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Installing Wheels and Casters on Furniture

Casters and wheels are one of the simplest ways to modify your furniture. Lowes has a large selection of household casters and wheels from Waxman and heavy duty casters from Kobalt.  They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and they can transform a table, furniture, tool box, ottoman or just about any item, so that it can easily move to where it’s needed.
A caster is just a single, double, or compound wheel that is designed to be mounted to the bottom of a larger object so that object can be easily moved.  Basic tools are all you need to install new wheels or casters.  For installation of casters you will need a flat surface on the item that you want to put them on. You will need a drill in order to drill holes for the screws. You will need a screwdriver or power drill to install the screws. When choosing caster wheels you can choose ones that only move forward and backward, lock, brake or have wheels that swivel in all directions.  Here is our guideline on installing wheels and casters and choosing the correct style.

Types of Casters:  A caster can be either a swivel or rigid frame. If the frame is a swivel type with a wheel installed, it is called a “swivel caster”. A swivel caster is capable of rotating 360°. A chair caster or a caster on the bottom of a mover’s dolly, are examples of a swivel caster. If the caster frame is rigid with a wheel installed, it is called a “rigid caster”. A rigid caster is primarily used for straight line moving, meaning forward or backward.  In most instances, both a swivel caster and a rigid caster have a wheel that is held in place between the caster frame by a bolt or axle. On a swivel caster is a swivel bearing, which allows the caster to rotate or turn 360°.  A rigid caster has no swivel bearing because a rigid caster is designed only to go forward or backward.  In addition, casters are divided into two types. Stem casters use a socket adapter, which is typically inserted into a hole in the bottom of a furniture leg. The stem of the caster then slides into the socket. Plate casters are designed to be attached to furniture or equipment with screws or bolts.

Selecting Casters and Wheels- Guidelines:
blackcasters 150x150 Installing Wheels and Casters on Furniture1. Caster or wheel style: Look at the item on which you want to install the caster and decide if you want it to simply move forward and backward by using a rigid caster or in any direction using a swivel caster. Make sure the installation area is large enough and solid for casters. . Installation spots must have a flat surface and must have sufficient surface area to hold the wheel’s top plate. Consider the weight of the object that will use the wheels.  Most product packaging will give you maximum weight for each caster. Caster wheels come in many forms, materials and with varying features. Although differing in material and style, almost all caster wheels serve the same basic purpose. Ask your local store regarding recommendations on what type of wheels would be best suited for your project.  You are buying a product which must work for you.  Properly designed wheels and casters can make or break your next project so shop and compare different styles.

2. Can you roll it fully loaded? Selection should never be made on the basis of capacity alone. Capacity ratings are generally based on use over smooth floors ideal conditions. Are you moving the item over carpet or wood? Will it be moved frequently or very little? Basically, the smaller the wheel, the harder it is to push.  Your conditions are almost never ideal, so you many want to select a wheel or caster with a higher weight limit.  This will provide you with a larger wheel that will be easier to move.  Most caster wheels are only easy rolling if you do not exceed the load capacity and only if the floors are smooth. They are not easy rolling when loaded to their full rated capacities.  As long as your loads do not exceed the rated capacity, your caster selection means you will have the benefit of easily moving the item from room to room.

3. Floor Protection:  On wood and other smooth floors, where scratches are a concern, always use some kind of rubber. Rubber is the best for floor protection and noise reduction, but the worst for load capacity. Thermoplastic rubber wheels go some way to overcome this limitation as  they will carry more weight than other rubber compounds. Casters designed for use on hardwood floors using a soft tread such as neoprene, soft rubber, and thermoplastic rubber are available. Carpet casters featuring a hard tread can be used on carpet or protective floor mats. Casters with nylon wheels are also suggested for carpet. This caster is also recommended for office chairs which roll directly on carpet.

stemcaster 150x150 Installing Wheels and Casters on Furniture4. Attachment: There are many ways to attach a caster to a piece of equipment. The most common means is a mounting plate.  Most mounting plates on casters contain four holes used to bolt or screw the caster on. The other way to attach a caster to equipment is stem mounted.  A rubber or metal stem is inserted into a tube on the furniture, or a threaded stem into a tapped hole and held in place with a lock nut.  A typical piece of equipment supported by casters has either four swivel casters or a combination of two swivel casters and two rigid casters. The main purpose of having four swivel casters is that the equipment can be moved in any direction-forward, backward and sideways. This caster configuration is useful when you have to move equipment when there is little space to maneuver. When your application requires that the equipment travel in a straight line, such as down an aisle, it is easier to control the direction if there are two swivel casters along with two rigid casters.

Lowes casters from Waxman come in a variety of types, so you can get just the right casters to fit your needs. Whether your furniture or chairs roll across hard floors, carpet, concrete or chair mats, the right type of caster can keep you rolling smoothly.

    • Soft-Wheel Casters- Soft-wheel casters are ideal for use on chair mats and flat carpeting. This variety of caster allows for smooth rolling that won’t damage your floors.
    • Hard-Wheel Casters- A great hard-wheel caster provides smooth rolling on hard surfaces such as concrete and hardwood. They frequently have brakes to prevent rolling.
    • Dual-Wheel Casters- Dual-wheel casters combine the best features of the hard- and soft-wheel casters for strength and durability in a variety of circumstances. They’re an excellent choice for typical office chairs, tables or home furniture.

By Victoria Stone, Easy Expert Staff

Here’s a great introduction video on caster installation from CoolCasters.com.