We specialize in moving pianos but we are a full service moving company as well. There’s many different kinds of pianos and each can require different equipment and different techniques.
Upright pianos: These are the most basic to move, although large upright player pianos or upright grands can be very difficult. Especially going up stairs with tight turns. I would not recommend doing this without proper training. This is something you should really consider hiring a professional.
Ok, so you want to know how to move a piano up stairs? I’ll tell you exactly how it’s done. But again, I would not recommend you doing this yourself. I’m writing this for people that just want to understand the process. I’ve found there’s not much valuable information about this online. Let’s start out with an upright piano move up the stairs. You will need the item below:
1. Piano board (I like the western style they’re better for stairs)
2. Piano dolly (You can also get away with a high end swivel AKA 4 way dolly)
3. Stretch wrap
4. Three E track straps or piano board straps.
5. High quality moving blankets
So now we know what we need, let’s get to the process, this requires 2 people at least.
Step 1. Lay the piano board beside the piano. You may want to clip the E track in before you put it on the board, but it doesn’t really matter. Pick the piano up and put it on the board. If it’s too heavy, both lift one side leaving the other side grounded. Once up, one guy holds it while the other slides the piano board under the piano (make sure it’s the side of the board with the lip). Once the board is under the piano, lift the other side onto the board as well.
Step 2. Make sure the side of the piano is all the way against the lip of the board. Also make sure the piano wheels are all fully on the ground and not uneven. After this, the back side wheels of the piano should be barely hanging off, but still up against the side edge of the board.
Step 3. Fold a moving blanket in half and then in half again. Making it 4 layers think. You will lay these over the top of the piano where the E track or piano straps go across then secure your E track straps. You will only need to do this for the E track closest to the lip and the middle one. There will be three E track clips on each side of the piano board, leave the last one furthest from lip alone for now.
Step 4. Stretch wrap the piano all the way around. You could also wrap a blanket around it and stretch wrap the piano before you do any of this. But even if you do this, most importantly make sure the sides of the piano are stretch wrapped. This will help the piano dolly grip the side when you stand it up on it’s end.
Step 5. The lip side of the piano board always stays down. Any time you lift or set, make sure it’s always from the other side. Lift the piano while holding it, at the same time someone will need to slide the piano dolly underneath the piano, placing it in the middle; and set it. (Sometimes dealing with steps, it’s easier to put it to one side but that’s another lesson) Now we’re ready to roll the piano to the stairs. Go slow, lifting one side when going over bumps and uneven surfaces. Always keep an eye on the piano and dolly to make sure it’s not moving off center. If it does simply scoot it back. You can always reset it.
(Remember lip side of board always down 1st)
Step 6: Now we’re by the stairs, the lip side of the piano board should be furthest away from the stairs as it will always will be towards the bottom side of the stairs. Lift the piano off the board of the dolly placing the lip side on the ground. Other person (or 3rd) person will pull the piano dolly out from underneath. You will need to come all the way up with the piano board and place the piano dolly on the side of the piano so the board will be straight up and down. Lip side on the bottom of course. Now roll the piano to the edge of steps. Now it’s time to clip your 3rd e track strap in the last clips of the board. This will go around your back and help you pull the piano up. (You want to make sure it’s adjusted right, where you are still close to the the piano and not pulling the straps from a distance).
Step 7: You will then lean it back on the 2 wheels of the piano dolly furthest from the step and set the lip of the board on the 2nd step. Make sure the lip is on because it’s time to lean it back. Now is a good time to put that E track strap around your back. The person on the bottom will be pushing most of the weight. You will be pulling it up as well but mainly just making sure your side of the board does not get caught on the stair steps. Sometimes I don’t even hold the straps; I have one hand on the wall and one on the rail. Using my whole body to help pull while using my arms to keep balance. It’s best to count and do a few steps at a time, at the same time. You wanna have a good rhythm with your helper.
Step 8: You’re up the stairs and it feels good. Just take a minute to enjoy your success. Put it back on the piano dolly and roll it where it goes. Take your E tracks off and set in position.
PS: I wrote this picturing a straight flight of exterior steps in an apartment situation because that’s what I did today. If it is interior steps your will need to make sure they’re protected by using pads, folding long and skinny, make sure they’re only about as wide as a piano board. There needs to be room for your feet on both sides with no pads in the way to prevent injuries. Also, overlap the pads when you get to the next one from the bottom up. So bottom pad should overlap the one above it. Also, if there are really tight turns or landings in the stairs you may not be able to get all the way up with the board laying down. You have to set on lip side of the board raise the piano vertically and dead lift step by step on the last few. These are more advanced situations and can be very difficult, sometimes even having to remove steps.
Disclaimer: This is just the way me and my crew move pianos up the stairs. This should not be attempted by anyone without professional training as it could result in serious injury or even death.
After reading over this it seems really confusing. We will be making a step by step video. It’s not as complicated as it sounds but there’s definitely a process involved.