How to move a piano

27th March 2017

Pianos are very heavy instruments and they are made in a way that makes them prone to dents, nicks, and scratches during transportation and relocation.

How to move a piano

At Broughton Pianos, we offer a piano removal service that includes delivery, removal, and day removal of your piano. Countless reasons may arise for you to have your piano removed, for example, if you are moving house and your removals company is not qualified to handle your instrument. Possibly you are getting carpet fitted and you need the instrument out of the house for the day.

Pianos are very heavy instruments as you can imagine. The average piano weighs just over 750 pounds, with some larger models coming in around 1400 pounds and some smaller models at around 300 pounds. They are highly susceptible to dents, nicks, and scratches during transportation and relocation due to the manner in which they are produced.

When it comes to moving a piano, a whole lot of thought should go into it.

There are many different types of piano and even the smallest ones are fairly heavy so if you are wondering how to move a piano you should take several things into consideration.

Spinet piano

Spinet pianos are the smallest pianos that were manufactured between 1930 and 2000. They weigh at least 300 pounds. It is obviously smaller than a grand piano. If you are planning on moving a spinet piano, plan the route carefully. Measure all the doors and openings and use moving ramps too. One man per 100 pounds should be enough. In order to prepare the piano, use specially designed moving blankets to protect the piano and secure the keyboard lid and spinet’s lid.

Cover the pedals and keys with their own blankets and securing each one in place. Continue working around the entire instrument until the front, back, sides, top, and bottom are thoroughly protected from damage. Thereafter, let the relocation process begin.

Large upright pianos

The upright piano is typically around 60 inches wide and considered smaller than a grand piano. A large one can weigh around half a ton while the smaller studio version is between 450 and 600 pounds. Once again, you will want to protect the piano keys and piano pedals. Cover with a blanket and tape to secure. Follow by covering the piano with moving blankets, placing them on the front, back and sides. Tape all blankets to secure them in place. Once the piano is protected with moving blankets, you and your team can safely hoist the upright piano onto the dolly. When lifting the piano, be sure to have someone on all sides of the instrument.

Grand piano

Grand pianos are considered relatively large in size as compared to another type of piano due to longer strings and larger soundboards.

To move a grand piano, take all legs off the grand piano. When taking the legs off the piano, make sure your team is in place to prevent the side of your piano from hitting the ground once the legs are removed. Wrap the lid, keys and all sides of the piano in moving blankets. Secure all blankets with tape. You’ll also want to wrap the piano’s legs and pedals in separate moving blankets. The procedure is similar, but you should be aware that these pianos weigh more and take up more space.

The safest and most convenient way to move any type of piano is to hire professional movers specialised in piano moving. Their heavyweight, large size, and specific shape make pianos difficult to move. Professional moving companies have the necessary equipment, manpower and experience to get this job done. They will make sure that the piano is perfectly secure before loading it into a moving truck. They also guarantee the safety of your precious piano so you don’t have to worry about damage or any other problems that may arise during this process.

For baby grand pianos, although smaller in length still has similar processes of relocation.

Before the Move

Prior to actually embarking on the task of moving any type of piano, several things need to be ensured.

Find the appropriate moving equipment (e.g. tape, ramp, straps, dolly etc), materials and moving company

Enlist as many helpers and piano moving professional movers as possible. You can call a company that specialises in piano relocations. or if you feel that you are capable of doing it yourself, you can enlist friends and family but make sure to exercise caution when carrying out the task.

Measure doorways, staircases and hallways. Use a tape measure to get accurate figures for your entire path out of the old building and into your new home.

Verify what size moving truck you’ll need to move a piano.

Clear the paths first

Review the path you are taking. Make sure you have a clear path to the door in the place you’re moving from and from the door of your new house to the location for the piano.

What You Need to Move a Piano

Plastic covers and moving blankets- the blankets will help to protect your piano's finish from any bumps, knocks, and scratches that might occur as it is moved. You should make sure that they are thick and non-slip so that they stay in a place where you want them throughout the whole moving process.

Weightlifting straps- to secure the piano to the dolly and in the moving truck by the straps.

Work gloves- to protect the hands of the piano movers and avoid them from being slippery. These should have rubber grips on them.

Piano dollies- this is a trolley used to transport upright pianos and other heavy objects. Despite many pianos being on wheels anyway, most of the time these are meant to be a decorative feature and aren’t as functional as one may think. A dolly will support the weight of the piano, whereas its built-in wheels will not.

Piano dolly straps- in order to hold the piano

Piano board- this piano moving tool is more commonly known as a "skid board". This board is of course padded and wrapped in cloth. These skid boards are designed to be strapped to the long edge of a grand piano then placed on the dolly for moving about.

This provides a strong flat base for the heavy awkward grand to be supported on. A "skid board" is generally made from two-inch pine and is about eight inches wide and six feet long.

Piano shoes- to protect the side of the piano when moving. These are only needed when a piano will be transported on its side.

Piano slippers- these are larger than piano shoes and are primarily used to moving a grand piano easily and securely. They come in a surfboard shape.

Tape- to hold certain things in place while you move the piano safely. It is highly advisable to use as much tape as possible provided the safety of the piano is guaranteed.

Van ramp- to aid in lifting and transport a piano in or out of the van.

Cardboard pads- to wrap the piano in and are used as a buffer between the piano and the landing's edge.

A moving van- to transport the piano over a long distance. Make sure that the van's dimensions can accommodate those of the piano being relocated. This is why it is necessary to measure the van as well as the piano. An alternative method would be going online and you can be guided as to the van requirements for your piano transportation efforts using an online calculator. You simply punch in the details and dimensions of your piano and the calculator makes suggestions for the most appropriate van for moving the piano. Most moving businesses already have an idea as to which vans would suit certain objects best, so it would be most wise to give them a ring.

Upper body strength of at least 4 people-call professionals to help with the task.

Purchasing every single one of these required pieces of equipment would certainly not be possible. hence you can rent or hire some of them. for example, you can hire a van for a couple of hours instead of buying a completely new one.

What not to do when moving a piano

Don’t skimp on help. Get as many helping hands as you can find. Do not hesitate to call us as we do Piano removal and storage, it's best to make sure your piano is moved securely with professional help.

Don’t try to lift the piano without equipment. Use appropriate equipment such as moving blankets, a dolly, ramp to name a few since pianos are heavy objects.

Don’t rely on your piano’s casters (if it has them). The casters on pianos are basically decorative items and not meant to support the weight of the piano. If you try to roll the piano on carpeting, they can rip the carpet and cause damage to the legs. On hardwood floors, you will leave scratches and grooves.

Don’t move too fast. Because of the internal components that hold the strings together, pianos are usually top-heavy (therefore high in weight) and have delicate legs. If the piano is thrown off balance, its inner workings could be damaged or it could fall and hurt someone.

How to Move an Upright Piano Downstairs?

Generally, moving an upright piano on flat ground is already an arduous task. Factor in a flight of stairs, and moving a piano can be considered almost rocket science, especially if you are not sure of what you are doing. Therefore, it would be highly sensible to consider hiring professional movers to do the job. However, if you would like to do this yourself, firstly make sure you get a couple of movers to be your helping hands.

Map out the route for moving the piano from the top of the steps to the bottom and into the moving truck. Pay close attention to turns on the stairs. Also, be sure to test the strength of the stairs in order to know whether the weight of the upright piano will be held by the stairs. Have two of the movers at the lower level to help support and move an upright piano

You will then need a ramp to be able to easily lift the upright piano in and out of the van. Ensure that the piano lid is closed securely. Then, using one or more moving blankets, cover the piano completely and secure the blankets with packing or duct tape. Get the piano dolly ready and secure the piano onto the dolly.

Roll the piano carefully to the staircase. When you get there, have your third mover join the first mover at the end of the piano that will be guided down the staircase. Take small, deliberate steps, and communicate frequently with your moving partner(s).

Move an upright piano up a flight of stairs

The same steps are considered when moving an upright piano downstairs. The only difference is that you will have two people guiding the piano up the staircase as opposed to down the stairs.

Does moving a piano put it out of tune?

The actual process of moving a piano does not put it out of tune since the strings can withstand a high amount of tension. However, the environment in which the moving took place can cause it to go out of tune. Therefore, it is wise to tune it anyways after the move or relocation has occurred.

Is it expensive to move a piano?

Moving a piano should not cause you to break the bank as they say. Hiring movers will come with a cost but that cost depends on the size of the piano and the distance to transport it to a new home. The larger models are more expensive. For example, if you’ve got a grand piano, even a baby grand piano, movers will need to partially disassemble it to carry it and get it through doorways. That comes at an added cost. If stairs are involved, the cost will also go up. You can expect to pay £600 to £1,000 locally and £800 to £1,200+ for a long-distance move. For smaller ones, it can cost roughly £350. Whether these prices are expensive or not, is all relative to the budget you have at hand. It is also easier to call up the moving company directly to find out.

If you are looking for a piano removal service and need a quote, don't hesitate to get in touch as our movers only use professional equipment and are fully insured. Call our professional team on 01562 731 113 or e-mail us at [email protected] for a tailored quote