Whether it's for moving house, spring cleaning or kitchen remodeling, there may come a day when you need to move your refrigerator across your kitchen's tile floor (perhaps a newly installed tile floor). If you find yourself in this situation, you need to be prepared with a plan in order to not damage your kitchen floor or your expensive appliance.
Determine the Floor’s Condition
First, determine the state of the floor. If the floor is freshly tiled, refrain from moving the refrigerator across it until the mortar and grout have had plenty of time to cure. USA Tile and Marble explains that, in this situation, it is best to not even walk on the tile for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours.
Temperature also affects curing time. If you installed the floor yourself, check the mortar and grout's temperature tolerance and how they affect curing time. If a professional installed the tile, ask them for the same information. Either way, make sure the floor is fully set before using it in any way.
If you put weight on the tiles before all the materials are fully dry, it may displace the tile, creating uneven alignments in the flooring pattern, or your weight may even sink tiles below the intended floor level, creating an uneven surface.
Plan Appliance Installation
Once the floor is set, pause and plan out how to actually move the appliance and protect the floor. First, empty the refrigerator and secure the doors. Move the contents to a portable freezer or ice chest, or to several coolers. Then, use packing tape or shrink-wrap to secure the doors to ensure they don't swing open during the moving process.
Next, check the condition of the refrigerator's wheels, if it has any. Most modern refrigerators feature plastic wheels, but older models may have metal wheels or no wheels. Look under the fridge to determine their location and material.
With a partner, gently tilt the refrigerator enough to place a 2-inch-thick block of wood — the end of a 2 inch x 4 inch is fine — under the front. Test the wheels. Check for the direction they move in and whether they have good rotation. It may be necessary to apply some spray lubricant to the wheels.
Prepare the Floor
Once you have a good idea of the state of the wheels or know that you will need to take additional precautions in the case of wheels in poor condition or no wheels at all, it is time to prepare the floor. It must be cleaned thoroughly right before moving the appliance.
Compact Appliance explains that debris or dirt on the floor can create scratches on the surface when a heavy object is moved over it. In addition, dirt and grit will create more friction, making it harder to move the appliance. Make sure to sweep and wet-mop, then let the floor fully dry again so it's not slippery.
Protect the Floor
Once the floor is clean and dry, put down your protective layer. The weight of a refrigerator can chip tile, especially as it moves between tiles on the lower grout grooves. To protect the tile, place a sheet of lauan or 1/4-inch plywood to cover the entire path the refrigerator will need to travel. In a pinch, laying down a layer of cardboard will also do, but will require more caution and slower movement.
You may also want to use furniture skids or a dolly for actually moving the appliance, either of which would make the process easier and safer, especially if the condition of the wheels makes it difficult to move otherwise. Either way, be sure to put down your protective layer first, even if you're using other equipment to move the refrigerator.
Move the refrigerator slowly and steadily across the protected floor until it is aligned with its final destination. Make sure you have room to plug it in, then move it the rest of the way. Gently tilt it with a partner again to remove the protective surface you moved it on. Your refrigerator is now in place.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).