How to Use a FLOR Rug on Top of Carpet

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I love, love, love FLOR rugs made up of their fabulous, eco-friendly carpet squares. But there has always been one thing stopping me from using them in every room of our home: They can’t be used on top of wall-to-wall carpet. This is clearly stated on the FLOR website.

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As renters, we have faced this problem in most rooms of each apartment or house where we’ve lived. Until now. Thanks to a little ingenuity, we’ve found a way to install a FLOR rug on top of existing carpet. And the results have been amazing!

FLOR squares are designed to be installed on top of a hard surface, because if installed on a soft one, the tiles separate when you walk on them. We learned this the hard way. So when FLOR offered to send us a rug to review, our initial inclination was to say no, because we already have one in the dining room, which is the only room in our apartment (other than the kitchen and bathrooms) that has a solid floor. Still, I knew one of their rugs would be perfect in the shared nursery. But of course, it’s carpeted (and please ignore the mess):

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Still, thinking out loud, said to my husband, “If only we could install it on top of a piece of wood that’s sitting on top of the carpet.” His response? “Why can’t we?”

In theory, it made sense. We’d create a hard surface on top of the carpet with some thin ply, then install the rug on top. So we went ahead and asked FLOR to send us a rug.

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For this to work properly, the wood you need needs to be slightly smaller than the dimensions of the finished area rug so that the rug overlaps it by a few inches on all four sides (assuming it won’t be wall to wall). This will help you avoid stubbed toes and an obvious dropoff where the boards end. Time for some math:

flor-calculatorWe wanted an approximately 8′ x 8′ rug, or 96″ x 96″. Since each FLOR carpet square measures 19.7″ x 19.7″ inches, that meant our finished rug would be 98.5″ x 98.5″. Therefore, we decided the boards we bought should be 90″ x 90″ so we’d have about four inches of overlap on each edge. For the record, the FLOR calculator, shown at left, will do all of this work for you :)

Thankfully, Home Depot will cut any wood you buy to size. We bought two 4′ x 8′ sheets of tempered hardboard at just $8.21 apiece and had them cut the boards to match our dimensions. So we wound up with one board that was 48″ x 90″, and a second that was 42″ x 90″, for a total of 90″ x 90″. We also grabbed some Gorilla Tape to hold them together. (aff)

Back at home, we moved all furniture out of the way and laid down our two boards. You want to put the straightest edges together so you’ll have a clean seam. Use very strong tape to attach them together at the seam. Then it’s time to lay some squares.

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I like to lay out a FLOR rug before I start using the provided FLOR Dots to put it together in earnest. I also like to start from the outside edges and work my way in. In this case, start with one corner, and make sure you have some overlap on the board — about 4 inches on both corners.

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Continue around the edges of rug, ensuring that your squares are straight and properly aligned.

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Finish all four sides and fill in the middle last.

As you may recall, we were considering a completely different rug from what you see here. We were going to use the bold, geometric Lasting Grateness design. Well, when I slipped that design into my nursery mockup, the color was too dark and it didn’t really work for me. Instead, we chose to go with the design you see here: Reoriented. As the name implies, it is reminiscent of a fragmented Oriental rug. The pattern on the squares is really random, so how you put them together is totally up to you and trial and error.

My daughter and I choose to use squares that seemed to have an “edge” around the outside of the rug so it would appear to have a bit of a frame. Then we tried to put like patterns next to each other so the transitions would be as seamless as possible. Once we were happy with the design, we used the FLOR dots to attach the squares to one another. Here’s how it works:

howtoinstallflordots

You stick a quarter of the dot to the bottom of one square. Adhere the dot to the square next to it. Lift up the other two squares and lay down the dot. Adhere the final two squares one at a time. Really easy and relatively quick, and instructions are included with the dots.

So, how did it turn out? See for yourself!

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Don’t you love it? I absolutely do!

We placed my daughter’s bed back in the room, and here’s a sneak peek of the eco-friendly Spot on Square Hiya crib that I found for a steal on, of all places, Craigslist! I’ll tell that story another day. (aff)

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We installed the rug nearly three weeks ago, and thus far, it has held up perfectly. No separation of squares, so stubbed toes. Nothing. It works just as well as if we had installed it on a hardwood or tile floor. And it only cost us an extra $20 worth of hardboard. Seriously, I’m sad we didn’t come up with this solution sooner! I love it, and hopefully this will help someone else who is cursed with wall-to-wall carpet pull the trigger on a FLOR rug.

Here’s a handy image you can pin to help them find the tutorial:

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Disclosure: FLOR sent me a rug to review. As usual, all opinions are my own.

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4 comments… add one

  • Valia Clausell December 7, 2013, 2:15 am

    Great idea. I will try it soon.

  • Carolina December 16, 2013, 8:58 pm

    How thick was your plywood? Got our Flor tiles before actually finding the no carpet-on-carpet bit of fine print, and started to wonder about plywood.

    • jennae December 16, 2013, 9:28 pm

      Carolina, we used 1/8″ thick tempered hardboard. I think if it were any thicker, it might start getting uncomfortable underfoot. But this has worked out great. I hope it works out for you as well!

  • James Paulson January 7, 2014, 6:35 pm

    So what’s the learning curve here? How “tool-centric” (as my wife calls it) do you need to be?

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