Keys to Moving Your Piano

Keys to Moving Your Piano

Most people own upright pianos since baby grand and grand pianos take up an inordinate amount of space. Here is what you need to do to move your piano safely.

1. Know Your Piano, Route, and Helpers
  • Piano. Both large ("full vertical") and small ("studio") upright pianos are around 145 centimetres wide, except the former weigh between 180-270 kilograms with a centre of gravity at around 1.2 metres high, and the latter weigh up to half a tonne with a centre of gravity around 1.5 metres high. Take measurements.
  • Route. Clear the path to the moving truck and measure all the doorways to make sure the piano will fit through.
  • Helpers. The rule of thumb is to have one helper per 45 kg. Everyone moving the piano should have thick leather work gloves and no back problems. Even then, weightlifting support belts are recommended. Make sure you have a wide moving dolly.

2. Prep the Piano
  • Lock down the keyboard lid.
  • Wrap the piano in moving blankets (or regular, thick blankets if you don't have those) and secure them with packing tape.

3. Lift the Piano Onto the Dolly
  • Bring the moving dolly to one end of the piano, and with your helpers, carefully lean the piano back onto the dolly. If you have moving straps, place them under the piano – a strap on each side. With one person on each end holding a strap end, and another person on each end to stabilize, lift the piano onto the dolly.
  • Never lift the piano by its legs and always keep it upright.
  • Make sure the piano legs are flat on the dolly. Lock the casters in place, if your piano has them, and secure the piano.

4. Move the Piano Through Your Home
  • With as many helpers as can fit supporting the piano's weight and keeping the piano even at the dolly end, ease the piano slowly and carefully where it needs to go. Remember that an upright piano is top heavy.
  • Squat with a straight back and lift with your legs, not your back.
  • Don't let gravity do any of the "work" – you and your helpers keep the piano steady and move it along.
  • If the piano is too high to go through doorways when it's on the dolly, you and your friends lift and scoot it carefully a few centimetres at a time, then lift it back onto the dolly before continuing.
  • If anyone feels that the piano is unbalanced, this person should say, "Stop!" and everyone should gently set the piano down. Adjust the piano accordingly before continuing.
  • If there are stairs, stop at each new step, set down the piano, reset/readjust your grip, then lift for the next step. Rinse, repeat.

5. Move the Piano Onto the Moving Truck.
  • Make sure the ramp is up before the piano gets outside.
  • Walk the piano up the ramp into the truck the same way you were moving it through the home.
  • Carefully lift the piano to remove the dolly.
  • Place the piano at the back of the truck, keyboard side to the back wall. Make sure it won't move around during the move.

6. Move the Piano Into the New Place
Follow the same principles when you get to your new place.
  • Make sure your helpers know to follow you to the new place to help move the piano inside, or that you have enough helpers waiting at the final location.
  • Ensure that everyone uses the proper moving posture to avoid injury.
  • Remind everyone to clearly communicate when they need to readjust or rest.
  • Take it nice and slow - don't rush.
Pianos are heavy, cumbersome, and very valuable, so it is always recommended to hire professional removalists to move a piano for you. With their experience, the piano move will likely be more smooth and efficient than if you tried to move it with your friends. They can also identify potential problems and troubleshoot.