Piano removals are not a job for the faint of heart – pianos are awkward to move, extremely heavy, and can easily be damaged or injure their surrounds if things go wrong.
Moving a piano also requires lots of hands, a specialist trolley and various other wrapping and stabilising equipment. If you’re moving your piano into a new house or building, you may want to call in professional piano movers.
That said, you may be considering moving your piano yourself, or want to better understand the moving process. So here are our piano removal tips and tricks, to help you make an informed decision about how to best accomplish your piano relocation.
Piano Removals – What You’ll Need
In order to protect your piano (and the surrounding walls and doorways) while you move, you’ll need:
- Blankets or large, thick towels for wrapping
- Tape, and possibly shrink (plastic) wrap
- Moving, or ratchet, straps
- Bubble wrap (optional – for covering keys)
- Piano dolly/trolley
- Moving van
- Many friends!
You’ll be able to find most of these supplies at a large hardware store. Piano dollies can be expensive to buy, so you might choose to rent one from an equipment hire service, instead. Be sure to get the right kind of dolly for your piano – they are different for upright and grand pianos. And don’t try and use any old trolley – piano dollies are designed to take the extreme weight of pianos.
If you’re hiring a van, consider how you’ll get the piano in it – make sure the access point is wide enough, and ideally use a van with a tail lift that lowers completely to the ground.
If you are moving an upright piano and have mostly flat access, you may be able to accomplish the job with 3 people. However, stair access is safer with 4 people, and if you are moving a grand piano, you’ll need up to 6 people.
Measure Your Moving Path
Before you begin, measure the width of doorways and halls, both at your current property, and the one you’ll be moving your piano to. Measure also the access to your moving van. Compare this to the width of your piano including the trolley, and think about how the people doing the moving will be positioned as they go through narrow areas. Note any corners or stairs you’ll have to navigate, and consider where you can park your moving van at both properties.
At this point, if things are looking tight, have a good think about whether this is really a DIY job, or whether you should call in professional piano removalists. If there are difficult corners or stairs, or if your piano is particularly large or heavy, this may be where you bow out.
Preparing Your Piano Before Moving
Take time to wrap your piano securely. Not only does it protect the piano, but it will also minimise the likelihood of damage to any walls or doorways you may come into contact with.
If you are moving a grand piano, you’ll need to first remove the lid, legs and music rack. You’ll need to have your full team of helpers on hand to support the piano while you do this.
Cover the keys in bubble wrap and secure the keyboard lid shut with tape or shrink wrap. Next, wrap the pedals in bubble wrap, shrink wrap or blankets.
Now wrap the entire piano in blankets. Secure these with tape, and then secure again with shrink wrap or moving straps. Pieces of a grand piano that have been removed should also be wrapped in the same fashion.
It is also a good idea to pad any doorways or narrow walls that you’ll be passing through, using blankets, child-proof padding, or cut-up pool noodles.
Moving Your Piano
To get an upright piano on to the dolly, have two people lift it, and a third slide the dolly underneath. For a grand piano, you’ll need multiple people to tilt the piano body while another 1-2 people slide the dolly under.
Once you have moved your piano onto the dolly, you should also secure the piano to the dolly with straps.
Take time to guide the piano through the house and lift it into the van. If you are using a tail lift, have 2 people on the lift holding the piano on each side, while a third person controls the lift.
When you remove the piano from the van, you’ll need to have at least one person in front to control the piano’s descent as it is guided off.
Then it’s a matter of carefully negotiating your piano into its new place. Always ensure you have people at front and back (and for a grand piano, at the sides) as you move.
To remove the dolly, once again have several people lifting or tilting the piano as another person removes the dolly.
After The Piano Removals Process
After all of that, remove the wrapping carefully, and dust everything down. Pianos can go out of tune when moved to a new environment, and after being handled, so book a tuner to get it back in playing form. You might also take the opportunity to book a professional interior clean of the instrument, particularly as any dust will have become unsettled.
When To Call In The Piano Removal Professionals
As you can see, moving a piano is a long-winded process, requiring a lot of preparation, equipment, manpower and know-how. Pianos can weigh anything from just under 100kg to over 500kg, and are often one of the most expensive items of ‘furniture’ you will own. So it can be a costly exercise if things go wrong!
You may be able to tackle a piano move yourself with a lighter upright piano, if you have unimpeded access, limited stairs to tackle, and a suitable moving van.
However, we strongly recommend you call in the professionals for all grand piano removals, and where there are tricky doorways, corners or stairs to tackle. It can also simply be quicker and easier to hire someone who has all the necessary equipment and transport ready to go.
If you are already hiring a removalist for your house move, it’s a no-brainer to have your piano moved professionally at the same time. Be sure to check the piano moving credentials of your chosen removalist, and go with a company that have specific piano moving experience, along with a sound insurance policy and coverage for the complete value of your piano.
Moving in or from Melbourne? Pinder Tower Movers are piano removal specialists. Their skilled staff understand piano mechanics, and how to keep your instrument safe during a move. Pinder can also move your billiard table and valuable artwork, along with providing general household removals.