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Pianos’ size, weight, and fragility present unique challenges during a move. Whether you’re moving to a new home or rearranging your living space, knowing how to move a piano safely will help you avoid damaging the instrument and seriously hurting yourself. We’ve provided step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and answers to common questions about piano moving.
Preparing to Move a Piano
Do some prep work before attempting to relocate your piano. Take time to research the tools and steps involved, then make a plan that accounts for your personal abilities, home layout, and potential obstacles. Here are some tips to get started:
- Assess the size and type of piano: Determine whether you have a grand piano (horizontal) or upright piano (vertical). Common subtypes include spinet, console, studio upright, concert grand, and baby grand pianos. Knowing your piano’s dimensions and weight will help you and your moving team determine the right equipment and techniques to use.
- Gather the necessary tools and equipment: Buy or rent the moving supplies you need. This includes a piano dolly, moving blankets, heavy-duty lifting straps, tie-down straps, packing tape, and a piano skid board. You’ll also need tools to disassemble and reassemble the piano, including a ratchet and screwdriver.
- Evaluate potential obstacles: Inspect the path you will take to move your piano from its current location to its destination. Identify challenges such as narrow hallways, staircases, and doorways that may require more complex maneuvering or disassembly.
- Clear a pathway and use padding: To prevent damage to the piano and its surroundings, clear a wide path and use baby-proof bumpers or towels to cover corners. Move furniture that’s in the way. Lay down rugs or plywood to protect tile or hardwood floors, or use a special piano dolly with rubber wheels.
- Enlist professional help if needed: Recruit four or five people to help you move the piano, or consider hiring professionals to handle the heavy lifting. Many local and long-distance moving companies offer piano moving services, and this is by far the safest option.
Moving a Piano: Step-by-Step Instructions
Moving a piano requires patience, precision, and proper technique. Below are step-by-step instructions to help you safely transport your piano to its new home.
1. Disassemble the Piano
Assess the type and size of the piano to determine the necessary disassembly steps. Remove any removable parts, such as the music stand and pedals.
If you have a grand piano, unscrew and remove the piano legs, taking care not to damage the finish. You’ll need at least three people for this step—two to tilt the piano on its side and hold it in place and a third to remove the legs. Store screws and hardware in a labeled container.
Upright pianos generally require minimal disassembly. If your piano has casters, lock them in place or remove them to prevent unexpected movement. Ensure that any protruding or fragile parts are properly secured or removed.
2. Secure the Parts for Transport
Once the piano is properly disassembled, take steps to protect its parts during transport. Wrap the parts in moving blankets or bubble wrap and secure them with packing tape or straps.
Cover the main body of the piano with moving blankets. Then, secure the blankets with moving straps, plastic wrap, or packing tape, taking care not to apply tape directly to the piano’s surface. Ensure that all sides are protected. Close and lock the keyboard lid to protect the keys. If the lid doesn’t lock, use tape or straps to keep it closed.
Pay special attention to vulnerable areas, such as the piano’s keys, corners, and ornate details. The goal is to provide cushioning and protection from potential impacts, so ensure that each part is adequately secured.
3. Load the Piano into the Vehicle
Check the moving vehicle before loading your piano. Ensure it’s parked on level ground and is capable of supporting the size and weight of the piano.
Position the piano dolly or piano skid board under the piano, ensuring it’s centered and balanced. With the help of your moving team, carefully lift the piano onto the dolly or skid board. Ensure someone is positioned on at least two sides of the piano, with another person available to position the dolly. Keep your knees bent and your back straight while lifting to avoid injury, and use lifting straps to distribute the weight evenly.
Once the piano is secure, carefully roll it to the moving truck or pickup truck. Use a ramp if possible, or enlist additional help to lift the piano into the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, position the piano against the back wall. Secure it with ratchet straps to keep it stable and immobile during transport.
If you have to turn a piano on its side to navigate a narrow doorway or tight corner, do so with extreme care and return it to an upright position as soon as possible. Be cautious when navigating tight spaces or uneven surfaces. Even small bumps can damage the piano’s delicate internal components.
4. Unload and Reassemble the Piano
Upon arrival at the new location, ensure the area where the piano will be placed is clean, level, and free of obstacles. Carefully unload the piano from the vehicle, and roll it to its designated spot using the dolly or skid board. Be cautious when navigating staircases or tight spaces, using ramps, lifting straps, and additional help if necessary.
Gently lower the piano onto its designated surface, ensuring it’s level and secure. Reattach any disassembled parts, such as the legs and pedals, using the stored hardware. Reassemble the piano in the same order it was disassembled.
5. Clean and Tune the Piano
Once the piano is fully reassembled, remove any remaining blankets, straps, tape, or bubble wrap. Inspect the piano for any damage that may have occurred during the move, and address any issues promptly.
Changes in temperature and humidity can affect the tuning and sound quality, so give the piano a few weeks to acclimate to its new environment. Then, schedule an appointment to have your piano professionally cleaned and tuned for optimal performance.
Moving a piano is a delicate and complex task that requires careful planning, proper technique, and multiple helpers. Key steps include disassembling and securing certain parts, loading and securing the piano in the moving vehicle, and unloading and reassembling it at its new location. Make sure you have the right tools and supplies on hand to prevent damage to the instrument and its surroundings.
While moving a piano yourself can reduce moving costs, we strongly recommend hiring a professional for larger or more difficult moves. This includes long-distance relocations and situations that involve moving a piano upstairs. Professional piano movers have the equipment and know-how to ensure a smooth and safe transition for your cherished musical instrument.
How to Move a Piano FAQ
Can I move a piano by myself?
No, you cannot move a piano by yourself. Pianos are too large, heavy, and delicate to be moved by one person. You’ll need to recruit a few friends and family members for help or hire a professional moving company.
Can a piano be laid down to move?
Laying a piano down to move it is possible but not recommended. Upright pianos should remain upright, and grand pianos should be moved on their side with proper support.
How do I move a piano up a flight of stairs?
To move a piano up a flight of stairs, use a piano dolly and a ramp or lifting straps. You’ll need assistance from several people. Professional help is highly recommended.
How much does it cost to move a piano?
The cost of moving a piano depends on your moving distance, the size of the piano, and any obstacles movers will encounter. According to cost data from Thumbtack and Angi, most movers charge between $258 and $569. The average price is closer to $350 to $400.
How many people does it take to move a piano?
It generally takes three to five people to move a piano safely. This includes at least two people to lift the piano, one person to position the skid board or dolly, and one spotter.
What are the risks of moving a piano?
The risks of moving a piano include the following:Damage to the pianoDamage to other propertyInjury to the movers