How To Safely Move A Piano
Moving a piano is no easy task! Whilst they may not seem it, pianos are actually incredibly sensitive souls and even the slightest jerk reaction can throw them completely out of both tune and even damage the integrity of the piano…not to mention the fact that most acoustic pianos are well over 200KG so it’s not like moving a table!
As such, the art of moving pianos is an incredibly specialist pursuit in order to keep the integrity of the instrument at it’s best, but also to not put yourself, or those around you at risk of danger.
At Millers, we work with piano moving specialists across the country and today we wanted to break down just a few safe ways to move your piano around your home and out of your home. Again though, we’d like to stress that moving a piano of any size is not necessarily an easy feat and whilst it may seem expensive to get your piano moved professionally, 9 times out of 10, it’s the right choice to keep your cherished instrument safe and in the best possible condition.
Easy Pianos To Move
Of course, not all pianos are particularly heavy and digital instruments in particular can likely be lifted between just two, or three people. The best way to move a digital instrument, if it is a home piano, is to either: Disassemble the cabinet of the piano by unscrewing the keyboard from the cabinet and keeping the screws safe for later (definitely don’t lose them!).
This breaks the instrument into a few different panels that can be easily reassembled and secured in it’s new home (so long as you don’t lose those screws!)
Alternatively, if your instrument does not come apart easily, digital pianos can be moved by simply lifting the weight of the instrument to its desired location as most only weigh between 30-100kg which should be okay for three people to comfortably and safely lift. The same can be said for digital instruments that only need to be moved over a small distance.
How Far Does The Piano Need To Move?
When it comes to acoustic instruments, things do get a lot more complicated and require careful thought and preparation. The first question to ask is how far does the instrument need to move?
If it is just a simple pivot or minor adjustment within the same room, most pianos can be comfortably moved or slid across the floors using their castors or sliders. Grip the supports on the back of the piano and pull upwards to alleviate some of the weight from the castors, the instrument should then be relatively easy to move across small distances or to get behind the instrument..
One common misconception that many piano owners have is that the castors are designed to help the piano move regularly. In fact castors are only designed to be able to hold the weight of the piano and help with minor movements, such as small pivots or movements. We’ve seen far too many beloved pianos have their castors collapsed because the instrument has been moved too regularly and the castor has given way under the weight of the piano.
One thing that is also worth noting here however is also the type of flooring that the piano is based on, wooden flooring are no problem and have little surface tension for the wheels to move freely. Carpeted floors however, you may struggle to even get the instrument moving as the castors may find it hard to move over the textured floor. In this case, even if it is just a small movement, it could be worth contacting an expert…the last thing you’d want is for the instrument to get caught up in the carpet and fall over!
Moving A Piano To A New Home
There is a reason why piano courier specialists exist and it’s for exactly this reason! As pianos are incredibly delicate souls, it’s important to get an expert opinion before moving an instrument instead of relying on a general remover to clear the instrument.
Given any piano’s value and particularly if the instrument has a lot of emotional value, it’s especially important that the instrument is handled with the utmost care, making professional movers all the more necessary.
The first thing to consider is what areas does the piano have to move through? Are there any stairs? Narrow corridors or potential obstacles to overcome? If the answer is yes to any of these, we highly recommend an expert mover.
Still convinced you want to move the piano yourself? If you are insistent on moving your instrument yourself, you’ll need the following supplies to make sure the movement is a success.
For both an upright piano and a grand piano, you’ll need plenty of moving blankets and padding for protection. The last thing you want happening is a scratch or dent on your valuable instrument as it catches a corner or rubs up against something. Secure these blankets and padding (the more the better) with multiple rolls of tape or security straps.
Moving an upright piano will also require a dolly capable of holding the piano’s weight. If you are having to hire a dolly, again, we’d generally just recommend using a piano moving specialist as this will likely be far safer and more cost effective!
For even the easiest of acoustic piano moves, you’ll generally need at least four people – maybe more, depending on the size of the piano and the complexity of the move. For the safety of those you have enlisted to help move your piano, ensure that adequate footwear is being worn…closed toe shoes and ideally those with steel toe caps are ideal (we’ve seen our share of broken toes from pianos that have been moved unsafely!)
Measure Doorways, Staircases and Hallways
Prior to the move, you should measure any place in your home that the piano will pass through. Make sure to thoroughly measure all doorways, staircases and hallways to assess how easily it will be to manoeuvre the piano and piano board through your home. You’ll also likely want to protect your flooring with some kind of hard board or surface that won’t get scratched or damaged under the weight of the piano.
After The Move:
Once the move of the piano is complete, let the instrument settle in its new environment for a while (we generally recommend between 4-6 weeks for this process). During this time, it won’t be uncommon for the instrument to come out of tune or sound different as the wood and strings adapt to new conditions. Following this period, it is worth booking yourself a piano tuning to allow the instrument to be returned to optimum condition.
Moving can be a difficult task and it can be tricky to know where to best positon your piano, luckily we’ve got a guide for that! Likewise, a piano may become dusty or marked during moving, if you’d like advice on how to safely clean your instrument, read our guide here too!
Want more help? If you’re looking to move your piano, fill in our form here! Or if you’d like expert advice on how to either part exchange your instrument or are looking to upgrade your instrument, contact our experts today!