How to Install Carpet Tiles
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.
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.
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 FLOR.com, 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.