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Carpet Tile Installation

By Michael Hilton

Carpet Tile installation can easily be performed by a novice. You simply need basic math skills, know how to read a tape measure, and understand that box-cutters or razor blades are sharp! and you can easily transform a boring room into a thing of beauty in one afternoon. The first step in installing carpet tile is to establish whether the room is "square". A trapezoidal or parallelogram-shaped room will present no problems (until you get to the walls). A room that is off-square may provide a tile pattern like this: along the room walls unless you plan how the installation will finish up.

To begin:

  1. Determine the center of your room. Measure each of your four walls and divide by two. Mark the center of each wall.
  2. Next, using a chalk line, snap a line from the center mark of each wall to find the converging point at the center of the room. The converging point will become the starting point for your carpet tile installation.
  3. Now, measure from each center line to the wall at various points along the line. Confirm that the measurements are similar. It is not uncommon for the measurements to vary by 1-2 inches, but if the measurements vary by 4-6 inches or more, you may want to measure your walls, again, and snap a new line.
  4. Next, as a second confirmation check. Measure from the center point to each room corner to confirm that the measurements are similar. This will confirm the proper starting point for your tile installation.
  5. Place the first tile at the converging point of the two lines. Make sure the tile is located evenly on both lines. A minor variance will multiply significantly as you move outward toward the wall.
  6. Continue placing tiles along the line, making sure to butt the tiles tightly until you come to a point where a full tile cannot be placed between the last tile and the wall. If the last tile fits evenly, call the Pope, because another minor miracle has occurred. If you want a homogeneous installation, make sure the carpet pile direction is pointed in the same direction. Many carpet tiles use arrows to indicate the manufactured direction. Turning the tiles will create a carpet color change due to the change in light reflection. See our setting a budget section for a diagram of pile direction change.
  7. Now, fill in each of the four quadrants with tile (one quadrant at a time), making sure that tiles are placed evenly with the butting tiles. Note (as in the installation) that the tiles may not be perfectly in line when your reach the edge. Patterned goods will telescope these differences, solid color tiles will hide these differences. Since carpet tile is a seamless installation, you may choose to adjust tiles as you work (allowing more or less gap at the tile edges to ensure a consistent finish).
  8. Now comes the "sharp" part. Arrange tiles individually along the wall to fill the gap between the wall and the last tile and mark each tile for the cut pattern. Use a carpenter’s square and a utility knife to make a straight clean cut on the backside of the carpet tile, using care not to include fingers in the cut. In laying out your tile, you may choose to quarter turn tiles. Most carpet tiles have arrows on the back of each tile indicating the manufactured pile direction. By quarter turning tiles, you change the shading of tiles to create a checkerboard effect utilizing the lighting reflectance differences caused by pile direction.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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Carpet Benefits
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Budgeting for Carpet
Shopping for Carpet
Private Labeling
Where to Shop for Carpet
Carpet Measuring
Carpet Tile
Carpet Tile Installation
Indoor Outdoor Carpet
Enjoying Your New Carpet

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Before You Enter the Flooring Store
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