Installing carpet tiles yourself is not difficult and an average room can be completed in just a few hours after the necessary preparations have been completed. As with all DIY projects the end result depends upon using the right tools and methods from preparation to completion.

This Guide is intended to give you an understanding of the fundamentals of laying carpet tiles and some tips on how to get it right the first time.

Depending upon what style of carpet tiles you have purchased you will naturally have an idea of the design you want to create, and a "minds eye" view of your finished project. We will now attempt to explain to you the logical order for your project to proceed from start to finish, just follow our step by step guide or download a pdf version below.

Let's begin!

Step 1

Tools for the Job

Now you have purchased your carpet tiles, what are the other essential items you should have on your shopping list?

Consider this list:

A heavy duty utility knife or "Stanley knife" with extra brand new heavy duty blades.

A solid scraper, heat gun and / or sanding equipment if you need to remove stubborn old glue.

A metal straight edge to cut along (at least) or at best a straight metal edge with a right angle, like a "Tri Square" that carpenters use. This is ideal to make double sure your cuts are all straight.

A chalk line for finding and marking the centre of your room. (more on this later)

A marker pen.

A wooden surface or dedicated cutting mat to cut and trim down your Vinyl tiles if needed.

Carpet tile glue or tape (if required). The general use of the floor area to be tiled will dictate if it is best to use glue, tape or "loose lay" the tiles with no adhesive. The specialised glue and tape which is sold by Carpettiles1 is an adhesive which remains tacky throughout its life time.

Step 2

Surface Preparation

Carpet tiles are very versatile in that they are adaptable and can be laid on almost any hard, clean and smooth surface including:

  • Plywood subfloors
  • Concrete
  • Hardwood floors
  • Ceramic tile
  • Laminate

Whatever the surface you are laying on, all traces of old carpet, carpet gripping, nails or screws, old glue, dirt and grime must be removed completely.

Just like painting, time spent on the initially preparing the surface that will be under your carpet tile will ensure your end result. Take the extra time at this stage to ensure that your installation comes up to the best possible.


The floor surface should then be swept, mopped then vacuumed.

Any filling of holes and sealing of your surface should be completed at this stage so you end up with the optimal fresh clean flat surface to begin your job.

We do stock a Self-leveller if you require, to help level and fill faults with your under-flooring surface.

Now you have floor that is ready to lay on, you can start unpacking your tiles.

  • It is recommended that you unpack your carpet tiles and place them in the room in which they are to be laid.

    Leave them to sit flat for at least 24 hours before laying, to allow them to acclimatise to room conditions, heat, and humidity.
  • Whilst this is taking place, have a look at your carpet tiles and take note of the arrows.

    Arrows?, Yes, most quality carpet tiles have arrows imprinted in the backing, have a look at these and know that their purpose is to indicate the direction that your carpet tiles are to be laid in.

At this stage it is worth considering the design options available to you when laying your tiles. As you will see in Step 3, there are several popular methods of laying out your tiles to create different design options.

It is worth taking a number of loose tiles, and laying them loose on a section of floor using the various patterns described on the following page. This will help you determine what works best in yoursituation, and what looks best to your design taste and your individual application for the tiles.

Monolithic will show your tiles in a flat up and down method, whereas the same tiles laid as quarter turn give a completely different appearance.

Step 3

Decide on the way you wish to lay your carpet tiles

The most popular ways of laying carpet tiles are known as:

  • "Monolithic" - This is where all the tiles are laid with the arrows all pointing in the same direction so laying is like building a pathway – you just lay all the tiles in the same direction as you have pointed the arrows on the first tile. This will ensure the "nap" of the carpet tile fibre is consistent and a uniform texture is achieved.
  • "Quarter Turn" – This creates a checkerboard effect. To achieve this, you lay one tile with the arrow pointing forward and you rotate the next tile through 90 degrees, so its arrows are pointing to the right or to the left.Either left or right will achieve this effect. Continue laying alternating the direction of the arrows as you go.
  • "Brick / Ashlar" – This is where tiles are laid with the arrows all pointing the same direction, but tiles are offset by half tile to create a staggered look. Tiles can be offset by varying amounts to create different looks, for example offset by half, a third, or a quarter of a tile. These can be laid offset vertically ( Ashlar ) or horizontally ( Brick).

Step 4

Find and Mark the middle of the room.

  • Using your chalk line its time to work out the centre of the room.

    Measure along the length of your walls and mark the centre point of each of the walls.

    It is important to measure each wall as often rooms are not exactly square and can be slightly out.

    Position your chalk line and mark lines across the floor from side to side.

    Doing this across all walls should end up with a cross point in the centre of the room. It is important that these lines are square as they will be the guide for all your future efforts.  Take a moment and determine if they are square using the following methods.
  • If you do have a "Try Square" available, use it to place along the lines and make sure they line up square.

    If you do not have a Try Square, it is not a problem as there is a simple way to work out if your lines are square.

    Using a tape or ruler, measure and mark from the cross point out 40 centimetres. Now measure and mark along the other line out from the cross point out 30 centimetres.

    Finally measure from one mark to the other mark. The distance between the two should be 50cm.

    If it is not 50cm or your try square does not line up with your lines on both sides, your lines and room are not square and your tiles will not line up exactly with the walls. It is very common for rooms to be slightly out from square so do not worry if this is the case.

Assuming that your room is not square, there are several techniques you can use to mark your start lines square.

Following on from above we will use the same techniques described above to measure out points and mark lines that are square.

Step 5

Squaring up your guide lines.

Without a try Square:

  • Pick the opposite walls where the length of the walls is the closest, and use the chalk line from the centre of those walls to be your starting point.

    Now that we know the centre point of that line ( from the step above ) measure back up that line 40cm on each side of the centre point.

    From each of these points 40cm off centre, measure out 50cm and mark a small curve at 50cm from each of these points.

    Next measure 30cm each side of the centre point and mark a small curve at 30cm from the centre point.

    Finally line your chalk line to mark a straight line from one wall through the point where the three arcs meet, then through the centre point on the middle line, then through the other meeting point of the arcs on the other side, and finally out to the wall on the other side.

    If done correctly, these lines will now be square and you are ready to progress to the next step.

With a try Square:

  • If you have your try square, place the point of it at the centre point where the lines cross. Mark out the points each side from the end of the other arm of the try square. Do the same measuring the other side of the centre line.

    Using your chalk line to then mark lines that go straight through the centre point where the lines cross and through the point where your points each side were marked using the try square and extend the new chalk line out to the walls each side.

    If done correctly, these lines will now be square and you are ready to progress to the next step.

Step 6

Loose lay your tiles.

  • Taking your loose tiles, start at the centre and loose lay then out from the centre and work out the best fit for your room.

    Determine if you are better laying your tiles along the centre line, or down the middle of the centre line.

    Lay tiles out from the centre and work out how many to each wall, and determine if you will need to trim tiles to fit to your room.

    In the example to the left, if we laid the vertical centre row with the tile edge along the centre line, then we would need to cut each tile at the top and bottom in half to fit the room.

    It is best to take the time now and plan out what looks best for your circumstances before we start to finally install the tiles. Once done, remove the tiles and vacuum ready for the next step.

Step 7

Laying your tiles using tape.

  • With tape, the aim is to tape the outside tiles, and plus tape the joins along every third tile.

    If your tape is double sided, stick one side down to the outside of the room approximately half a tile width away from the wall.

    Using your chalk guide lines, start at the centre tile and work your way out in a square, lining your first tile to be square against the guide lines and then square off subsequent tiles against this first tile.

    As you go lay out your tape in the joins planned, and remove both sides, so the tape sticks to the flooring and the underside of your tiles as you lay them.

    The example to the left – tape lines are marked as: and tiles are numbered to show the sequence followed when laying.

Step 8

Laying your tiles using Glue

  • Ensuring that your floor is still clean and prepared in line with the instructions above, use a flat trowel or a roller, and apply the glue to the floor. When doing larger areas, focus on laying one section at a time then move on to the next section.

    Make sure you keep the area well ventilated while you are gluing tiles. When the adhesive first goes down it is a bright blue colour. Allow it to go off, making it tacky and ready to lay the tiles on top of. When the glue is ready to begin laying the colour changes from bright blue to a dull light blue. This generally takes between 15-30 minutes depending upon climate in the room.

    Starting in the centre of the room, do one full row from wall to wall. (Tiles 1-7 in the diagram to the left). If the tiles next to the wall need to be cut or trimmed to fit to the wall, leave them out for the moment and we will cut and place those as the last step.

    Continue on laying starting alongside that first row and starting in the centre again, placing tiles up to the wall and down the row fit neatly against the row next to them. Continue down the remaining rows, ensuring that each tile seats snugly and squarely against the other surrounding tiles. Lay all tiles that you can lay as full tiles before moving on to trimming and cutting tiles to fit remaining gaps and around pillars and other obstacles.

    Please note that you can either follow the above numbering to lay to glue, do quarter of room then move to the next quarter of the room or follow a spiral laying sequence as outlined above in the method of laying using carpet tile tape.

Step 9

Cutting  your tiles to walls and obstacles

Where you need to cut your tiles to fit between walls and the remaining tiles, or around obstacles in the room it is best to measure twice cut once. Remember to make sure that you take care to ensure your arrows on the back will all face the correct direction.

  • Measure each side of the tile and mark the tile on the back at each side using the pen.

    Where you need to cut your tiles to fit between walls and the remaining tiles, or around obstacles in the room it is best to measure twice cut once. Remember to make sure that you take care to ensure your arrows on the back will all face the correct direction.
  • Get your marked tile and put it with the backing up, on the cutting mat or board.

    Line up your metal straight edge, or T-square between the two marks  towards the side that will be layed so that if you accidentally make a mistake it will not affect the portion that will get layed on the floor.

    Use your Utility knife or Stanley knife to cut a straight line in the backing along the metal straight edge.

Be very careful to take it slow so that your knife does not wander away from the straight edge. Cut and fit your tile, then move on to repeat the process for the remaining tiles.

Where you have poles pillars and other obstacles, Measure out where you need to cut your tiles and follow the above instructions in a similar fashion. Always remember it is better to cut out less tile than more as you can trim it down to fit in better, whereas if you cut out too much you will then have a gap or have to cut other slivers of tile to infill the mistake.

If you have any questions...

Carpet Tiles 1 are always happy to answer any questions you may have about installing your tiles, to ensure you get the best installation possible for your room.

If you have any questions give us a call on 02 9519 8785 or 0414 266267 and we will gladly answer your questions.

Generally most people with DIY skills are capable of installing their own tiles, but If you feel installing your tiles is a little beyond your capabilities or your time constraints, we do have teams of installers that can come and quote for installing your tiles for you.  This makes an easy alternative and normally involves the installer transporting the tiles, doing the preparation work required, installing them to your room(s) and removing the waste. Of course prices will differ depending upon the requirements of the installation, and whether you undertake parts of the above yourself in advance.

We are happy to meet with you quote for your needs, or answer any questions you may have, so please give us a call at Carpet tiles 1 on 02 9519 8785 or 0414 266267 and we can tailor a solution to meet your needs.