Interlocking Floor Tiles - Answers to Common Questions
What are interlocking floor tiles?
Interlocking floor tiles are tiles that interlock together to form a floating floor. Most types of interlocking floor tiles are not glued down. They are essentially interlocked together with some type of interlocking system over a flat surface. They are held down by gravity and their own weight. Properly designed interlocking tiles will not come apart during normal usage. Below, please find the top three types of interlocking tiles.
High Impact Polymer - Interlocking Floor Tiles:
ModuTile specializes in this type of interlocking floor tiles made out of high-impact polymer (impact plastic tiles). They have a wide range of usage including, but not limited to, garage flooring, basement flooring, home gym flooring, patio flooring, trade show flooring, showroom flooring and much more. The high-impact polymer interlocking tiles are considered rigid and strong enough to support large amounts of weight from vehicles, furniture or walking traffic.
Rubber Interlocking Floor Tiles:
Other common interlocking floor tiles are made out of flexible PVC (aka rubber floor tiles) and are normally used in environments where they need to support rollover weights exceeding 40,000 lbs. per sq. inch. One good example where the rubber interlocking floor tiles are used is in a warehouse where a forklift is used. Another would be on a gym floor where free weights are commonly dropped on the ground. These tiles are harder to clean, so they are not as common in garage floor environments. They also tend to be more expensive because they are heavier and more difficult to produce.
Foam Interlocking Floor Tiles:
These types of tile are usually made from EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam. They are usually used as a gym mat because they are soft to land on. Gymnasts and wrestlers often use these types of tiles to prevent injury. They are not as durable for normal walking traffic where shoes are used.
Can interlocking floor tiles be installed over carpet?
Yes, they can; but in some cases it would not be recommended. The biggest benefit of laying the tile on top of the carpet is that the carpet would dampen the noise when walking on top of it. Another benefit would be that it would allow the floating floor installation to move less. The carpet would prevent the tiles from shifting. One excellent example where these tiles are installed over carpet is office flooring. You can interlock the tiles to create an office floor mat on top of the existing carpet. The tiles protect the carpet from rolling chairs and heavy foot damage.
The drawback is that ModuTile’s interlocking floor tiles are ½ inch thick and would sink into the carpet. If water is dropped on top of it, there will be seepage. Because the carpet would absorb the water, there is potential for molding. You essentially have to use common sense. If there is potential for large amounts of liquid falling on top of it, I would not install the interlocking tiles over carpet. Of course there are exceptions. A while back, we had a customer that had carpet as his garage flooring. He lived in southern California where there is no snow. He went ahead and installed the interlocking tiles over the carpet and it worked out well for him. I would definitely not recommend it for an installation in a northern state. Just use common sense and you will make the right decision.
Can I use interlocking floor tiles in my shop or commercial area?
Yes, but you need to know which version of the interlocking floor tiles are appropriate for your specific project. As mentioned above, there are various materials used to manufacture interlocking floor tiles. Below, you can find the most common uses for commercial applications.
High-Impact Polymer - Interlocking Floor Tiles:
These tiles are especially good for use in commercial showrooms for product displays. The tiles are commonly used by car dealers, boat dealers, hardware stores and even tractor supply stores. We have sold them to stores like Ace Hardware, Sears, Porsche Dealers, Chevy Dealers, Ford Dealers, Ducati Dealerships and much more. Basically the list goes on and on.
Other commercial applications are trade show flooring, convention display flooring or other commercial gatherings where a portable floor is needed. Because the tiles interlock together and allow you to make your own custom size interlocking floor mat, you can also use them in an office setting. Many companies use them for office floor mats to protect carpet from rolling chairs and heavy foot traffic.
We encourage you to browse through our menu and visit the various sections that discuss specific uses.
Rubber Interlocking Floor Tiles:
Rubber tiles are actually made from a flexible PVC resin. They are extremely strong and can support the weight of forklifts. Companies use these types of interlocking floor tiles in commercial warehouses. They are also very durable when used in a commercial gym with free weights. The primary drawback is that they tend to be much more expensive. They are also hard to clean and get marked easily by car tires so they are not always ideal for home garages floors.
Foam Interlocking Floor Tiles:
The only real commercial use for these types of tiles is as trade-show flooring. Many companies use them as anti-fatigue flooring. The main drawback is that they do not last long since foot traffic tends to damage them quickly. They also become scuffed quickly and sometimes have small tears. The overall result is that the flooring tends to look poorly. Many companies still use them and replace them often. ModuTile does not manufacture or sell foam tiles.
What is the most popular size of interlocking floor tiles?
The 12-inch interlocking floor tiles are the most popular. The reason being that it is easy to calculate the quantity of tiles needed when designing the layout. For example, if you have a 20 by 20 ft. garage floor, you can easily calculate how many tiles you will need. The math is easy, 20 x 20 = 400. That means that you need 400 sq. ft. (400 tiles). When trying to do that on 13.1-inch tiles or 18.4-inch tiles it is not that easy. Designing becomes much harder when you have complex floor layouts. Also, when you want to design larger squares with the 12-inch tiles, it is very easy. You can simply use 4 tiles to create a 2 by 2 ft. sq. area. In other words, there are no drawbacks for choosing the 12-inch interlocking tiles.
When it comes to the thickness, the most popular thickness is ½-inch. For garage flooring, basement flooring and other semi-permanent installations, it is beneficial to have proper airflow underneath the tiles. Tiles that are thinner will have less airflow and it would take longer to dry when used in moist environments. Also, when the tiles are less than ½-inch thick, the locking mechanism is very tricky to manufacture and by default tends to be inferior to the thicker tiles. Interlocking floor tiles thinner than ½-inch are not large enough to support a well-designed locking mechanism that allows the tiles to move when expansion and contraction occurs. Because of the lack of thickness, the tiles could potentially unlock when being used.
After reading the above, many customers ask us if tiles thicker than 1/2–inch are better. The answer is yes and no. If the manufacturer designs a poor locking mechanism you will have long term issues that can occur including unlocking under pressure and lack of movement during expansion and contraction when the weather changes. Also, you should ask yourself if the thicker version outweighs the additional cost. In our opinion, the answer is no. For example, garage flooring that is thicker than ½-inch is simply wasteful. Our tiles perform superbly the way they are designed.
All ModuTile’s interlocking floor tiles are ½-inch thick or thicker. We are extremely proud of the locking mechanism design,which is a result of 4 years of working with polypropylene based interlocking floor products. Our interlocking floor tiles are proudly designed and manufactured in Houston, Texas, USA.
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