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The Pros and Cons of Carpet Tiles

Posted on May 24, 2017, by Mike Brown

Modular carpet tiles are one of the most popular flooring options in commercial environments. Today I'm sharing the pros and cons of this versatile floor covering, to help you determine whether carpet tiles are a good fit for your next project.

Featured image: Apptio, Bellevue, Washington, USA. Design firm: JPC Architects

The Pros of Carpet Tiles

While some projects will specifically require hard flooring, this isn't the case for the majority of organizations. Modular carpet tiles are one of the best floor covering options, offering easy installation and maintenance, longevity, and creating a healthy, comfortable indoor environment.

1) Easy to Install

Thanks to their smaller size, carpet tiles are easier to lift, move and install compared to broadloom carpet. Their modularity also typically produces less waste during installation, as you are able to select tiles in various sizes to better fit specific spaces.

These two factors combined can offer noticeable cost savings, as well as help the project run smoothly.

2) Easy to Maintain

Broadloom and modular carpet have similar cleaning requirements: regular vacuuming with the occasional deep clean.

But once you move past everyday maintenance, the differences between these two flooring types becomes apparent. It is easier to spot-replace carpet tiles rather than sections of broadloom, both practically, and in terms of ensuring design continuity.

Damaged tiles can be removed and then replaced with new tiles from your attic stock, whereas damaged sections of broadloom need to be cut out, removed and then replaced with a new broadloom, which will look markedly different to the existing carpet, creating a 'patchwork' effect that is often more noticeable than the initial damage.

3) Extremely Durable

There are several factors that affect carpet durability, and not all types of carpet offer the same performance and longevity. However, it's easy to select carpet tiles that are durable when keeping a few key factors in mind.

The most important element is the backing on carpet tiles: Some carpet tiles have cushion backing, which helps absorb the impact of foot traffic and protects carpet fibers from the wear and tear that speeds up appearance degradation.

Hard-backed carpet tiles will be less durable than cushion-backed modular carpet and broadloom. Despite its plush feel, it won't wear as well as modular carpet due to the difficulty in spot-replacing stained or damaged portions.

4) Design Flexibility

Carpet tiles offer greater design flexibility than broadloom carpet and even many types of hard flooring.

Different carpet dye technologies make it possible to create a wide range of colors, patterns and designs on modular carpet that you can't recreate in broadloom. For example, Milliken’s proprietary print technology applies dye to the carpet after it’s cut into tiles, meaning you achieve perfect design registration across all four edges of the tile, so designs flow almost seamlessly from tile to tile.

When installing modular carpet, you have even greater design freedom: you can install them in different configurations to create subtle patterning; add accent tiles for a splash of color; or create patterns with complementary tiles.

5) Creates a Comfortable Environment

Modular carpet offers significant ambient improvements - especially compared with hard surface flooring. The layered structure of modular carpet means it absorbs more structure-borne sound than hard flooring -and even broadloom - which can amount to a noticeable improvement in noise levels, particularly in large, open-plan commercial spaces.

Carpet tiles with cushion backing also offer health and wellness benefits: it can reduce muscle fatigue when standing by 24%, improving underfoot comfort. It also helps reduce the frequency and severity of slips and falls compared with hard flooring.

The Cons of Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles are a durable, attractive and flexible flooring option that are ideal for a large number of commercial projects. However, they aren't suitable for all installations, and it can be difficult to identify top-quality modular carpet.

1) Hard Flooring May Be More Appropriate

In some settings, hard flooring is simply a more appropriate option than carpet. No matter how thoroughly your tiles are cleaned and maintained, hard flooring will always be preferred in healthcare settings, for example.

Alternatively, some organizations may prefer the aesthetic of hard flooring: Wood flooring, in particular, is associated with a high-end aesthetic, which can also be achieved using luxury vinyl tile flooring.

2) Carpet Tiles Create a Different Aesthetic

In the early days of carpet tiles, broadloom was the preferred carpet option because modular carpet looked like tiles: visible seams, if unwanted, can detract from the overall aesthetics of the space.

However, you can overcome this by engaging with a flooring manufacturer that specializes in modular carpet and offers pattern matching technology to ensure that designs align from one tile to the next. With carpet tiles, you can disguise or celebrate seams, depending on your desired layout. If you embrace the design flexibility offered by carpet tiles, you can create a beautiful floor in patterns and colors that would be impossible to recreate in broadloom.

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Mike Brown

Written by Mike Brown