Many pianists want their pianos placed on a first, second or even third floor. Perhaps you live in an apartment building or flat, or perhaps you have a dedicated music room that is on one of those floors.
Much like moving your acoustic piano, getting a piano on a floor that is not on ground level is an incredibly specialist job. There are a number of expert piano carriers to help fulfil this kind of work, who have years of experience in getting highly valuable instruments into tight spaces.
Today, we aim to break down the kinds of practices used in order to help get the instrument into place and some of the things to consider when moving a piano upstairs.
Which Kinds Of Pianos Can Go Upstairs
The very first thing to note, especially when considering which kinds of pianos can go upstairs, is both the ceiling height and if there are any turns or curves in the staircases. Unlike digital pianos, acoustic pianos are not only heavier (usually weighing around 250-300kg) but they cannot come apart. The only exception to this is grand pianos that can have their legs taken off and are often transported on their side, giving them a relatively narrow, but incredibly tall profile.
As such, before even considering which kinds of pianos you are interested in, if you are planning on putting a piano up a flight of stairs it is worth measuring and considering the width and height of your stairwell. As the delivery team will need a significant amount of space in order to manoeuvre the instrument up the stairs and around and potential corners. One you have these measurements, and the measurements of the piano you may be interested in, it is worth contacting either a trusted piano dealer, or the carrier company in order to see if they believe the job can be done.
Getting a piano upstairs is a significantly more complicated job than moving one on the ground floor. This is for a few reasons but the main one is weight distribution. In order to get a piano upstairs, the instrument must usually be tilted back on itself and all of the weight placed on the lower end. For this reason, there must be at least three (sometimes even four) piano carriers to move a piano upstairs. Because they require more people and also it is a riskier move from an insurance point of view, there is often a significant additional cost per flight of stairs when moving a piano upstairs.
Craning In A Piano
For staircases that are not wide enough or tall enough, it is possible to crane in an instrument. This conjures a number of images and thanks to the wonders of cinema, many often associate pianos being craned with being dropped and smashing all over the floor…In reality this is of course not true and craning in a piano is actually an incredibly safe job and has an incredibly low failure rate.
Pianos can be craned into buildings through either balconies or long windows, however again this is worth contacting a piano specialist about to see the logistics of how it can be done. As it requires not only the staff of a typical piano move, but also the logistics of hiring a crane and the various insurances behind this, the cost of a crane hire as well as the piano movers is typically in the thousands of pounds.
Another thing to consider and definitely arrange, particularly if the piano is going into a flat or apartment building, is the landlord must first be consulted. Due to building regulations and insurance purposes some may not allow craning into the building or will need paperwork to ensure the work is safe. It is also worth noting that they will also likely want to be present during the day.
How Are Pianos Craned In?
We recently attended a fourth floor craning job with our trusted carriers at Griffin Transport. Firstly, the piano is covered and securely fastened in place as is done with any moving job. Following this the crane equipment is then reviewed and tested prior to lifting the instrument.
A single sling is placed around the base of the piano and over the top of the instrument. This is done so in a specialist way designed to remove any tension from the piano and ensure that the crane is carrying the weight of the instrument to prevent any damage to the piano’s cabinet or finish. Once tension has been removed from the instrument, it is slowly raised just a few feet off the ground and double checked before being lifted any higher.
Another reason for using a single sling on the piano is that it can be easily twisted and turned without the need for much intervention. On this particular job for example, the piano was firstly raised in parallel with the building to ensure that it would not collide with the building and one at the correct height, was pivoted around 90 degrees to allow it to come through a balcony window that had been pre measured before arrival.
From here, a team of three specialist carriers were required to gently take the weight of the piano from the crane and lower it into the flat. This was a very careful and precise movement that the team had many years of doing.
Once inside the flat, it was then a simple job of moving the piano into place as normal. The piano was safely inside its new home and the customer was incredibly happy with the job!
Thinking about buying a piano but not sure if you might need it to be taken upstairs or craned into the property? Contact our experts today! For movement jobs, contact our friends at Griffin Transport here.