Trade Show Flooring, Carpet, & Tiles

Nothing completes a booth display like good-looking trade show flooring!

Trade show flooring is often overlooked, or a last minute choice, but it can really be used to play an important role in your trade show booth design. Trade show attendees spend 1 - 3 days wandering the trade show floors at a convention. Most of the aisles and even the booths have minimal thin carpet provided by the show organizer - with cement floors underneath!

That means that your attendees feet – and your own staff’s feet – are getting tired and sore after a few days. You’d be surprised how much more energy your sales staff will have if you add some rolled carpet and padding, some stylish thick padded interlocking carpet tiles, or one of our other trade show booth flooring options.

Our Quick Guide To Trade Show Floor Options

trade show plush carpet

Trade show carpet tiles – Plush

One aspect of trade show booth design that probably doesn’t get enough attention is directly underfoot: Trade Show Flooring. Exhibit flooring is a bit different than anything else you’re putting into your expo displays, because both aesthetics and ergonomics are important.

Like every other element in your exhibit design, your tradeshow flooring choice needs to be working to enhance your message. At the same time, it’s going to be trod upon by a lot of footsore people – including your own sales staff! – so comfort is a major consideration as well.

This may not seem like that big a deal, but if the show is 3 days long, standing and walking around all day is more tiring than most of us desk jockeys are used to! Your staff needs to be protected, or they’re going to get tired and not be at their best during the show. Also, you might be surprised at how many visitors welcome soft cushioned trade show floors and will spend more time chatting, just to take a break.

So, for those wondering which portable flooring option is right for your booth, let’s do a rundown of the popular options on the market, as well as some of their pros and cons. There are a lot of different directions you can take your exhibit flooring!

1) Plush Carpet

With a large assortment of colors, styles, and thicknesses, you can send any message you want with real carpet underfoot. From tight, professional office carpet to luxurious 50 oz loops cushioning your visitors’ feet, you can’t beat the real thing.

The real thing is not much more expensive than trade show carpet tiles, at least in a 30 oz weight, but is more expensive to ship. The 50 oz weight is a more expensive option, which isn’t a surprise. While it’s easy enough to unroll, especially plush carpeting tends to become quite heavy as well.

Great trade show flooring in your display is going to impress, but you’ll want to do some pre-planning first to ensure that its ongoing costs don’t end up outweighing its extra comfort factor. At the same time, if you rent carpet at a show more than twice a year, you’ll save money buying and shipping your carpet with your trade show booth.

2) Interlocking Carpet Tiles

In terms of overall comfort for cost, interlocking carpet tiles for trade shows are often your best bet. The best carpet tiles are made from thick, high density EVA foam. This construction makes the tiles easy on the feet while still creating a pleasant and colorful environment. And these higher quality carpet tiles use a single-cut for the entire tile, unlike the cheaper imported designs with the separate edge piece that needs to be attached – those separate edges are a lot easier to get loose and trip on – and they can’t be beveled, adding another way to trip up your clients.
Comfort flex interlocking trade show floor tiles - Vinyl

Comfort flex interlocking vinyl trade show tiles. 1/2″ thick, $6.99/SF

Interlocking carpet tiles have come a long way. They’re inexpensive, and also extremely light, relatively durable, and can be packed into a box not much bigger than a suitcase, making for simple and easy transportation. They’re a great all-around option when creating a comfortable environment is your goal. A wide range of colors and styles are available, making it easy to build a “carpet floor” that’s as neutral or as flashy as you want.
The newest generation of interlocking carpet tiles offer faux wood and stone finishes, as an option to carpet. They’re just as light and comfortable as before, but now can look quite a bit more professional. The new tiles also offer the ability to cut channels in the bottom of the tile, for hidden wire runs. And best of all, the best interlocking carpet tiles are thick enough to be beveled, minimizing the trip hazard.
One last fact about interlocking carpet tiles is that they are eco-friendly. Both the 5/8″ thick Comfort Tiles and the 1/2″ thick Comfortflex tiles are 100% recyclable.


3) Full Color Custom Printed Carpet

10x10 custom tradeshow flooring - display carpet with printed graphics

Use custom printed carpet to enhance the look of your branding!

When you want a flooring solution that pops, a custom printed carpet is just the thing to catch people’s eye. And if custom printing is too expensive, you don’t have to print the entire booth – you can just print an accent strip, with your logo and tag line printed in deep rich colors. This is the best option for booths that are colorful, playful, or otherwise looking to stand out.

Being only 1/8th of an inch thick, these felt floors are also incredibly light and easy to roll up for reuse. They also install in seconds, gripping securely with a rubber backing.

The trade-off is that an 1/8th inch of fabric and rubber doesn’t afford too much protection for feet. If you want to be stylish and comfortable, it’s best to pair a felt carpet with another trade show flooring solution, and use the printed felt carpet tiles as the highlight on your floor.


4) Rolled Bamboo

Bamboo has been a staple of interior design for millennia for a reason: In terms of combining lightness, strength, and portability, rolled bamboo still has a lot to offer. And, it’s a GREEN solution too!

Bamboo trade show flooring gives a familiar wooden look and feel to a booth, and it’s quite versatile in terms of lending a bit of class to a range of design styles, although it tends to clash with tech-oriented booths.

Rolled Bamboo and other wood trade show floors are more expensive, but they look like that too! If part of your sales message is that your products and your business services are substantial and well-proven and reliable, then more expensive looking trade show flooring can help convey that message.

rollable trade show flooring - flexfloor

Flexfloor Trade Show Flooring

On the other hand, there are softer things your visitors could be walking on. Are you going to be keeping them on their feet in your booth long enough that comfort could become an issue?

5) FlexFloor

A more modern take on rolled bamboo, FlexFloor is essentially giant rolls of custom printed vinyl, glued to fairly thin foam pads. Flex floor rolls out quickly and securely lays flat on the typical cement or hard wood expo flooring surfaces. It is simple to unroll and then take up later for reuse.

For those needing a tradeshow flooring option that’s light, portable, easy to handle, and inexpensive, FlexFloor makes a compelling argument. It’s less expensive than rolled bamboo, but yields a very similar look. Plus, when properly cared for, it’s good for plenty of trade shows before it wears out.

That said, it still has most of the drawbacks of bamboo flooring – it creates a neutral floor that’s perfect for a low-budget booth that still wants to look professional, but it’s not fooling anyone. It’s not that soft (you can add a foam pad underneath to improve comfort), but if you’ve got the budget, there are better booth flooring options.

6) Other Event Flooring Options

There are quite a few other more esoteric trade show booth flooring options, mostly aimed at special requirements. These include metal trade show floor tiles, great for booths and industries that include very heavy machinery or heavy products. There are raised flooring systems, which allow for complicated wiring or plumbing requirements, as well as fancy back-lighting. There are also real wood and real stone floors, for those very high end booth applications.

Always Consider Your Visitors’ Experience When Designing Your Expo Booths

Remember that your trade show display isn’t simply a mobile advertisement. It’s an interactive experience, and you should be trying to play to as many of your visitors’ senses as possible. What’s underfoot might not be the first thing they mention in a post-show survey, but it’s going to have a real impact on how they feel as they walk out.

Also remember that, even in the smallest 10×10 booth, that’s 100SF of floor – which equates to a fair amount of branding. Don’t ignore the chance to add your logo to the front of your booth space.

If you attend more than one or two shows a year, investing in your own trade show flooring and carpet will pay for itself. And with a little care, that flooring can last for years – and the care isn’t difficult. See our trade show carpet page for some more tips on selecting and caring for your trade show carpet. For a free consultation on which trade show flooring types are right for your next trade show display, just drop us a line and we’ll get in touch ASAP!