View Full Version : Sliding a Safe

January 30, 2013, 08:54 AM
How hard is it to slide (not walk) an 800lb safe(RSC)?

I want to put one in a place that is only a few inches wider and a couple inches taller than the safe. So using PVC, dowels, balls, etc won't work unless they are about 0.5" thick and stay under it permanently.

That leaves sliding it. I have no comprehension of what sliding 800lbs is like. What am I getting myself into? Is there a good material I can put down on the floor to slide better? Maybe some of that white plastic laminated plywood?

Any suggestions?

January 30, 2013, 09:36 AM
What kind of floor? Not that I have the answer,but it a place to start.I have pushed Bridgeport Mills across smooth concrete myself.Your safe mfgr may have ideas.I bet there is some cushion of air solution but I do not know what.
I wonder if it would slide easy if you laid down a flat piece of maybe 12 gage steel in the space,slid it steel on steel.Or a couple chunks of angle iron,like sliding it into a rack.Seperate them to correct width by welding a flat strip across the backside,to go against the baseboard.Could be you could get it started in on those.You would be sliding steel on steel on the outer edges of the safeIt would leave you with a small airgap under the center portion of the safe.

Just raw brainstorm ideas,maybe they will trigger a good solution.

January 30, 2013, 10:18 AM
Any kind of floor. Currently its concrete, but I have to build it up with something about 2" so it clears a water line. I was planning on using drywall to raise it up so it can provide insulation too. I can put whatever I want on top of that.

I am really starting to like the idea of putting down some white plastic laminate. That should be slippery. If its not good enough, I could also grease it with some silicone grease. That would be cheaper than steel.

The other thing I am trying to decide is whether to get a 30" wide safe that will fit beside that water pipe, or a 39" that would hang over the water pipe. I am a little worried about not having easy access to the pipe should it develop a leak. It's a 1/2" supply line to a spigot on the other side of the wall. It comes out of the slab right where I need to move the safe. I am planning on putting a 90deg angle right where it comes out of the slab an run it along the floor to a new location. That is why I need to elevate the floor a couple inches, to make room for that.

January 30, 2013, 10:33 AM
I haven't tried it myself, but I was told the poor-man's safe dolly is golf balls and a hula hoop:

-put a bunch of golf balls into a hula hoop on the floor
-tilt the safe back
-slide the hula hoop under the safe
-roll safe

It seems to make sense to me.

January 30, 2013, 10:40 AM
Golf balls and similar tricks won't work.

The space is only a couple inches taller than the safe. So golf balls (even if they do fit) will be permanently stuck under it because there won't be room to rock the safe up to get them out.

It has to slide into place. Anything under it is there to stay.

January 30, 2013, 10:43 AM
Sorry - I didn't catch that on the first read. How about really small ball bearings? Although I don't know what would be a good containment hoop for them - take a piece of refrigerator water line coupled end-to end?

Perhaps you would then have enough room to slide them out by pulling on the hoop afterwards.

January 30, 2013, 10:50 AM
a couple of strips of of 1/8 or 1/16 white plastic will work as runners. Make them long enough to get a good grip on with a line or vice grips in order to remove them.

If you have an opposing wall within a reasonable distance, you can set a 2x4 on edge against the opposing wall, then use a bottle (hydraulic) jack to push a 4x4 against the safe. It will be tedious, but you can do it.

You can do it this way w/o runners, but might scar the flooring.

I wouldn't put drywall under the safe. If it's sitting on flooring over concrete, you won't have fire exposure there. The drywall will come apart over time with the weight sitting on it.

Edit--just reread the bit about the water pipe. DON'T put the safe somewhere you will have to move it to work on the pipe. The universe is constructed in such a way that this will cause you to need to move the safe repeatedly.

Mike Irwin
January 30, 2013, 11:02 AM
There are "slide pads" that you can get at Home Depot or Lowes that will take heavy weight and which do an amazingly good job at allowing you to slide large, heavy objects.

"I was planning on using drywall to raise it up so it can provide insulation too."

There's an even bigger reason not to use drywall...

If it gets wet, drywall will hold moisture against the bottom of the safe and can, over time, rot it out.

You want something impermeable between the floor and your safe. A thickness or two of vinyl flooring is an excellent option.

Or, you can just leave it on the slider pads and you'll have some air space between the floor and the safe.

F. Guffey
January 30, 2013, 12:00 PM
Ask about ‘roller lifts’, something like a tall hydraulic jack that comes in two pieces and are attacked to each end and or sides, complete with wheels. The two pieces are secured together then used to raise?

“but I have to build it up with something about 2" so it clears a water line’

I would set the safe down on steel pipe laid on both sides of the water line, rather than use the pipes as a roller I would push the safe across the length of the pipe, then there is plywood or masonite board, rent or purchase to protect the floor.

Then there are Johnson bars, long handle for leverage with a wedge in front of the axle, some refer to the ‘J’ bar as a mule.

Many years ago I was sent out to move a string of box cars, getting the cars to move was one thing, stopping them was another matter.

There are grand piano ‘dollies’ something like a plate with three wheels, one goes under each of the 3 legs, again, protect the floor with plywood and or masonite, avoid sudden stops, and carpet, anything that offers resistance to rolling with stretch carpet, you can do a good job on the safe, after setting the safe it will be time to tighten the carpet.

F. Guffey

F. Guffey
January 30, 2013, 12:04 PM
Forgive, do not leave rollers and or wheels under the safe unless it is in the basement, with at least one flight of stairs to defeat before getting it to street level.

F. Guffey

January 30, 2013, 12:49 PM
My safe is in a restricted area (an alcove). I pulled it out once to paint the floor, so I've had the pleasure of installing it twice!

In both cases I removed the door. On my safe it's just a matter of opening the door and lifting it off the hinge pins. No big deal.

To move it I tilted it over at 45° and "walked" it right into the alcove. It was surprisingly easy SO LONG as I kept it on its balance point! The safe didn't get away from me, but if it did, my contingency plan was to GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!

The second time I installed it, I slid it in on "Moving Men" furniture slider pads. The pads only lasted through the one job as I had them way overloaded. But they did the job. And I was actually able to remove them using a Porta-Power and toe jack. I rented the Porta Power for another job, and had it for the day, so it was handy.

When bolting the safe to a concrete floor, my recommendation is using Hilti anchors instead of Red Heads. Red Heads leave the stud protruding above the floor -- so good luck ever getting that safe back out. The Hiltis are sub-grade, so when you remove the bolts/studs it's like they were never there!

Mike Irwin
January 30, 2013, 01:04 PM

Good plan. :p

January 31, 2013, 09:46 AM
I won't be able to tilt it or remove the door. Final measurements show I will have 1" clearance above the safe (after building up the floor) and 1" clearance on the width. It's a snug fit! That is why I am worried about sliding it.

I cant take the door off because I don't think there is enough room to put the door back on. It won't open all the way once in place. I assume it must be at least open 90 degrees to get back on the hinges.

Good argument against drywall, I might stick with wood and a water barrier of some sort.

I think my current plan for sliding is to put down some white board and lube with graphite. That should make it pretty darn slippery and can be left under it.

Jim Watson
January 31, 2013, 11:25 AM
I'd see if those As Seen On TV sliders worked.

As F Guffey says, any sort of moving aid left in place is an aid to thieves.
If you can't get your slide out, you really should bolt the safe down when in place.

January 31, 2013, 11:55 AM
Those sliders are great for furniture, but are pretty flimsy. I'm sure they would crack under a safe.

That is essentially what the white board would do... provide low friction interface between the safe and floor. Plus it can be left under it. Yes it will be bolted down.

January 31, 2013, 11:58 AM
What is the general consensus on whether it's doable to slide a 900lb safe straight back into a hole with only a half inch of clearance on either side?

Should I try? Or should I just get a smaller safe?

January 31, 2013, 01:27 PM
Those sliders are great for furniture, but are pretty flimsy. I'm sure they would crack under a safe.

If you had enough of them (maybe a dozen or more) the weight on any one of them may not be enough to damage it. Some of them are 2-3" in diameter for heavy furniture. Also, if possible you might try removing the door of the safe to lighten it some.

Should I try? Or should I just get a smaller safe?

I think it would be worth a try if that's the spot you have picked out. That safe's way heavier than a fridge though (200-500 lbs), so be careful. I helped move an average sized gun safe this past summer and it was quite a load for 4 guys and a heavy duty dolly. We had to build a ramp just to get it into the house. I think professional movers have better transport mechanisms for safes.

January 31, 2013, 01:55 PM
I moved a similar sized safe by sliding it on 3/4 inch sanded plywood. I did not use any grease or anything because I did not want it to end up on the floor in a spot where I needed to push. It was hard enough without having to worry about slipping and falling on my rear end. I had to walk it and slide it to get it to move. The 1/2 gap might prove challenging, but I imagine you can work it in there. Now getting back out again, if required, might be a tad more difficult. I moved mine by myself, I would not suggest that ;)

January 31, 2013, 02:46 PM
Are the bottom of safes generally flat to the floor or do they have feet? I have a new 410lb safe in the box in my garage and I was just wondering myself what to put under it to slide it into a closet. I figure I could put a number of sliders under it and could use more than four if it is just a flat surface.

Bill DeShivs
January 31, 2013, 04:00 PM
A drywall floor will probably compress under the weight of the safe.

January 31, 2013, 07:37 PM
I don't think you'll need to build up the floor to clear the water pipe.

1) Measure the distance from the top of the existing concrete floor to the top of the water line + 1/4".

2) Buy a 72" long section of squared-off 4" wide, "U"-shaped angle iron - which will be cut in half (36" each), with one half placed (front-to-back) on each side of the safe cavity.

3) Cut the sidewalls of the angle iron so that the 4" wide top flat towers 1/4" above the height of the water pipe.

(Notches for the waterpipe would need to be cut into the angle irons in order so they can straddle the waterpipe.)

4) Use plastic sliders and a couple of beer-crazed friends/relatives to tip the back or the (empty) safe on to the angle irons (now converted to a pair of rails) & slide that puppy home.


ohen cepel
January 31, 2013, 07:56 PM
I would try the furniture sliders, lots of them, plus they thin enough you can still bolt it to the floor with them under there. Also, good idea to have a gap under the safe so moisture doesn't build up under it and rust the bottom out.

A small gap under it is also good to run a power cord in if you have a dry-rod.

January 31, 2013, 11:44 PM
I used the heavy duty furniture sliders when I moved my safe. I got the 3in ones which support several hundred pounds and just used one on each corner. Now I wasn't sliding my safe around on concrete but instead on a hardwood floor and I only slid it a total of 5 feet. I left the sliders under my safe to give it a little ventilation underneath it.

M3 Pilot
February 1, 2013, 09:26 PM
you might want to try rollling it on sections of PVC pipe

February 2, 2013, 09:37 AM
a REALLY cheap solution for sliding furniture is cardboard. I've slid a fair amount of really heavy , awkward, stuff with cardboard.

Sadly , it seems to work best on carpet. But it will work on concrete too.
The big challenge for the OP at this point is to get some cardboard under it.

Believe it or not. I've used it before. I've moved a lot of stuff by myself using it. And I'm old...

Think Newtonian physics. Friction.. Break the adhesion and keep it moving.

double bogey
February 3, 2013, 01:49 PM
Are you going to build up the concrete over the pipe? Or could you relocate the pipe. Trying to picture this. If you have smooth concrete, you will be suprised how much you can move on several pieces of 3/8" dowel, or even threaded rod, and at 1" clearance I would think you could get it out.

February 3, 2013, 05:50 PM
Ice rods...freeze water in sections of PVC and push them out the end. Make enough to do the job ahead of time. Lay them out, roll across them and leave them in place. They will melt, safe will be on the floor, nothing to have to remove and the little bit of water left will evaporate and dry up.

Seems it would work fine...

February 3, 2013, 06:10 PM
Ice rods...freeze water in sections of PVC and push them out the end. Make enough to do the job ahead of time. Lay them out, roll across them and leave them in place.

Nice theory but it wouldn't even come close to holding the weight of a safe without crumbling.

February 3, 2013, 06:12 PM
I too have used cardboard to move some very large heavy objects, several others and myself moved a safe door that weighed in excess of 1000 lbs. by placing a path of cardboard then sprinkling cornmeal on top of the cardboard, placing a cardboard piece under the door and pushing it along the path.

February 3, 2013, 06:31 PM
get some 1/2 inch black pipe, like used in the natural gas line for the home. lay they down across the open area and just roll them in. leave inplace as it would allow movement when (not if) it has to come back out.

Good luck!

February 3, 2013, 08:32 PM
I can guarantee you the 1/2 inch pipe will leak, and you will have a major problem. It is called Murphy's Law.

February 4, 2013, 10:16 AM
Wedge a wood shim under safe and lift with a flat
bar raise one corner at a time, just enough to get
a small craftsman socket underneath. Repeat other
corners and roll away. If moving long distances replace
A socket as needed. I have done this many times
If floor is finished you need 1/8 inch steel plate strips
Good luck

February 4, 2013, 11:48 AM
get a small craftsman socket underneath. Repeat other
corners and roll away

Metric or SAE?

February 4, 2013, 01:20 PM
"Use the Force, Luke"

February 9, 2013, 09:44 AM
If you use enough ice rods, it would work.

They'd be destroyed in the process of course, but that is part of the solution.

Imagine instead that you froze 1/2" of ice in a solid sheet, put the sheet in place and slid the safe across it into position.

It'd work *once*.

February 9, 2013, 09:50 AM
Slides easily enough on Carpet.

I just paid $400 to move my 1200lber about 20ft to the garage and will have to do another $400 to get it back in, in a few weeks.

number 9
February 14, 2013, 04:49 PM
The 1/2" or 3/4" black steel gas pipe as mentioned above will work. You will need a min of three, one @ back one about 3/4 toward the front and a pivotal one to reposition as it rolls back.

I have used this method to move full chest type freezers as well as getting washers and dryers out of tight spots without damaging the floor.

Hope this helps

February 18, 2013, 03:16 PM
I had a Liberty safe delivered last year. The guys slid it from the truck into my master bathroom, over concrete, wood floors and carpet. They put the safe within 1" of the wall couldn't get any closer because of the baseboard. What they used was strips of what looked like kitchen cutting boards (white plastic like stuff about 1/2" thick and in various sizes that you can buy at Wally World) that was covered by what looked like black rubber to keep the safe from moving off the slick white plastic while it was sliding over the different surfaces. He said they made their own by cutting the plastic cutting boards and stacking pieces together until they had about 3 or 4 thicknesses and about 2" wide, these were held together with counter sunk screws and nuts. Both ends were tapered like skids. He didn't say what they used for the black rubber(?). The two movers just put the moving strips end to end and pushed/slid away. When they were off the one set, they just stopped and put the strips/skids at the end. This continued until the safe was where I wanted it. Worked pretty slick (pun intended) and they just rocked the safe to pull the moving strips out from under the safe. I guess if you are moving a safe for yourself, you could leave the strips in place. I hope this helps and gives you some ideas

February 18, 2013, 04:24 PM
Harold -

Did you have any step-up thresholds to get over? How do they negotiate those?

February 19, 2013, 09:50 AM
I moved my safe into my house myself. I could not find my sliders and my wife give me 4 paper plates that I positioned under each corner and away I went. Simple. It was on carpet too.


February 19, 2013, 11:33 AM
Only thresholds I had was where it changed from carpet to hardwood. They just made sure to stop the movement before the threshold and put the next slider/skid over the threshold where the skid/runner end wasn't on the threshold, it was more toward the center(I hope this is clear). After reading my first post, I noticed I have it all upside down. Literally. The plastic on the skids went up allowing the safe to slide on the runner/skid. The rubber(if that is what it was) went down on the carpet/hardwood and provided enough friction (I guess) to keep the runner from moving. The safe slid on the white plastic not the rubber. Two guys moved the safe, one pushed and all the second guy seemed to be doing was make sure it didn't get pushed over. They slid the safe sideways, with the door pointing in the direction the safe was going.