Moving Pianos Upstairs
The following pages are intended as notes and check lists for moving pianos upstairs, and should not be construed as a recommendation that the inexperienced or DIY mover attempt these piano moving manoeuvres. There are obvious dangers to property and even life, and certain equipment will be needed. Pianos vary greatly in weight, and the less working room there is, the more the weight increases in significance.
If you have very wide, straight stairs, or outside steps, and room to work, then a man on each corner of the piano will be the easiest configuration. If the piano is light enough 2 men may suffice.... but more usually a strong man at the top and two at the bottom may be required.
Before a project to move an upright piano upstairs is begun, an evaluation needs to be carried out to determine if the piano will in fact fit around any turns on or at the top or bottom of the stairs. The conclusion that it will should not be lightly arrived at.
Professional movers often use cranes and remove windows, or reject unfeasible projects. A stair manoeuvre may require the building of a platform to extend working room or the use of a block and chain together with its supports.
Minimum Equipment required to run a piano up difficult stairs manually: Heavy plastic sheet, blankets or pads, strapping including a ratchet strap certified to two tonnes, screw drivers, two wooden blocks around twelve inches long by three inches square.
Basics: The piano can and will be turned onto it's side to negotiate tight turns.
If the piano is to be turned on its side, that side will need protecting from bumps and scratches.
It is the back of the piano that leads the turn: If the stairs turn left, the piano's back should face left. Counter intuitively perhaps, the key board side does not usually lead the turn, unless there is a tighter turn going the other way further up.
See also: Preparing for moving pianos upstairs
Moving Pianos Upstairs:- The Manoeuvre.
Two big men may suffice, but really three men is often advised for safety and extra input. Beware of stairs using wedge shaped steps which are especially hazardous. These instructions assume at least a small landing area on the turn.
With the piano prepared, Move the piano to the base of the stairs. If the stairs turn to the left, the back of the piano should be on the left. The keyboard side never leads the turn. The piano may need to be on its side with the base pointing upwards the stairs.
1) With a strong man standing a few steps up, turn the piano over right ways up so he can catch it in his lap, in preparation for walking up the stairs backwards. his 2 other assistants can then pick up the other end and start the lift. The man at the top cannot pull the piano up... his job is to keep the piano in the air.
2) As soon as all the piano is on the stairs one man at the bottom needs to get underneath, positioned like a runner at the start of a race. With shoulders and hands contacting the piano, he uses his legs to push up, one step at a time. Each step will be a potential resting place for repositioning yourselves.
3) Communicate with each other calling..."ready... one more step...ready...one more step."
4) When the top man gets to the landing, two things can happen.
a) He can if there is room simply ignore it, turn and take one more step up the next flight.
b) However it is more likely the piano will have to be upended to make the turn, so the top man, moves the piano from his lap to above his shoulders, like a weight lifter. He is assisted in this by the bottom man pushing up... and then in to push the bottom side of the piano onto the landing. It is time for a rest. The third man has added extra leverage, but has had a valuable safety function, looking out for any danger of the piano tipping over back down the stairs.
5) The process is now repeated for the next leg and so on noting that the use of a wooden block under the side of the upturned piano could assist you to get fingers under it to raise it onto the first step.
It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous moving pianos upstairs can be, and how the inexperienced should not attempt this... By the time you have assembled the necessary equipment you will have been better off employing a professional mover.Back to Piano moving tips