Digital nomad born in New York but currently living online, Eva knows everything there is to know about packing and moving.
How to Move a Piano – All You Need to Know
As difficult as it may seem, learning how to move a piano is not a mission impossible. Given the value of pianos, it’s better to hire professional movers to help you with this adventure, whether or not you’re moving alone to another state.
If you opt against using professionals to move your piano, every good friend becomes a potential mover of heavy items.
The same goes for any fragile or delicate items, like dishes, glasses, paintings, and similar items that are not on the list of unwanted items to donate. But if you are on a strict budget and can’t afford professional movers or you just want to do it yourself, there are steps to follow to do it right. Of course, moving the piano from one room to another is relatively simple, but carrying it up the stairs to higher floors is quite a task, so let’s take a look at some packing tips and tricks to help you avoid common moving mistakes and get the job done.
It’s Easy to Forget to Measure, But It’s Critical for Success
A piano is one of the largest items in every home. As such, before moving it, you have to be sure that it can reach the truck undamaged. Assuming it can leave the house at all. We understand if this is giving you anxiety about moving out and additional moving stress, but there’s always a way. Besides measuring the instrument itself, you have to measure the width and the height of doorways, stairways, and hallways and every space in your present and future homes where you need to maneuver it, especially if you’re moving into a smaller home. So keep that in mind when house-hunting. Also, leave all doors open and remove all furniture on the way. Remove the rugs and protect the floors.
Since this instrument is a bulky item, relocation will require a lot of space. You have to clear all potential obstacles from the path along which your item will be transported, including plants, decorative objects, or rugs. Also, if you are moving with pets, make sure they are locked in another room. This is true whether you are relocating with cats or dogs. Cats and dogs can damage your items or get hurt during the process. Small children should be looked after. These moving tips are essential not only for the protection of your instrument but also for your family’s safety and preservation of other furniture in the house.
You should take measurements and make a plan before you move your item from your home.
Necessary Steps to Prepare the Piano for Moving
Getting the right moving equipment is the first step. You can either buy or rent professional gear, as well as use some alternative materials to reduce the costs. The instrument must not be rolled on its casters as even the metal ones are delicate and might break, leading to significant damage. If the legs can be separated from the piano, do it. Close the lid and lock it, making sure it is secure, but do not tape it as you may damage the wood surface. You can use masking or electrical tape instead. Wrap all the parts, including the base, and then secure them with tape.
Pianos are heavy and should be moved upright, and know that grand ones should be disassembled, too
Cover the Keyboard and Secure the Lid
The keys of a keyboard are delicate and they must be protected by closing and locking the lid. If the lid cannot be locked, bind it together with the instrument and tape it. That way you’ll prevent the risk of damages and hefty repair price.
Use Moving Blankets to Protect the Piano
Moving blankets are perfectly designed to protect the delicate surface and its parts. They are thick enough to absorb the bumps and serve as a cushion between the instrument and tape which is wrapped around for protection. The corners are particularly exposed, so pay special attention to wrapping them and securing with tape.
Tips for Getting Ready
The problem with pianos is that they are very heavy and have many delicate parts inside that are standing on thin legs. So the strategy for moving and packing is based on keeping the right balance to distribute the weight evenly. Even if you protect it from scratches with protective blankets, there are internal parts that can get loose during the relocation process. Since there is a real danger of injury, being careful is essential. You can also get moving insurance for valuable pieces like this one. In case you do, don’t forget to create a photo inventory.
Take every good step needed to move the instrument safely, and also remember that grand one is always moved upright.
Tips for Getting Proper Moving Supplies and Materials
To protect the instrument and people carrying it from your home, you must obtain proper packing supplies. Go to the hardware store and get a lot of blankets and plastic wrap. But if you want to improvise a bit, get:
thick towels and regular blankets
plenty of tape
a four-wheel furniture dolly and its straps for basics
a ramp for loading and some tools
With proper moving supplies, you will be able to protect your instrument and all your other belongings.
If you live in a multistoried house, you should also acquire or make a piano skid board. That piece of equipment serves for taking the instrument down the stairs. Putting it in an upright position on board will ease the taking of a truly heavy item out.
Wrapping the Piano
When wrapping an upright piano, first wrap the keyboard, secure it with tape and then proceed with wrapping the pedals, the front, the back, and the sides. For additional protection, secure every individual part with lots of tape.
Grand pianos are more complicated and it is advisable to leave them to professional movers. However, if you must do it yourself, get plenty of help. Start with lowering the lid and securing it so it does not open. Disassemble the pedals and legs with a screwdriver and wrap them separately. When lifting the instrument, make sure you are all coordinated. Wrap all the sides with blankets and secure them with tape.
Don’t Try to Move the Instrument Without Equipment – Use Ramps and a Dolly
Ramps and dollies are your best friends when it comes to moving pianos. When placing the instrument on the dolly, make sure it is centered and secure it with straps or strong rope. When going downstairs or upstairs, use ramps to facilitate the process, but keep it slow. When loading the instrument onto the truck, again push it up the ramp.
You'll need proper equipment for the move, you'll need a dolly, and lots of tape and straps, and you'll be using skid board for stairs.
How to Move a Piano – Step-By-Step
To maintain balance, the movers have to coordinate the lift on all sides and place the furniture dolly under it. There needs to be at least four of you, two for lifting and two for handling the gear. You all have to be dressed in comfortable clothing and tennis shoes, without any jewelry.
For grand pianos, dismantle the legs and pedals and then get four people to lift the base with the use of straps placed under its bottom, and then put the object onto the furniture dolly or a skid board.
Rolling the object towards the truck must be carried out in a gentle way. If there are bumps on the way, they need to be crossed over one set of wheels at a time. When rolling it up the ramp into the truck, the left side should go first as it is a little heavier. One mover should position himself at the front to guide it, and two at the back to push the instrument.
When you reach the truck, push the dolly up the ramp and load the item in the back of the truck. After that, strap it to the truck wall, so that it won’t move during transport.
Remember not to lift it at any time by the legs, as they are very delicate and keep it always in an upright position. You can cushion it with boxes or bags to prevent it from flying around inside the truck. When you move in, place the instrument in a dry part of your home, away from mold or cold air. Also, bear in mind to let it sit for a month so that the mechanism can settle before having it tuned.
During moving, whether you're using professionals or not, every mover must know his part in every step of the move.
How Much Will Moving a Piano Cost You?
If you take into consideration that a piano can cost from several thousand dollars up to $100,000, then the prices of moving it will not come as a surprise. But it will be worth it because of the sheer complexity of relocating such objects.
Depending on the service required (the size of the instrument, the relocation distance, the number of stairs, etc.) and the city standards, it may cost you anywhere from $200 to $1,000 to get the movers to do the job for you. The price may be high, but it comes with a guarantee that your valuable piano will reach its destination safely and be there to help you avoid relocation depression the minute you start playing it.