How To Install Carpet Tiles – With And Without Glue

Traditional carpet installation can be an enormous undertaking, but there are many alternatives. Precut square carpet tiles are made for easy installation and are just one of these options. Carpet tiles can replace the traditional bulky rolls of carpet for a much simpler do-it-yourself flooring project. We have researched the topic of installing carpet tiles using glue or glueless options extensively for you; searching multiple sources for the best, most efficient carpet tile installation methods. 

Installing carpet tiles can be accomplished using several methods, with and without glue. You can use the following steps to install your carpet tiles:

  1. Planning for installation
  2. Preparation of the subflooring
  3. Gathering the necessary materials
  4. Laying the carpet tile of your choice using one of the following methods:
  • With glue:
    • Flooring adhesive
    • Adhesive spray
  • Without glue:
    • Peel and stick carpet tile
    • Double-sided adhesive carpet tape
    • Adhesive dots

While carpet tiles are easy to install, there can be other points to consider, such as choosing the right tile and adhesion method for your tiles. Lifting or shifting carpet tiles could cause accidental trips or slips, which is why choosing the right carpet tile and adhesive is such an important decision. We will answer your questions and discuss other closely related topics, just keep reading.

A showroom display with variation of choices on type of carpet tile flooring, How To Install Carpet Tiles - With And Without Glue

1. Planning for installation

Planning for the installation of carpet tiles of any kind requires an exact measurement of your room to know how many carpet tiles to purchase. You should figure the area of the room by multiplying the length of the room by the width of the room. Then divide by the area of the carpet tile, using the same formula. Purchasing 10% more tiles than this figure will allow extra tiles needed for mistakes and future repairs. 

Planning the direction that you will lay the tile is also a key element in the planning step. Keep in mind that laying carpet tiles in different directions can give your room a unique look. Placing your tiles at an angle is also a unique design method. 

2. Preparation of the subflooring 

To prepare for the installation of your carpet tiles, your subflooring should be examined, prepped, and primed. Carpet tiles can be applied over existing subfloor materials such as concrete, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, or tile.

Ensure that your subflooring is level, clean, and dry before applying a floor primer to prevent any future moisture. Baseboards should be removed and primed subflooring should then be allowed 24 hours to dry and rest prior to carpet tile installation. 

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3. Gathering the necessary materials

After you have decided on a layout for your carpet tiles, you should decide what materials you need. While different adhesion methods will require some different materials, the tools to measure, prep, and mark your floor remain constant. To ensure a seamless project, gather the following items prior to beginning your flooring project:

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Floor marking tools such as a chalk line and T-square
  • Floor primer with paint roller if needed
  • Pry bar 
  • Carpet tiles of your choice
  • Carpet adhesive of your choice and if required
  • Utility knife
  • Cleaning items such as vacuum or broom 
  • Notched trowel if using carpet adhesive

4. Laying the carpet tiles using the method of your choice

After gathering your materials, lay your carpet tiles out for about 24 hours to adapt to the room temperature. Then, starting with the center of your room, begin laying tiles, working outward toward the edges of your room. There are several methods for applying carpet tiles to your floor, which we will discuss in more detail. Whether you choose to apply your carpet tiles with or without glue, there are many options to suit your project and level of expertise.

With glue

Flooring adhesive

In order to prevent slips and trips from carpet tiles moving or lifting corners, use a strong adhesive to hold the tile in place. While using a flooring adhesive may seem outdated and messy, it is very effective and durable.

A pressure-sensitive adhesive should be used under carpet tiles, ensuring that the adhesive is spread evenly over the entire surface of your carpet tile. Recommendations vary, depending on the source, of whether to spread your flooring adhesive on the back of the tile or on the subflooring material itself.

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If spreading the adhesive directly to the back of the tile, you can use a paint roller for an even, thin layer. To apply adhesive directly to the subflooring, use a notched trowel for the same effect. Flooring adhesive comes as a thick, white, milky substance that turns transparent as it dries. Waiting about 20 minutes for the glue to dry to a tacky texture is recommended whether you spread the adhesive on the tile or floor. 

Watch the video below to see the process for installing carpet tiles using flooring adhesive: 

Adhesive spray

An adhesive spray is another alternative to spreadable adhesives for your carpet tile project. Simply spray a thin layer of adhesive spray on the entire surface of the carpet tile or the subflooring material and lay tile. Do not spray adhesive on both surfaces, as it will create too strong of a bond to pull up if you ever need to. 

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Without glue

Peel and stick carpet tile

For a quick and easy tile installation, consider using do-it-yourself peel and stick carpet tiles. After finding your room's center, simply peel the film off of the backs of the tiles to expose the ready-to-go adhesive and lay the tiles. Clean-up will be a breeze without the use of adhesive or tape using this type of carpet tile. Depending on the traffic in the area that you lay these carpet tiles, the lifespan can be anywhere from 5 to 25 years. 

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Double-sided carpet tape

Made with an extremely durable adhesive, double-sided carpet tape is a great option for long-lasting hold of your carpet tiles. Double-sided carpet tape, such as the one shown below is easy to use. Simply cut to size and peel the backing from the tape to use.

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Watch the video provided below to see how experts use double-sided tape to apply carpet tiles:

Adhesive dots

Adhesive dots are a great alternative to carpet tile glue or tape. Using a product such as the one pictured below, adhesive dots can be easily applied to the back of carpet tiles. These dots are odorless and less messy than traditional wet adhesive. They can also be applied over multiple surfaces including concrete. 

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How do you install glueless carpet tiles?

Using carpet adhesive in any form can be messy, especially spreadable carpet adhesive. As we discussed above, glueless carpet tile options are available for an easier and less messy carpet installation process.

The installation process itself varies slightly, but the overall concept stays the same whether you are using double-sided tape, dots, or peel and stick versions. Plan for your tile placement, apply adhesive of your choice to the surface of your choice, and place the carpet tile. 

Can you staple down carpet tiles?

Although the traditional rolls of carpet can be secured on the edges using staples and nail strips, the same is not true for carpet tiles. Staples would be felt through the carpet tiles, and they could more easily lift or move.

Because of the smaller size of carpet tiles compared to traditional sections of carpet, adhesives in many different forms are recommended. While staples may seem to be the stronger option, a durable adhesive can withstand the same traffic and use as staples. 

What kind of glue do you use for carpet tiles?

Although there are different forms of adhesives for securing your carpet tiles to the subflooring material, pressure-sensitive glues are recommended by most experts in the field. Pressure-sensitive glues are durable against high traffic and able to withstand a large amount of weight. Because they are designed for high performance, pressure-sensitive glues are the most popularly used adhesives for commercial jobs. 

Do you put underlay under carpet tiles?

Normally underlay is not required under carpet tiles, as the tiles themselves usually come with underlay attached to each individual tile. In fact, if an existing underlay is in place, it should be removed before installing carpet tiles.

Some circumstances will require extra underlays, such as for noisy rooms or those with heated flooring elements. Specialized acoustic underlay and insulated underlay are available for those special circumstances, but you should consult a professional before purchasing.

How long does it take for carpet tiles to dry?

Walking on your carpet tiles can cause them to move and lift if not given proper time for the adhesive to dry and cure. Foot traffic should be restricted for 24 to 48 hours on your new carpet tiles if installed using carpet tile adhesive. This amount of wait time will help to ensure that your flooring adhesive has had time to cure. Once the adhesive has cured, it can hold up to almost any traffic, weight, or climate.

Final thoughts

Carpeting your home can be a huge job, especially when using bulky traditional rolls of carpet, which is usually better left to a professional. Carpet tiles are a lighter and more manageable option that can replace the need to hire a carpet professional.

Regardless of what carpet tile adhesive option you decide to use, carpet tiles are an easy and less expensive way to cover your floor. We hope the comprehensive list of ways to install carpet tiles we have provided has made your project easier and more successful. 

Before you go, here are some other articles that may be of interest to you:

Should Carpet Tiles Be Glued Down?

How To Remove Carpet Padding From Concrete

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