B&Q Online: From Kitchens & Bathrooms to Sheds & Paving; plus planning tools

How to lay carpet tiles

Lay carpet tiles

Laying carpet couldn't be easier than with our versatile carpet tiles.

Carpet tiles are loose-laid so that they can be taken up and re-laid in a different part of the room to spread wear, for individual spot cleaning, or to completely replace a damaged tile.

Preparation

Before you start

  • Strip off previous floor coverings and make sure that the surface is firm, clean, dry, flat and smooth.
  • Make sure the surface is free of paint, oil, grease, bituminous compounds and any solvent-based materials.
  • Sweep or vacuum the sub-floor, removing all dust and smoothing out any lumps or depressions.
  • Cover uneven timber floors with resin-bonded plywood or floor-covering grade hardboard panels.
  • Hardboard panels should be dampened 24 hours before installation to prevent subsequent expansion. Ensure boards are securely fixed.
  • Make sure there are no proud nail heads.
  • Do not lay carpet tiles on solid floors that do not incorporate a damp-proof membrane.
  • When you are calculating the area of your room, remember to measure any alcove or bay separately and add it to the total.

Pile direction

Carpet tiles have a natural pile lay, and this is indicated by directional arrows on the reverse of each tile. This natural pile lay can lead to very slight shade variations, particularly from one production batch to another. In order to avoid shading problems, tiles should be laid with the directional arrows pointing in alternate directions, like a chequerboard.

back to top

Laying the tiles

To achieve a symmetrical design with no unsightly narrow gaps at the skirting, find the centre of the room (for details on how to do this, see you can do it – the complete B&Q step-by-step book of home improvement and work from there towards each wall.

1 Starting at the centre of the room, lay a row of tiles from the centre line to one of the walls.

2 When you reach the wall, check to see if you are left with a narrow gap (as above). This should be avoided – a thin strip of carpet tile at the skirting will look ugly.

3 To avoid such a narrow gap, move the starting line back the width of half a tile. Repeat the laying from the start line in the opposite direction and then towards the other two walls. Adjust the start line as necessary, until there is a reasonable gap of about half a tile all round the room.

4 Lay the tiles with the edges butted up tightly and squarely to the neighbouring tiles, making sure you do not trap any carpet pile between each join. Secure every fifth row of tiles with a strip of double-sided carpet tape to prevent any movement. Position all the whole tiles before filling in the gaps at the edges and tackling areas where there are fittings.

back to top

Cutting tiles

Carpet tiles will need to be cut to fit at the skirting, doorways and around obstacles. To cut around curves or pipes, make a simple paper template to use as a guide.

1 Lift the last uncut tile nearest the skirting. Replace it with the tile to be cut.

2 Place the last uncut tile on top of the tile to be cut, butting it up against the skirting-board. Using the top tile as a template, mark the cutting line with a pencil on the bottom tile.

3 Place a spare tile upside down under the tile to be cut to give a firm and safe surface and to protect the cutting blade. Using a sharp utility knife and a steel rule, cut the tile, carefully parting the carpet pile as you cut.

4 Replace the whole tile in its original position and fit the cut tile in place against the skirting. Repeat the cutting process all the way around the edge of the floor. Secure the cut tiles with double-sided carpet tape.

back to top

Design ideas

Carpet tiles can be laid using a single colour or you can make your own individual carpet designs by mixing colours, laying tiles in a chequerboard pattern, introducing borders, or adding a contrasting colour in a random design.

For a simple bold design, use carpet tiles in two colours, one dark and one light, and lay the colours alternately to create a chequerboard effect.

Create your own stylish carpet pattern by adding single tiles in a contrasting colour to the main colour in a completely random design.

back to top

Caring for carpet tiles

  • Regular vacuum cleaning will help maintain the appearance of your carpet tiles, and remove potentially harmful pieces of grit and other debris.
  • Shampoo the tiles occasionally, using a proprietary brand of shampoo and following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Carpet tiles are manufactured using stain-defiant polypropylene fibre. While the material is resistant to stains, it is impossible to make them totally stain-proof. Any spillages should be cleaned as soon as possible, ideally using a proprietary cleaner. Follow the manufacturer's instructions according to the type of spillage involved.
  • Treat stains as soon as possible to avoid them penetrating the carpet.
  • Individual tiles can be taken up and treated under the cold water tap to help remove stubborn stains. Dry the tile before replacing it in its original position.

Every tool box should include a utility knife; it can be used to cut many different materials. The simplest versions store spare blades in the handle. For safety in your tool box, buy a knife with a retractable blade.

Use a steel rule as a straightedge for cutting carpet tiles in a straight line.

A t-bar or threshold bar is fitted in a doorway to make a neat join between the new floor and the flooring in the next room, which could be carpet, laminate, vinyl tiles or more carpet tiles.

back to top