A piano can weigh anywhere between 500 and 1000 pounds. It depends on the make, style, age, etc. of the piano you are moving. You will need to know how to move a piano if you are moving one for your own use or delivering it to someone else’s home or business.
However, before you begin you should consider whether it is easier to hire a professional service to do this for you rather than trying yourself. Although usually it is not very costly but there are situations when assistance may be required nonetheless. This article describes some basic guidelines which can help you safely move a large upright piano by yourself without assistance from professionals.
It all starts with having an agreeable place where everything can take place in peace and quiet. If you are familiar with the area it would be much easier to search for a convenient location at home or in another place where there won’t be any hindrance.
Secondly, it’s about safety. Move the piano into that room which is large enough to accommodate it without any obstacles around and without posing any danger to anyone nearby. Placing it directly against the wall will help you move around it more easily when needed. Make sure that the surface on which you are going to place it is even, or use some boards under its legs so that they could stay in the air well above the floor level. Beware of carpets, rugs or similar things which can make your task more complicated if not possible resulting in dropping pianos. Try to make a mark on the floor with a pencil right under one leg and pull and slide the piano along this line. Use boards (2’x4′ or 2’x6′) which you can place between legs while moving it.
If you are at home use appropriate covers for walls, windows etc., you should not scratch your house by moving such an instrument through doorways and halls. Another thing to consider is that if your home is too small or narrow then do not attempt to move it by yourself; seek assistance from professionals who know how to pack pianos safely. Usually they give you approximate time of arrival before their visit so this will help you plan better in advance what needs to be done before they arrive. Their help is often required when you have a much larger instrument or a piano with a missing leg.
To move a piano by yourself you will need:
- Two 2x4s (make sure they are not warped).
- Boards to go between the legs of the piano.
- Padding to place around the legs of the piano where it will be resting on boards and for extra protection around its sides. You can use old quilts or foam rubber mattress cushions for that purpose. Look at where exactly your pianos legs rest, because if there are wide gaps between them then moving them straight from one spot to another without applying any pressure would be more convenient compared to other situations. If necessary secure these areas with heavy duty tape for extra padding and protection during the move.
- A sturdy dolly to use as a moving base for your piano.
- Several people to help you move it.
- A support pole to keep the upright piano from falling over while moving it (usually if you have a lot of space around its sides, but not always.
- It is advisable that one person slide the boards under the pianos legs while another person carries them with boards between their legs on top of some kind of trolley or dolly so they won’t slip on hard flooring. When placing them on top of the dolly make sure they are not in a way where the leg would bump into them while moving.
Sweep and clear any pieces of furniture
Make sure you sweep and clear any pieces of furniture or other things which could be in your way before attempting to move it. If you need to remove these pieces then do this in advance too so that it would be easier for your helpers to get around what you have just removed from its path. Make sure that all people working with you are safe themselves too, tell them not to accidentally touch anything electrical because pianos usually have metal strings which can cause serious injury if touched by someone who does not know about their presence beforehand.
If there is a lot of space around the piano after it placed against the wall, secure it with additional straps to the wall itself. If your home is too small and narrow then you can safely take it apart in such a situation, but only if its weight will not be dangerous for people around. There are special tools designed specifically for that purpose so look into what they involve and ask experts for advice on what you should do because each piano must be disassembled differently depending on design and manufacturer.
Lack of Space
If there isn’t much space between the chair and one of the walls try moving them out of the way, get someone to help you move them without causing any damage (and only when the time is right of course). Then get people around to help you move the piano safely.
Moving a baby grand piano
When moving a baby grand piano with its legs extended then be aware that they will bump into almost anything in your way unless you make sure there is plenty of space for it to pass through. This can cause damage to both, your home and the piano itself so again, only disassemble a baby grand when absolutely necessary. If you have a lot of space around one side of your upright piano this would be easier to do but if not then take out all the drawers from it first because this will prevent them from getting jammed while being moved onto different surfaces.
Remember that pianos are heavy and awkward things to try and move by yourself, never attempt to do this without help. If there is only one person helping you get it to your new home make sure they are strong enough and safe themselves while doing it, tell them not to strain themselves by trying to carry the entire thing at once or put pressure on its sides because that can cause irreparable damage.
Beware of small things like bolts
When moving the piano, don’t forget about small things like bolts, screws and felt parts which can fall off if bumped into by accident, gather these pieces together in a (preferably lidded) box for easier storage during or after transporting. Always lift with your legs when moving around upright pianos, never bend yourself over under its weight because this could cause serious back injuries which might a long time to heal even.