Kitchen Carpet Tiles: A Homeowner's Comprehensive Flooring Guide

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
While carpet isn't recommended for the kitchen, carpet tiles may be a viable alternative.

Most people view carpeting and kitchens to be a bad match due to the many potential cleaning and staining issues. However, carpet tiles have become increasingly popular in the kitchen, as they provide many of the benefits of wall-to-wall carpeting without the problems associated with carpet in an area prone to spills and moisture. In fact, the very nature of carpet tiles means they may be the only carpet that makes sense to install in your kitchen.

Carpet tiles come in a number of shades and styles.
Image Credit: mayakova/iStock/GettyImages

Pros of Kitchen Carpet Tiles

While the most carpeting people would traditionally install in the kitchen was a basic area rug, carpet tiles are now offering many of the same benefits — only they can fit perfectly in any space, and they stay in place better. In fact, there are many pros to installing carpet tiles in the kitchen.

  • Carpet tiles were originally made for commercial purposes in high-traffic areas, meaning they are made from durable materials that can survive more foot traffic than a typical living room carpet, making them a good choice for areas where you will be walking a lot, like the space between your refrigerator, stove and sink. For best results, get padded carpet tiles, which absorb impact and better protect the fibers of the carpet.
  • Hard flooring like tile, hardwood or laminate can be straining on the feet, knees and back, which can make cooking and cleaning difficult. As Milliken & Company points out, padded carpet tiles can reduce muscle fatigue by as much as 24 percent.
  • Since floor tile is one of the most common flooring options in the kitchen, many homeowners can simply peel and stick the carpet right on their existing flooring.
  • The backing of carpet tiles is mold- and bacteria-inhibiting, the fibers are moisture-resistant and many products are sold with enhanced stain resistance, making them a great option for the kitchen. It is best to avoid wool in the kitchen, though, as it does not do as well with excessive moisture.
  • Because this type of carpet installation is so easy to DIY and the tiles can be placed anywhere, you can easily install the flooring in select areas of your kitchen rather than wall to wall, creating a modern look that beats the traditional area rug.
  • This modular carpeting option also comes in many modern colors, patterns and textures, meaning it can fit in with almost all decor.
  • Carpet tiles are affordable, generally costing around $1 to $3.60 per square foot.
  • Carpet squares are easy to clean and can be vacuumed easier than an area rug. If they do get soiled, tiles can be picked up and washed in the sink, making the kitchen a rather convenient place to install them.
  • If a carpet tile is too damaged to wash, it can be replaced easily rather than needing to replace the entire carpet, and the tiles are recyclable.

Cons of Kitchen Carpet Tiles

Of course, there are some downsides to using carpet tiles in the kitchen as well. Before you place an order, it's important to consider these negatives:

  • Even carpet tile manufacturer FLOR notes that its product cannot be installed on all floors. If you have soft floors, such as those with carpeting or padding; floors covered with paint, solvent-based seal, vintage varnish finish or oil-based finish; unfinished wax floors; or unsealed concrete subfloors, you cannot use carpet tiles.
  • While the backing of carpet tiles may inhibit mold and bacteria, the carpet fibers can hold on to food spills, creating unsanitary conditions if not properly cleaned.
  • Although carpet tile is water-resistant, it can still be damaged and stained by water.
  • Cheaper carpet tiles can start to fray along the edges after much wear. This can give the floor a broken-up appearance that can look cheap. While you can replace tiles as they become worn, it's often better to invest in high-quality tiles that will not fray.
  • Carpet tiles can become warped due to extreme temperatures or excess moisture. This can also result in a broken-up appearance.
  • Similarly, improperly installed carpet tiles can look noticeably broken up, with seams appearing uneven. While some people don't mind their carpet tiles looking like tiles, others want the appearance of a full carpet, but improper installation can make this impossible.
  • Long-term exposure to sunlight can cause color fading, which may result in uneven coloring along the tiles. Using curtains or UV treatments on your windows can reduce this problem.
Carpet tiles provide a soft surface for your kitchen.
Image Credit: Sara Monika/Image Source/GettyImages

Installing Carpet Tiles

Putting carpet tiles in your kitchen is a simple DIY project, especially if you only want to install the tiles in place of an area rug. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation, particularly when it comes to adhesive, but the basic process is as follows:

  • Clean and inspect your floor. Be sure to check that your flooring is flat and compatible with carpet squares. If the floor is appropriate and even, clean it thoroughly and let it fully dry before installing.
  • Plan your pattern. One benefit of carpet tiles is that they are modular and can be installed in a variety of colors and patterns. Lay out your tiles the way you want to install them without sticking them down to visualize how they look on your floor and rearrange them according to your taste. If you want your flooring to be centered between the walls or cabinets, be sure to measure the area to find the center rather than eyeballing it.
  • Trim tiles. When carpet squares need to be trimmed to fit in a particular area, cut tiles with a utility knife, slicing from the back side.
  • Lay your tiles. Start with the center tile and work row by row from there. Peel-and-stick tiles just need to have the backing peeled and stuck to the ground, whereas FLOR and other manufacturers use adhesive dots on the corners of each tile that stick only to the tiles and not to the floor. To use these, just peel a dot from the sticker backing and place a fourth of the dot under each tile's corner where they will connect.

Caring for Carpet Tiles

While carpet tiles are easy to clean, they still require some basic maintenance and will need to be spot cleaned as necessary. Keeping your floors looking nice is easy with the following practices:

  • Vacuum the entire floor regularly.
  • To spot clean after a spill, scrape up any solids and soak up liquid with a clean towel, blotting from the outside in. Then, use a solvent, applying the cleaner to your cloth, not directly on the spot. Use a brush or sponge to agitate the spill area. When clean, rinse thoroughly and dry the spot with a hair dryer.
  • To clean an individual tile, remove the tile and use a mild detergent to agitate the fibers with your hands. Rinse fully to remove all detergent and allow the tile to fully dry before reinstalling.
  • If the entire carpet seems soiled, use a steam cleaner and pH-neutral detergent, according to manufacturer instructions.
references

Jill Harness is a blogger with experience covering architecture, design and decor trends from around the globe. As she lives in what would politely be called a "fixer upper," she is particularly interested in writing about DIY projects and repairs. Most of her home design writing can be found at www.homesandhues.com. You can find out more about Jill's experience and learn how to contact her through her website, www.jillharness.com.

View Work