How to Lay Modular Carpet Tiles

Written by melissa kelly
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How to Lay Modular Carpet Tiles
Modular tiles make it easy to lay carpet. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Modular carpet tiles are an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in search of a practical and flexible flooring option with the feel of a carpeted floor. Carpet tiles, which come in a wide variety of styles, make installing wall-to-wall carpeting easy and allow you to create interesting designs. They also give homeowners the option of designing a unique area rug without the high cost of an elaborate floor rug.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Latex-reinforced floor patching compound
  • Application blade
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk liner
  • Framing square
  • Undercut saw
  • Carpet sticky dots
  • Marker
  • Utility knife

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  1. 1

    Prepare the subfloor, making sure it is thick enough (typically 1 1/2 inches) to support the carpet tiles and at the appropriate height in relation to the height of your carpet tiles. Next, apply latex-reinforced floor patching compound to fill all fastener holes and seams between plywood sheets. Once applied, smooth a blade across the surface to press the material into the gaps and then scrape it flush with the plywood.

  2. 2

    Lay out reference lines by measuring each wall of the room with a tape measure and finding their centre points. Then snap lines with a chalk liner between the opposing marks and verify that the lines are square using a framing square.

  3. 3

    Trim up door casings, using a carpet tile to set the height of your undercut saw. Lay a scrap piece of the carpet tile on the floor next to the door casing. Then use an undercut saw to trim the casing so that you can slide a portion of the carpet tile underneath the casing.

  4. 4

    Dry-lay the carpet tiles using the reference lines as guidance. If any of the edge tiles will need to be cut smaller than half of a tile, try to resolve the problem by shifting the row of tiles to one side or the other. Once you're happy with the arrangement, make sure the tiles are tightly aligned.

  5. 5

    Apply the sticky dots by peeling the backing off, lifting an edge of a tile and placing the dot halfway under the tile. Start in the centre of the room. The sticky top surface of the dot will hold the tiles together, and the rubbery bottom surface will keep the layers of tiles from moving around the floor.

  6. 6

    Lay the two centre lines down and cut the end tiles for each row by flipping a tile upside down and sliding it under the neighbouring tile and against the wall. Then use a marker to trace a cut line on the back of the tile.

  7. 7

    Cut the tile by holding a straight edge against the cut line on the back of the tile with a utility knife. Once you've cut through the backing, the carpeting will pull apart.

  8. 8

    Place the rest of the carpet tiles into position once the two reference lines are laid. Work one quadrant at a time, starting in the centre of the room and working toward the walls. As you proceed, dry-lay about four tiles at a time, apply the sticky dots and move on.

Tips and warnings

  • Carpet has a nap or grain that is not necessarily noticeable if it's a solid colour,but shows up under changing light conditions. This can affect the appearance of the overall job. Verify the lay from the markings on the back of the carpet tiles and make sure they are arranged properly during the dry-lay.

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