Carpet tiles appear to be here to stay. In fact, it’s hard to believe they took so long to get here. If you’re unfamiliar, carpet tiles (or “carpet squares”) are square sections of carpeting fitted together to do the jobs of traditional (also known as “rolled”) carpets. They’ve become increasingly popular in recent years, partly due to design alone, partly due to the fact that their benefits are increasingly hard to ignore.
Take installation, for instance. Using carpet tiles instead of rolled carpet reduces mess and is less complicated, taking an installation fee out of the equation and saving you money. They are generally easier to fit to rooms, hallways, and complex floor plans. Almost all carpet tiles are a uniform 18 by 18 inches and designed to be interchangeable. Deciding what kind of carpet you want becomes much more a matter of design and function, and much less about the hassle of fitting and installation.
Carpet tiles are also sustainable—or at least, they can be. A recent article at CleanLink reported on a “green” solution to the problem of adhesives in carpet tiles. Adhesives are used in carpet tiles to both bind the layers of carpet together and keep the tiles stuck to the floor. Some tiles come with adhesive, others do not. The newly created adhesive is supposedly recyclable. Each year, over 5 billion pounds of carpet are sent to U.S. landfills alone – 154 million pounds in European landfills—because they are not recyclable. So if carpet tiles become fully recyclable—a very real possibility with the arrival of the new adhesive—then they would far surpass traditional rolled carpets by way of sustainability. And over time, sustainability usually equals savings.
Lastly, and perhaps most pertinent to the cleaning industry, carpet tiles are easy to clean. The majority of BSCs and other cleaners report favorably on carpet tiles. In high traffic areas, heavily used tiles can be replaced with new ones or exchanged with gently used tiles around tables and chairs. If a spill or other accident occurs, one or two tiles can be easily replaced without sacrificing an entire rug.
Of course, don’t buy in without doing more research first. There are always the questions of affordability and functionality. Find out what works best for you, but remember to keep carpet tiles on the radar.
Chicago-based carpet retailer Flor has some fine photographs of their tiles on their website that should provide a good start: http://www.flor.com/service/flor/