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Some people question whether carpet tiles look cheap, but the reality is, carpet is an easy way to add warmth, texture and colour to any room in the home or workplace.

Available in a range of formats, dimensions, and styles from UK leading carpet manufacturers and suppliers (e.g. Forbo, Desso, Gradus, Interface Flor), there’s a carpet tile to suit every taste and space. The question is – are they easy to lay?

In this article, WJD Flooring explains everything you need to know about fitting carpet tiles – including what tools you need.

But first, let’s find out a little more about them.

What are carpet tiles?

Put simply, carpet tiles (also known as carpet squares) are individual tiles of carpet that slot together.

They were developed in the mid-20th century to provide an accessible flooring option that homeowners could install themselves, without needing to hire the expertise of a fitter.

Today, carpet tiles are becoming an increasingly popular flooring option – not just for homes but for offices, schools, and various industrial environments, too. And it’s not surprising given that they are:

Easy to handle
Low maintenance

Do you need an underlay for carpet tiles?

Interestingly, some carpet tiles come with an underlay attached already, which means they can be laid straight onto a stone, concrete, or wooden floor without the need for underlay.

With that said, an acoustic underlay is ideal for noisy rooms or commercial areas that receive high levels of foot traffic every day. It will help to reduce the transmission of sound and minimise disturbances.

Where carpet tiles will be laid over underfloor heating systems, underlay can add insulation – helping to retain the heat and eliminating cold spots.

Should carpet tiles be glued down?

Whether you use a carpet tile tackifier or double-sided tape, carpet tiles will need to be affixed in one way or another.

Some carpet tiles have a seal and stick system, where a layer is peeled off the back of the tile so it can be stuck directly to the subfloor. For those that don’t come with an adhesive backing, carpet tiles will need to be glued in position.

As a general rule of thumb, when fitting carpet tiles in heavy-traffic environments – such as offices, classrooms, and other public areas – a carpet tile adhesive needs to be spread on the back of each tile.

Laying carpet tiles without glue is fine for temporary situations and in the home. Double-sided tape can be used to stop the tiles from moving when fitting.

Can you lay carpet tiles over old glue?

Before you fit new carpet tiles, it’s advised that you remove the existing carpet and underlay. If possible, the old glue should be removed as well. To do this, you will need a scraper tool.

The chances are, there will be some adhesive residue left after you’ve scraped the subfloor. Try pouring boiling water over the old glue and leave it to soften for approximately 10 seconds before re-scraping. Failing that, use a steam cleaner.

If it’s refusing to budge, carpet tiles can be placed over the top of old glue. The adhesive residue will need to be treated with a skim coat before the new adhesive is applied though.

Is it easy to fit carpet tiles?

The idea of fitting carpet tiles can be daunting – especially if it’s something that you’ve never done before. However, laying carpet tiles is more straightforward than you think, and could save you money.

Before you begin, there are a few basic tools you need to have at your disposal to allow you to complete the job safely and efficiently.

These include:

Vacuum or brush
Tape measure
Fixed blade utility knife
Metal ruler
Carpet tile adhesive or double-sided tape

It’s important to make sure that the carpet tiles have acclimatised to the temperature of the room for at least 24-hours before fitting. Simply lift them out of the box and spread them out across the room to circulate the air between.

Laying carpet tiles – 6 steps for a professional finish

Step 1: Prepare the subfloor

Any existing floor coverings (i.e. carpet or underlay) must be removed before new carpet tiles can be fitted.

If the old carpet was glued down, consider cutting it into strips using a utility knife. For larger areas, it’s worth hiring a carpet lifting tool to simplify the process of removal.

The subfloor needs to be clean, dry and solid. Sweep the floor with a brush or use a vacuum to lift any loose dirt or dust. Damp floors will also need to be sealed with the appropriate sealer and uneven floors will need rectifying with a self-levelling screed.

Step 2: Measure the room

Accurately measure the width and length of the room with your tape measure and, using chalk or a pencil, mark the centre.

The next step is to calculate how many full tiles you need. To do so, provisionally lay a row across the length and width, starting from the centre. Readjust the centre point if you need to and make sure you have enough spare tiles to cut for around the edge of the room.

Step 3: Arrange the tiles on the floor

Every tile has pile direction arrows on the back.

For a streamlined boardroom look, lay them all in the same direction. If you’d like to create a checkerboard pattern with carpet tiles or to achieve a shading effect, alternate them. Have a little play around with them and see which you like best.

Step 4: Apply carpet tile flooring adhesive

Once you’re happy with the arrangement, you can then start to lay the carpet tiles using a suitable adhesive.

At WJD Flooring, we recommend using a solvent-free, non-staining adhesive – something like the Floorwise F523 carpet tile tackifier. Super simple to use, you can either apply the glue using a brush or roller.

After applying the adhesive to the back of the tiles, wait 20-30 minutes for it to dry to a clear, tacky film. Laying your tiles too soon when the adhesive is still wet will make it difficult for you to lift the tiles for cleaning or replacement in the future.

Step 5: Lay the carpet tiles

Instead of laying your carpet tiles along the wall, start from the centre of the room and work your way outwards. This is because, if the wall isn’t straight, your tiles won’t be either.

Push the tiles together tightly without trapping the pile between the joints. And make absolutely sure every tile you lay is in line with the others and secure to ensure no movement.

Once the full tiles have been laid, you then need to do the cuts around the perimeter. Carefully measure the gap between the end tile and the wall and make a marker on the rear of the tile. To ensure a neat cut, use a metal ruler and pencil, and change your cutting knife often.

Top tip: always cut from the back of the tile (never the front) by scoring two or three lines and mind your fingers!

Step 6: Final checks

After all the cuts have been completed, double-check the tiles are tight and aligned, as a poorly fitted floor can move and pose a serious health and safety hazard.

If they are locked in securely and you’re happy, give the flooring a quick hoover to remove any debris left behind from the installation.

Want to know more?

If you have any further questions about laying carpet tiles or the products we supply, we’d love to hear from you. Either give us a call on 01744 885 514 or drop us an email at, and we’ll be in touch shortly.

WJD Flooring doesn’t just sell top-quality carpet tiles from renowned brands, we offer a professional floor fitting service, too. So, if you’re struggling with the installation or you’d prefer to have carpet tiles expertly fitted, let us know and we will take care of everything.

Apr 16, 2024 By Samantha Thompson