CarpetDIY, based in Dalton, Georgia, is bringing innovation to soft surface with the launch of machine-washable Luxury Carpet Tile (LCT).

“What we’re all seeing is that carpet category has lost share over the years, but there is still a lot of carpet being sold,” said CarpetDIY President Karel Vercruyssen. “Everything has gone modular—sheet vinyl went to vinyl, and vinyl plank. Commercially, most everything has gone modular, and we’ll see where carpet goes.”

While a number of manufacturers have invested in product development for modular carpet products—Engineered Floors with Smart Squares, Mohawk with Air.o and Shaw Floors with Floorigami—Vercruyssen said he saw an opportunity that no one had pursued yet. 

“When I looked at those products, I was thinking, ‘How can I bring all of their strong points together in one product and maybe add a couple of features that are missing?’” Vercruyssen said. 

LCT is based on three elements of innovation. 

The first element is the construction. The carpet tiles are made of solution-dyed polyester yarn, which makes it stain and soil resistant, and completely washable—in a washing machine. Water does not affect the physical characteristics of the backing or the fiber. In fact, LCT can be machine washed up to three times and still look like new. Liquids spilled on the tiles will also not soak through to the subfloor, Vercruyssen said. 

The second point of innovation is the size of the tile. LCT tiles are sized at 24 x 40 inches and come six tiles to a box—the perfect size to fit into most car trunks. “The box weighs 20 pounds and is much easier to handle than those huge, heavy carpet rolls,” Vercruyssen said. An average size bedroom can be completed with about four boxes of LCT, he added.  

The third point of innovation is the installation. “We use a glueless installation system, which makes it easier for a consumer to install,” Vercruyssen said. 

The tiles use a patent-pending installation system called “FriXion Pads” that allow the carpet to stick to the subfloor firmly without glue or tack strips. The technology is also easy to use when it is time to clean or replace.

“This makes for a very easy installation that anyone can do,” Vercruyssen said. “The bigger pieces are still easy to handle, quicker to install and show fewer seams. It also allows the product to be lifted and re-installed—whether you want to clean it or if you live in a downtown apartment and you want to take it with you.”

The collection comes in 10 colors and sold online in 35 and 60 ounces. 

CarpetDIY has done a soft launch of the product through three retail business: Atlanta Flooring Design Center, Flooring Attic Outlet, and the online flooring retailer, Drop & Go Floors. These three businesses sell LCT under the name EZ Lay Carpet Plus. 

“It’s been about 60 days since we launched, and in the last 30 days is where it’s really begun to take off,” said Justin Atcheson, custom builder and retail sales manager, Atlanta Flooring Design Center, which has 10 brick-and-mortar locations. “We have gotten some really great feedback from the consumer. It's kind of cool when you ship a product out and people actually call you back and affirm how happy they are with the product.”

Who’s buying the product? Atcheson said parents, pet owners and seniors who are carpeting basements and bedrooms. The team has had success promoting the product through Pinterest and recently received some media attention with a video on Fox & Friends.

Vercruyssen said he also sees opportunity for the multifamily market. Customers can order samples online, and once they place an order, receive the flooring in just a few days. 

“LCTs are competitively priced and so easy to install so you can save 35%-40% versus a traditional carpet installation,” Vercruyssen said.

What’s next? Vercruyssen said CarpetDIY continues to bring new retail partners on board and he is also in talks with larger flooring distributors. 

“I’m not in a rush,” Vercruyssen said. “We’ve gone step by step and I want to do it properly. I’d rather have the product be very successful three years from now rather than fail in 12 months. We can ensure every step is the right step.”