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How to Transition from Broadloom to Modular Carpet Tiles

Posted on Jan 24, 2018, by Mike Brown

One of the most common misconceptions about commercial flooring is that all carpet is the same, regardless of whether it's broadloom or modular carpet. However, there are some key differences between broadloom and modular carpet, which affect everything from how they look to how they perform.

If you're looking to make the switch from broadloom to modular carpet tiles, it's important that you understand the fundamental differences between the two flooring types, and what you need to consider when making the change.

Understanding the Differences Between Broadloom and Modular Carpet Tiles

There are three fundamental differences between these two common carpet types:

1) Aesthetics

Modular carpet tiles offer greater design freedom than broadloom carpet. Thanks to advances in carpet dye technology, it's possible to choose carpet tiles in a vast range of colors, patterns and designs that simply can't be replicated in broadloom.

2) Installation

Broadloom comes in huge rolls of carpet, meaning you need to carpet the whole space at once. Modular carpet can be installed in stages: it gives you the flexibility to move furniture around during installation which saves preparation and installation time - and minimizes office downtime.

3) Moisture Risk

Broadloom carpet is able to withstand high moisture environments as it is inherently breathable, meaning that water vapor from the subfloor is able to pass through the carpet and evaporate away naturally.

Most carpet tiles have impermeable backings, which trap water vapor between the tile and the subfloor. If this condenses it creates a damp environment perfect for mold and mildew growth, and increases the risk of total flooring failure.

However, carpet tiles with open cell cushion backing are permeable, and allow water vapor to travel through the tile backing in gas form, so it can evaporate away at the carpet tile seams without causing any damage.

3 Essential Steps for Changing from Broadloom to Modular Carpet Tiles

Thanks to the inherent differences between broadloom carpet and modular carpet tiles, there are three main points to consider when you make the switch from broadloom to commercial carpet tiles.

1) Preparing the Subfloor

The amount of subfloor preparation required will vary depending on the type of modular carpet tiles you've chosen.

If you've chosen a carpet tile with a non-permeable backing, you'll need to carry out moisture mitigation processes such as applying a two-part epoxy or installing a vapor barrier. It's important that you check the manufacturer installation guidelines first, to understand what moisture mitigation is required with your chosen tiles.

Additionally, if there's residual adhesive on the subfloor, this has the potential to react with new adhesives or other floor preparation products, and can cause problems with your installation. You may want to encapsulate the subfloor, or ensure that all traces are ground away before installation. Alternatively, selecting flooring and adhesives that are certified non-reactive will mitigate the risk of adverse chemical interactions between new and old products.

2) Which Carpet Tiles are Best?

Not all carpet tiles are created equal. There are a lot of options beyond color and pattern that must be considered.

Carpet tiles are available with different types of backing - predominantly hardback and cushion-backed tiles. Cushion backing helps extend the life of your flooring, reduces and absorbs ambient noise, and provides greater underfoot comfort.

Learn more about selecting the right modular carpet tiles for your organization.

3) Embracing the Opportunity to get Creative

Carpet tiles offer greater design flexibility than broadloom carpet, which gives you more creative freedom.

Tiles can be laid in different arrangements to create subtle patterning, or you can introduce accent tiles to create layouts that can't be replicated with other flooring types. Additionally, carpet tiles are available in a range of colors and patterns, whether you want a simple pattern that repeats from one tile to the next, or something more elaborate and unique.

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Mike Brown

Written by Mike Brown