Moving a Piano: What Owners Need to Know

Posted by Gordon Bolton

Moving a piano shouldn’t be difficult, right? Although a number of people must come together to move an object of this size, the same is true of other household items. However, pianos need to be treated with care, as they are delicate musical instruments. Any damage may leave the instrument unplayable or cost a great deal to repair. For this reason, it is always best to turn to professional piano movers when relocating this item. How can the piano movers be of help? What should the owner do to prepare for the moving of the instrument, and when will this type of service be of help? These are all questions that should be answered before anything is done with this instrument.

Why You Need the Pros

The typical upright piano weighs anywhere from 400 to 900 pounds. A grand piano, in contrast, weighs as little as 650 pounds or as much as 1300 pounds. This is a lot of weight that must be handled with care and the average moving company doesn’t have experience relocating an instrument of this type.

Furthermore, a piano may be valued at only a few hundred dollars or it might be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many factors play a role in the value of the instrument, including the make and model, how old the instrument is, and what condition it is in. An owner cannot be too careful when it comes to choosing a company to transport this instrument between locations, even if the piano is only being moved to a different area of the home.

Moving a Piano Yourself is Incredibly Difficult

While a standard upright piano will typically fit through household door frames or stairways, no mistakes can be made during the process. Actually, there are times when the piano must be dismantled before it can be relocated. Care needs to be taken at every stage of the process to ensure the piano arrives at the new destination in the same condition it left its previous home. Experienced piano movers know what steps to take to make certain this is the case.

Furthermore, people often underestimate the need for additional helpers when moving a piano. Two people may be able to move a small piano, but there are times when four or more individuals might be required to transport the instrument safely. It’s always best to have too many people in this situation as opposed to too few. Professional piano movers also bring the right equipment to every job, including moving pads, slings, piano skids, and ramps. They likewise properly secure the instrument in the moving vehicle to make certain it is not harmed during transport. The average mover may not know how to move a piano properly correctly and end up hurting themselves or their piano. DIY piano moves are dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

Steps Involved in Moving a Piano

Piano movers take numerous steps before transporting a piano to ensure the instrument remains safe throughout the process. First, certain parts are removed, such as the pedal box, legs, and lyre, to make certain they aren’t damaged in the process. Once this has been done, a piano cover or heavy wrap is placed around the piano to minimize the risk of damage, and the pad is covered with heavy-duty plastic wrap. This helps keep the pad in place while minimizing the instrument’s exposure to moisture during the move.

Once the piano is fully prepped for a move, it is transferred to a dolly or piano board for transport to the moving vehicle. To ensure the instrument does not move at this time, it is secured to the piano board or dolly using a locking strap, and a hump strap is used to lift, pull, and steer the instrument from the front. A skid board may be needed to keep the piano off the ground.

Professional piano movers are trained to lift and set pianos down properly to ensure the instrument remains balanced. In the event the piano must be moved down a long flight of steps or multiple flights of steps, it will be removed from the dolly or piano board as the steps are navigated.

When the piano arrives at the moving vehicle, it needs to again be properly secured for transport. Professional movers use trucks that have fixtures built-in specifically to secure furniture straps. The piano needs to be placed against a wall in the truck, so it can be secured using the straps.

Uprights are usually placed with the front against the truck wall, and grand pianos are typically placed in the transport vehicle with the top of the piano placed against the wall. By transporting the piano while it is against a wall, the movers protect the front of the piano from damage. The back or bottom will be more at risk of being harmed if the worst does occur.

Pay attention when the piano movers carry out each step of the process. If they are not using all of these measures, ask why. They should be able to provide an explanation as to why they do things differently and provide a sound reason for the alteration. If not, they may not be the company for the job.

How You Can Prepare for the Move

Owners need to determine the route they would like the movers to take when relocating the piano. This provides the owner with ample time to remove any obstacles in the movers’ path, such as loose rugs, furniture, ottomans, and other objects that may slow or halt the process.

Additionally, the homeowner needs to take steps to protect vulnerable areas in the home that could be damaged as the piano is moved. This includes walls that have been freshly painted in anticipation of the new owner, flooring that is delicate and easily harmed, and wall hangings. By alerting the movers to these items of concern, the homeowner can reduce the risk of them being harmed as the piano is moved.

Nevertheless, there is one thing the owner should not do before the piano is moved. Delay having the piano tuned until after it has arrived in its new home. Regardless of how careful the piano movers are, the instrument will likely need adjustments following the move. Temperature changes and more can negatively impact the instrument’s performance, and tuning after a move resolves these issues. By waiting until the move is complete, the owner saves money by only having this necessary task carried out once as part of the relocation process.

When to Hire Professional Piano Movers

People often fail to call a professional piano mover until they are relocating to a new residence. However, there are other situations where professionals of this type may be of great help. Following are two times when a team of piano movers should be brought in to help the owners relocate the instrument.

Moving a piano from room to room in a home isn’t difficult or so many imagine. Add in some stairs or a narrow hallway and this process becomes more difficult. This doesn’t take into account the damage that can be done to floors, walls, and objects in the home if the homeowner and those who are helping aren’t careful. This is why many people now choose to bring in a professional team for this task, even when the piano is simply being moved from one room to another adjacent to the original location.

Another time when professional piano movers are of great help is when a person purchases a new instrument at a music store. The store may recommend a team of professionals be called in to transport the piano to the owner’s residence to ensure no damage is incurred that the store may be held responsible for. However, even if the store does not recommend making use of a service of this type, it’s still wise to do so. Nobody wants to have a new instrument arrive in the home only to find it doesn’t work as a result of relocating it.

Owners need to remember to have the instrument tuned once it arrives, as atmospheric changes can upset the delicate balance of the piano’s moving parts. The piano’s new home likely won’t be identical in terms of the temperature, humidity, and room size, and this can lead to the need for a piano to be tuned, even one that is brand new from the store.  Incorporate this into the cost of the piano and the moving service before making the purchase.

Before choosing a company to work with for this task, numerous questions need to be asked. Obviously, the owner wants to know the cost of the service, and this depends on many factors. In addition, the owner needs to make certain the company carries insurance. If the piano or residence is damaged in any way, the insurance pays to have the problem rectified. Be sure to ask if the company makes use of day laborers and what type of training employees undergo before being allowed to handle a move. This is your precious instrument and it needs to be protected at all costs. By asking questions, the owner can easily ensure he or she has selected the right company for the job.


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  • It is very useful and thanks for sharing this.

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