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Installing Carpet Tile

Installing Carpet Tile

There are two advantages to carpet tiles: First you don’t need to master the art of stretch-in installation. The downside: Because the tiles are glued down, there’s no pad underneath. Like vinyl and ceramic tiles, you lay out carpet tiles by finding the center of the room, Once you’ve found the center, peel-and-stick installation starts by laying a square in it, and then working out toward the walls, Mastic installation also start in the center, but is done one quadrant at a time because it makes glue application easier. Carpet tile is like other tiles: you can create countless patterns. Take a look at the manufacturer’s brochures to see what textures and colors are available.

Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 1 hour

6 Steps

  1. Mark the center of the room and square the lines
  2. Distribute tiles for equal edging
  3. Find the pile direction
  4. Lay the center tiles
  5. Lay the first, second and third large squares
  6. Trim tiles at the walls and roll the floor

Before You Start, Read This


Step 1: Mark the Center of the Room and Square the Lines


Snap chalk lines between midpoints of opposing walls. Like other tiles, carpet tiles are laid out and installed from the center of the room. Find the midpoints of the walls, and snap a line between the midpoints on opposite walls. The lines will cross in the center of the room. To make sure the lines are square with each other, check for square with a 3-4-5 triangle. Measure 3 feet from the center point along one line and 4 feet from the center point along the other line. The lines are square if the points are 5 feet apart. Move the end of one line to make any necessary corrections.

Step 2: Distribute Tiles for Equal Edging


Make sure the tiles that meet the wall will be at least half a tile wide. Lay tiles along the layout lines without applying adhesive. Stop laying tiles at the last full tile before the wall. If the space between the tile and the wall is less than half a tile wide, reposition the line parallel to the wall. Move the line by the width of a half tile in either direction, keeping it parallel to the original line. The resulting tiles will be wider at the wall, but will still be equally sized on opposite sides of the room.

Step 3: Find the Pile Direction


The pile will lean in a particular direction on each tile, and an arrow on the back tells you which way. Any two tiles with pile facing in different directions will look to be slightly different colors. Depending on the carpet, you will lay the arrows in the same direction, turn every other one 90 degrees, or lay the arrows randomly. Follow the manufacturer's directions. In this case, every other tile is turned 90 degrees to create a checkerboard pattern.

Step 4: Lay the Center Tiles


One by one, peel off the backing, and put the corner of a tile in one of the corners formed by the layout lines. Put a tile in the corner of each quadrant, so that the tiles form a square. The next group of tiles will be laid in a square surrounding the one you've just laid.

Step 5: Lay the First, Second and Third Large Squares


Lay a square surrounding the first square. Work along the layout lines and lay a tile against each edge of the square already in place. Remove the backing one tile at a time. Pay attention to the direction of the arrows, and lay the tile in the pattern recommended by the manufacturer. Always nestle a tile tightly against the corner created by neighboring tiles. Lay the starting corners of the second square. The tiles you have laid so far have left a void in each corner of the square. Lay tiles to fill in the corners, nestling the tile tightly against its neighbors. Lay a third square, and work your way to the wall. Lay tiles around the square you just laid to create a stair-step pattern. Start at the layout lines and work along the edge of the tiles already laid. Once you've laid the stair-step pattern, fill in each of the steps with a single tile, which creates a second and larger stairway. Continue filling the steps with tiles, working your way to the wall.

Step 6: Trim Tiles at the Walls and Roll the Floor


The tiles next to the walls will probably need to be cut to fit. Measure the space between one of the tiles and the wall at the two corners of the tile nearest the wall. Draw a matching layout line on the back of a new tile. Cut along the line with a utility knife guided by a straightedge. Lay the tile, and repeat the process until you've laid all the tiles. Once all the tiles are down, roll the floor with a 75-pound floor roller to seat the tiles in the adhesive.