What Is the Difference Between Broadloom Carpet (Rolls) and Carpet Tiles?
Updated: Sep 13, 2018
Broadloom carpet is manufactured in rolls. Although the width of the carpet can vary from 12’, 13’6” or 15’, the most common by far is 12’ width. These rolls are manufactured in lengths of 150’ to 300’ long depending on the weight of the product. If you can picture a roll of paper towel 12’ wide, you have it visualized. To install his type of carpet the rolls are cut into smaller lengths to fit rooms sizes and so that they can be transported and moved easier to the job site. The installer lays the carpet out based on a predetermined “Seam Layout” (a diagram that shows where each piece of carpet should go and where the seams will be located). The seams are simply the joints where the sides or top and bottom are joined. As with most every product that is joined together, the joints, or seams in the case, are the weakest point. That is why we work diligently to minimize seams, maximize carpet use and ultimately increase your carpet’s performance and lower your cost. Once the carpet is laid out the installer must fold back half the carpet, spread adhesive on the exposed floor and, when the adhesive sets up, lay the carpet back down. He repeats this step with the other half of the carpet. The seams are then set with a bead of seam sealer get the seam as strong as possible. I mention this step because it explains why, when installing broadloom carpet, the room needs to be completely empty to properly install it. This is not the case with carpet tiles as I will explain later.
Built-in pattern and design – The carpet manufacture’s do the work of designing products with no, little or larger pattern. All you do is pick the design and colors you like, and you are done.
Less expensive – The cost per square yard for broadloom carpet, although not as dramatically less than it use to be, is still 25% - 50% cheaper. In addition, when replacing broadloom carpet with broadloom carpet there is typically no floor preparation required, this is not the case with carpet tiles.
Less seams – Broadloom carpet requires seams at their sides (typically every 12’) and at cross-seams (top to bottom) where areas of low traffic are “pieced” together.
High waste factor (unusable carpet) – Since broadloom carpet typically comes in 12’ widths, and all rooms are not 12’ or multiples thereof, there can be substantial waste. As stated above, we will work diligently to minimize the waste, utilize the carpet and increase your carpet’s performance but waste has always been, and always will be a negative factor of broadloom carpet.
Poor repair characteristics – If an area becomes damaged or stained beyond cleaning, it will need to be replaced. To replace broadloom carpet the damaged area must be cut out and a new piece seamed back. This process creates four additional seams and is usually quite visible.
Rooms must be clear – When installing broadloom carpet, the rooms receiving flooring must be completely cleared. This means, if your office has modular cubicles, they will need to be broken down, removed and staged elsewhere during installation, then brought back after installation and reassembled. In addition, if your cubicles have hard wired electric you must first have an electrician disconnect the hard wiring before disassembling and reconnect after reassembling. This can be extremely costly and one of the factors that have made carpet tiles a more cost-effective option in the world of commercial carpeting.
Carpet tiles are exactly that; tiles made of carpet. They are also referred to as carpet squares or modular carpet. They come in many sizes from 24” x 24”, 36” x 36” or 19.7” x 19.7” as well as some plank sizes like 18” x 36” or 9” x 36”. Although the latter plank type carpet tiles are becoming increasingly popular the 24” x 24” tiles are by far the most common. The installation process typically includes priming the floor (or skimming with a Portland based cement type patch) to neutralize any prior adhesives and to create a smoother surface for spreading the required adhesive. The adhesive used to install a carpet tile is called pressure sensitive. This means the tiles will stay in place but can easily be removed it needed. Think 3M sticky notes. The carpet tiles are then installed in a predetermined method: quarter-turned, monolithic, ashlar, herringbone, etc. Changing the method changes the look, pattern and aesthetic feel of the carpeting. Since the carpet tiles are installed one at a time modular cubicle walls can be lifted instead of being broken down and removed.
Easy maintenance and repair – Since the carpet tiles come in small tiles, if one or more get damaged or stained, they can easily be removed and replaced with attic stock.
Unlimited possibilities for design – Your imagination is the limit. With different colors, designs and installation methods you can be as creative as you wish. We can help you design a pattern that suits your taste and your company’s passion.
Modular cubicles can stay – This is the biggest advantage to carpet tiles. The cost to break down and reassemble modular office is enormous and being able to change your flooring while leaving them in tact is a savings that will more than offset the cost difference between broadloom carpet and carpet tiles. In simplest terms: if you have modular cubicles in your office, carpet tiles are the way to go.
More expensive – Carpet tiles cost more per square yard and, because they typically require a primer or skim coat, are more expensive than broadloom carpet to install. Keep in mind this cost is more than offset if you have modular cubicles. So, if you have standard office furniture, this is a factor to keep in mind.
More Seams – Since carpet tiles are…tiles there is a seam every 2’ or 3’ or whatever the size of the tile. The seams are visible in the means that the design changes but not in the way of a “peak”, which is sometimes seen with a broadloom carpet.
Broadloom vs Carpet Tile. Is one better than the other? It depends on your aesthetic desires, your budget, your foot traffic, your office layout, your furniture, whether you lease or own and how long you will be at your currently location. Either way, rest assured that we at Comfloorx will spend the time to find the right product to fit all your needs.