How To Lay Carpet Tiles

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.

Laying the tiles

To achieve a symmetrical design with no unsightly narrow gaps at the skirting, find the centre of the room  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.

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.

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.

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