After decades as the flooring equivalent of a sturdy cotton house dress, carpeting has achieved what may be its final stage of evolution. And we're not talking about a more stain-resistant version of the same beige blanket (that was the last "big" advancement). This is, in essence, a whole new type of floorcovering. Modular carpet tiles are uniformly sized, totally self-contained (no pad, fasteners or edging required), completely interchangeable pieces that install as easily as a welcome mat—a great idea in itself, but wait until you see the style options.
Modular is Freedom
Traditional carpeting is an all-or-nothing proposition: one color, one style, one solid cover from wall to wall. Modular flooring is just the opposite. It gives you the freedom to mix and match—not just colors, but also styles, fibers and shapes. You have the freedom to lay it down wherever and however you want, as well as the freedom to change your mind; move it a few inches to the left or take it all up and try it out in another room. But for many of us, the best thing about modular design is the freedom to use the carpet. Because you can lift up individual tiles and wash them in your sink, spilled red wine and dropped hors d' oeuvres are no longer a deadly buzzkill. Same goes for muddy paws and destructive kids (like yours and mine).
Modular is Green
Modular tiles can be more eco-friendly than conventional carpet (and other floorcoverings) in a few different ways. The fiber and/or backing can be made with recycled materials. There's no waste, since you buy only the tiles you need (cut-off rolls of carpet crowding the attic aren't just a waste of space). If a tile becomes worn or damaged, you simply replace the tile, not the whole floorcovering. Best of all, you can take the flooring with you when you move. To keep your personal environment as green as possible, choose tiles with Green Label Plus certification for low-VOC emissions.
Modular is Good Design
In contemporary interior design, the best products and materials are adaptable. It's all about creating distinctive, personal spaces and the freedom to change things up without having to start over. Carpet tiles offer unmatched design flexibility, and they mix well with other materials—use them to add a little softness to hardwood or tile, dress up a laminate or vinyl floor, or even make a concrete-slab patio more livable.
How to Find Carpet Tiles
FLOR isn't the only brand of carpet tiles out there, but at the time of this writing, they have the most (and coolest) styles by far. You can see their entire collection (and learn everything you always wanted to know about modular floorcovering but were afraid to ask) at www.flor.com.
Philip Schmidt is a Denver remodeling expert who writes for Networx.com.