How To Lay Carpet Tiles

The original rumpus room in Handyman deputy editor Frank Gardner’s home had been revamped in the mid-90s when his children were still teenagers.

How To Lay Carpet Tiles

‘Back then we needed a living area that would withstand two kids, a dog and a cat,’ says Frank.

Over the years the room became less a family area and more a storage space for unused bits and pieces. ‘The idea for a makeover developed as things went wrong,’ says Frank.

A leaking water heater that created a welcoming environment for termites was the first catalyst. This led to the removal of timber framework, leaving unsightly gaps in the original floor tiles.

Next, the adjacent bathroom underwent a major modernisation complete with new tiling. ‘The new tiles made the original area look very shabby, so it was time to finish the job,’ says Frank.

Frank’s five-year-old grandkids visit on a regular basis so the rumpus room needed to be kid-friendly.

The old apricot tiles were broken and cold underfoot, so needed to be replaced. Lots of wear and tear was certain, so carpet tiles were chosen.

‘With carpet tiles you can always move any damaged ones to a less noticeable area,’ says Frank.

Many of the spring-loaded clips for the downlights had broken, allowing them to work loose and pose a hazard, so new recessed downlights featuring energy-saving CFLs were installed.

The makeover plan

‘We needed to make the room warm, light and neutral without spending too much money,’ says Frank.

The floors, walls and lighting all needed attention. To save time and money, Frank patched the holes in the floor instead of pulling up all the tiles.

When the repairs were finished the room was repainted in a neutral palette, with the promise of tasty refreshments luring friends and family to lend a hand.

Says Frank, ‘After two coats of Dulux White Pepper on the walls and gloss acrylic in the same colour on the timber trim the room appears much lighter. We also freshened up with two coats of Ceiling White.’

Frank chose 1000mm square polypropylene carpet tiles, about $24 each, from Bunnings, as they can be cut using a utility knife and laid DIY.

‘We only messed up one tile while cutting because we forgot to check the laying arrow on the back,’ he says.

To finish, an electrician was hired to fit new low-wattage downlights then the room was furnished with comfy seating, bookshelves and custom-made low line cabinetry.

‘The Tassie oak cabinets were made by my brother-in-law and give the room a classy look,’ Frank says.

Step 1. Cut the doorjamb
Step 1. Cut the doorjamb
Handyman Magazine

Use a pry bar and timber block to remove all skirting boards.

Lay a carpet tile offcut on the floor and use a sharp handsaw to undercut the architrave and doorjamb, creating a recess for the carpet to slip under.

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