Everything You Need to Know About Carpet Tile

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated March 11, 2022
A man installing new carpet tiles
Photo: Gary Ombler / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Carpet tiles are squares cut from rolls of carpeting.

  • They fit together like tiles, making them easy to install.

  • Carpet tiles are easy to replace and offer endless design options.

  • However, they may have a rougher appearance and they can warp.

  • A carpet installation professional can help you install them.

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Installing a whole new carpet can be a real hassle, but there’s a secret hack that might make it go more smoothly: carpet tile. This simple style of carpeting has come into vogue with interior designers thanks to the fact that it's durable, low-maintenance, and endlessly customizable.

But is it right for your home? It depends on your preferences. This guide breaks down exactly what carpet tile is, its benefits and drawbacks, and everything else you need to know.

What Is Carpet Tile?

Carpet tiles, also known as modular or square carpeting, are squares that are cut out of rolls of carpeting and fitted together (like tiles!) on a floor. This style is easy to install and provides almost unlimited design options.

The squares generally range from 20 inches in length on each side to up to 40 inches. Occasionally they will come in more unconventional shapes, but these are more difficult to install compared to simple squares.

Carpet tiles can be both placed and removed more easily than standard wall-to-wall carpet. They have also become increasingly popular as a design aesthetic.

Photo comparison of carpet squares versus traditional carpet
Photos: Luckeyman / iStock / Getty Images, Torsten Albrecht / EyeEm / Getty Images

What Are the Benefits of Carpet Tile?

So why should you consider carpet tile for your home? Here are three of the main benefits to this type of flooring.

1. Ease of Installation

Perhaps the best thing about carpet tiles is how easy they are to install compared to new carpet installation. When you install a roll of carpet, you've got to carefully cut it to fit the exact dimensions of a room. But when all you're doing is laying squares, you can lay down most of the tiles first and then cut only the squares along the wall to fit, which saves a lot of work and hassle.

2. Ease of Replacement

By the same token, if you ever decide to replace your carpet, carpet squares are a lot easier to pull up and dispose of. Or, if you stain one portion of the carpet and can’t scrub it clean, you don't have to replace the whole thing—you can just remove the stained square.

3. Endless Design Options

Square carpet tiles allow you to get creative, experimenting with different patterns and seeing how they look in a given room—which is not something you can do with standard carpeting. Also, you have more options of where you can install carpeting thanks to the fact that many types of carpet tile can handle the outdoors.

What Are the Drawbacks of Carpet Tile?

Close-up of green carpet tiles
Photo: junce11 / Adobe Stock

While the benefits are solid, it’s important to keep in mind some drawbacks as well.

1. Rougher Appearance

Even with perfect installation of carpet tiles, it's hard to get rid of all the rough edges. A standard carpet gives a smooth, uniform look throughout a room, but carpet tiles may not quite fit perfectly together. Also, when you have carpet tiles, you're going to see frayed joints and seams more often because more of them are exposed. So if that seamless look is important to you, this might not be the right option.

2. Post-Installation Movement

Carpet tiles may be easy to install, but they can sometimes "move" after you put them in. You may notice shortly after installation that the joints between tiles look worse, or that some tiles are misshapen. This may mean you skipped a few of the manufacturer's recommendations during installation, but it is also impossible to prevent completely.

3. Warping

Carpet tiles have a rubber backer that can become warped over time. While the rubber is what makes them more durable than carpets and suitable for some outdoor environments, this also puts them at risk of warping due to extreme temperatures.

What Type of Professional Should I Hire to Install Carpet Tile?

You'll want to hire a carpet installation professional if you aren't sure you have the expertise necessary to do the job (or you would just rather someone else take care of it). Contact a carpet installation professional near you to request a quote.

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