How to Install Carpet Tiles

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Estimated Time: 
Depends on the space, but usually less than a day for one room
Fly Away on Magic Carpet Tiles Peel and stick tiles will transform a room in a snap Nothing looks worse than a carpet that has not only put up with years of foot traffic, but also countless spills and years of caked on, crusty food and dirt. You want to replace it but don't want to pay someone for the service. What to do? Carpet tiles may be just the solution. Easy, fast and even fun, carpet tiles can spruce up your space with less than a day's work, depending on the size of your space. These 20-inch square carpet pieces adhere to the floor by simply unpeeling a few stickers on the back. Although the price of carpet tiles is comparable to that of wall-to-wall carpeting the greatest advantage is that you can remove individual tiles as they get damaged or stained. Pieces can be cleaned or replaced as necessary. (Purchasing and storing some extra tiles is a good idea.) Having tiles that are interchangeable will likely extend the life of your carpet well beyond that of typical wall-to-wall carpeting. Installing carpet tiles also allows you a number of options that are not possible with regular carpet. You can mix and match various tile patterns to create something unique and fun. You can also experiment with color. Instead of going for a uniform brown or beige, think about installing a funky pattern in bright colors. You might also consider using these tiles cover a small area instead of the whole room. Whatever choices you make, you'll see that installing carpet tiles is a fun and easy project that will dramatically change any room of your home with just a few hours work.

Step 1

Time to get rid of that old dingy carpet! First clear the area, removing any furniture or other items that are cluttering up the space. Give yourself plenty of room to work making sure to keep small children and pets out of the area.

Begin in the corner of the room and pry up the carpet with pliers, a claw hammer, or a wonder bar where it meets the floorboard. Inspect what's underneath. More than likely you'll have either a basic carpet pad or wood—you never know. Some people have laid carpet without a pad directly on top of hardwood floors or even plyboard.

Jane Tip: When removing carpet wear protective eyewear, canvas or leather work gloves and dust masks. Carpet fibers and debris lodged in the carpet can fly up at you while you're working.

What is underneath determines how you remove the carpet. If you have hardwood floors, you probably don't want to cut into them even if you are just going to lay more carpet on top. First use pliers to pry up the carpet and then cut away portions of it with a utility or a carpet knife. You want it in pieces so it's easier to carry out.

If you have padding or other undesirable flooring beneath your carpet, get down on all fours and cut right into it! Again, start in the corner and use the pliers to remove any staples that are keeping the carpet in place. You will need to cut and remove the padding underneath as well, once that old, dingy carpet is gone.

Step 2

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Sweep away any debris, making sure you have a very clean (i.e. dust-free), flat surface. Any serious dips or dents should be filled and smoothed over with wood filler as they'll come through in the finished product. Let the filler dry according the manufacturer's instructions and then continue on.

Step 3

Time to shop. So, how many of these tiles do you need? A simple calculation of your space will tell you. If you know the room's square footage, then you are all set. Simply take this information to the home improvement store. If not, multiply the room's width by its length. This will give you the area, which can also be translated into how many tiles you need by the salesperson at the home improvement store. You also may want to do a little research online; many carpet tile retailers, such as, have online calculators.

Jane Tip: Always buy a little more tile than the calculator calls for to accommodate for slip-ups in cutting or measuring, or to have spares available when your beautiful new carpet runs into its first indelible spill. These are good to have on hand just in case the manufacturer discontinues your particular pattern.

Step 4

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Decide on the pattern of your carpet. When we did this project, we used FLOR carpet tiles laid in a parquet pattern, with every other tile turned 90 degrees. You may want to do the same for more texture, or keep with the flow of the tiles facing the same direction. The home improvement store will likely have patterns for you to follow. Just lay out the tiles on the floor exactly as you want them beforehand, as a practice run.

Step 5

On our carpeting project (watch our video), Jeryl's family room had a partial hardwood floor that ran half way into the room being carpeted. So rather than start from the center and working outward (which is what we would normally recommend doing) we began at the edge where the hardwood met the carpet and worked across.

If you are working on an entire room, you should work from the middle of the room out, finding the exact center of the room first. To do this, you will need to find the center of two adjacent walls. Snap a chalk line from both of these points. Where these lines intersect is your starting point.

Jane Tip: You may also want to chalk additional lines that run diagonally across the room, forming and X, just to make sure you have the center correct. The tiles will still start from the intersecting lines from the two adjacent walls.

Step 6

Reinforce your chalk lines with tape or with clear spray paint. Walk around the room. Does your starting point look good? Visualize how the carpet will lay out. If you're unsure how it'll look, lay the tiles out "dry" (that is, don't remove the adhesive backings, just lay them in place.)

Step 7

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Begin to lay your tiles down working in a T pattern along your marked lines. These rows are called baselines and you will be creating four quadrants in your room using them as your guide.

Step 8

When the pattern looks good, remove the adhesive backing and stick the tiles to the floor. Don't use glue or double-sided tape. The adhesive already on the tiles will more than suffice.

Step 9

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Fill in the four quadrants working from the baseline towards the corners. Once you have filled in a quadrant and you see that the pattern is to your liking, affix the tiles to the floor.

Step 10

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As you near the walls and the edges of your floor, you will have to trim the pieces down. The key to this is careful measurements and slow cutting. Use a straight edge as a guide so your lines are perfect. It's better to trim off strips little by little until the tile fits instead of hacking off an entire piece.

Jane Tip: Save all of your trimmings. You never know when you'll need them later.

Once the carpet is laid, invite people over and throw a party in honor of all of your hard work. If a little red wine finds its way onto the floor, never fear. Soiled tiles can be removed and cleaned by hand or replaced altogether. Remember those extra tiles you invested in? Use them when your carpet is beyond dry cleaning or basic repair.

We hope your carpet tiles breathe new life into your room. There is no reason to live with a grimy piece of flooring when it can be easily replaced. Let this project serve as the springboard to upgrading your entire room. Remember it's your place, so make it a space you love to live in.

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Has anyone had any experience installing these carpet tiles over a bare concrete basement floor? Does it work? I'm wondering if it would be too hard underfoot or maybe there is a special pad that I could put down for a basement situation. Thanks.

How would you carpet the stairs with carpet tiles?

Has anyone had a problem with tiles unraveling, bunching up, or buckling due to wood or surface underneath carpet? Thanks

I like the video. Is it only for homeowners? I will like to have an office in my bedroom. I can decorate as I please. I just started a business. I hardly have capital. That one thousand life improvement is very much needed. Thankyou, Sincererly,Joan

Good video. I love peel & stick floor tiles. They are relatively easy to use when surface area has bben cleaned well. Wa La ! New - clean, beautiful floors. Now and then a tile poops up...just clean off both sides and floor area, put tile back down, lay a paper bag (like a paper grocery bag ) over re applied floor tile and use a moderately hot iron, on top of paper bag to press and adhere tile in place. Floor Tiles can be used on walls or back splaces with no pumps or serious indents. Clean walls good before applying. I like the tiles that look like slate...they're great on the floor, as a head board, or as a back splash around cabinets.

Can you install the carpet tile over an existing commercial flat carpet or do you need to remove that too. there is no texture to this old carpet Could I use this as a pad for the new?

Personally, I'd say no, because of the adhesive nature of the tiles and the fact that there's no indication that any pad is needed or used. It seems you'd want to get rid of the old carpet in case it begins to decay while your new carpet tile is still looking good.

What are the carpet tiles like to remove? We all remember the peel and stick tiles that are extremely difficult to get rid of.

I have seen a show on carpet tiles but do not know where to find them. I have a bedroom that could use them.
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