If you are moving your own piano, there are a few extremely important things that you should know. Pianos weigh anywhere from 400 to 1500 pounds. ALL PIANOS CAN BE DANGEROUS TO MOVE. This cannot be emphasized enough.
Pianos usually have metal rollers that can seriously damage wooden flooring. If they are moved over carpet, the carpet itself can bind the rollers. Pianos should always be lifted as you roll them, even if they are only being moved a few inches. Many vertical pianos and all grand pianos have thin legs supporting quite a lot of weight. If the rollers bind while the piano is pushed or pulled, the legs will break. If this happens, the piano could fall, causing considerable damage to the piano as well as anything or anyone in the way. Roller malfunction is fairly common with pianos.
If you are rolling a piano more than a few feet, you must use the proper equipment. Even with the use of proper equipment, you should use extreme caution as well. For use on vertical pianos, a standard four-wheel furniture “dolly” will make the task much easier. If you are going to attempt to move a Grand Piano, you should always use a piano “skid board”. This is a very special padded board with handles and straps on which a grand piano is placed on its side during a move. It is strapped to the “skid board” very securely. This allows use of a “dolly”. The skid board also prevents damage to the piano. Furniture pads are recommended with the move of any piano. Piano finishes are delicate. You should remember that any contact by the piano with anything has the force of the entire weight of the piano behind it. Moving a grand piano through a standard door will require putting the piano on its side and removing its legs and lyre (pedals). Grand pianos can be tricky to move. Vertical pianos are much simpler. However, both require a considerable amount of manpower.
When a grand piano is moved from one location to another with a truck or van, it should be transported horizontally (never on its legs!). If the “action” is left on its side during transport, any jolt or bump can knock the hammers out of alignment. If the grand piano must be transported on its side, the action should be removed if at all possible. “Actions” are extremely fragile and irreplaceable. They should be moved very carefully, transported horizontally, secured firmly, and completely protected. If you are undertaking a long distance move with your grand piano in a rented truck, we would suggest that you have it loaded and secured by a professional. Then when you have reached your destination, have it unloaded and setup by a local professional. All pianos should be secured during transport. This can be accomplished by using webbed straps attached to a secure fixture in the truck.
We have found that U-HAUL trucks usually work best for moving pianos because their decks are close to the ground and for grands, the small area over the cab can safely accommodate a grand action. Also, equipment such as dollies, straps and furniture pads are available at U-HAUL.
When grand pianos are put on their sides you must remember that the “top board” overhangs almost an inch. If the grand is being moved with a “skid board” as recommended, the “top board” can hang over the side. However, if the piano is placed on its side on a flat surface for any reason, the “top board” should be removed. This will prevent the weight of the piano from damaging the “top board” as well as the sides where the hinges are attached.
ALL PIANOS CAN BE DANGEROUS TO MOVE
Again, this cannot be emphasized enough. Vertical pianos are “top heavy”. Both grand pianos (when on their side for a move) and vertical pianos will tend to flip over very easily. This will cause damage, not only to the piano, but to ANYTHING it comes in contact with, when it flips. Most importantly, if someone is caught under it, they could be seriously injured or even killed. IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS, PLEASE HAVE YOUR PIANO MOVED BY A PROFESSIONAL. It is simply not worth the potential costs in repair to your piano, your house, any items close to the piano that may be damaged, or injuries to yourself or those attempting to help you move the piano.