Install Carpet Tiles w/Underlayment or on wood floors?


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Old 01-19-15, 01:25 PM
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Install Carpet Tiles w/Underlayment or on wood floors?

Should I put down a 1/4" plywood underlayment before gluing carpet tiles or can I glue them to the wood floors?

I have carpet tiles that I do plan to install but want to know if I ever wanted to rip up the carpet and sand the wood floors, how difficult would it be to remove the glue? The wood floors are original (100 yrs old) and are just bare wood but pretty flat. They were covered over with linoleum and have glue stains that would need to be sanded out (yes, I know could be asbestos glues).

Anyway, just wondering what solution would be better if I wanted to leave myself or a future owner the option of ripping up the carpet tiles and trying to fix up the floors--underlayment or no underlayment.

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-19-15, 01:38 PM
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They're going to have to be finished already, I just glue the carpet tiles down and move on.
 
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Old 01-19-15, 02:21 PM
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Just glue them down and install. You might decide to move and then it's the next owner's job.
 
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Old 01-19-15, 07:58 PM
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Nacho Mendez:

If I were in your shoes, and

"I wanted to leave myself or a future owner the option of ripping up the carpet tiles and trying to fix up the floors".

I would stick your carpet tiles down with double sided carpet tape. Carpet tape is actually quite strong, but it pulls off the floor without too much difficulty and doesn't leave any glue residue behind.

It would cost you another $50 or so for all the double sided tape you'd need, but it would leave the door wide open for you to pull up the carpet tiles and refinish the wooden floor without having to deal with removing the old carpet tile adhesive.

You see, when carpet tiles first came out, the whole point was to solve the problem that conventional carpets would only wear substantially in the traffic lanes, and often had to be replaced because only one small area was stained or otherwise damaged. By putting down carpet tiles, not only could the full (uncut) carpet tiles tiles be periodically rearranged to promote uniform wear, any damaged tiles could also be replaced in the process. There was a special "spray-on" adhesive available for carpet tiles years ago that would hold them in place reasonably well, but would still allow you to pull the carpet tiles up to rearrange them. I don't know if that adhesive is still available any more. (You can only rearrange the full carpet tiles because the ones around the perimeter of the room are cut to fit and can't really be moved.)

By using double sided carpet tape, you also have the advantage of being able to replace damaged tiles relatively easily should you need to.

You should also spend some time picking an appropriate starting point. When I install vinyl composition tiles in an apartment, I do each room separately and have a joint directly under the door in each door way. To pick a starting point, I lay a pair of measuring tapes on the floor perpendicular to each other and parallel to the longest walls in the room. Each 12 inch mark on each tape will be the edge of a tile. In your case it would be each even numbered foot mark cuz your tiles are two feet square. Move your tapes so that all the tiles around the perimeter of your floor are quite large so that you don't have to cut any narrow tiles to fit anywhere. Mark the floor at the point you want to start setting your first row of tiles. Let's say that point is 19 inches away from the longest wall in the room. Then, go to your local hardware store and have a 2' by 4' handipanel of plywood ripped to 19 inches wide. When you're ready to start setting down your carpet tiles, put that plywood guide against the longest wall and set your first tile so that it butts up against the edge of the plywood guide. That way you KNOW that your first tile is set precisely parallel to that long wall. Then for the next tile in that row, butt your plywood guide snug against the opposite side of your first carpet tile, kneel on the guide so that it doesn't move, and set your next tile so that it butts snug against the plywood guide. Do that with every full tile you set so that you KNOW that your first row of carpet tiles is set parallel to the longest wall. From there on, you just use the guide only to start every new row to make sure each row starts along a line perpendicular to that longest wall.

There is a tiling trick to cut the carpet tiles to fit around the perimeter of your floor:

To cut your perimeter tiles, set a second full carpet tile directly over top of the full tile closest to a wall. Then, set a third carpet tile against that wall and mark the edge OPPOSITE the wall on the surface of the second tile. When you cut that second tile along your mark, the part of the second tile that was furthest away from the wall will fit perfectly between the first tile and the wall. To cut tiles to fit in the corner between two walls, just do the above procedure twice; once for each wall. Practice doing this with some 8 1/2 X 11 pieces of printer paper and you'll see exactly what I mean. Your tiles don't have to be square for this procedure to work, they just have to all be identical in size and shape.

Hope this helps.
 

Last edited by Nestor; 01-19-15 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 01-19-15, 11:14 PM
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The residue from double faced carpet tape is almost as hard to get off as carpet adhesive. You won't gain much. Nestor, as someone who has been a pro flooring installer for 40 years and has taught flooring installation, I find myself disagreeing with almost everything that you post about flooring.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:59 AM
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There's already gunk on the floor, adding to it by gluing down carpet is a drop in the bucket. I'd skip the tape and stick with the original plan.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 09:25 AM
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Well, based on only the one post, it appears to me that Nacho Mendez is of good enough intelligence to decide for himself if installing his carpet tiles with carpet tape is a feasible alternative to full spread glueing them down.

Nacho: You'd stand to gain much and lose little by purchasing a roll of double sided carpet tape and sticking one of your carpet tiles down to your floor for a week or two. Walk on it, change your direction of walk on it to see if it moves; do everything that you'd normally do on a carpet, including vaccuuming it and at the end of that week or two, pull up the carpet tile and pull the tape off your floor and see if you have any concerns.

Sam: It isn't just you. I also find myself eventually disagreeing with everything I've ever said too.
 

Last edited by Nestor; 01-20-15 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 01-20-15, 10:10 AM
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As easy as they are to install, I'm surprised that no mill has ever pushed carpet tiles for residential use. They push them like crazy for commercial. I have done many jobs in commercial buildings and only one residential and it was for a relative. They hold up great, it's easy to replace a damaged one, and they clean up nice. I think they would be a great idea for a basement.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 12:39 PM
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Carpet tiles are put on with a pressure sensitive glue applied by either a roller or a 1/16" notched trowel. The glue goes on like an elmers glue but when dry, it maintains a tacky surface. Perimeter gluing or taping of the tiles will not provide a sturdy feel to the centers of the tiles as nothing will be present to hold them in place. I envision the tiles not wearing well where they are loose layed, possibly bunching up and or putting pressure on the tape forcing the tile to exert pressure on the adjoining tiles and causing them to buckle.

The glue will be a mess to get back up as it will gum up the rollers on any floor sander. On the same note, you will destroy the floor when you nail down the 1/4" underlayment and put crown stapes every 4" on the perimeter and 6" to 8" in the field. Those staples will not want to release easily from the oak planks. So damned if you do, damned if you don't.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 12:56 PM
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Not that I'm any sort of carpet expert, but I've used the commercial carpet tiles many times when I managed and rehabbed a few barracks buildings (100 rooms, 200-300 sailors) and offices in my Navy years.

It seemed like they had a pressure sensitive backing of some sort? No glue or tape, just a 100 lb roller. Maybe they had a peel off backing paper? And they came up with just a little work when they needed replacement. Been too long to remember exactly.

We peons were fine with them til the big man said he wanted actual carpet in all the rooms and hallways. Then every time there was any incident or they wore out, we had to contract the work.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 02:54 PM
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The original carpet tiles were peel and stick and worked good. Don't know if those can be bought anymore or not. If one got dirty, you hosed it off, let it dry and put it back.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 08:29 AM
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Thanks to all of you for replying. Gives me a few things to think about. Much appreciated.
 
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Old 01-29-15, 10:25 AM
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Would a primer coat be useful?

Out of curiosity, do you think in that scenario 10 or 15 yrs down the line the wife says, "Hey, let's pull up these carpets & refinish the floors" . . . do you think if I primed the floor boards now before putting the glue on that that would make it easier to clean off later on. I assuming one way or another that I would need to resand the floors. Just I'm wondering if I had to use certain chemicals to remove the glue, if it would be better to have the wood protected by a primer coat. (And again, hopefully I'll just leave it carpet forever and won't need to worry about this.) Thanks.
 
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Old 01-29-15, 03:38 PM
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Just one more annoying layer to get off, IMO. These days there area a plethora of different types of floating floors that you could put over the top of the old. But worry more about installing the carpet tiles correctly now, rather than expending all your energy on what you MAY do a decade from now.
 
 

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