How To Drill A Hole In A Porcelain Sink

How To Drill A Hole In A Porcelain Sink

Porcelain is a popular material for kitchen bathroom sinks, as it is chemical-proof, won’t corrode, and is stain-resistant. However, while it is durable, this material can be susceptible to cracks, dents, and chips. When installing a new faucet on your bathroom countertop, you might need to drill additional holes to accommodate its configuration. 

So, can you drill a hole in a porcelain sink without it shattering? If so, how do you go about drilling a hole in its surface? This article looks into this exact topic, so continue reading to learn more!

What Is Porcelain?

Millions of bathroom sinks are composed of porcelain, a type of hardy ceramic. The material consists of two primary ingredients: kaolin and petunse. Kaolin, also called china clay, is a type of silicate mineral that gives the ceramic its plasticity and structure. Petunse, also known as pottery stone, gives the ceramic its hardness and translucency. 

The material is made by combining several ingredients, then shaping the result by heating them in a kiln at temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 degrees Celcius. 

Porcelain offers high levels of mechanical resistance, high density, and low porosity, which works well for its looks and durability. Sinks made of porcelain can be on the pricier end of the spectrum, but certain styles are cheaper than others. 

Can You Drill Into Porcelain Without Breaking It?

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When drilling into porcelain, you need to be extremely careful, so you don’t break or damage the material. It’s certainly doable, but it requires specific tools, like diamond-tipped drill bits or carbide-tipped masonry drill bits. 

Diamond-tipped drill bits tend to be pricier than the latter but easily take on the tough surface of the porcelain. They don’t burn out as quickly as masonry bits, so it may be cheaper in the long run, depending on how many holes you need to drill. 

A regular drill bit won’t work, as it will dull far too quickly. A hammer drill bit will shatter the porcelain instead of eating it. 

How To Drill Holes In A Porcelain Sinks

To successfully drill a hole, or multiple holes, in your porcelain sink, there are a few things you need to know. Before we get into the specifics, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Duct tape or masking tape
  • Tape measure
  • Marker
  • Safety glasses
  • Cutting oil
  • Drill
  • Masonry drill bit or diamond drill bit
  • File 
  • Cloth, dampen with cold water
  • Center punch and hammer (optional)

Mark The Area

Porcelain Sink

Before you go to town on the sink with the drill, it’s a good idea to mark out where you want to drill the hole. If the hole is for a faucet or drain hole, make sure you double-check that the placement works with the available plumbing. 

Use duct tape to mark out the area. Place the duct tape over the approximate area you want the hole. When you’re drilling, the tape gives the drill bit extra grip and keeps it from “walking.” Plus, you know you’re drilling in the right spot. 

Using a market, make a dot on the tape where you want the center of the hole to line up. 

Prep Your Supplies

Next, get your supplies ready. Put on safety glasses and attach the drill bit to the drill chuck. If you’re covering the holes with a plate or drain, a ceramic bit should do the trick. Or, if you need a smooth, clean hole, like for those that will be exposed, use a diamond-tipped drill bit. 

Drill The Hole

Drill and Charger

Once your supplies are ready, and your protective gear is on, it’s time to drill the hole. Press the drill bit onto the marked point on the duct tape at an approximate 90-degree angle. It doesn’t need to be precisely 90 degrees, but the closer it is to a right angle, the better the cut will be. 

Start drilling into and through the tape. Avoid pressing excessively on the drill body. Instead, allow the drill bit to do the heavy work. After every thirty seconds of cutting, pour a few drops of cutting oil onto the bit where it meets the porcelain. 

The oil will help prevent the bit from overheating and removes waste particles from the hole. If the drill overheats, its friction can cause abrupt temperature fluctuation. When this happens, the porcelain is susceptible to cracks. So, stop periodically and allow the area to cool. Keep a damp cloth on hand to wipe the area. 

Check the hole periodically to make sure you don’t drill the hole too big. You can always make the hole bigger, but you can’t put the material back. 

Continue drilling in the same manner until you drill through the sink completely. If you’d prefer to use extra precaution, stop drilling when you’re about 3 millimeters from finishing the hole. Then, use a center push and a hammer to carefully tap the remaining pieces from the hole. 

Repeat the process as many times as needed to drill additional holes.

Finishing Touches

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After you finish drilling the hole, check for sharp or uneven edges in the hole. You don’t want to leave any ragged edges if you’re feeding plumbing through the hole. Once you’re done drilling, there may be a few uneven points, especially if you use a masonry drill bit. 

Use a file to even out the sharp edges. Be careful while filing the edges, as they’re usually sharper than you think.