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Carpet Tile FAQ’s

Carpet Tile FAQ’s
By Glen Howard 20 September 2017 11 comments
Carpet Tile FAQ’s

Our Most Frequently Asked Questions About Carpet Tiles

During the last 20 years of selling carpet tiles over the phone we've gained quite an insight into the types of questions customers have when it comes to choosing carpet tiles for flooring, buying and indeed fitting carpet tiles.

Every week we see a repetition of the same questions and thought it would be a useful exercise to start noting them down and sharing on our carpet tile blog page.

Below is by no means an exhaustive list of FAQ's but the main ones are here and should you have a query out of office hours then hopefully you'll find the answer you're looking for!
Plus the fact, there is some pretty handy advice below well worth reading especially if you're considering whether you might fit the carpet tiles yourself.

Q. What size are our carpet tiles?
A. All the carpet tiles we sell on our site are 50cm x 50cm square or (19.75" x 19.75" in imperial measurements).

Q. Do carpet tiles need to be stuck down?
A. This really depends on how large the area is and what it will be used for.
We would always recommend using carpet tile tackifier adhesive/double sided tape for all commercial applications or where members of the public will be walking over, as simply loose laying, unless in a temporary situation, would not be appropriate.

In the home then the rule of thumb is that the manufacturers all recommend you should use some form of adhesion in areas over 100 tiles whether it be double sided tape or 'low tack' adhesive. However for areas less than 100 tiles then you have the option of loose laying your carpet tiles, as the theory is that in smaller areas the perimeter edge or skirting will help to hold the tiles securely in place when fitted properly with no gaps.

Q. What sort of adhesive should I use for carpet tiles?
A. Always use an adhesive which is specially designed for use with carpet tiles. DO NOT USE carpet spray adhesive as this will permanently fix your tiles to the floor and the whole point of carpet tiles is that you can lift, clean or replace in the future as and when required. Therefore a carpet tile tackifier adhesive, double sided tape or a low tack version of the spray adhesive (N.B. we do not sell the low tack spray form in a can) is the right adhesive for the job. Please make sure to follow the instructions on any adhesive to make sure the desired results are achieved.

Q. How do I cut the carpet tiles?
A. You initially cut carpet tiles from the back. There are many different ways of cutting and please make sure safe practice is observed to ensure no nasty accidents occur when using a sharp knife. We generally recommend scoring the back of the tile 3 times with a sharp bladed utility knife making sure you don't cut through to the face of the tile. Then break like plasterboard and from the other side carefully draw the knife through making sure you don't pull the threaded fibre from the surface of the tile. Use a steel rule or builders' level to cut a straight line or you can purchase one of our special fitting kits which includes a handy 600mm aluminium ruler with a handle to assist in getting a perfectly straight cut. Blade life can be increased by wiping carefully with white spirit to stop clogging.

Q. I am thinking of fitting carpet tiles on top of old floorboards, is this OK?
A. Again circumstances dictate what to do in these sorts of situations but as a guide many customers in the past who have big gaps or joints have laid 2400mm x 1200mm (8ft x 4ft) sheeting down first and taped the joints to create a flat uniform surface on which to lay the tiles on top. Use a thin ply sheet or hardboard with the shiny side upwards or MDF screwed to the subfloor (make sure if using screws that no pipes or cables run directly under where you're screwing into before you start). This method is only required if there are large gaps between the floorboards or if the boards are twisted or up and down creating high/low spots across the floors surface. Remember most standard European carpet tiles have a bitumen backing which can mould itself to the subfloor and over time the underside of a rough floor can show through to the tiles surface. Therefore it is imperative that you start out with a floor that's as clean, dry and flat as possible.

Q. How many carpet tiles do I need to cover my floor?
A. The best way to check this is by using our invaluable online carpet tile calculator. You can find it on the left hand menu of our homepage underneath our logo or in the footer of every page. It's been specially formulated to work out what you need whole tile wise in both metres and feet. Unlike other carpet tile calculators found online we do not factor in wastage as this can add unnecessary costs to the job. Common sense is fine when working out waste, just make sure you have a few spare tiles left over at the end of the job in case of damage in the future. You shouldn't have loads of full boxes lying around. If you're unsure then give us a call and we'll be happy to help with this.

Q. Will carpet tiles be OK in an office with wheeled chairs?
A. Not all commercial carpet tiles are suitable for use in busy office environments where wheeled operators chairs will be regularly used. We recommend using tiles which have a castor rating for this type of application and if you look through the quick overview on each of our products it will say if it's suitable for this purpose. Alternatively you can filter down the left hand side of our site when viewing all carpet tiles and click on Busy Office (Castor Wheel Rated) under the 'Recommended Use' subheading which will show only tiles suitable for use with castor wheels. If on a budget and you want to use a cheaper tile not suitable for castor wheels then please be aware that over time the tiles may flatten and start to look worn and tired. As long as you have ordered extra then you can replace a few tiles directly under where the wheels roll to increase the longevity of your flooring. Alternatively clear polycarbonate castor chairs mats can be sourced online.

Q. How many carpet tiles in a box?
A. Each box contains 20 tiles which cover an area of 5m2 or 53 sq. feet.

Q. Can I put carpet tiles in a garage?
A. Yes, we have many customers who fit carpet tiles in their garage. Whether you intend to park a classic/treasured sports car or every day driver on or if one end of the garage is used for a workshop or utility room then carpet tiles are ideal for this type of situation. If you wish to drive a car on them then we recommend using a dark colour and making sure you've stuck the tiles down so they cannot 'pop' out when turning the steering wheel or when driving over. If you want to use as a games room where no vehicles will be used then any colour is fine but close attention should be paid to the type of finish which would suit the floor best. Really this is down to personal preference. If using for a workshop then again a slightly more durable dark coloured tile would be best. The same applies for a games room. Smoother pile tiles are easier to vacuum but not always appropriate for the area so really that's why we recommend using our free sample service to get a tile that's right for you first time and at the right price!

One question we often get asked is 'What about the floor preparation for a garage?' Sometimes when garages are built from new they have what is called in the trade a 'tamped' floor. This is when the concrete floor is being poured and the builders will use a long scaffold board to simply tap up and down to level the surface and screed off any excess concrete to make sure the floor is level. This method leaves lines or ridges on the surface of the floor. This rough looking finish is so the tyres of the car/vehicle will not slip as they would on a shiny floor. The other reason is that the builders know that not many people cover the garage floor with a traditional floor covering and mainly leave in its bare original concrete state. The rest of the house has a smooth floor as they know it will be carpeted or tiled. If your garage floor has deep grooves or ridges on then you would need to use an appropriate self-levelling compound to make sure the surface of the floor was completely flat and now suitable to lay carpet tiles on top. If you wish to seal the floor then various solutions can be purchased from your local flooring supplies although our CTT tackifier solution can be watered down and painted on prior to applying another undiluted coat of adhesive in preparation for laying the carpet tiles on top.

Q. Are carpet tiles waterproof?
A. No, they are not which is a common misconception. Funnily enough we once sold to some local fishermen who laid them in the wheelhouses of their fishing boats before heading out to sea. They were looking for a bit of warmth and comfort when standing at the ships controls. If constantly used in wet areas, over time the tiles will degrade and start to break up. Soaked tiles when dried tend to not only shrink a little but on the surface of the tile a visible white ring can be seen where the water has dried and left a stain. Now, there is a big difference between being water resistant and waterproof. As long as you are wiping with a damp cloth to clean and not immersing the whole tile in water and leaving it soaking wet then you should be fine. Some handle water better than others depending on the fibre used and the construction of the tile. An open grain finish will dry quite quickly in the sun when stood up outside but a close knit pile will retain the water and will take twice as long to dry, so again common sense has to be used when using near water.

Q. How do you clean carpet tiles?
A. Definitely do not use any bleach products as this will for sure stain the pile and will soak through to the bitumen backing and melt it. A damp cloth can be used with a tiny amount of washing up liquid to remove stubborn stain or an appropriate carpet cleaner. We have known customers to run wet cleaning machines over and one lady once swore by putting them in her washing machine which she said kept them looking 'like new', although we definitely wouldn't recommend this. If you want to run a wet and dry vacuum over then we advise testing on a very small area first to check that no serious damage will be done before doing the whole area as every machine is different.

Q. What is the thickness of a carpet tile and does it matter?
A. Again, everyone gets confused about this one. You have to look at why you are using a carpet tile over normal traditional carpet on a roll. Carpet tiles are generally used in commercial situations as they can last up to 2 and a half times that of normal sheet carpet. The reason for this is because of the backing which keeps the top cloth in place and does not ruck or stretch over time. For this to work carpet tiles hardly ever go over 10mm in thickness and normally most good ones are around 6-7mm thick. The different finishes often denote how thick they ultimately end up but thickness definitely does not mean that one tile is better quality than the other. This is down to the make-up of each brand of carpet tile and the quality of the materials used. Just ask us and we'll be totally honest about what to use and where and how long they'll last in that type of situation.

Q. Are carpet tiles suitable for pets?
A. Yes, carpet tiles are great for pets. Any accidents that will inevitably end up happening mean that one or two single tiles can be lifted and simply cleaned. If you do not want to clean then make sure you have a few spare and drop them in and discard the dirty ones. We tend to find that loop pile tiles are best steered away from as they can catch in claws and pull up. Either use smooth pile tiles like a cut pile or if not then our hobnail ones work pretty well in this environment.

Q. Can I place carpet tiles on top of vinyl/laminate flooring?
A. Yes, but just make sure the surface is hard and you adhere them with either double sided tape or tackifier. Remember there is no guarantee in the future when fitting carpet tiles on top that the floor will be clean underneath should you change your mind and reinstate the old floor covering in the future. Sometimes the bitumen can bleed through the back in heavy wear areas leaving marks on the old floor covering underneath. In domestic situations we have heard of customers using old sheets of paper put down first in case they change their mind again. We've even had customers who have carpet tiles over the top of ceramic tiles in a conservatory for the winter months to make it feel warm and then mark and take up like a jigsaw and store in the garage in the summer time until needed again. All this is fine but when laying on top of a paper barrier then no adhesive can be used and it depends again what the area will be used for and also the overall size of area. Think safety first!

Q. Can I fit carpet tiles on top of underfloor heating?
A. You can lay carpet tiles on top of underfloor heating and manufacturers generally state that temperatures should not exceed 26-27 degrees Celsius. At the end of the day the carpet tiles have a bitumen backing and if they get too hot they will start to breakdown and simply melt. We actually don't get asked this very often but we've added in just in case someone was contemplating installing underfloor heating and then using carpet tiles.

Q. Can I lay carpet tiles on top of old carpet?
A. No you can't, this is probably one of the most popular questions we get asked. You cannot lay carpet tiles on top of old carpet, no matter how flat it is. Most people ask this when either the old carpet has been glued to the floor in a contract situation or when customers think that it will act like an underlay and make the carpet tiles feel more luxurious. All that will happen is that the carpet tiles will curl up at the corners and create a trip hazard. Carpet tiles DO NOT curl when laid properly, so straight on top of a hard concrete or wooden subfloor that's clean and dry and also free from grease and dirt.

Q. Will carpet tiles be OK in direct sunlight?
A. Carpet tiles like any carpet will fade in direct sunlight and dark colours obviously tend to be affected worse than lighter ones. Red really fades and in areas for example like conservatories or floor to ceiling glass fronted showrooms and shops then particular care needs to be taken when choosing the right colour for this situation. I have known manufacturers to produce special UV stabilised fibre for the marine trade in Australia where the tiles will be exposed to nothing but sun but they are quite expensive and we do not stock and cannot source as the factories have minimum runs etc for this type of niche product. The moral of the story is be prepared that over time depending on the circumstance that the tiles will be subject to some fading.

Q. Will carpet tiles stop damp from coming through?
A. Yes they can, however there's again a difference between damp floors, sweaty floors that condensate and rising damp. We recommend that you should always seek professional advice in these types of situations before attempting to mask any damp issues covering over with a few carpet tiles. This can be unsafe depending on the level of damp occurring and without us seeing the area in person you cannot really advise anyone the best course of action so call a specialist or contractor first.

Q. Are carpet tiles any good for sound proofing?
A. Yes, on the FLOOR, carpet tiles have excellent sound absorption and insulating properties. However, as we also get asked a lot, we cannot give advice on sticking them to walls of recording studios etc to stop noise pollution. All our carpet tiles have been fully tested by the manufacturers and have passed all the relevant safety checks for use on floors ONLY. There is a definite risk that when used on a wall or ceiling that in the case of a fire that they would not be suitable or appropriate. Therefore we cannot give advice and again recommend seeking advice from a fully qualified safety officer before starting any works of any kind with this in mind as a cheap alternative to sound proofing.

Q. Are carpet tiles easy to fit?
A. They honestly are, in fact most people can achieve a really professional job without any prior experience or knowledge at all. You just have to be careful and think about the job before you start and then there will be no problems or issues arise which you cannot solve. We would recommend you reading our 'Fitting Guide' which can be found on the homepage and on the footer of every page on our site prior to commencing fitting. This has really straight forward instructions and images with simple hints and tips on how to get a professional looking finish in 5 simple steps. Cutting round basins, doorways, pillars etc will take time and if finding really difficult simply use the side of a thick cardboard box and cut to 50cm x 50cm the size of a whole tile. You can then cut this with scissors and trim to the perfect shape before transferring to the back of a tile. This way you only cut once and do not run the risk of wasting loads of tiles in the process. For encouragement we actually know that about 85% of all the tiles we sell will be fitted by a relative novice. If you need the tools for the job then we even sell the fitting kits which can be purchased and sent together with your order of carpet tiles.

Q. When laying carpet tiles on a concrete floor does it need to be sealed first?
A. No, not necessarily. If the concrete is old and the surface flaky then it's good practice to seal the floor first to stop it from breaking up. In which case you can purchase an appropriate sealer or use a watered down coat of our Bond It CTT carpet tile tackifier adhesive before going over again with an undiluted coat prior to installation of the new carpet tiles. If the surface of the concrete is very poor or has craters or large divots in then we recommend you screed over with a self-levelling compound. Otherwise if the floor is clean, flat, dry and sound with no issues then you can either loose lay the tiles straight on top or use a 'low tack' adhesive for large areas to keep the carpet tiles in place.

Q. Can you fit carpet tiles on stairs?
A. You can use carpet tiles on stairs but this is normally only carried out in a commercial situation as a suitable aluminium stair tread nosing will need to be used. We do not sell stair treads but they are readily available from manufacturers or suppliers online. You should however permanently glue any tiles on the treads and risers for safety and should not use carpet tile low tack adhesive in this situation. Some of the suppliers of safety stair nosings will supply a sample box in the post where you can match up your stair nosing to the correct shape and design required. They cut and drill to your individual measurements making them simple to fit. You can even choose different coloured inserts to either match or highlight potential hazards depending on your circumstance or application. We are often asked whether we supply rolled carpet to match the colours of the carpet tiles but we do not. We are solely a carpet tile specialist and have all the carpet tiles featured on our site manufactured and produced to our own specifications.

Hopefully this will answer some of your questions and queries that you may have about carpets tiles and their uses. If you have anything else you wish to ask then please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

If you thought this FAQ post was useful then please leave us a comment below.

Carpet Tile FAQ’s
Malcolm Davis 18 January 2019 at 13:31
Very useful
Ian Leitch 20 August 2019 at 23:58
Enlightening and very useful; thank you.
Martin Anderson 27 January 2020 at 15:46
Answered all my questions perfectly,Thanks Martin.
Jean Plumridge 27 February 2020 at 15:49
Yes it was useful, answered the few questions that I had
Jeff 5 June 2020 at 15:31
Very useful and reassuring.
Mark Honebon 31 July 2020 at 14:24
Probably the best "Q&A" I have come across in many years. Thank you.
Kittyshopper 13 December 2020 at 12:14
Very useful information, thank you
Steve Roberts 27 January 2021 at 16:29
Excellent and detailed practical advice
Jamie Graham 10 June 2021 at 11:01
Thank you ... Very informative
JACKIE BENNETT 3 April 2022 at 09:16
I am considering laying carpet tiles over an underfloor heated area and your advice is really useful. Thank you.
Peter Stratten 9 March 2024 at 12:32
A comprehensive and honest conversation. As a retired English Language specialist it was also refreshing to note the accurate use of language with no "flannel"! This was a most useful set of information.