How to: Lay Vinyl & Carpet Floor Tiles

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


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.

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