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What are Carpet Tiles?

Carpet tiles, also known as carpet squares or modular carpet, are a modern and stylish alternative to standard carpet rolls. Though they’re much easier for a do-it-yourselfer to install on their own, they come with their own pros and cons. Often used in commercial settings, such as in schools and airports, they are becoming more and more popular in residential spaces. As you decide whether to use a carpet roll or opt for carpet tiles, consider these qualities:


Mix and match or pick one color, carpet tiles offer countless design opportunities. (Sonora Modular Carpet Tile – Granite iTile)

Styles of Carpet Tile

Carpet tiles come in many different styles and colors. They are available in:

  • various sizes
  • multiple fiber types
  • pile styles
  • manufactured types

This means you can likely find a carpet tile equivalent for the roll of carpet you were considering or would have otherwise used in your home. Besides format, the major difference between standard carpet rolls is the tile backing material. Carpet tile backing material options include: vinyl, fiberglass, vinyl/fiberglass, urethane, woven polypropylene, and recycled vinyl. Quality backing systems are important because they provide dimensional stability and help carpet tiles withstand moisture.

Along with different backing options, carpet tiles come in both non-adhesive and adhesive styles. You can find carpet tiles that either have a peel-and-stick back or require glue. Both types of tiles are ideal for do-it-yourself projects and can be removed with relative ease, should you ever need to.

Choosing Your Carpet Tiles

When choosing carpet tiles for your room, beyond considering the color and style, it’s important to remember the bigger picture. Looking at one tile may sell you on it, but envisioning the floor as a whole will help keep the finished floor in line with your overall design scheme. If you plan on using tiles to create a pattern, envisioning the entire floor will ensure the pattern comes out how you intended. It’s also important to consider the sizes of the tiles, as they are available in multiple options. The tile size will impact the overall look of the finished floor.

Another big thing to consider when making your carpet tile decision is the manufacturer’s warranty, which will protect your investment against shrinking, buckling, and curling. When this happens to the tiles, it not only creates an eyesore, but may present a safety hazard because it is easier to trip and fall.

Pros of Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles come with a range of benefits that include:

  • Easier installation than standard rolled carpet. Do-it-yourself kits are available. These kits make it simple with instructions, and straightforward measurements for installation.
  • You can install carpet tiles right over many floor types, including wood and tile. This way, you can quickly add a new look without the renovation work required by most flooring.
  • Easier cleaning and care. The tiles do not require any padding or glue to install them. Individual carpet tiles can be removed for cleaning, and replaced when dry. If one area of the floor becomes damaged, the tile can be replaced without replacing the entire floor.
  • Carpet tiles allow for freedom with design, allowing you to give more depth and texture to a room.
  • Many carpet tile options have enhanced stain resistance, which is especially important if you’re concerned about pet stains or young children knocking drinks over.

Cons of Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles also come with some disadvantages that are good to be aware of. These include:

  • The seams of the carpet tiles are more easily seen when compared to wall-to-wall carpet rolls. Without careful installation, the seams could appear uneven.
  • Like their carpet roll counterpart, they are not ideal for areas subject to moisture where mold and mildew may become an issue. The subfloor needs to be clean and even for the best possible installation result.
  • Carpet tiles can be more expensive than carpet rolls.

Where to Install Carpet Tile

Just about every room in your home can benefit from the use of carpet tiles, but let’s zero in on merits of using the flooring in these spaces:


Many homeowners who have basements have experienced flooding at some point. It’s an unfortunate incident, but a common one. And if you’ve ever dealt with cleaning up after a flood, you probably had to tear up your carpet. If you still want a soft surface in your basement, carpet tiles are ideal. You can easily peel them off the floor to dry should your space ever flood. Plus, you can replace just what you need instead of the whole basement – this will save some money.

3-season rooms

Screened-in porches and three-season rooms transition you from indoor to outdoor spaces, and they often have luxuries of both. Just like the interior of your house, your screened-in porch can have the benefits of carpet, which provides comfort, warmth, and better sound quality. Carpet squares allow you to install right over your existing deck. What’s more, options with added UV resistance will prevent fading due to sunlight.

Over existing flooring

As we already noted, you can install carpet squares right over other flooring. So, if you have a space in your home that needs the softness of carpet, consider these tiles. For instance, bedrooms and living rooms that have wood or tile may not feel as cozy as those that have carpet. You can place your tiles right over the wood, preserving your home’s value while still providing that cozy carpet feel you’re after.

With so many beneficial features and versatility of placement, carpet tiles are an affordable and stylish flooring choice for any home. What’s more, they’re easy to install, allowing you to update your home with a quick weekend project.

What room are you looking to update with carpet tile?

Browse our selection of DIY-friendly Carpet Tile here. Discover style and flexibility.

(10) Comments

  1. I have a plywood floor and want to seal it with poly before I lay down carpet tiles so pet urine won’t get to the wood and leave a permanent odor. Will self stick carpet tiles adhere to dried polyurethane? If not what could I waterproof the plywood with? Thanks.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for your inquiry! It really would depend on the specific carpet tile and the type of adhesive used on the back of the product. I don’t see there being an issue but I definitely suggest looking further into the ingredients of the product you choose to confirm that would work. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

    • Jeff-

      The backing on most carpet tiles are a pvc backing so the pet urine wouldn’t make it through that. I would just suggest putting down 1/4″ birch underlayment, staple it down with coated staples and using pressure sensitive adhesive and not the self stick tiles. You should get around 140 square yards out of a 4 gal pail.

  2. A little of this information is antiquated:
    “Carpet tiles are less durable than wall-to-wall carpet, meaning they will wear down faster. When used in high traffic areas, they are more likely to come up at the edges.”
    This is not the case at all. If anything carpet tiles are more durable because of their integrated backing system. (Airports are rapidly changing out their broadloom for carpet tiles) The wear layer (the pile) is the same fiber as is used in broadloom carpet. Curling may have been a problem with the very first generations of tiles but has long since been remedied. In my almost 20 years as a commercial interior designer I have yet to encounter curling/cupping edges.
    “Like their carpet roll counterpart, they are not ideal for areas subject to moisture where mold and mildew may become an issue.”
    Certainly it is not advisable to be using carpet or any flooring for that matter where there are moisture issues. The subfloor should be clean and dry and not subject to moisture intrusion. That said, I know some people will still insist on putting flooring in a basement where humidity is not controlled and moisture wicking of the concrete slab floor can occur. In areas where VERY MINOR moisture is an issue (ex: floor may feel slightly damp at times of high humidity) I would advise that a good quality sealer be used before laying down any flooring. Plan on using a dehumidifier in this area with a drain hose to avoid high maintenance.
    In the case of carpet tile (we’re talking about the kind with the solid polyurethane/vinyl/fiberglass composite backing), if you experience musty odors, stains or even in the case of flooding you can take up the tiles, bring them outside and hose them down with detergent, (in the case of solution dyed pile fibers, bleach can be used). Squeegee or allow them to drain on their sides, then dry flat and put them back into place; make sure the floor is also cleaned before you do this.
    Carpet tile was originally manufactured for commercial environment; Most, if not all, of the tiles made today are coming from these factories so despite the higher cost tiles will give you more bang for your buck.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your great feedback! We agree that the statement saying carpet tiles are less durable than wall-to-wall carpet is antiquated. The article has been updated to reflect this.

      Thanks again!

  3. Pingback: Arlington Carpet Tiles Vs Broadloom | titilenews.com

  4. Pingback: Olathe Carpet Tiles Vs Broadloom | newlacar.com

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