How to Install Carpet Tiles Over Carpet?

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There's a lot of debate about whether or not installing carpet over carpet is a good idea. Since removing an existing carpet is inconvenient, lots people want to know how to install carpet tiles over carpet.

While there are clearly pros and cons to doing this, there are a few ways around putting carpet straight over your existing carpet. The workaround methods cost a bit more but will wind up offering a better end result.

In this article, we'll talk about when carpet on carpet should be considered. We'll also explain the two popular methods of installing carpet tiles without having to remove your old carpet.

First Things First

installing carpet tiles

Before you worry about how to install carpet tiles over carpet, you should know that there are two ways to do this. Well, actually there are three but one of them involves straight carpet on carpet which is never a good idea. Here's an overview of the two methods:

  1. ArmorLock plates
    These plates act as a mechanical floating floor. They are designed for modular carpet tiles for the purpose of removing glue or any other type of adhesive from the equation.
    Your carpet tiles can be bolted down or nailed onto the ArmorLock plates. This means that the installation is simpler and it's easier to play with the pattern once you're done. Let's face it, not everyone gets the design right the first time.
    As they eliminate the need for wet adhesives, you also won't have to wait until you can walk in the recarpeted room. There's also less chance of unwanted odors spreading from the adhesives to the tiles.

  2. Plywood base
    Although carpet on carpet is quite doable, it may not always work out the way you wanted. You could try to fix this by adding a solid base between the old carpet and the new carpet tiles.
    A thin board of plywood could do wonders for the shape of your flooring. It will also serve as a solid base and prevent old traffic patterns from transferring to the new carpet squares. Not to mention that it will make it easier to use glue and make sure it sticks.

The Process

If you're using ArmorLock plates then the process is very simple. After you've mapped out your room (taking measurements) and you've purchased the plates and the tiles, you can arrange the plates on the floor first before you start nailing the tiles to them.

You could of course also apply the carpet tiles to the plates and then arrange them on the floor. This should have the same effect.

If you're going for traditional wet adhesives with plywood, the process might take a bit longer. First, you should try to even out your existing carpet as much as possible. It helps if your existing carpet is low-pile as plywood is not that heavy.

After putting the layer of plywood over your existing carpet, you can proceed to glue the pieces of carpet tiles according to your design or chosen pattern. It's a good idea to start from the inside out if you're using adhesive. It will need time to dry and you don't want to disturb it. That means you can't afford to be trapped in a room corner with your last tile.

ArmorLock Plates vs. Plywood Base

Now that you know how to install carpet tiles over carpet it's time to discuss the pros and cons of both methods. First of all, the cost clearly favors using a plywood base. Adhesives are cheap and depending on what area you live in, plywood might also be cheap and easy to find.

ArmorLock plates will cost you a bit more money. However, they have a clear advantage when it comes to decorating and installation. Because there's no waiting for adhesives to dry, you can start wherever you want in the room and mix and match tiles until you're tired.

Working with adhesives requires you to get things right the first time. Also, if you no longer like your carpet tiles, it's obvious that pricking a few nails loose is way faster and easier than removing adhesive.

The Risks of Laying Carpet Tiles over Carpet

risks of laying carpet tiles

Even when you're using an underlying base there are still risks involved. The old carpet will continue to degrade underneath all that new flooring.

Eventually, you will have to remove the tiles, the base and everything else on top to get to the bottom layer and pry it out.

If you're just thinking about straight carpet tiles on carpet, you shouldn't rush into it. People cover their old carpets for a few reasons such as preventing decay and avoiding old traffic patterns from transferring.

Even if you work with carpet tiles over a low-pile carpet, there's still a high chance of the old patterns transferring to your new tiles. There's also the question of whether the floor will be even at the end.

You should also consider that the old carpet needs a thorough cleaning before putting anything on top of it for a long time. That's quite hard to do with some glued carpets as you'll have a lot to scrub and it will take a while to dry.

Final Verdict

It's important to know how to install carpet tiles over carpet. If you're flipping houses or moving into a house for a short time, there's no need to invest a lot of money. Knowing these two methods might help you save some money while still making the house presentable and fully functional.

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