Carpet tiles are the go-to flooring choice for offices and workplaces up and down the UK. They can provide a highly cost-effective flooring solution with superior comfort underfoot, significant noise reduction and are easy to maintain. So where do you begin when it comes to picking the perfect carpet tile?
What are Carpet Tiles?
Most commonly available as a square tile or a longer plank, carpet tiles are butted together to create a finished carpeted floor. As they are smaller in size and easier to handle than a traditional broadloom carpet, this allows them to be significantly easier to install, especially in a busy work environment where furniture etc are in place.
The main two components of any carpet tile are a top cloth layer and a backing. There is a huge variety in both cloths and backings, and we’ll go through some common options below.
Carpet Tile Cloths
Available in a wide range of colours and designs, the cloth is the part you’ll see and actually walk on. We’ll look at the design side further on but for the time being we’ll take a look at the various ways the cloth is constructed.
Carpet Tile Piles
The pile of a carpet tile describes the way that the fibre has been threaded to give your cloth it’s finished surface Common variations are a cut pile, a loop pile or needle punch carpet.
Loop Pile Carpet Tiles
Loop pile carpets, as their name suggests, means that the chosen carpet fibre has been left as a loop during the manufacturing process.
This makes a loop pile exceptionally durable and allows them to stand up to the heavy footfall expected in any busy work environment.
Common loop pile variations are a level loop pile, which means all the loops stand at the same height and also a structured loop which alternates between a high and low loop level.
The majority of available carpet tiles will come with a loop pile.
Cut Pile Carpet Tiles
A cut pile carpet tile is essentially a loop pile that has been cut at the top so that the individual threads stand up on end, exposing the fibres.
This creates a different texture to the loop pile and can make them more comfortable underfoot, although, as the fibres are open and exposed, it can make the cleaning a bit trickier as it allows more places for the dirt to hide.
Needle Punch Carpet Tiles
Needle punch is created by using a matting of fibres and then punched with a barbed needle and spun to create a mat of surface fibres, creating a ribbed, exceptionally colour fast and hard-wearing product commonly seen is schools up and down the UK.
Carpet Tile Yarns
Carpet tiles are manufactured with a wide range of different yarns (or fibres). There is a huge choice but some of the most common are nylon, polypropylene, wool or recycled plastics.
The most commonly used yarn for carpet tiles, nylon is a cost effective, durable, and comfortable option. It also has the additional benefits of being static-free, which is an essentially in many busy office environments.
A common material in many carpets, polypropylene is a soft, synthetic and stain resistant fibre. Whilst not the most durable fibre available it does have the benefit of being highly resilient against fading.
For a feel of opulence when choosing your new carpet tiles, you could choose a wool fibre. Wool will tend to be the more expensive option, but for the price you get a super soft tile with superior underfoot feeling whilst also being strong and durable in a busy work environment.
For many customers, the environmental impact of their chosen flooring will be one of the deciding factors. The availability of recycled materials is wide, with recycled plastic fibres being remarkably similar to a nylon fibre.
Carpet Tile Backings
Carpet tiles are manufactured with a wide range of different backings that can offer different qualities, especially when it comes to the underfoot feeling. The two standard backings, which can vary in construction method and compound materials from one manufacturer to the next, are bitumen backings and cushion backings.
The majority of carpet tiles are provided with a rubberised bitumen backing (or similar alternative) This allows the carpet tile to remain strong and sturdy, whilst also allowing the carpet tile to remain easy to cut and flexible enough for quick and simple installation.
Carpet tiles with a cushion backing are manufactured with a built-in padding, providing similar qualities as an underlay you might have at home, which means you get a soft, springy feeling underfoot. A cushion backing will also provide even better noise reduction compared to a bitumen backed carpet tile.
Carpet Tile Designs
Carpet tiles come available in almost any colour and design you could think of and the ability to design any workspace the way you want on a modest budget is a major benefit when it comes to choosing carpet tiles. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options, using Paragon Carpet Tiles products as examples.
Coloured Carpet Tiles
The go to option for many offices, a simple coloured carpet tile can look amazing in any workspace. With ease you can mix and match the colours to separate offices or breakout areas or easily create walkways to create a flow through the workspace. Check out Paragons Vital and Workspace Loop carpet tile.
Striped Carpet Tiles
Striped carpet tiles can create a cool, fresh workspace injected with colour. Available in many different designs, they can easily be mixed in with other carpet tile designs to allow a unique office flooring option. There are many options available, but Paragons Codec or Strobe carpet tiles offer some great selections.
Design Carpet Tiles
To create an absolutely stunning workspace, a unique design carpet tile can definitely bring the wow factor. These will tend to be priced slightly higher than a simple colour or stripe design but are available in as many different designs as you can imagine. Take a look Paragons Inspiration and Vapour to see some of the cool carpet tile designs available.
Setting Out Styles
How you choose to set out your carpet tiles can have a major effect on the final look of your finished flooring. There are a number of common ways to set out carpet tiles, including:
The monolith installation method is simply installing carpet tile squares to each other, ensuring they are all in the same orientation, in neat rows and commons. You can see an example at our FNZ or Cloisters House project.
A brick bond installation is installed the same as a brick wall might be. You start with one tile down but then, instead of butting the next carpet tile right next to the first, you would place it at the halfway mark and then repeat. This can help hide the carpet tile edges, to make it appear even more seamless. Our Buckingham Gate project is a great example.
Another common method is to tessellate the carpet tiles. This means you install each tile at a quarter turn to the one next to it. This can look stunning with patterned and stripped tiles or even with a simple coloured tile as the pile direction of the tiles becomes subtly visible.
Possible with plank tiles, a herringbone pattern is guaranteed to give your workspace a wow factor. Created by placing the tile at a 900 angle off the short end of the tile, this can be time-consuming but worth the effort. You can see the effect at our trinityM project.
Installing carpet tiles will tend to be an easier affair than some other products, such as LVT or safety flooring. The level of preparation required would usually be minimal which can be a big cost saver when installing a new floor.
The first step, once the site is clear and all dust and debris has been removed, is the application of a ‘tackifier’ adhesive. This is a liquid that is usually rolled out with a paint roller and allowed to dry, which leaves a clear, tacky film to keep carpet tiles in place but allows them to be uplifted and replaced with ease.
Starting from the centre of the room, carpet tiles are individually installed by gently butting them up next to each other, making sure to follow a straight line. Once all the open area has been installed, all the cuts must then be neatly installed, carefully cutting the carpet tiles using a Stanley knife, to leave you with a completed carpeted floor.
This method of installation, compared to a broadloom carpet, will mean you have significantly less waste, usually around 2-5% mark. It also means that carpet tiles can easily be recycled and reused, which can create a big saving in both financial terms as well as environmentally.
THANKS FOR READING!
If you have any carpet tiles questions or queries, then please get in touch with a member of London Commercial Flooring today and we will be more than happy to assist you!