slowly and steadily, pumping the drill and adding water as necessary. As you close in on the end of the hole, reduce the speed of the drill. Avoid going too quickly, as this could chip or crack the quartz. 

Clean Up 

Once you finish drilling, your last step is cleanup. If you have additional holes to drill, go ahead and finish the job. Then, clean up your workspace. Empty the bucket from underneath the counter, then use the towel to wipe up the overspray. 

Remove the dam of modeling clay, then wipe the countertop with a soft cloth to clean up excess water. If there are rough spots in the hole you drilled, use fine-grit sandpaper to clean them up.

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