Lock Tile Blog

Can Interlocking Floor Tiles Be Placed Over Carpeting?

ByAllen Czermak


If I had the money, I would replace every single carpeted room in my home with tiles or wood flooring. The list is endless of the types of dirt and dust that can accumulate even in the most efficiently cared for carpeting. Anyone who has a pet can testify to the amount of pet dander that is everlasting in their home. The number one com-on in advertisements for vacuum cleaners is the virtue of their suction ability of pet dander. Other particles that find a home deep in wall to wall carpeting are dust mites, mold, minute bugs and other allergens. The chemical makeup of the carpeting itself, the padding and the glue used in installing the carpet can be harmful to the family’s health.

Going organic and using natural wool carpeting can be a downer, because there are so many people allergic to wool. A carpet made out of wool is durable as well as expensive and it is so aggravating that after installing a fresh new woolen carpet to have a person in the home start complaining about allergies that were never a problem before. Often, no one is the wiser for the reason the person in the house with the allergy is coughing and sneezing. He or she might need to go through needless allergy tests to find the culprit. Other causes of negative reactions by members of the household are in areas where there are large spills, there is the possibility of mold and bacteria growing in addition to the retention of unpleasant smells.

Yes, it is true that there is nothing like getting up in the morning and the first thing you step on is some cozy carpeting instead of a cold floor. Insulation between floors by carpets prevents high noise activity. However, these are still not valid enough reasons to put family members who are highly allergic in jeopardy. A newly constructed home can include heating elements built right into the floors. A small flat rug made from cotton fibers can be placed near the sides of the beds so the waking up is more pleasant on a cold winter morning. Furry slippers are also an inexpensive alternative. There are adorable fur lined moccasins that will do the trick as well. As far as sound barriers, a back board can be installed under the floor before positioning the tiles.

So, you have decided that you want to transform that extra bedroom into a personal gym. You are an empty nester and those extra pounds have been creeping up on you. With lots of indoor time in the COVID-19 season, you feel this is an investment that will pay off lots of healthy dividends. There are also some muscles that have been lying dormant the past few months. No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night with shooting pains in their legs from lack of exercise.

The room you are considering presently has carpeting. What would be the best way to lay a Lock-Tile style floor in this room? There are two main ways of installing flooring in a carpeted room. The best way would be to remove the carpet and the slats underneath and hopefully find a smooth floor on the bottom. Another way would be to install the Lock-Tiles on top of the carpet. This can be tricky and depends a lot on the pile of the present carpet and the type of tiles used. If someone is renting an apartment, they would only be able to install the Lock-Tiles on top of the carpet.

Here are some suggestions of self-installation of interlocking PVC floor tiles.

The first consideration is if your carpet is a commercial flat type or more of a plush variety that your feet can squash into. If you have the plusher carpet, then the installation will be more problematic. Let us first explore the installation of Lock-Tiles on a flat or low pile carpet.

If you can stand something on top of your carpet and it does not sway that is a good sign. Some homeowners have used a hard-plastic sheet cut to the exact size of the room as a layer on top of their carpet. Another idea is to use a quarter inch high plywood to create a platform or subfloor. This is generally an option in a rental where the carpet cannot be removed legally. There may be a few types of locking tiles, for example soft flat ones that could be tried, however, there is a good chance the tiles will move and not stay permanently aligned. If using the super quality Lock-Tile brand, these will not work over most carpets. The Lock-Tiles are strong and durable and not soft like some other brands that are made from recycled fibers. The simple litmus test would be to twist and try and break off the teeth of the tile locks. Lock-Tiles are made in the USA of high grade material while most other brands are made in China and it reflects on the tile quality.

The best way to install tiles on a carpeted floor is to remove the carpet. Ripping up the carpet would at first thought to be the more complicated way to go. Soft carpet is not firm enough and installing tiles over it could cause serious injury especially if the room in question will be used for physical activity such as a gym. Tiles made of rubber will separate from each other even if they are interlocking. Add in the machines and weights of a gym and you have a recipe for disaster.

Carpet Removal

There is a point at the entrance to the room where the tile will meet the flooring of the hallway or adjacent room. The best tool to use is a straightedge to get the straightest cut that is possible. (“A straightedge or straight edge is a tool used for drawing straight lines or checking their straightness. If it has equally spaced markings along its length, it is usually called a ruler. Straightedges are used in the automotive service and machining industry to check the flatness of machined mating surfaces.” Wikipedia)

You need to remove any baseboard molding from atop the carpet. Try to be careful not to ruin the molding if you want to reuse it. The worst-case scenario is if it is ruined you can purchase rubber baseboard molding which will compliment your floor in the color of your choice.

Carefully remove the carpet and padding.

Most carpets have tack strips nailed to the floor. These must be removed and discarded to make sure you will have a smooth work surface for your new tiles. The best tool to use to remove these strips is a ply bar. Next remove any staples or nails and hammer down securely any loose nails.

If you are using a backer board (a support material used for tile made from materials that will not warp). Now is the time to attach it with screws. It is important to figure out the pattern of your tile floor before laying it. Spread out the tiles to figure out the pattern and trace the outline with a pencil. Now you are ready to install your new tile floor. Some flooring requires mortar or grout to set the tiles.

Final Words

It would be fun and convenient to be able to easily install interlocking tiles on top of your carpet. Just as Lego blocks need a hard and steady surface to build sturdy structures so too do interlocking tiles. It may seem like hard work, and it is, to remove the carpet, cut it to a reasonable size to load it to your sidewalk and get a garbage company to trash it. Then you have the padding and the tack strips which are more sources of garbage to get taken away. However, difficult as this is in the short run, in the long run, setting up your floor in the right manner for your interlocking flooring will be the correct way to go. Interlocking floors are reputed to be used and abused constantly. Whether it’s a garage where a car will be sitting on top of it, or a home gym that gets many miles on the treadmill or bangs from the dumbbells, you need to start with a solid foundation. Sometimes this would mean working together with a professional installer. For example, you can remove and dispose of the carpeted etc., and then call in an installer to lay down your tiles. Most tile sellers have in house installers that are familiar with each product. Yes, it would be nice to do it all yourself, but who wants a wobbly floor in an overused area of the home. In certain situations where the carpet is very flat and you are a renter, installation on top of the carpet could be a last resort option. Do not be pennywise and pound foolish. If you are going to use superior quality interlocking tiles, please don’t scrimp on the installation. If possible, do the job right, and do it once, with professional installment from the beginning to the end.

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