This article applies to ModuTile’s basement flooring and other indoor installations where you have 4 walls and no major outdoor entrance. This type of installations do not require the use of ramp edges. The information provided in this article would not apply to a garage flooring installation. This article will help you understand the proper installation procedures and recommendations.
In order to save time, proper planning is important. Knowing the dimensions of the room and knowing your pattern selection is key. For an in depth explanation about layout design, please refer to the “Basement Flooring: Design” article(s). For the purpose of this article, we assume that you have already planned the layout of your basement and purchased your tiles.
General Interlocking Tile Installation Info.
ModuTile’s basement floors install directly over any hard surface, including cement, wooden floors, flexible PVC tiles (rubber floor tiles), vinyl tiles and other standard floors. For a permanent installation, we do not recommend you to install these interlocking floor tiles over carpet or other floors that compress or move.
If you are planning to use the interlocking floor tiles to create a floor mat for a temporary or short-term use, installing on carpet would be okay. Please remember that these basement floor tiles interlock together with a loop to peg system and they do not form a perfect watertight connection. This is done by design to allow the tiles to expand and contract with changes in temperature. Also, if you spill liquids on top of the tiles, the liquid will seep through between the tiles. This is okay if installed on a solid surface but when installed over carpet, the liquid would soak the carpet and could potentially allow mold to grow. When installed over concrete (or other hard surface), the tile would allow water to drain and eventually dry off. The tiles have grooves underneath to allow water and air passage.
Subfloor Floor Preparation
For a basement floor, we recommend that you clean the floor by sweeping any debris. In a basement, you should also disinfect the floor prior to installation. Careful consideration should be taken that organic material is not left behind as it may promote the growth of mold or fungus. Bleach is a good disinfectant, but other chemicals exist that can help you in this process. Please always refer to their instructions for proper and safe use of bleach or other chemicals.
Repair cracks where the floor has a vertical displacement of more than 3/8th of an inch. These tiles interlock using a peg to loop system, so major vertical displacements could cause the tile to unlock when pressure is applied on top of them. Minor horizontally displaced floor cracks or gradually uneven surfaces do not affect the interlocking system.
If the floor is not already sealed, it is recommended for you to seal or cure it prior to installing any floating floor. If the basement is not properly sealed, you may get too much moisture under the basement floor tiles. Of course, these interlocking floor tiles are designed to be installed and removed to allow periodical cleaning. Many of you may have already given up on sealing the floor and this is one of the reasons why you are purchasing our interlocking basement floor tiles. If this is the case, the drain tiles (interlocking perforated tiles) may be more appropriate than the solid top tiles. The drain tiles will raise your floor by ½ inch and allow maximum airflow. Essentially, the tile will create separation between your damped cold floor and your feet.
The tile will install easily as long as the surface is flat. The flooring will also install properly even if the floor is not perfectly leveled, as these basement floor tiles would conform to the floor over time. Large horizontally displaced cracks (1 ½ inch or larger) should be repaired for better performance.
Laying Down the Tiles
It is highly recommended for you to start laying out the tiles from a corner of the room. Make sure the loops are pointing inwards. Please refer to Figure 1. If you are uncertain about how to interlock the tiles, please refer to our article called “Basement Floor Tile Installation”. This short article shows more illustrations on the correct way to interlock the tiles together. The section below will explain how to draw the starting lines. You will use these lines as a guide to follow while laying down the tiles.
Establishing a Starting Point
Begin installation at a corner of the basement. We suggest that you start installation at the corner of the basement entrance wall because this will be the side of the flooring that will not require cutting any tiles. Once a tile is cut, you cannot attach the cut side to any edges or tiles. You may need to install the flooring around a column, which requires cutting the surrounding tiles. However, do not cut any tiles until you have arranged all of the tiles on the floor. This will prevent any errors.
After you have determined the starting corner for the installation, lay the tiles down one row at a time so that the loops are pointing toward the opposite corner of the starting wall. After you have arranged all of the rows on the floor, you will have a floating basement floor. To finish the floor, you may cut the tiles to fit in the room. Make sure you leave at least a 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch distance between the wall and the edge of the tile. Cut one tile at a time to make sure it fits properly. This is especially important for irregular room sizes.
To finish your room, we recommend that you purchase baseboards from any local hardware store. This will give the room a finished feel to it. When placing the baseboards, make sure they don’t press down on the tiles. This will allow the tiles to expand and contract with any change in temperature. For walkways or doorways, we recommend that you use transition boards. Our ramp edges are usually not needed in 99% of indoor installations.
Please visit our basement flooring section to view all our interlocking floor tiles available for basements.