If you have a tile floor and have noticed the floor around your chair is more worn than elsewhere on the floor or that there are dark flecks all over the tile, or even damage to your grouting, you may be wondering why. The fact is that you may not have the right casters on your chair. Certain kinds of caster wheels can damage your floors without your realizing it until it’s too late. But what casters are correct for each application?
If you are worried about floor damage, an easy rule of thumb is to choose a caster material that is the opposite of the flooring material; hard casters for soft floors like carpet and soft casters for hard floors like concrete or tile. If you have a tile floor, you want to steer clear of hard wheel materials like steel or cast iron, and look towards softer wheel materials like hard rubber or even polyurethane.
What casters should you never use?
While these wheels are an excellent choice for a softer flooring material like carpet, they are not suitable for harder tiled floors. The hard wheel casters on tile can actually damage the tile and cause the finish to dull in areas where they are being used. One huge sign that this is the case for you is a white, powdery residue on the caster wheels themselves. This residue is actually tile that has been ground up by the caster wheels. Extended use can cause irreparable damage to the tiles.
You also may sometimes see the particulate matter on your flooring that results from harder floors abrading nylon twin wheels. Even when the floor is undamaged this nylon residue is unsightly and difficult to clean.
At Douglas Equipment we have been in the business of quality casters and material handling equipment since 1955 and our team of expert customer service representatives know a thing or two about casters. We are confident that we can help you find the right type of caster for your special needs at a price that is affordable. Below are some casters that we would recommend for soft flooring, such as carpet, but not for a hard tile floor environment:
- Shepherd Metal Tread Ball: These casters are all metal swivel designs that are available in three sizes for dynamic load capacity from 40 to 100 pounds per caster. This is a classic caster design that is seen on many office furnishings and come in finishes of Bright Brass, Bright Chrome and Windsor Antique. However, the hard metal wheels pose serious problems for tile flooring.
- Shepherd Pacer Nylon Twin Wheel: These twin wheel casters come in two sizes taking loads from 75 to 100 pounds; come in a Flat Black, Satin Chrome, Windsor Antique, Bright Chrome, and Brass Plate finishes; and 50mm models are available with a brake if required for your application. The standard nylon wheel is a good choice over short pile carpet or over your protective chair mat.
- Shepherd Baron Series: These casters from Shepherd have double ball bearing raceways for smooth motion, and are ideal for furniture, fixtures, medical equipment and office equipment. The 2″ Model feature a hard black spherical nylon wheel, great for negotiating all heights of carpet, including deep shag. The caster raceways are heat treated for better wear, and the finish options are Bright Chrome, Metalized Brass, and Windsor Antique for a very pleasing look.
What casters would work well on tile?
We have many casters that incorporate softer wheel materials such as soft rubber, polypropylene, nylon, polyolefin or urethane. These wheel material options are excellent to keep your tiled floor bright and undamaged while still allowing smooth motion and excellent handling. It is important to note that even if you use these casters with softer wheels on carpet they will not cause damage to the carpet itself, although they may not roll as smoothly as the harder wheels listed above.
- Shepherd Soft Tread Ball: Similar in design to the Metal Tread Ball listed above this is a classic design for office furnishings of all sorts. They are available in Bright Brass, Bright Chrome, Satin Chrome, Windsor Antique and Unfinished. They also hold dynamic loads from 40 to 100 pounds, but the difference is they include a rubber tread material that is sufficient for use on hard tile floors.
- Shepherd Baron Series: These casters from Shepherd have double ball bearing raceways for smooth motion, and are ideal for furniture, fixtures, medical equipment and office equipment. The 1-5/8″ Model is soft black rubber, and heat treated for better wear, and the finish options are Bright Chrome, Metalized Brass, and Windsor Antique for a very pleasing look. Care should be taken however; while the black rubber wheel will protect your tile it can leave carbon-black marks behind. The units can even be RoHS complaint upon request.
- Albion 01 Series: These are Albion’s best-selling light-duty caster. They are versatile and are ideal for use in business machines, construction, education, electronics, food manufacturing and service, health care machinery and plastics/rubber manufacturing. The units have a single ball-bearing raceway that keeps the swivel section rotating smoothly under the load weight. Polypropylene wheels are 2 to 4 inches in diameter, which makes them work well on hard tiled floors without damaging the tiles.
- Shepherd Pacer Urethane Twin Wheel: These twin wheel casters come in two sizes taking loads from 75 to 100 pounds; come in a Flat Black, Satin Chrome, Windsor Antique, Bright Chrome, and Brass Plate finishes; and 50mm models are available with a brake if required for your application. Though the lifetime of the caster is sometimes not as long, the optional urethane tread is ideal when you’re worried about sensitive floors.
- Bassick 00 Series: These casters incorporate a dual ball bearing raceway with a high load capacity but a sleek, low profile, stylish design. They are ideal for electronic equipment, business machines, store fixtures and laboratory equipment, and include an option for a soft rubber wheel material that is ideal for hard tile flooring. They can even include a side lock brake if you wish.
Lots of Choices and Top Notch Service
If you’re unsure which casters and caster wheels best meet the needs for your specific kind of flooring and mobility needs, contact us today! We can help you find the combination that meets your needs and your budget.