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Carpet Tiles Fitting Instructions.

Carpet Tiles Fitting Instructions

Carpet tiles are loose laid which means that they can be taken up and re-laid in a different part of the room to spread wear, temporarily removed for individual spot cleaning, or replaced if a tile is damaged.

Carpet Tile Project essentials:

  • Tools
    • Tape measure
    • Pencil
    • Chalk line
    • Steel rule
    • Utility knife with sharp heavy duty blades
  • Materials
    • String
    • Carpet tiles
    • Double-sided carpet tape / Adhesive
    • T-bar (threshold bar)

Before you start

  • Strip off any previous floor coverings and ensure that the surface is firm, flat, clean, dry and smooth.
  • Check that the surface is clear of paint, oil, grease, bituminous compounds and any solvent-based materials.
  • Remove all dust by sweeping or vacuuming the sub-floor, and smooth out and lumps or depressions.
  • If you have uneven timber floors, cover them with resin bonded plywood or floor-covering grade hardboard panels.
  • If using hardboard panels, they should be dampened 24 hours before installation to avoid subsequent expansion. Make sure boards are securely fixed.
  • Ensure there are no nail heads protruding.
  • Make sure you don't lay carpet tiles on solid floors that do not incorporate a damp proof membrane.
  • When calculating the area to be tiled, remember to measure any alcove or bay separately and add it to the total.

Carpet Tile - Pile direction

The natural pile lay of each carpet tile is indicated by the directional arrows on the underside of each tile. This natural pile lay can result in very minor colour variations, especially from one production batch to another. To avoid shading problems, tiles should be placed with the directional arrows pointing in alternate directions, like a chequerboard.

Laying the Carpet Tiles

In order to achieve a symmetrical design with no unattractive narrow gaps at the skirting, start by finding the centre of the room and work outwards towards each wall.

1. Start at the centre of the room and lay a row of tiles from the centre line to one of the walls.

2. On reaching the wall, check to see if you are left with a narrow gap. A thin strip of carpet tile at the skirting will look unsightly, so this should be avoided by moving the starting line back the width of half a tile.

3. Repeat the laying from the start line in the opposite direction and then towards the other two walls. Alter the start line as required, until there is a gap of about half a tile all round the room.

4. Lay the tiles with the edges butted up snugly and squarely to the adjacent tiles, ensuring you don't trap any carpet tile between each join. Using a strip of double-sided carpet tape, secure every fifth row of tiles to prevent any movement. Position all the whole tiles first. Then fill in the gaps at the edges and tackle areas where there are fittings.

Cutting the Carpet Tiles

You will need to cut the tiles to fit at the skirting, doorways and around obstacles. A simple paper template can be made to use as a guide to cut around curves and pipes.

1. Lift out the last uncut tile nearest the skirting and replace it with the tile to be cut.

2. Then place the last uncut tile on top of the tile to be cut, butting it up against the skirting board. Using the top tile as a template, mark the cutting line with a pencil on the tile beneath.

3. Before cutting, place a spare tile upside down under the tile to be cut to provide a firm and safe surface. Cut the tile using a sharp utility knife and a steel rule. As you are cutting, carefully part the carpet pile.

4. Put the whole tile back in its original position and fit the cut tile in position against the skirting. Repeat this process all the way round the edge of the floor and secure the cut tiles with double-sided carpet tape.

Design ideas

Carpet tiles are flexible in terms of design, and can be laid as one single colour, but you can also create your own unique designs. For example you could lay tiles in a chequerboard pattern, in stripes, with borders, or by using a splash of a contrasting colour in a random design. You could also lay tiles in different shades or colours to highlight different zones or areas in a room.

For a straightforward but bold design, use carpet tiles in two colours, one dark and one light, and lay the colours alternately to create a chequerboard effect. Or create your own stylish pattern by adding single tiles of a contrasting colour to the main colour in a slightly random design.

Caring for carpet tiles

  • Vacuuming regularly will help preserve the appearance of your carpet tiles and get rid of pieces of grit and debris.
  • Occasionally clean the tiles using a carpet shampoo.
  • Carpet tiles are manufactured using stain-defiant polypropylene fibre, making them resistant to stains. However, it is impossible to make them totally stain proof so spillages should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid them penetrating the carpet. Ideally use a carpet cleaner, following the manufacturer's instructions according to the nature of spillage involved.

Ideal for the job

Cutting the Carpet Tiles

A utility knife can be used to cut many different materials. The simplest styles store spare blades in the handle.

A steel rule is an excellent straightedge for cutting carpet tiles in a straight line.

Joining flooring

A t-bar or threshold bar is fitted in a doorway to make a tidy join between the new floor and the flooring in the adjacent room, whether it is carpet, laminate, vinyl tiles or more carpet tiles.