How To Install Carpet Over Ceramic Tile

Tile is a good choice for homeowners looking for an easy to clean flooring surface. Over time, you might start to want something a little more comfortable underfoot and start looking at a carpet option instead. If you don't want to go through the headache of ripping out tile, how can you install carpet right over the ceramic tile? We've done the research for you to find out!

Installing carpet over tile is possible and isn't as hard as you might think. It will take a few different materials but in the end, it isn't too far off from installing carpet into the subfloor. These methods are an average difficulty and will take about a day to complete if done straight through. 

Three methods to try out:

  1. Cutting the tile edges
  2. Glue on tack strips
  3. Carpet tiles

These three methods will be the most user-friendly processes for DIY homeowners. We'll be taking a look into what goes into each method, as well as what tools you'll be needing to complete each one. Installing carpet will require you to be on your hands and knees for the whole process, so remember to stretch out beforehand! Let's get started!

A carpet installer using knife to trim wall edge, How To Install Carpet Over Ceramic Tile

Cutting the tile edges

This method will be the most labor-intensive. However, it can give you a much more stable grip on the carpet as you'll be nailing the tack strips directly into the subflooring. To begin, remove the baseboards and then score and cut out 2-2.5 inches of the tile edging. Once they've been chipped out, smooth down the subflooring and clean the area well.

Measure the wall lengths and cut your tack strips with snips and lay them into place. Using masonry nails, nail the strips into place. Lay your sized underpadding out over the entire room. Take a moment to look at where the underpadding rolls of the cut edge. There might be some unevenness that you can add another small strip to level the height out. If you needed to cut the underpadding into strips, put down seaming tape where they connect. 

Click here to view this carpet tape on Amazon.

Glue on tack strips

The next option doesn't require any extra cutting but will need a strong adhesive glue. Based on a DIY forum, Chemex, also branded as MasterWeld, is one of the top choices for gluing tack strips to ceramic tile. This adhesive will take two hours to cure and then the carpeting process can be continued. 

Gluing on tack strips means you don't have to cut, nail, or rip out any of the existing tiles. However, you will still need to remove the baseboards before beginning. This can be an option for people on a budget and help the next occupants change the carpet without as much hassle. Just like the first method, you'll want to make sure the underpadding is even. You can even opt for thicker padding or carpet to make it more level.

Click here to view MasterWeld on Amazon.

Carpet tiles

Lastly, there are carpet tiles. Carpet tiles are the most budget-friendly option and easiest to install. This form of carpet can be found in 24 x 24, 40 x 40, 50 x 50, and 60 x 60 inch squares. They'll be in a stick-and-peel form that attaches to the ceramic tile with no underpadding. This method will still require you to remove the baseboards for a clean finish.

Due to the fact that there is no underpadding and the carpet tiles are thin, they can end up being harder underfoot. You'll want to do a dry lay of the tiles to see how they'll fit in the room and allow you to see how different layouts will look. It's a good idea to let your carpet tiles sit in the room for a day to get acclimated to the room's temperature and humidity levels. 

Tip: Rent a 75 lb floor roller to completely flatten the carpet tiles to the ceramic tiles.

Click here to view these carpet tiles on Amazon.

Can carpet be laid over ceramic tile?

Carpet can be laid over ceramic tile by yourself or by a hired contractor. Adding carpet over tile will help cut down on the cost of completely tearing out tile and refinishing the subfloor. When laying carpet over tile, it is very important to have a thick and comfortable underpadding.

Underpadding is what gives your carpet that extra bounce. Having a thick underpadding plus a plush carpet will give any room a luxurious feeling. When looking into the carpet height, look at what type of floor it will be butting up to. If the carpet comes too high, you'll want to look into installing a transition strip to protect the edging.

Required tools:

  • Tile cutter (optional)
  • Tack strips
  • Seam tape
  • Underpadding
  • Knee kicker/Carpet stretcher
  • Chemrex/MasterWeld
  • Putty knife
  • Masonry nails
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • Measuring tape
  • Snips
  • Gloves
  • Staple gun
  • Chalk line
  • T-square

Click here to view this T-square on Amazon.

How do you stick carpet tiles to ceramic tiles?

Carpet tiles are easy-to-use products. They just require proper planning and a dry layout before installation to make sure everything will connect properly. Take a look at your ceramic tiles before beginning. If there are deep grove lines, you should prep the floors by adding more grout to make the surface level. Allow this to dry based on the product's recommended time.

First, find the center of the room and mark perpendicular lines with a T-square at 90-degree angles. Move from the center outwards, working in squares around the center base. This technique ends up giving you a symmetrical center and evenly cut edge pieces. Mark as you go with a chalk line to keep from getting lost if you need to step away.

A majority of carpet tiles come with directional stickers on the front to show you how to match the patterns and keep the carpet rows running in the same direction. By doing a dry layout first, you can see how each design will look and mix and match colors to achieve different styles. Once you're happy with how it looks, it's time to peel and stick!

Starting at your center square, peel off the protective adhesive paper from the back and lay it into your drawn square. Continue this throughout the room. Once you reach the edges, take the measurements of each area, cut the carpet to size, and install. 

Tip: Place a wooden plank under the square you'd like to cut to prevent cutting the new flooring.

Can you lay carpet over tiles with underfloor heating?

Yes! To install carpet over tiles already equipped with heating, you'll need to purchase a thermal-rated underpadding. As mentioned in a builder's forum, thermal underpadding will keep the TOG, Thermal Overall Grade, ratings low. TOG is a form of measurement used to determine the thermal insulation of a product. If the ratings go over 2.5, you could run into heating problems.

Depending on the thickness of your underpadding and carpet, keep in mind that if you plan to use the underfloor heating, it will take longer to warm up. On the plus side, however, the carpet will stay warmer longer. TOGs with 2.5 ratings are perfect for the autumn season and colder days to follow. A 3.5 TOG rating can often be seen when the temperature gets 18 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. 

Can you install a carpet without a stretcher?

For the durability of your carpet, it is recommended to use a stretcher. The use of a stretcher puts the carpet into place and fully attached it to the tacks. Without doing this step, you're essentially just laying down a big area rug. Unstretched carpet will result in buckling, lifting, bunching, and not laying flat. This can create a tripping hazard for young and older individuals in the house.

If you cannot access a stretcher or are unable to do the manual labor, purchasing multiple area rugs will be your best bet. Area rugs can be more expensive but if you ever move, you can take them with you. Or you can even sell them and get some money back. They also make area rug grips to help prevent slippage. 

In Closing

Carpet can be laid over ceramic tiles by cutting the tile and attaching it to the subflooring, gluing tack strips onto the tiles, or using carpet tiles. Each one has its pros and cons and one can be easier than the next. It isn't too hard of a process and ends up using the same installation process for carpet on subflooring in the end. Now onto the fun part of picking out carpet! Check out these helpful articles:

17 Amazing Carpet Styles And Colors

How To Keep Carpet Edges From Fraying [6 Methods]

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