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How to Install Carpet Tile in 7 Easy Steps

How to clean carpet in 7 easy steps

From basements to baby rooms, carpet tiles will complete your space. (Dante Carpet Tile Lark Collection – Dark Brown Stripe)

Carpet tiles are colorful, versatile, and easy to install, making them the perfect comfort flooring option for homeowners and renters interested in do-it-yourself projects. What’s more, carpet tiles can be placed over existing floors, eliminating the time and effort needed to remove old flooring and flooring adhesive.

While laying carpet tile is a simple process, carefully taking things step-by-step will help ensure the tiles lay evenly and correctly, and last longer. That being said, here are the 7 key steps you should follow if you choose to install carpet tiles in your own home or rental.

Tools & Materials

  • measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s square
  • chalk line
  • utility knife with a heavy-duty blade
  • adhesive (either peel-and-stick Rightbac tape or dri-tac glue)
  • u-notch trowel for applying adhesive

1. Choose a pattern

dante-carpe-ttile-dark-brown-stripe

Having control over the carpet pattern is one of the many benefits of using modular tiles. For instance, each square could feature the same color, or you could mix and match several to create a customized look. As far as layouts go, you could choose one of these popular options (the direction each carpet tile faces is based on the arrow on back of the tile, which indicates pile direction):

  • Monolithic/Broadloom: Point all tiles in the same direction
  • Quarter Turn/ Checker Board: Turn tiles 90 degrees from one another
  • Ashlar: Point all tiles in the same direction; offset tiles by half a tile along the length
  • Brick: Point all tiles in the same direction; offset tiles by half a tile along the width

Double check your product specifications to make sure your desired layout works with your tiles. You can pre-lay a few carpet tiles in different arrangements to get an idea of how they’ll look in your space.

2. Clear the space

Unlike rolled carpet installation, carpet tile installation doesn’t require you to totally remove your furniture from the room – just move items as needed. Of course, you need to clear the space you’ll be working on next before you proceed.

3. Clean and inspect the existing floor

Whether you’re installing over an existing floor made from linoleum, hardwood, or concrete, or on top of a plywood subfloor, you need to inspect the surface to ensure it’s ready for installation. When prepping your installation site, make sure the that surface is:

  • clean
  • dry
  • level

If you’re replacing existing carpet, rip up the old stuff and remove all tack strips. Repair damaged areas, vacuum or sweep your floors, then clean them.

It’s important to let the surface fully dry before installation because any moisture or debris left beneath the tiles can cause wear or promote the growth of mold and mildew. After these steps, the subfloor will be ready for tile installation.

4. Gather tools

This is where your tools will come in handy, so be sure to have them ready.

Additionally, consider asking another person to help you lay chalk lines. Read all the instructions that come with your carpet tiles about which adhesive you should use.

5. Determine the center of your room

You should install your tiles from the center of the room outward, but to do that accurately, you must determine where this point is. Find and mark the center of each wall in the room. Then, snap chalk lines between opposing walls using the midpoints as your guide.

This is where having a friend will be helpful. He or she can drag the line to the other wall and you can snap the string to leave the chalk mark. Do this in both directions and make sure your chalk lines are square with one another. This will create a perfectly centered plus sign in your space.

“Install your tiles from the center of the room.”

6. Lay the tiles

For equal distribution around the room’s edges, you’ll want to make sure that the tiles that touch the wall are no less than half a tile wide. You might need to adjust your chalk lines.

Next, place your first tile right in the center of the plus mark and work out from there, eventually forming the carpet row by row. Lay the pieces before you adhere them to the floor so you can make adjustments as needed. For instance, you may have to cut tiles to fit around corners or in small areas.

Use your utility knife to slice the tile from the back – do not cut on the carpet side. It may help to score a line before cutting all the way through. Additionally, make sure the cut piece is at least half the size of the original square. Any smaller, and the pieces are too difficult to secure to the floor. This is why laying tiles before sticking them to the ground is important.

Check to ensure you’ve continued the pattern you started with, and rotate any pieces that don’t follow your desired pattern.

7. Adhere the tiles

Peel-and-stick carpet tiles have adhesive on the back of the tiles. All you have to do is peel the protective coating to reveal the sticky part. Press the tile into the floor.

When it comes to glue, however, you’ll need the adhesive and your u-notch trowel. Swipe the glue on the floor and spread an even coating over the surface where your carpet tile will go. Having a level surface is important, so take care when adding adhesive.

As you can see, installing modular carpet tiles is easy and gives you plenty of freedom in terms of design.

Is a carpet tile installation something you’re ready to take on?

Browse our selection of modern Carpet Tiles here. Add comfort and style to your space.

(24) Comments

  1. Hi, Can you please tell me how to secure rubber backed carpet tiles to an existing glued down commercial carpet with no underlay or pile to the carpet. Can I use a spray adhesive on the rubber backing or can I use carpet tape. My concern is the carpet tape will not stick the rubber backing to the commercial carpet. Thanking you – Ellen

  2. Is it dangerous to install carpet tiles on top of carpet padding? I understand this may make corners come up if excessive pressure is applied but is this guaranteed? Have you ever tried it?

  3. We want to use carpet tiles in the basement. We pulled up the peel and stick vinyl tile that was there, but the sticky remains of the glue is still on the floor. The floor is dry. Do I have to scrape off the old glue? The floor is level. The basement is only used for storage, so perfection is not key here. Do I need a vapor barrier?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi TIm,

      As long as the concrete is flat and level you shouldn’t have any issues, I just suggest laying a vapor barrier beneath the carpet tile to ensure it is protected. If there are large bumps that will be noticeable you may want to use a self-leveling agent. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  4. Do I need to seal (w/something) newly poured cement before laying carpet tile or just make sure it’s clean & dry? Thanks!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi David,

      You don’t need to seal the cement with anything just place a basic vapor barrier beneath the carpet tiles. Make sure the cement has fully cured before laying the floor to ensure you don’t have moisture issues. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Angel,

      Thank you for getting in touch! I would not suggest installing the carpet tiles over existing carpet, they may not lay flat if the carpet beneath has too much volume. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any other questions!

  5. where can i find in wrighting something that states that it is normal for the corners of the carpet tiles to not line up exactly and be offset slightly when you use the QUARTER TURN INSTALLATION METHODE.

  6. How long will it take for pressure sensitive glue to dry before I can lay the carpets. Say in a dry and 75F temperature. Thanks.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi David,

      Thank you for getting in touch! It will depend on the glue you use and the area it is in. The recommended time will be listed in the installation instructions of the glue you purchase. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. If the underlying surface is not level, is it recommended to put 1/4″ plywood beneath or would a roll out or other underlayment carpet type padding be better?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Karen,

      Thank you for getting in touch! If you have a slight grade in the subfloor, you will need to use some sort of self leveling compound to level out the floor. If you just have a new bumps or divets in the subfloor you can use an underlay to smooth everything out. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  8. How soon after putting carpet tiles down with double sided tape can furniture be placed in the room? Above says all furniture does not need to be removed from the room so wondering if there is a wait time before placing furniture. Thank You

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for getting in touch! You can place the furniture back right away, just try to not drag any heavy furniture across the carpet when moving everything back in. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  9. We have been considering carpet tiles for our reception area, but it is not a very big area (and oddly shaped). Any tips on the best design to use? Had a solid color for last 20 years, and want to have some design/texture this time around.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Sammy,

      Thank you for getting in touch! The first thing to note is that if it is a smaller space, it would be good to go with a medium sized pattern or design. Anything too small or too large will completely take over the room. Also, if it is an oddly shaped room you may want to stay away from rectangular or square patterns as it will emphasize the shape of the room. I have listed the link to our carpet tiles, please feel free to order some samples or let us know if you have any other questions!

      https://www.builddirect.com/Carpet-Tiles-Results.aspx

  10. Can carpet tiles be placed on top of ceramic tiles? Is there any preparation that must be made to do so? How would you handle the transitions from the areas you wish to carpet to areas where the ceramic tile will remain (i.e., hallways, room borders)? Thanks!

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Brittany,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Carpet tiles can be laid on any surface that is flat, dry, clean and level so ceramic tiles should be fine. You should be able to find transition pieces that either match the carpet tiles or the ceramic and use them in the areas you are transitioning between the two floors. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  11. BuildDirect Product Expert Team
    BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

    Hi Amit, thank you for your feedback! We’re glad we could help provide a bit of insight. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

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