Reproduced with kind permission of Carpet and Flooring Review
In the fourth in cfr’s series aimed at flooring store sales staff, Patrick Riley dispels some of the myths and explains the benefits of modular carpet tiles for residential use
Modular carpet tiles are becoming increasingly popular as a versatile and flexible alternative to traditional carpeting. Consumers are discovering that they are stylish, can be rearranged simply to create new designs, and that worn or damaged areas are easy to replace. They can even go with them when they move property.
So the question is, why don’t retailers consider selling carpet tiles? Part of the answer lies in the misconception that all tiles are low-cost, poor quality, hard underfoot and only ever feature in dowdy offices and industrial settings. The reality of modern carpet tiles is completely different.
Carpet tiles open a wide choice of design possibilities. This makes a persuasive argument for consumers who are keen to create design features such as borders and rug insets within carpeted areas without being wasteful. Luxury carpet tiles won’t compact or soften easily and should feel as good as the day they were purchased for a long time.
The current trend towards zoning living spaces, for example between a dining area and lounge, means carpet tiles are now the natural choice in many people’s minds. A dining area might need a functional tile that is easy to clean, in contrast to a more luxurious feel in the lounge space. By suggesting the use of different types of tiles, flooring experts can help customers to delineate space without having to worry about frayed edges or ugly joining strips between zones.
Two of the most obvious selling advantages of carpet tiles are sound absorption and ease of installation, particularly when laid on the first floor of a building and above. The tiles are boxed in quantities that are easy to carry up stairs or in a lift – unlike a heavy roll of unwieldy carpet.
When installing, there is no need to clear a room of furniture before starting. Tiles can be laid in stages and furniture moved on to completed sections as they are put down.
Random fit carpet tile designs are growing in popularity in residential properties because the random pattern can be supplied in batchless quantities. If the retailer needs to find a replacement for worn or damaged tiles, they don’t have to be an exact match.
The materials used to manufacture modern carpet tiles make them tough but stylish. Intricate tufted designs in low lustre nylons can look very natural, for example like sisal. Streaks of colour can be introduced by manufacturers to emphasise the natural look.
Tiles can be laid over stone, ceramic or vinyl floors but not on soft surfaces, such as existing carpet, underlay or cork. They provide a high degree of noise and heat insulation. Due to their durability, manufacturers’ guarantees of at least seven years on their products can be expected. It is now also possible to buy tiles that do not need to be glued down, as they are held in place by their own weight which creates a secure finish. Carpet tiles can even be combined with hard flooring to create contemporary and unique designs.
Ensuring the tiles remain square and flat in a multitude of temperatures and climates is a complex feat of engineering and is the result of considerable investment in design and development. And if more persuasion were needed, tiles are simple and easy to clean. They can be taken up, rinsed under a tap and then replaced, if necessary.
Finally, from a cost point of view, quality carpet tiles are comparable in price to broadloom carpet. There is very little waste and installation costs are low. Whether customers are looking for near invisible seams or wish to make a feature of the tile effect, they bring a degree of design creativity that the flooring market is keen to embrace.