How to move a piano into your house (without breaking your back). — The Creative Pianist Blog (2022)

Getting an acoustic piano from one place to another is something better left to the professionals.

This is why if you are purchasing a piano from a store or dealer and they offer a delivery option, you should take that option.

But for you brave ones determined to DIY–or if you are buying a piano from somewhere other than a piano dealership–this blog will set the scene for what to expect.

Paying for piano delivery can seem like a lot of money at the time (likely a couple hundred dollars from a piano dealer) but it will save your back and your friends backs; a lot of time, worry and hassle; and potentially save you money as well.

Some dealerships may even give you a discount on delivery with your piano purchase.

(If you are still deciding which piano to buy then check out the last blog post on Which Piano Should I Buy?)

P.S the other way to avoid moving an acoustic piano is to get a digital piano instead.

Easily carried by 1-2 people, fits in the car boot (with back seat down), doesn't require tuning and is generally less of a headache to get into your home.

See these posts on buying digital pianos and what you need to know.

JUST PLAIN HEAVY

An upright acoustic piano weighs from 130-180 kg (300-400lbs) for a smaller upright to 220-360 kgs (500-800 lbs) for the bigger uprights and grand pianos up to 540 kgs (1200 lbs)!

How to move a piano into your house (without breaking your back). — The Creative Pianist Blog (1)

That is anywhere between 2 to 8 times the weight of an average couch!

This is some serious back-breaking work even for a team of people so you need a serious professional or a seriously prepared process to get through without damage to you or your piano.

HOW TO FIND A PIANO MOVER

Many moving companies will offer a piano moving service, but this is usually charged separately to the rest of the move (if you are moving other items also) because of the additional work involved.

The first port of call should be professional piano movers that specialise in this area, they know exactly how to treat the piano so that there is no damage and will have all the specific equipment and tools necessary.

If there are none in your area, call your local moving companies or look them up online to find out whether they offer a piano moving service.

How to move a piano into your house (without breaking your back). — The Creative Pianist Blog (2)

(Video) I put Hammers on a Piano then hired Pro Pianists without telling them

Fancy a foolproof checklist to get things moving?

Add your details here and I'll send you my FREE Piano Moving Checklist (for both hiring movers and DIY moving) for you to print out and use to make moving your piano easy-breezy!

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WHAT TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR MOVERS

Whether you hire specialists or general movers there are a couple points to discuss:

Discussing insurance cover is essential.

Ask what type of cover they have as a company and whether it will cover the full cost of the piano if it is irreparably damaged.

If you aren't satisfied then you will need to talk to your insurance company to confirm you have full cover which includes it's transportation.

The specifics of the move should be discussed in detail.

What obstacles are in your home that will need to be planned for, are there stairs up or down?

Is there a thin hallway or doorway to manoeuvre through?

Are there steps, thresholds or slopes to navigate?

These things should be discussed beforehand in order to get an accurate quote for the job.

Occasionally piano movers may opt to “keyboard” a piano before moving it to make things easier for them. This involves removing the keyboard of the piano in order to fit through tight spots, let them know at the outset if you prefer this isn't done.

Price should be discussed beforehand and is dependent on the details of the move: the obstacles inherent, the distance to travel, and the weight and size of your piano.

How to move a piano into your house (without breaking your back). — The Creative Pianist Blog (3)

(Video) Piano Lesson on Improving Your Left Hand Playing

Some movers will have a flat base rate for piano moving and then charge an hourly rate, some simply a fixed or hourly rate.

To give you an idea, some quotes start at USD$100 for a small upright piano over a short distance.

If it involves stairs it would cost around USD$250. A valuable concert grand piano moved a long distance could cost up to USD$1000.

So as you can see, it ranges depending on the piano and the situation so always discuss with your mover BEFORE making a commitment and get multiple quotes from different companies.

PREPARING FOR THE MOVERS ARRIVAL

The size and weight of your piano should be disclosed in your original discussions with the movers.

If you do not know the weight of your piano you can simply tell them the model and make and they should be able to work it out from there.

To measure your piano, measure an upright height from floor to the top lid. For grand pianos measure the length from one end of the keyboard to its bow.

This information will allow the movers to calculate how many men will be required and what equipment they will need.

Make sure the space where the piano is going is free of any other furniture or items that may get knocked or be a obstacle during the move.

It's a good idea to clean the area and vacuum to avoid a dust cloud once the piano arrives and remove any unattached rugs that could be tripped on.

It's best not to have direct sunlight on the piano as extreme temperatures can warp the body, be also aware of humidity levels as extremes can cause damage over time.

DOING IT YOURSELF (For the die-hard DIYers).

The cost of moving your piano yourself should also be considered.

As well as enlisting your well-muscled friends and family to exert themselves on your behalf, there is specific moving equipment required for a safe and damage-free relocation.

A dolly and hump strap are essential for a move, it is never advised to simply get enough strong people to lift the piano off the ground and carry it as you will injure your bodies and potentially damage the underside of the piano.

Use of a dolly and hump strap allow the piano to be eased and pushed along the floor or ground rather than lifted completely.

How to move a piano into your house (without breaking your back). — The Creative Pianist Blog (4)

You’ll also need the following:

  • Work gloves

  • Tape

  • Cloth or plastic wrap

  • Padding (blanket)

    (Video) 12 Improv Strategies To Jam Out On 1 or 2 Chords Funk

  • Weight-lifting straps

  • Van ramp

  • Cardboard pads

  • At least 4 people

  • A truck or van.

If you have access to these items than DIY moving may not be expensive for you, but if you need to purchase these items (including hiring a van or truck) than you’ll see how the costs can add up.

INSTRUCTING YOUR MUSCLE

It's important that you go over the process with your moving helpers before you begin.

Lay some ground rules such as: who is the lead director; that you should move always endways not with the widest side; everyone needs to wear work gloves to avoid slippage; and to always lift with the legs and have a straight back.

Be extra careful when going over any edging or thresholds, take care that pressure isn't put on the legs of the piano as they are not strong or made for rolling the castors along (they're just for repositioning not for travelling).

Take your time and move only a few inches at a time. Think about the angles required to fit through doorways before you get to them.

THE PROCESS

  1. Clear the path, remove obstructions and any unattached carpet or rugs.

  2. Remove decorations if any.

  3. Lock the piano lid down and place padding over the lid.

  4. Wrap the piano with cloth or plastic wrap and secure with tape.

  5. Lift piano on the dolly. You may be able to lift one end and have an extra person slide the dolly underneath, then lift the other end and fix the dolly in the middle.

  6. Strap the piano to the dolly with dolly straps.

  7. Push the dolly slowly with the tips described above.

  8. Use a ramp for getting in and out of the van or truck. It should be pushed and pulled up or down the ramp so it doesn't get too excited and go off the other end.

  9. Secure the piano in the van, place it against the back wall with plenty of other things around it including furniture, or strap in place. The keyboard side (padded) should be against the back wall.

MOVING UP OR DOWN STAIRS

If there is only one step it should be possible to angle the piano on the dolly up or down as it is pushed along. Or use weightlifting straps to lift the piano and dolly over.

If there are more stairs you’ll need to remove the dolly, place cardboard pads on all steps to avoid markings, and use weightlifting straps to lift one step at a time.

This is very tiring to the lifters and is the main reason why you might choose to leave it to the professionals.

Watch this video to see how it is done (sped up!):

(Video) 5 Ways To Spark Creativity in Your Improvisation - Ep. 270

AFTER THE MOVE (to tune or not to tune):

There is a common misconception that pianos go out of tune immediately when they are moved from one place to another.

This isn't strictly true, pianos are solid instruments and when handled carefully are unlikely to go out of tune just because they are transported.

The thing that usually makes them go out of tune is a change in temperature or humidity.

So if changing from a very warm, small apartment to a large cool house it is likely that after a week or so, as the pianos soundboard adjusts shape with the new environment, it will start to sound out of tune.

How to move a piano into your house (without breaking your back). — The Creative Pianist Blog (5)

The same effect can happen moving from a cold room to a warm room, even in the same house!

Whether or not you think the temperature or humidity change is significant enough to warp the soundboard the best idea is to wait a few weeks to let it settle to the new environment and then decide whether the piano sounds out of tune or not.

An upright piano however can sound out of tune if it is placed on an uneven floor.

Because it has four legs, if even one is out of balance with the rest it causes the body of the piano to flex and sound temporarily out of tune.

This can be fixed by simply shifting the piano to an even surface, looking out for things like one castor off the carpet, or in a low spot of the floor.

If your unsure about whether your piano needs a tune or not, think about when it's last tuning was. Was it more than 6 months ago?

On average, pianos should be tuned once or twice a year so if its been a long time your piano might have needed a tune anyway, regardless of the move.

Still unsure? Call your local piano technician and talk to them about it. They’ll be happy to offer advice and recommend the best course of action.

Want to learn how to play that heavy piano you’ve just moved?

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(Video) CPTP075: The 5 Myths of Improvisation with Bradley Sowash

FAQs

How do you move a piano without damaging it? ›

Next use moving blankets to wrap all sides of the piano. And secure them with tape as well.

How do I move a piano by myself? ›

Tips for How to Move a Piano

Measure the piano, doorways, hallways, and staircase. Map out the route and make sure all movers are aware of it. Protect the piano with blankets or padding. Use heavy-duty moving straps and a dolly.

Does moving a piano damage it? ›

Moving a piano on its back or on its side does not harm a piano. A piano can be moved, tilted, or rotated without doing it damage. Damage to a piano occurs when it is dropped, or bumped, or when foreign objects are inside the piano when moving.

How heavy is a upright piano? ›

Upright piano – 300 to 500 pounds. Baby grand piano – 500 to 650 pounds. Grand piano – 700 to 1,200 pounds.

How heavy is a small piano? ›

Small / Petite Grand Piano Weight & Size

Small / Petite Grand Pianos weigh anywhere between 400-500 lbs (181kg-227kg). This is the smallest of the horizontal pianos at only 4'6” – 5' (137cm-152cm) in length. Any grand piano shorter than 5 feet in length is considered a small, petite, or miniature grand piano.

Will an upright piano fit through a door? ›

Upright pianos typically require no disassembly to fit through a standard doorway.

What is the best way to move a piano? ›

Moving a Grand Piano

First, lower and secure the top lid. Then, using a screwdriver, begin to disassemble the piano legs and pedals. Now, with your helpers holding the piano, remove all the legs. Wrap the lid, keys and all sides of the piano with moving blankets and secure them with packing tape.

Can you roll a piano on its wheels? ›

Don't be fooled by those wheels

Even though your piano has wheels, they are not meant for moving. Wheels on most pianos are largely ornamental and are only intended for small adjustments. If possible, lift the piano off the ground when moving.

How many people does it take to move a piano? ›

It takes at least four people to efficiently move a piano, with two to three people doing the heavy lifting, and the others guiding them to and from the moving truck or van. You may need more, however, depending on the size of the piano and the complexity of the move.

What is the cheapest way to move a piano? ›

Upright pianos are wrapped and moved on a dolly or skid board, which are less expensive to pack and transport.

How do you slide a piano on the floor? ›

moving a piano on new hardwood floor - YouTube

How long after moving a piano should it be tuned? ›

Tuning the piano immediately after a move would likely be a wasted investment. The wooden parts from which a piano is made must react to airborne moisture as well. Though there's no harm in waiting longer, the average instrument needs a minimum three- to five-day acclimation period before it's tuned.

Is it OK to put a piano on carpet? ›

Ideally, a piano player should play piano on a bare floor—not on a rug or carpet (unless they live in an apartment building and need to dampen the sound).

How long should a piano last? ›

With regular proper maintenance, tuning, and storage, a quality piano can give up to 50 years of adequate service.

How much does tuning a piano cost? ›

The average price to tune a piano ranges from $65 to $225, and the cost can increase by several hundred dollars if the piano requires multiple tuning sessions or repairs. Piano tuning is a skill that only experienced professionals should do.

What is the lightest weight piano? ›

Keybird Instruments has launched a new acoustic piano that weighs just 50kg (110 pounds). Compare this to a typical upright at around 250kg (550 pounds), and to a grand piano which can easily be twice that weight.

How much room do you need for an upright piano? ›

The standard width of an upright piano is about 5′ and the depth is between 2 – 2½'. The total floor space allowance should be about 5′ wide by 5′ deep, including bench space.

Can you lay a piano on its back? ›

Now, you're probably wondering Can you put a piano on its side to move it? As a matter of fact, you can. Moving on its side or back won't harm your instrument. It can be rotated or tilted without doing damage.

Is a piano too heavy for upstairs? ›

Don't try and lift the piano upstairs or up to the truck

A piano is too heavy and too fragile to survive too much lifting and transporting. Make sure you use a ramp or piano board whenever possible to avoid damaging the piano or causing injury to your friends and family.

What is the price of piano? ›

An upright piano costs between $3000 – $6500 on average. High-end upright pianos average around $10,000 – $25,000. Entry level grand pianos costs between $7000 – 30,000. High-end grand pianos such as Steinway, Bosendorfer, and Yamaha can cost between $65,000 – $190,000.

How do you get an upright piano through a doorway? ›

How to move an upright piano - YouTube

How do people get pianos into apartments? ›

A dolly can be used to help get a grand piano into a ground floor apartment that only has a few steps in front of the door. This can be done with tipping and lifting techniques. With consecutive steps or multiple flights of stairs, however, you and your moving helpers will need to carry the piano.

Can you up end a piano? ›

It will be no problem for proffesional piano movers to upend your piano. There are however the following caveats: I will use my Blüthner as the example. The lid may have a side overhang on both ends which means that with the piano on end the overhang will bear half the piano's considerable weight.

Can you move a piano with sliders? ›

Most pianos have wheels which make it easy to move around, but if your particular piano does not have any, then furniture sliders should be used. There is also a method to moving certain types of pianos that would make it easier to get out of the house and onto the truck.

How much does an old upright piano weigh? ›

A classic upright piano typically weighs between 500 and 800 pounds. It usually takes at least four people to move an upright piano.

Can you put a piano in a pod? ›

Upright and baby grand pianos can fit in a PODS container, while a grand piano may not fit depending on its size. If you move your piano with PODS, we highly recommend getting the optional PODS Contents Protection insurance.

Do piano legs come off? ›

To prepare a grand piano for moving, first, lift off its music rack and remove its lyre. Then, its legs all need to be removed and it needs to be padded and securely strapped in its side to a piano skidboard . The keyboard (referred to as the piano's action) should only be removed by a qualified piano technician.

Are piano caster cups necessary? ›

Caster cups protect both the floor and the piano from damage. Pianos are sturdy instruments, but the legs can fracture -- and a piano with broken legs is a catastrophe! Imprecise balance, twisting, kicking, or bumping into walls can easily damage piano legs.

How do you move a grand piano without scratching the floor? ›

Use the right types of padding and blankets to protect the piano from being bounced around, even if you are only moving it a few feet across the room. Put the piano's casters on caster cups. Caster cups typically have felt backings, so it can make it easier to move the piano over hardwood floors.

How heavy is a Yamaha upright piano? ›

Yamaha SE122
Length65cm
Width152cm (4′ 11″)
Height122cm (4' 0″)
Weight241kg (531 lbs)
5 more rows

How heavy is a grand piano? ›

A piano's weight varies greatly by the model. Grand pianos can weigh as much as 1,400 pounds or as little as 500 pounds. As for upright models, one that's less than 48 inches high can weigh as little as 300 pounds. If your piano is 48 inches tall or more, it can weigh as much as 800 pounds.

What is a console piano? ›

Console pianos are a type of upright piano that differ from grand pianos in one significant way: the hammer-on-string action is vertical rather than horizontal. Since each stroke works against gravity and on shorter strings in upright pianos, grand pianos tend to provide a more sonorous, consistent tone.

How much does it cost to move a piano $20 miles? ›

Long distance moves charge from $2–$10 a mile with an average of $2.75 per mile. Moving a piano locally can cost between $200–$600. Moving long distance can run from $450–$2,000.

How much does it cost to move a small upright piano? ›

In general, upright pianos cost less to move simply because they are less hefty and awkward, requiring fewer resources and less time. If you are moving an upright piano, the moving cost could be anywhere from $150 to $1,000, depending on where you're based and whether the move is local or long distance.

How does a piano dolly work? ›

How to Move an Upright Piano Using a Piano Dolly - YouTube

Will a piano damage a wood floor? ›

Pianos are prone to damaging hardwood floors because they are so heavy. A smaller piano can weigh between 400lbs and 600lbs, with some grand pianos weighing over 1,000lbs. With such a large amount of weight, there is a lot of force exerted onto the floor below through the piano legs.

What do you put under a piano on hardwood floors? ›

Caster cups: Place these protective cups under each leg of your piano to prevent indentation and scratching. Rugs: You can put a rug under the base of your piano to reduce scuffing. Plastic sheet: Position a plastic sheet underneath the foot pedals of your piano to protect your floor from wear.

How do you make a moving board for piano? ›

DIY: How to Move a Piano! (DIY Piano Dolly Included!) - YouTube

Why do you put water in a piano? ›

They knew low humidity was bad for a piano, so they would keep a jar of water inside the piano to maintain humidity.

Can I play a piano right after moving? ›

After moving, a piano should be allowed to acclimate to its new environment for at least two weeks prior to tuning. Otherwise, the piano will likely go out of tune very quickly and you will have wasted your money.

How do you know if your piano is out of tune? ›

When out of tune, there will be a wavering sound. This wavering will distort the note creating an uncomfortable sound. The competing strings may even cancel out the sound.

Where should I put my piano in my house? ›

Where to Place A Piano in Your Home - YouTube

Where should a piano be placed in house? ›

An inside wall helps protect the piano from direct sunlight and sudden changes in temperature. Pianos can be placed near outside walls as long as it is away from open windows and doorways. A piano should not be near air vents, fireplaces, areas where high temperatures can affect it.

Is it OK to put a piano in front of a window? ›

Avoid placing a piano in front of a window

Direct sunlight and exposure to temperature fluctuations or wind can damage your piano's finish, dry out the soundboard, and cause it to go out of tune more quickly.

Is a 100 year old piano worth buying? ›

Antique pianos are pianos that're at least a hundred years old, and, like antique books, they're not worth a lot of money just because of their age. In actuality, these old instruments may be worth very little at all, depending on their brand and condition.

Do pianos sound better with age? ›

Pianos do not get better with age. The action has a zillion moving parts that wear out, the hammers wear out, the dampers wear out and don't work right. The pin blocks get loose and/or crack, the sound boards crack, lose their crown and compress. The strings get old, corroded and dead sounding.

Can you move a piano with sliders? ›

Most pianos have wheels which make it easy to move around, but if your particular piano does not have any, then furniture sliders should be used. There is also a method to moving certain types of pianos that would make it easier to get out of the house and onto the truck.

Can you move a piano in a pickup truck? ›

Large, heavy items like an upright piano can be moved in a pickup truck, but they can also do damage to your bed if you don't protect it. What you'll need to move an upright piano includes: DualLiner solid truck bed liner to protect your bed. Tie-down straps and buckles.

Can you tip an upright piano on its side? ›

When trying to move a piano out of narrow doorways or into smaller areas, like pickup trucks or around tight corners, you may have to turn it on its side. This will not harm or damage the piano but should be done with care.

How much does it cost to move an upright piano? ›

For an upright or spinet piano, expect to pay between $150 and $300 for a local move and between $500 and $800 for long-distance shipping. These instruments weigh less—at 300 to 800 pounds—and are more compact units that don't require any dismantling before travel.

What to put under a piano to move it? ›

Moving Pads & Blankets

Moving pads or blankets are your next best option. You can cover your floors with blankets so you can avoid any damage to the hardwoods this way. Using a protective layer can ease the strain of trying to prevent scratching the floors.

What do you put under a piano? ›

Piano caster cups are round wooden pieces that are placed underneath the wheels of your piano. They serve to protect the quality of your wheels and maintain a balanced surface for your piano. They are mainly sought to provide protection to the flooring on which you keep your piano on.

How many people does it take to move a piano? ›

It takes at least four people to efficiently move a piano, with two to three people doing the heavy lifting, and the others guiding them to and from the moving truck or van. You may need more, however, depending on the size of the piano and the complexity of the move.

Can I transport an upright piano on its back? ›

Now, you're probably wondering Can you put a piano on its side to move it? As a matter of fact, you can. Moving on its side or back won't harm your instrument. It can be rotated or tilted without doing damage.

How hard is it to move a piano? ›

Moving a piano is very difficult. Before you try to do it yourself, you might want to consider hiring professional movers to do the job. This is particularly true if you need to move the piano down a flight of stairs, into an elevator, or have tight spaces to navigate.

Can two men and a truck move a piano? ›

Its in-home moving services

On top of its standard moving services, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK can also help you with heavy lifting around your home. Even if you aren't moving, the company can give you a hand repositioning a bulky sofa, a king-size bed, a large fridge, a priceless piano, or almost anything else.

Can you use a furniture dolly to move a piano? ›

How to move an upright piano - YouTube

Will an upright piano fit through a door? ›

Upright pianos typically require no disassembly to fit through a standard doorway.

Does a piano need to be tuned after moving? ›

So, does a piano need tuning after moving? Pianos need to be tuned after moving because of shifts in humidity. Anytime a piano is moved into storage, or another room, changes in the environment will affect the tune. Pianos that are shaken around during a move may also go out of tune due to shifting parts.

How much does it cost to move a piano $20 miles? ›

Long distance moves charge from $2–$10 a mile with an average of $2.75 per mile. Moving a piano locally can cost between $200–$600. Moving long distance can run from $450–$2,000.

Why do you need a piano mover? ›

Professional piano movers are trained in how to lift, carry, and transport these instruments safely. Letting them do the work prevents the owner of the piano from injuring themselves during the move and gives them peace of mind that the piano is in good hands.

What is the proper way to store a piano? ›

A piano must be stored in a climate controlled space such as a storage unit or spare room. The storage space should be large enough to store the piano upright instead of on its side. The piano must also be wrapped in several layers of protective cloth sheets followed by a layer of plastic film.

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