How to Move a Piano without Injuring Your Back

Protect Yourself When Moving a Piano

man pushing piano on wheels in workshop
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Moving a piano is very difficult so before you try to do it yourself, you might want to consider hiring professional movers to do the job, especially if you need to move the piano down a flight of stairs or into an elevator. Pianos are heavy and awkward and 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

Ask for help

Remember, pianos are not only heavy, they’re 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.

Get the right equipment

Rent or purchase some heavy-duty straps that will provide a better hold on the piano itself. You'll also need a furniture dolly, one that can support the weight of the piano. Straps can also be used to secure the piano to the dolly. If 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 blankets to protect the piano from bumps. This will help protect walls from cracks and scrapes, too.

Protect the keyboard lid

First, close and lock the keyboard lid to prevent it from opening during the move. The keys are fragile and need to be protected. If the keyboard lid does not lock, then make sure that when you wrap the piano the keyboard lid is closed. 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, in particular the corners, securing it with packing tape. Keep the tape from contact with the piano’s surface. Make sure that the blanket/padding is thick enough that it’ll keep the piano protected from any bumps.

Lifting the piano

When lifting the piano into position, whether that’s onto the furniture dolly, onto the truck or to move it to another location with the house, 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.

With two people on each end of the piano, place the moving straps under the piano’s bottom, with a strap on each end. With one person holding one end of the strap (you should now have four people helping, each supporting the four corners), lift the piano onto the furniture dolly.

Now secure it, ensuring that the piano legs are sitting flat on the dolly. If the piano has casters, either lock the casters in place (if possible) or ensure that the piano is well secured.

Securing the piano 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 space in back. Many piano movers suggest using wood planks to ensure a level flooring for the piano since most truck spaces are not level. This helps to 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.

Lift the piano from the dolly onto the planks, then using the moving straps, secure the piano to the truck wall. Check to make sure that the piano is unable to roll around 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 and 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 or elevators or a tight space, call a professional.

What to do after the piano is moved in

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.