Installation of tatami mats can be extremely simple. However, in some cases more preparation is required.
(If you have come to this page looking for how to lay out your tatami mats – ie the pattern for layout - please visit our page “tatami mat layout page”.)
Basic installation of tatami mats.
Tatami mats are heavy and they will usually stay put wherever you put them on your floor. This means that installation can be as simple as placing the tatami where you want them.
If there is a lot of movement on your mats because of the way you use the room (perhaps they are in a kids playroom or the mats are used for exercise) the mats may shift over time. In this case you have two basic choices: you can simply push them back in place, or, you can make a simple frame to hold them in place.
Making a simple frame
It is quite simple to make a basic frame to hold your tatami mats in place. We recommend using “quarter round” or similar trim molding - available at any Home Depot or store where you can buy wood. Just make sure that the trim you buy does not stick up more than the depth of the mats (about 2.2 inches).
Simply cut the trim to the length of your mats and nail into the subfloor in a square or rectangle that runs along the edge of your tatami mats. The molding with stop the tatami mats from moving.
If your subfloor does not allow you to nail into it (perhaps you are placing your tatami on tiles), you will need to glue the molding in place using a glue recommended by professionals for your situation.
What if the tatami mats do not fill the space that I have – what are my options?
If you are trying to fill a room with tatami mats and you find that your mats do not cover the area completely, you have two basic choices:
Order custom size mats that fill the space (see our page on custom orders), or
You may want to build a raised box to fill in the gaps that remain in your room.
For example, perhaps your mats go to within six inches of your wall, but you do not want to have that six inch gap. You can build a frame that is six inches wide, 2.2 inches high (ie the same height as the tatami mats) and the length of your tatami mats. If you finish the frame with a nice wood surface it can look quite elegant at the edge of your tatami mats and make the room look finished.
What kind of flooring can I put my tatami mats on?
Tatami mats can be put on most surfaces without any issue. The main caveat is that the tatami mats should not be put in a room or on a floor with high humidity or any dampness at all. Because the mats are made of natural materials, dampness can lead to mold issues over time.
Wooden floors are ideal simply because they are flat and it is easy to create a seamless tatami layout. They are also good if you need to build a frame and fasten the frame into the wood floor.
Most other “hard” floors also work well whether this is a ceramic tile, porcelain tile, “faux” wood tiles, etc. It is harder to fasten a frame to a tile floor but can be done with glue.
Low pile carpets can also be a base for tatami mats – the only change you might feel is more give in the mats when you use them which can be fine depending on your use. It may also be slightly harder to push the tatami mats tight together depending on the depth and movement of the carpet.
High pile carpets are not perfect because there can be movement in the mats and they are not as sturdy as they would be on a solid floor, and they will shift and flex. Apart from this, there is no other reason that you cannot put tatami mats on a high pile carpet.
Make sure you have someone to help you when it comes time to moving the tatami mats. Each one weighs 69 pounds and are hard for one person to maneuver.