Can I Roll a Refrigerator on Porcelain Tile?

Josh Arnold

When moving a refrigerator with wheels take precautions when moving it across tile. If the tile is new, if the fridge is old or the type of wheels all play a part in how you move the refrigerator across tile.

A woman is standing by her refrigerator.

While rolling the refrigerator short distances to clean underneath it is a fairly simple act, if you need to move the refrigerator across the entire kitchen floor, lay thin plywood down to prevent damaging your porcelain tile. You can also use an appliance dolly or furniture skids to help move the refrigerator safely.

Tile Age

The age of the tile determines whether it's safe to roll a refrigerator across it. If you're remodeling your kitchen and the floor was just tiled, you should not be walking on it, let alone rolling heavy objects over it. Doing so could cause the tile to move from side to side or even sink below the surrounding tiles. Allow the grout and mortar to dry for at least 24 hours up to 48 hours after installing it before walking or moving anything across it. To help distribute the weight of the fridge over new tile, you can place pieces of 1/4-inch plywood or thin fiber board atop the floor. Roll the refrigerator over the top of the material -- rather than the tile -- to its destination.

Refrigerator Wheels

Before rolling the refrigerator over the porcelain tile, look beneath the refrigerator to find out the wheel location beneath the refrigerator and the direction they move in, and the type of material used to make them, such as metal or hardened plastic. Older refrigerators may not feature wheels, or their wheels may be made from metal. Pushing a refrigerator without wheels across tile may scratch the tile's surface. Metal wheels can also damage tile.

Conditions of the Wheels

Carefully inspect the wheels before rolling the refrigerator over the tile floor. Wheels that are cracked, have missing pieces or that have poor rotation due to bad bearings could all scratch the tile. Tilt the refrigerator back to inspect the front wheels, and then forward to inspect the back wheels before rolling the appliance. While the refrigerator is tilted, place a two-by-four block of wood underneath it to prevent the heavy appliance from dropping on your fingers during the inspection. Roll each wheel with a finger to make sure they are intact and rotating correctly. Add a spray lubricant to the shaft threaded through the wheels to make them operate more smoothly when rolling.

Careful Movement

Clean the floor of any debris that could cause the wheels to jam or to not roll properly. Gently roll the refrigerator forward over the tile. Do not push the refrigerator over the tile quickly, since the wheels will fall into the grout lines and hit the preceding tile with enough force to crack, chip or break it. Roll the refrigerator in a forward motion and not angled or sideways, which could cause the wheels dig into the porcelain tile. To cushion to refrigerator against the tile, cut up pieces of cardboard and lay them on the floor in the direction you need to roll the refrigerator. This lessens the impact of hitting grout lines and breaking tiles.