Packing and moving a piano
Packing and moving a piano from point A to point B is a serious challenge. In fact, moving a piano is one of the toughest relocation tasks. A piano’s incredible weight and size, partnered with delicate, mechanical nature makes it a dangerously tricky item to move. Damage can occur in many different ways, not to mention the injuries you can cause to yourself and your home. Pianos are incredibly sophisticated and delicate, musical instruments that require proper handling with the utmost care. Hiring professional piano movers is the safest way to move your piano, especially if you need to negotiate stairs or elevators. If you’re determined to do it yourself, then read our tips for packing and moving a piano below.
What type of piano do you own?
There are three primary types of pianos. Greatly varying in size, weight, and shape. Knowing the type of piano you own will help you to better prepare for your upcoming piano relocation.
- Spinet pianos – The spinet piano is the smallest type of piano. Its compact size is achieved by specific engineering of the key mechanisms inside. Although it is the smallest upright piano, it weighs between 300 and 400 lbs.
- Upright pianos – Considered being the most common types of piano today, upright pianos weigh about 500 lbs., but can easily reach 800lbs due to their variations.
- Grand pianos – Grand pianos are long and low, weighing up to 1000 lbs. Ranging from petite grand pianos that start at 54 inches long with a weight of 500 – 600 lbs. to standard, and concert grand pianos (the largest pianos of all) that easily extend out to 108 inches long weighing at 1000-1200 lbs. For this reason, grand pianos are rarely seen in private homes.
Keep in mind that while some pianos are possible to move on your own, pianos over 48′ high or 6′ long should always be moved by professionals!
Moving and packing equipment
You may rent the equipment needed to perform this move. Speak to a specialist at the store to help you decide what setup will be best for the size and weight of your piano.
- A moving dolly/ specially designed piano skids – An absolute must-have piece of moving equipment. You will not be able to perform a piano move without a moving dolly. Make sure the dolly is equipped with heavy-duty wheels that can handle the specific load.
- Furniture straps – Used for securing the piano in place, while giving you a much better hold.
- Furniture blankets/ Tape – thick protective blankets that will minimize the chance of damage to the piano and your home. Packing tape will allow you to properly secure blankets in place. Keep the tape from contact with the piano’s surface.
- A moving truck – Rent a moving truck from a local truck rental agency, make sure the truck is equipped with an operational loading/unloading ramp.
Prepare your piano for the move
Close the lid and lock it to protect the fragile keys. If the keyboard lid does not lock on its own, be sure the lid is closed when you wrap the piano. Don’t use tape to keep the lid closed; it will damage the wood surface.
Wrap the piano in thick blankets or special moving blankets and use packing tape to secure the blankets around the piano. This will prevent exterior and interior against accidental damage. For grand pianos (that are generally moved vertically on its bass side), you will first have to carefully lift the bass corner of the piano and remove the leg there. You will then wrap the piano and remaining legs with the detached leg wrapped in a separate blanket.
Remove the metal casters at the bottom of the piano to better control the heavy load on the moving dolly. Pianos should not be rolled around on their metal casters. The casters are just decorative and not very functional. If they jam in place they’ll gouge your hardwood floors or even tear your carpeting. Pushing a piano around on its leg casters can cause a leg to break and in some instances, all of them.
Moving the piano
One person per 100 pounds is recommended to properly handle a piano. Ensure that each of them is wearing rugged work gloves and weightlifting support belts to help prevent back injury.
When lifting the piano into position (The proper way to lift any object is to squat, maintain a straight back, and lift with your legs.), whether onto the furniture dolly or the truck, remember to not lift it by its legs because they are too vulnerable. Keep the piano in the upright position. Laying it on its side is not good for the inner mechanics. Keep in mind that larger upright and grand pianos are too heavy and bulky to be reasonably moved without tilting them onto a wide dolly. When moving an upright piano, be sure to have a lot of men power at the dolly end of the piano to support its weight as it tilt back. Grand pianos tend to be the bulkiest of all and are generally moved vertically on the skid board with the bass side down on the board. Lift the piano from the back end upward, while simultaneously lifting the keyboard end off the ground. Make sure the piano is securely balanced onto the skid board throughout the entire time. If the piano feels out of balance, stop and make any required adjustments before proceeding onward. Stop to reset your grip every few feet.
Due to their extreme weight and size, larger upright and grand pianos should always be moved by professionals! The downward-pointing end of the piano will carry even more of the piano’s overall weight on a staircase, making it much harder to maneuver than on flat ground.
For smaller pianos, proceed with caution. Bring the dolly to the edge of the top step. Push downward on the piano from the back end, raising the front wheels of the dolly. Roll the back wheels until the front wheels clear the step. Push the back end of the piano upward until the front wheels rest on the next step. Proceed slowly and methodically to minimize risk of injury.