How to Move a Piano

Avoid Injuring Your Back or Damaging the Instrument

Piano Moving
ftwitty / Getty Images

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.

Pianos are heavy and awkward and they are quite valuable; never mind the injuries you can cause to your home and your back. If you’re determined to move the piano yourself, then here are some helpful tips to make sure it's done safely.

Ask for Help

Remember, pianos are not only heavy, but they’re also awkward. Uprights carry all their weight in the top half, and their legs and feet can be fragile, so you’re going to need a few extra hands to help.

Plan on at least four people to properly and safely move the average upright piano. This is a perfect opportunity to call in favors from friends and family. Be sure to offer them something for their time and effort, even if it's just lunch or a favor in return for their help.

Get the Right Equipment

Rent or purchase heavy-duty straps that will provide a better hold on the piano itself. You'll also need a furniture dolly that can support the weight of the piano. Straps can also be used to secure the piano to the dolly and in the moving truck.

If you're in doubt, talk to a moving truck rental agency or a moving supply center. They’ll direct you to the right tools and make suggestions depending on the type of piano you’ll be moving.

You’ll also need to rent or purchase padding or moving blankets to protect the piano from bumps. This will help protect walls from cracks and scrapes, too.

Protect the Keyboard

The first step in moving a piano is to close and lock the keyboard lid. This will prevent it from opening during the move. The keys are fragile and need to be protected.

If the keyboard lid does not lock, make sure that the lid is closed when you wrap the piano. Don’t use tape to keep the lid closed as this will damage the wood surface.

Wrap the Piano

With the blankets or padding, wrap the piano. Make sure the corners are protected and secure the blanket with packing tape. Keep the tape from contact with the piano’s surface.

Make sure that the blanket or padding is thick enough that it’ll keep the piano protected from any bumps it might incur.

Lifting the Piano

When lifting the piano into position, whether that’s onto the furniture dolly, onto the truck, or to another location within the house, you must remember to not lift it by its legs. The legs are extremely vulnerable. Also, keep the piano in the upright position. Laying it on its side is not good for the inner mechanics.

  1. Position two people on each end of the piano and place the moving straps under the piano’s bottom, with a strap on each end.
  2. With one person holding one each end of each strap (you should now have four people helping, each supporting the four corners), lift the piano onto the furniture dolly.
  3. Now secure it, ensuring that the piano legs are sitting flat on the dolly.
  4. If the piano has casters, you need to either lock the casters in place (if possible) or ensure that the piano is well secured.

Securing It in the Truck

The piano should be put at the back of the moving truck next to the back wall—the wall that separates the truck’s interior cab from the cargo space. It will be one of the first pieces you pack and one of the last you unload at the new location.

Many piano movers suggest using wood planks to ensure a level flooring for the piano since most truck spaces are not level. This helps relieve pressure on the casters and piano legs which will strain to stabilize during the move. If you use planks, lay them along the back wall.

  1. Lift the piano from the dolly onto the planks.
  2. Using the moving straps, secure the piano to the truck wall.
  3. Check to make sure that the piano is unable to roll around or tip while the truck is moving.

Moving In

Before you move into your new home, makes sure you know exactly where the piano will go. It should be against a wall; preferably an inside wall where it will be protected from the cold and damp. Reverse the steps outlined above. Again, if you have to negotiate stairs, elevators, or a tight space, call a professional.

Get It Tuned

Each time a piano is moved, it will need to be tuned. While pianos are heavy objects and seem pretty solid, their inner workings are sensitive to movements and bumps. A professional tuner will have it sounding perfect again.