Using Carpet Tiles

Beth Asaff
Carpet tiles

Carpet tiles are squares of carpeting that connect together to form a modular carpet. The ability to combine different colors, textures and patterns within one rug lets you create a custom rug made just for your home, often without custom pricing or installation costs.

Types of Carpet Tile

Carpet tiles come in an incredibly wide variety of different thicknesses, adhesive types, colors and patterns. They can be installed nearly anywhere in the home, and have several advantages over standard carpets. Depending on where you are placing them, and what you are using them for, you may want to consider one of these types of carpet tile.

Subfloor Adhesive

Some carpet tiles can be installed directly to the subfloor. These tiles are meant to be used as a total floor covering, like wall-to-wall carpet. They can be used on the stairs, or anywhere regular carpeting is installed. They come in different thicknesses and wear ratings, and are suitable for high-traffic areas in the home.

Tile to Tile Connection

Checkerboard carpet tiles

Carpet tiles can also be used in the place of throw rugs. Because you may not want your throw rug adhered directly to the floor below it, there are carpet tiles that adhere to each other, rather than to the floor below. These tiles fit snugly together to form a large throw or area rug. The entire piece can then be moved around, or disconnected and put back together again. This system works well for covering other floorings, like hardwood or tile that you wouldn't want a permanent rug installed over.

Tile to tile connection style carpet tiles also come in a variety of thicknesses and wear ratings, which makes them ideal for entryways and children's playrooms.

Installing Carpet Tiles

Installing Floor Tiles

No matter which type of carpet tile you are using, installation is fast, easy and something any homeowner can do themselves.

Installing Tiles with Adhesive

If your carpet tiles need adhesive, you may find they install similarly to other soft floor tile, such as vinyl or linoleum.



  1. Dry layout your carpet tiles onto the floor to make sure they fit and finalize the pattern you are using. When you order your tiles, take the rooms dimensions into account; many tiles can be made to fit the room exactly when put together.
  2. Pull up a few of the tiles and trowel on the adhesive. Because adhesives can vary tremendously, refer to the adhesive manufacturer's instructions for thickness and drying times.
  3. Set the tiles back into place and snug them together.
  4. Roll the tiles with a 100 pound floor roller to bond the adhesive to the subfloor.

Installing Tiles to One Another

Every floor tile company has its own method for installing tiles to one another, rather than to the floor. Specific instructions will accompany the tiles you are using.

General Instructions

  1. Dry layout the tiles to determine their pattern on the floor.
  2. Take up two to four tiles at a time and press the connectors onto the corners of the tiles.
  3. Lay the tiles back into position, and snug up the next tiles onto the connectors from below.

Maintaining Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles clean up exactly like typical area rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting; vacuum or spot clean as needed.

The true benefit of carpet tiles is the ability to replace a tile if it becomes too soiled or damaged. If your tiles are glued to the subfloor, soak them in water to dissolve the adhesive, remove and replace. If they are connected to one another, just peel them off their connectors and replace as needed.

Pros and Cons of Using Carpet Tiles

Abstract carpet tiles

Like any floor covering, carpet tiles have their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles have a few advantages over other carpeting.

  • They can be arranged to make a custom design for less than the cost of a custom carpet.
  • They can be changed out and replaced easily in case of damage.
  • They are easy to install for a DIY homeowner. They are equally easy to remove.

Cons of Carpet Tiles

No flooring is perfect, and carpet tiles are no exception.

  • Carpet tiles can be pricey. They start around five dollars a square foot, but can go as high as 80 dollars a foot for some of the more luxury naps.
  • Padding can be problematic with the squares, which may make them less dense underfoot than traditional carpeting. This can also make them less effective at soundproofing a room.

Where to Buy Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles aren't as widely sold as traditional carpeting and area rugs. In many cases, the best scenario is to go straight to the manufacturer.

  • Flor: Flor makes a wide array of carpet tiles in a variety of patterns, colors and thicknesses. Their tiles connect to one another, rather than to the subfloor.
  • Interface: Interface makes carpet tiles that connect to one another as well. They have several patterns to choose from.
  • Mannington: Mannington has multiple designs for modular systems that adhere to the subfloor.

Create Your Own Look

With the many ways that carpet tiles can be pieced together to form a custom design, you'll have no trouble finding one that works with your home. For your stairs, your entry way or your living room, carpet tiles deliver what traditional carpets cannot.

Using Carpet Tiles