How to Install Carpet Tiles (2023)

New carpeting almost always enhances the look and feel of a space. But installing traditional rolled carpet is labor-intensive and expensive, and waiting for a busy carpet installer’s schedule to open up is a pain. Luckily, if you learn how to install carpet tiles, you can achieve the same look and feel for less time and money.

Installing carpet tiles is easy, and since it’s a DIY-friendly job, it’s also affordable. Each tile is individually replaceable, making them ideal for houses with children and pets, where spills and accidents are likely to occur.


How to Install Carpet

What is Carpet Tile?

Carpet tiles aren’t necessarily new, but their growth in popularity has many folks wondering what they are. Traditionally used in commercial environments because they’re easy to replace, carpet tiles are small pieces of carpet, usually between 18 and 24 inches square. They feature foam pads underneath, typically with peel-and-stick adhesive backs. Some require glue or an adhesive called mastic.

(Video) How to Install Carpet Tiles | The Home Depot

Are Carpet Tiles Worth It?

Carpet tiles are also popular because installers can create designs and borders with them. By utilizing different colors and patterns, or simply rotating the tile to change the direction of the pile, the possibilities are endless. Even DIYers are growing to love them because they weigh less and are easier to handle and install. Because they’re removable, cleaning and care are effortless, too.

Following these simple carpet tile installation steps, you can do a room yourself in just a few hours.

Carpet Tile Installation in 6 Steps

Step 1: Calculate the required materials.

Ensure you have enough tiles and mastic (if necessary). Measure the room by multiplying its length and width to find its square footage. Then, divide the square footage by the square dimensions of the chosen carpet tile, adding 10 to 15 percent for mistakes and future replacements and repairs.

For a room that measures 12 feet wide by 12 feet long, using 24-inch square carpet tiles, the calculation looks like:

  1. 12′ x 12′ = 144′ (square footage of room)
  2. 2′ x 2′ = 4′ (square footage of each tile)
  3. 144′ / 4′ = 36 tiles
  4. 36 x .10 = 3.6 tiles (10 percent extra)
  5. 36 + 4 (3.6 rounded up) = 40 tiles required

If you’re not using peel-and-stick tiles, the container of mastic will state how many square feet it will cover. Compare that to the room’s square footage to find the correct amount.

Step 2: Prepare the area.

Before installing carpet tiles, the room needs a bit of preparation. First, order your tiles. Divide the square footage of the room by the measurement of a single tile to calculate how many you need. Add 10 percent for waste and future repairs. The day before, prep the floor as needed. Gently remove the baseboards with a pry bar and set them aside to reinstall when done. Bring the carpet tiles into the room to acclimate to the temperature.

(Video) How to Install Carpet Tiles

Pro2Pro Tips:

  • Mix tiles from different boxes to account for varying dye lots.
  • Point the arrows on the bottoms of the tiles in the same direction. Or, if you’re using different colors or patterns, at a 90-degree angle.

Step 3: Mark the center of the room.

Starting in the center of the room is the easiest way to ensure a consistent installation once you reach the walls. Find the center point of each wall and mark the subfloor at this point. Snap a chalk line on the floor between marks on parallel walls. The lines should intersect at the center point on the floor.

(Video) How to Install Carpet Tiles

From the center point, dry-fit carpet tiles along the chalk lines, laying them in place without adhesive. Continue laying whole tiles until reaching the wall. If the gap between the last full tile and the wall is more than half the width of the carpet tile, adjust the row to fit another full tile, giving consideration to which side of the room you’d prefer the full tiles to be

Step 4: Test your layout.

Starting at the center and moving out toward the wall, lay the carpet tiles along the two baselines. If the gap at the wall is narrower than half the width of a tile, move your center point and lines over until you can fit at least half a tile in the space.

Step 5: Install the tiles.

With the beginning rows of carpet tiles appropriately adjusted, begin the installation. Note that all carpet tiles have a pile direction, and there will be an arrow on the back of the tile. Ensure that all the arrows point in the same direction for a seamless installation or rotate them according to a pre-planned pattern.

With peel-and-stick carpet tiles, remove the plastic film or paper to expose the adhesive backing. Ensuring that the pile direction is correct, lightly place the tile on the floor, adjusting to ensure it’s square. Once satisfied, press the tile in place by hand.

With carpet tiles that don’t self-adhere, use the V-notch trowel to spread adhesive over enough of the floor for two or three tiles at a time. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, as some mastic needs to become tacky before installation. Ensuring the pile is in the correct direction, lightly place the carpet tile on the mastic, being careful not to get mastic on the carpeted surface. Once in the correct position, press the tile in place by hand.

Note: Breathing in the fumes from some glues can be harmful, so don a respirator and open windows to improve ventilation.

(Video) Carpet Tile - How to Replace a Carpet Tile!

Step 6: Cut and install the carpet tiles along the walls.

With most of the floor in place, cutting the pieces that run along the walls to size is simple. Measure the gap between the wall and the last full tile and transfer that measurement to a carpet tile. Using the straight edge and utility knife, cut the carpet tile to size.

Walls aren’t always perfectly straight, so don’t assume that all the final carpet tiles will be exactly the same size. Take your time and measure each space individually. Also, ensure the pile direction is correct before cutting.

Once cut, install these carpet tiles as you did in the previous step.

Step 7: Use the carpet roller to seal the deal.

After the carpet tiles are installed, it’s time to secure them in place permanently. Use the carpet roller to make several passes in every direction, going over each tile to ensure the adhesive makes solid contact with the subfloor. If you removed the baseboards during preparation, reinstall them after rolling the entire carpeted surface.

With that, the carpet tile installation is complete. Mastic carpet tiles might require a bit of drying time, so check the manufacturer’s directions before vacuuming.

Carpet tiles can last anywhere between 8 to 10 years making them just as durable as a traditional carpet. And, should a tile become exceptionally worn or stained, removing just one section of carpet is much easier than replacing ab entire roll. Just be sure to keep extra tiles on hand for these simple repairs.

(Video) How To Install Carpet Tile Flooring

Tools and Materials

The experience required for carpet tile installation is minimal and the tools are affordable, making this an excellent project for all skill levels. Here’s what you’ll need:


How to Install Carpet Tiles? ›

Carpet tiles are conveniently sized and a versatile flooring option, but one of their greatest benefits is the fact that some tiles offer a simple DIY installation method. If you choose tiles that can be loose laid, you can easily perform the installation yourself without using adhesive.

Do all carpet tiles need to be glued down? ›

Carpet tiles are conveniently sized and a versatile flooring option, but one of their greatest benefits is the fact that some tiles offer a simple DIY installation method. If you choose tiles that can be loose laid, you can easily perform the installation yourself without using adhesive.

Where is the best place to start laying carpet tiles? ›

From your centre line marks work your way out from the middle of the room with whole tiles to build up the floor. Make sure to butt each one up tight to the other without trapping pile between the joints. If you loose lay the tiles we recommend using double sided tape to stop the tiles from moving during fitting.

What do you need to put under carpet tiles? ›

Carpet tiles come with an underlay attached. This means that in normal circumstances, no additional underlay is required. In noisy rooms or high-footfall commercial areas, acoustic underlay can be a good idea. It will reduce noise levels and prevent people hearing noise from upstairs rooms.

What holds carpet tiles in place? ›

Several carpet tiles can be installed without the use of adhesives! However, when need be, adhesives such as double-sided tape or glue can help keep the tiles from moving.

How do I calculate how many tiles I need? ›

Multiply the width and length of the tile to find the area it will cover; then, divide by 144 to convert the measurement to square feet. Next, divide the area of the room by the square footage of a single tile. This will tell you how many individual tiles you need to purchase.

How many tiles do I need for 1000 square feet? ›

How many tiles do I need for 1000 square feet? If you want to cover a space with a 1000 sq. feet area then you have to divide it by the size of the tile. The larger the size of the tile, the less number of tile pieces required and vice versa.

How do I work out how many tiles I need? ›

If you're tiling a floor, measure the width and multiply it by the depth to work out the square metre area. For walls, measure the width of each wall and multiply it by the height. Repeat for each wall you're tiling and simply add the measurements together to calculate your total area.

Do carpet tiles need padding? ›

With most applications, a padded surface beneath carpet tiles is not needed or recommended. Rug padding is by nature soft and could prevent the tiles from laying flat and tightly packed, thereby creating a walking hazard. However, with some commercial tile installations, a compact underlayment is used.

Is carpet tile easier to install? ›

With their small size, carpet tiles are considerably easier to lift, move and install when compared to wall to wall carpets.

What is the backing of carpet tile? ›

The carpet tile is produced by coating a thick backing layer of a rubber-modified bitumen coating composition onto a secondary backing sheet material and separately coating a first precoat layer comprising a hot melt petroleum resin or bitumen and a second layer comprising a hot melt bitumen composition containing a ...

Is it cheaper to lay carpet or carpet tiles? ›

Carpet tiles are cost-effective as they are low on waste, require little storage space and are easy to transport. The key saver is the installation cost as this will, generally, take a lot less time for a professional installer, than it would for wall-to-wall carpet.

Is it cheaper to install carpet or tile? ›

Round 1- Cost

It all comes down to how much money it costs to install carpet or tile. On average, carpet costs about $2-$15 dollars per square foot depending on the type of carpet you are looking for. Tile costs about $4-$12 dollars per square foot.

Can I install carpet tiles myself? ›

Even DIYers are growing to love them because they weigh less and are easier to handle and install. Because they're removable, cleaning and care are effortless, too. Following these simple carpet tile installation steps, you can do a room yourself in just a few hours.

Are carpet tiles easy to lay? ›

Floor covering. Laying carpet tiles is a lot easier and quicker than you think and you won't need a lot of the specialist tools that you'd need if you were to lay carpet. We've put together some top tips from our fitters to help you lay a perfect carpet tiled floor.

Do carpet tiles stay down? ›

Each carpet tile already has a backing, so there is no need to lay down extra padding or backings before the installation. Each tile is attached to the floor using a special glue and sticker, which prevents the carpet from moving or pulling.


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