How much should new office carpet tiles cost?

Luxury plank-style carpet tiles of varying colors and patterns fitted within an office reception waiting area

Investing in new carpet tiles can make a huge difference to the appearance of an office, often transforming it more than any other upgrade to furnishings or finishes.  When we walk into a  room, the floor is usually the first thing we notice so the design and condition of the carpet is the first impression we get of the general look and feel of the space. If the floor looks good, we might be less inclined to notice shortcomings in the other décor, such as walls or general furnishings. So if it’s purely a cosmetic makeover (rather than a functional rearrangement) you’re after, then the floor is often a good place to begin. 

How much will it cost?  The answer to this question is that we can only generalise because there are so many aspects to factor in and every office, situation and requirement is different, but in this article we hope to give you some typical price ranges, guidance and explanations.   

There are 2 key factors to consider:-

  1. The cost of the carpet tiles
  2. The cost of fitting

Our assumptions are based on the supply and fitting of carpet tiles in and around London – other areas in the country could be less. All costs would be subject to the addition of VAT even if not specifically stated.

As a starting point,  you should normally expect to pay a minimum of £20 + VAT per square metre (m²) for the supply and fitting of one of the quality yet lower priced entry level ‘heavy contract’ nylon carpet tiles. But don’t base your decision on this figure – read on – because I repeat,  this is the minimum and in all likelihood you will end up paying more, possibly substantially so. 

The above statement is based on the assumption that the carpet tile is one of the lower cost with heavy contract commercial rating and that the fitting is very straight forward with no complications. In general, this would mean a completely empty office (no furniture at all), a reasonable sized area, no existing carpet to remove and a sound subfloor that doesn’t need any repair or preparation work.   

This nominal price is broken down as follows:-

Carpet Tile (per m²):  £14
Fitting  (per m²) :        £6

What, then, are the factors that will result in an increase in price?  Well, I’ve given a few clues to this in the last sentence of the previous paragraph, so let’s expand on that.

The Cost of Carpet Tiles
Carpet tiles come in a vast array of designs, colours, patterns and construction types from a host of manufacturers, both large and boutique, international and local. I’ve already mentioned the term ‘Heavy Contract’ and this means that the carpet tile meets the standard set for a product that is considered suitable for use in commercial environments where it may be subject to heavy use. Generally speaking, this means that we are focused on nylon (polyamide) rather than the usually lower cost polypropylene (although there are cases where the latter can be constructed into an extremely robust product), but this is a topic for another article.

The entry priced nylon carpet tile we have based our figures on above will be good quality and will perform well, but it may be just too plain, ordinary and flat looking for your liking, particularly if you’re trying to uplift the appearance of your office to another level.   There are extremes, but in the main a carpet tile (excluding deliveries, fitting etc) is likely to cost anywhere between £14 m² and £40 m² – but you can pay more for some of the most elaborate designs.  

So, for something that offers a more interesting and perhaps more luxurious and design orientated appearance then you should probably allow at least £20 m² plus the cost of installation.

Around £20 m² and upwards will generally get you varying degrees of better textures, patterns (often carpet tiles with multi-level textured patterns) and thicker/denser pile which will give a softer feel under foot and a more luxurious appearance.  

Therefore, together with a very straight forward installation, a typical cost of supply and fitting of a somewhat more elaborate carpet tile range may be more in the region of £26 m².

The Cost of Fitting
This part gets somewhat more complicated. There are literally so many factors to consider that you would really need to speak to a supplier/fitter and they would absolutely have to visit your office to make a judgement on how long the process is likely to take, and what allowances need to be made for any fitting and repairing materials that might be required. 

Here below is a list of approximate additional (minimum) costs that would need to be added to the base cost.  This is not definitive and it is not intended to be an accurate guide. Instead, we hope it might give you an indication of what you might need to consider. 

Removal and Disposal of Existing Carpet Tiles:  Allow £2.50⁺ per m².  Removing carpet tiles is time consuming and the cost of disposing of them is high.  Usually they can be removed with relative ease but sometimes they can be stuck to the floor so hard that they simply won’t budge and we have to resort to exhausting manual work that could take many hours. 

Repairs to sub floor (screeding):  Allow £10⁺ per m².  These days, it is more common to have a raised access floor in an office, but many are still concrete with a screeded finish surface.  If the screed is cracked or crumbling (if the old carpet tile is stuck too firmly to the floor chunks of screed will often break off and become attached to the underside of the tile as it is pulled up) then it will need to be repaired with latex self-levelling screed which we mix and pour over the affected areas. This is not cheap stuff, and although there are rapid setting varieties, it is most likely that we’d need to wait until the following day before starting the carpet fitting – which in turn means a potential disruption to the work. With raised access floors, it is less likely that we’d need to carry out repairs, but bear in mind that we may still encounter problems with old carpet tiles that won’t come up easily and which leave some of the backing behind on the surface which will need to be manually scraped off. 

Elaborate patterned designs with multiple colours of tile, inlays and/or herringbone style and boarders:  Allow an additional £2-£10 per m² dependent on complexity.  There are 2 factors here. Firstly, it can be extremely labour intensive (and much slower) laying an elaborate design. Secondly, there is likely to be more wastage with unusable off cuts so you may end up purchasing more carpet tiles than you would with a straight forward fitting.   If we simply fit a different colour of carpet tile within different rooms, but they are all a uniform colour within each room, or if there is an occasional different coloured tile inserted randomly within an otherwise uniform format, then it is unlikely to increase the cost, but where we need to get into specific design layouts the cost is likely to increase. 

Fitting around and under furniture:  Allow typically an additional £3-£6 per m² dependent on complexity. If your office is occupied it is most likely that there will be all manner of desks, chairs, cupboards and other furniture that we would have to work around. Not only that, but we’d also have to remove the existing carpet tiles and dispose of them.  Sometimes we can shift the furniture out of the way, other times we have to have people lifting whilst others slide carpet tiles underneath, and on other occasions we have no choice but to partially or completely dismantle and then re-assemble certain items of furniture in order that we can carry out the task.  This slows the process down considerably – often it would take at least twice as long as it would if there was no furniture to move, and we would usually need additional hands to ensure the work can be completed.  We’d also need to consider how much of the space we could realistically complete whilst your staff have vacated the office (perhaps weekends) so it’s possible that it may not be possible to complete the project in one session, but instead it might need to be phased over a number of separate visits.   

I Hope you have found this useful. Yes, of course there are scenarios where you’ll get the whole project done for less, but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. A building landlord, for example, might want to make an office space reasonably presentable for re-letting and it is quite normal to fit the cheapest carpet tiles available,  on the basis that the new tenant is very likely to change them out for something much nicer anyway. Or, as a condition of dilapidations, you might want to do the same yourselves and choose a very low cost carpet tile that you wouldn’t otherwise opt for if it was for your own use.  

But broadly speaking, allow a reasonable budget and take good advice because with reasonable maintenance (regular vacuuming and occasional cleaning) a decent range will continue to look good for a number of years where as a low cost (but not necessarily that much lower in cost) will probably start looking very tired after only a few months. 

 



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