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Installing Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles On Concrete DIY

June 01, 2023

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We installed peel and stick carpet tiles on our concrete floor and it was an easy DIY. We didn't use glue or adhesive, so it wasn't messy or stinky. 

Quick, budget friendly, doable in a weekend and perfect for our basement.

Self Stick Carpet Tiles over Concrete Flooring

Several months ago we had a flood.

And it was awful.

As you can imagine.

Normally, I'm a huge fan of water. I mean, I live on an island.

I'm surrounded by and it and adore it in my pool, at the ocean and falling from the sky during a summer thunderstorm.

I'll even go as far to say it's pretty in snowflake form around Christmas.

Wet Carpet From Washing Machine Flood

But in my basement?


It was a disaster.

We'd just finished remodeling that downstairs family room, complete with a new carpet on the stairs, fresh paint, a large sectional sofa and updated decor.

The last thing we needed was flood damage

Thankfully there wasn't a lot of it.

Once we vacuumed and mopped up all the water the old washing machine had deposited, we realized that the wall to wall carpet was the big casualty.

It had to go.

Ripping Up Wall To Wall Carpet After A Flood

Honestly, that was fine with me. We'd had that rug for 20 years.

The only reason we didn't replace it when we redecorated the basement, is because I hate that new carpet smell and it was in relatively decent shape.

Of course, the flood changed all that so we had to come up with a plan b...and one that didn't involve another round of wall to wall carpet, because ripping it, and its padding, up was a nightmare. 

Never again.

So after a few days of investigating, while we let the concrete floor dry out, we decided on self stick carpet tile squares.

Self Stick Carpet Tiles

We chose them for several reasons:
  • They were inexpensive and very easy to install
  • They were available off the shelf at several local stores
  • They would be simple to replace if we ever had another flood - heaven help us
  • They were made of recycled plastic material, that didn't smell at all and if they didn't get too wet, they would dry out quickly
The second choice was vinyl plank flooring, like we put down in our family room, however, if we did have a flood again, the water could've gotten trapped between the floor and planks.

It's more expensive and more difficult to install.

If the carpet squares got wet again, we could just pull the affected ones up, dry the floor and stick new ones down.

Easy peasy.

Installing Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles

Ok, so here's how we put the carpet tiles down without adhesive.

How To Install Carpet Tiles Without Glue

Supplies for this flooring DIY:

Peel and Stick Flooring Carpet Tiles
Utility Knife and Blade
Wooden Board
T-Square/ Level Tool
Tape Measure

Step 1: Measure The Room

We measured the entire room to see how many square feet of carpet we'd need to cover the space. It's a simple formula of length times width. 

Then we bought an extra box, so we had enough to for cuts. We also made sure that every box we purchased was from the same dye lot number. 

We didn't want to have different colors on the floor. 

Step 2: Vacuum and Clean The Floor

Installing Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles On A Clean Concrete

Since we'd had a flood, we obviously had to make sure the concrete floor was completely dry. We didn't want to give mold or dampness any opportunity to develop. 

When we were sure it was ready, we vacuumed the floor and cleaned up any debris that was dislodged when we ripped up the carpet padding.

The floor wasn't flat, the cement was a mess. But that was ok, the stick tile carpet squares are made for that kind of application.

However, small pieces of floating concrete were definitely not good. So they had to go.

Step 3: Figure Out The Best Layout

Laying Down Self Stick Carpet Tiles On Concrete

Once the floor was prepped, it was time to install the carpet tiles.

We started by trying to figure out the best way to lay them down so that we didn't have small cuts all over the perimeter of the room.

We wanted to make sure that we were able to set up the pattern so everything was pretty well centered.

I will say that the seams are barely visible, but it made for an easier installation and a more cohesive look overall.

Step 4: Start With A Square

Laying Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles So They're Straight

Whenever you lay a floor, whether it be carpet tiles, vinyl or ceramic tile or plank flooring, if you don't start with a straight line, you won't end with straight floor.

It will end up looking crooked and your installation will be difficult, since nothing will fit together well and it will involve a lot of cuts.

Of course, it'd be lovely it all homes were built with perfectly square angles, but that's rarely the case. 

Especially in older homes, like ours. So once we'd mapped out the room and knew we were going to start at the base of the stairs, we had to make sure our first tile laid correctly.

It was going to set the path for the entire floor.

To do that, we laid down two metal square tools to find the right angle.

Step 5: Peel And Stick

How To Install Peel and Stick Carpet Square Tiles

With our plan in place and our supplies at the ready, it was time to get those carpet tiles on the floor.

Since they were peel and stick, it was a super simple and very quick process. First, we checked the back of the tile to see which way the printed arrows were going.

It was important that we installed them all in the same direction, so the carpet pattern would be consistent. It was subtle, but there was a definite variation in tone when the tiles were flipped.

Next, we just peeled the plastic backing away, to reveal the sticky adhesive on the bottom of the tile, and set it in place.

How To Install Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles

Then we pushed down hard on it, while sliding it tightly next to the adjoining tiles.

And we continued this process all around the room, checking as we went, to make sure we were still straight. As long as the tiles all lined up, we knew we were good.

Step 6: Make Cuts

How To Cut Carpet Tiles With a Razor Knife

There were, naturally, some cuts that had to be made along the way. Our basement had several posts, doorways, radiators and mouldings to work around.

Luckily, these carpet tiles are made to be cut, so a utility knife easily did the job. 

To protect the floor and provide a solid surface to cut on, my husband grabbed and old piece of plywood from the garage to use as his mobile cutting board. 

We would measure the area that needed to be notched, transferred the pattern onto the back of the tile, with a sharpie marker and cut.

In the case of the doorway and a bookcase bump out, we made a template from an old piece of paper.

Cutting Carpet Tiles Around Basement Posts

For the support posts, we measured twice (since you know the old adage) and then carefully cut out the center of a tile and included a flap so it would literally fit around the post.

Installing Carpet Tiles Without Adhesive around a post

We decided that would be much sturdier over time and wear, than placing several small pieces of carpet tile around the post. It took a little longer to do it this way, but so worth it.

For form and function.

Step 7: Vacuum Room

The last step in this process was the clean up.

We picked up any large pieces left over and then vacuumed the entire room. Besides making it look fresh, the vacuum put pressure on the tiles for one final push to set them in place.

I have to say, it wasn't a difficult or long process and if we hadn't been so exhausted from the flood mess, it would've been a lot less taxing physically. 

Carpet Stick Tiles In A Basement

Quick tips and Carpet Tile FAQ's  

  • We chose self stick, peel and press carpet tiles without glue. We did not want to mess with adhesive. It smells terrible and it's messy. This was the easiest way to go.
  • Peel and stick carpet tiles stay firmly in place for the long haul, but are easy to remove if necessary, glued tiles are very difficult to remove and may damage the subfloor in the process.
  • There are carpet tiles that simply float on the floor. I did not want that, I wanted them anchored, but they are an option.
  • There are all different price points when it comes to carpet squares. We chose a budget brand, off the shelf at Lowe's. It was very thin and had no padding.

    Basement Family Room With Peel and Stick Carpet Tiles

  • There are plush, shag and padded varieties, which may be better if you have babies crawling around on it or little ones sitting on the floor. 
  • Since we had a flood, we wanted a thin tile that would dry out quickly and we needed it asap. No time to wait for special order.
  •  I also liked that this one was make of recycled plastic. It's soft, but sturdy and no off-gassing. I can also layer an area rug on top for extra cushion.
  • You can replace one tile if needed. Unlike wall to wall, if something gets stained or snagged, pet damaged, etc. I can lift just one tile and replace it easily. For this reason, we did buy an extra box to keep on hand.

Carpet Tiles over Concrete Floor in basement family room

Overall, I would say it's definitely a doable DIY project for a beginner.

Plus, it's budget friendly.

And looks lovely when it's complete.

Oh yeah...and, most importantly, it's dry.


Happy Peel and Sticking!

Kim Signature

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  1. Thanks so much for this great information! Our living room is off kilter in one spot, and we've been racking our brains on new flooring.

    1. I have to say, we're so pleased with these tiles. They went down easily, have stayed down and look great.

  2. Thanks so much for such an informative post. Our living room is off kilter in one spot, and we've been racking our brains about flooring. This is the answer!

    1. You'll have to keep me posted, Betty!! Like I said, there are plushier versions out there. If you have the time to order, it might be worth it.

  3. Wow these are all great tips on laying the peel and stick squares. I like that you took the extra time for prep and measuring. It looks great. Around the post in the basement was genius too and you are right it probably will hold up better over time. Great job.

    1. Thanks Kris! My husband is a "do it the right way" kind of guy. Me, I'm a lazy crafter, but I think when it comes to the big DIYs avoiding the shortcuts is always best. Thank goodness at least one of us is patient!! Haha!! Enjoy the weekend!! xo

  4. My son put down peel and stick indoor outdoor tiles over cement last year on patio. Rain, snow, hail didn't pop up one. Dries out fast and I must say I was really surprised and impressed. Water washes dirt right off and they stay looking nice. Glad you have a good experience with them. Looks really nice where you put them down.

    1. Oh, I never thought about putting them outside, Betsy, but we have a screened in covered porch that could use a little softness…interesting. Thanks for the tip!

  5. This was a brilliant solution and you cannot even tell they are in squares. Good job!

    1. Thanks Gina...and I know!! I was a little worried about the way they'd look on the floor, but you can barely see the seams and what you can see just creates a lovely, shaded pattern.

  6. Wow Kim, I had no idea these were tiles by looking at the picture. Great product!

    1. I have to say, I was very impressed, too. When he said, carpet tiles, I said no way, but I'm glad he talked me into them. I love the way it all came out.

  7. That is so great! Your choice was smart for so many reasons, and it looks so good!

    1. Thanks Deanna!! I'm very happy with our choice.

  8. Kim, you and your husband did a great job replacing the carpet tiles. It's nice having a handy husband and you guys save a lot of money doing it yourselves. The basement looks great and a good idea to use the peel and stick tiles.

    1. Thanks Julie. It was a long weekend, but definitely worth the work. We do save a lot of money and we save a lot of time. There's no way we would've found a contractor to complete this work from flood to finish in less than a weekend. That's the big benefit for me.

  9. Great job, Kim. Let's hope there is never anymore flooding. xo Laura

    1. Thanks Laura. I have my fingers and toes crossed. 😉

  10. Hi, another great tutorial. Do keep us updated on how it is holding up. We have been pleased with the wood floor we installed in our kitchen, it has been over a year now!!!
    Carla from The River

    1. I will definitely keep you updated! I have to say the longer it's down the more I love it. SO glad to hear your love your wood floor. I know that installation was a lot of work!! Happy weekend!

  11. Kim,
    It looks really good and I like the fact that you could easily replace a tile of it if need be....I think it is the prefect choice for a finished basement...Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Deb and yes, that is the best part. Now I don't worry about stains and the kids. It's great!

  12. looks amazing!! interested in a bit more DIY instruction around Steps 4&5-Starting with a Square. From (4) the picture, looks like 18” wide tiles? so the top right corner, where the two L squares overlap is the RIGHT ANGLE you are using as your starting point square? IE - that would be where I would want to line up my tile corner and square it off to the outside L angle and then if the wall and stair front were not square - I would trim off on those sides in order to get my starting straight line across the floor??? Thanks so much!!

  13. Hi there! So yes, that's exactly what we did. The outside edge was the straight line. We knew that the wall moulding could vary, which would throw off our line. So once that first square and then the first line was set, we were good to go. I hope that helps!!