Before you spend a dollar of your flooring budget, you need to understand the unique needs of your organization. To help you choose the right carpet tiles, we’ve put together 15 essential questions to ask your carpet tile manufacturer: offering key insights into appearance retention, design, installation and health.
How Long Should Carpet Tiles Last?
1) What traffic rating do these carpet tiles have?
Carpet tiles typically fall into one of four usage categories: moderate, heavy, severe and extreme. These ratings reflect the tile’s ability to resist wear from foot traffic, and help determine which tiles you’ll need in different locations.
2) Which factors impact the appearance retention of your carpet?
In addition to traffic rating, there are other factors which impact the appearance retention of carpet tiles. From carpet backing to design and patterning, it’s important to find out which factors will have the biggest effect on your chosen tiles.
3) What type of backing do they use?
With certain types of cushion backing shown to increase appearance retention by as much as 40%, it’s important to ask about the type of backing used, and how it impacts appearance retention.
4) Do these tiles have stain resist, stain repel and stain release properties?
While most carpet tiles provide some form of stain resistance, it can be helpful to determine the exact approach taken by the manufacturer, and how it affects the carpet’s cleaning and maintenance needs.
5) What type of maintenance do these tiles need?
Different carpet tiles may benefit from different types of maintenance, whether hot water extraction or dry powder cleaning. Your manufacturer will be able to explain which method is preferred for each tile type.
6) What warranty options are available?
Different manufacturers will offer different warranty options. It’s important to understand exactly what these warranties mean (especially when referring to ‘lifetime’ warranties), and the steps you need to follow to be eligible for them (see question 12).
How Important is Carpet Tile Design?
7) How will this carpet pattern handle staining and soiling?
Darker, highly-patterned carpets (often referred to as ‘camouflaged’ carpet) will handle staining far better than a lighter, single-colored carpet.
8) What’s the lead time on these tiles?
Different manufacturing methods will generate different lead times, with dye-injected print products often ready in 2-4 weeks, solution dyed nylon in 4-6, and other types in 6-10. If lead time is a concern, ask if certain tiles are eligible for your manufacturer’s quick ship program.
9) Can these tiles be replaced or reordered in the future?
Different manufacturing technologies will impact your ability to reorder designs into the future, with dye-injected print products offering the greatest design continuity.
How Easy Are Carpet Tiles to Install?
10) What relative humidity can the carpet tiles withstand?
Sub-floor moisture is a growing concern for organizations. It’s essential to understand the relative humidity rating of your tiles, and the testing procedures needed to determine which tiles are suitable for your installation site.
11) Are there plasticizers in the backing or VOCs in the sealer?
Tiles with a PVC backing can react with certain types of adhesive, causing a potentially harmful phenomenon known as plasticizer migration. Some sealants also use volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which will require extensive airing prior to use.
12) What kind of preparation work needs to happen before installation?
As well as humidity testing, some tiles will require additional sealing and priming work.These pre-installation procedures are often necessary for warranty validation, so it’s important to explicitly ask about essential preparation work.
13) Does the backing wick moisture?
Certain types of cushioned tiles use moisture wicking technology to reduce the need for sealers. Instead of trapping moisture underneath the carpet, this allows the floor to ‘breathe’, and moisture to escape from underneath the carpet. As well as reducing installation costs, this inhibits the growth of mold and mildew.
How Do Carpet Tiles Affect Health and Wellness?
14) Is the backing hardback or cushioned?
Your choice of backing has a wide-reaching impact: affecting the durability and appearance retention of your flooring; the effort required to maintain and replace damaged tiles; and even impacting the acoustics in the space they’re installed.
Your backing will also affect health and well-being. Carpet tiles with open cell cushion backing significantly increase underfoot comfort, and decrease muscle strain by 24%: especially important in a sit-to-stand working environment. In places where slips and falls are a serious issue (particularly schools, hospitals and senior living communities), the added grip and shock absorption offered by cushioned carpet can play an important role in minimizing the risks of injury.
15) Does this tile reduce ambient noise?
Ambient noise can be hugely detrimental to performance and well-being, especially in open-plan environments. Certain types of cushioned tile can reduce ambient noise, so if noise is a concern, ask your manufacturer about cushioned backing.