Floors and Pianos

With all the fancy new hardwood, ceramic and marble-type floors. This is probably one of the biggest questions people have for their piano movers when moving their piano over new floors. Most people do NOT want their floors damaged. If you are one of these people, we must start by stating the most obvious point: hire a professional piano mover, not a general mover, to move your piano. Your odds of damaged floors drop significantly when using a professional.

Why, you ask? Experience!

Hardwood Floors

Can my floor support a piano?

To answer this, we will ask you to do the Braymore home floor test. The average adult weighs between 150 and 200 pounds, and the average piano weighs 500 to 600 pounds. So, for our test, we would like you to get 3 to 4 individuals weighing 150 to 200 pounds each.

Grand piano floor test:

  • Get 3 of these people to stand about four feet apart in the shape of a triangle where you would like the piano to go. You are going to pretend that each person is a grand piano leg.
  • Ask them to stand on one foot and start hopping.
  • Your floor passes the test if you feel comfortable allowing them to keep hopping on one foot.
  • If you are concerned they might go through the floor; you should hire an engineer to inspect it before someone lands in the basement.

Upright piano floor test.

  • Get four people, about 150 each.
  • Pair two of them together so that each pair is about five feet apart from the other pair. Place them where you would like the upright piano to go.
  • There are usually 4 wheels under your typical upright piano. Two on each side.
  • Get the four people to stand on one foot and start hopping.
  • Your floor passes the test if you feel comfortable allowing them to keep hopping on one foot.
  • If you are concerned they might go through the floor; you should hire an engineer to inspect it before someone lands in the basement.

Anywhere that you are concerned about floor or stair strength do one of the above tests. This will be your first indicator of a possible problem or concern that you should be worried about.

Can the movers guarantee they will not damage my floors?

There was a day, a long time ago, when the answer to this question was: “Yes”. Hardwood was actually hardwood, and things were made to last. It was safe to answer then. Those days are long gone with the abundance of cheap flooring materials and all the poor or inexperienced contractor workmanship out there. The answer is now always “No”. Anyone telling you otherwise is just telling you what you want to hear to get your job. Movers can make some assumptions based on what they see, but the guarantee that movers used to be able to give customers is something that was left a long time ago.

Laying laminate flooring

It is like having pine floors. For those who do not know, pine is a soft wood that you can scratch with your fingernail. If you did the above Braymore floor test, you would have a dent in your floor for every hop that was done, like a hammer hitting it. When you have a cheaper or inferior floor, they are expected to mark and/or damage easier than traditional solid wood floors. If a mover sees that you have a floor built with cheaper materials, there is a very good chance that it will not be insured with them. Or an insurance claim will be denied. Why do you ask? You should have expected it. Insurance is for accidents, NOT for things that are considered standard wear and tear.

Ceramic floors should never be a problem unless they are improperly laid by the original contractor. Everyone knows that a good ceramic or stone floor is rock solid and can take a crazy amount of abuse when tiles crack, generally for one of two reasons. There is severe impact, in which case the piano and the floor will be damaged, and it is obvious to everyone that something wrong happened. But these days, the more likely candidate is now a poorly laid floor with air pockets under it. If the tile is not properly supported when laid, it will crack or move; the only question is when. It could be you walking over it or the piano rolling over it. This second problem is NOT a mover issue. It is a warranty issue with your floor.

If a piano is moved properly, on a proper heavy-duty piano moving dolly, with the right type of rubber wheels over a “good” floor, That floor should not be damaged. Many general movers do not use the right dolly type, so we always recommend using a professional piano mover. If your floors look nice but are of poorer quality, the movers will not know there is a problem until it is too late, which is not their fault. After all, how would they know unless you advised them? Fake hardwood or laminate floors are notorious for this. They are not all equal; some are perfectly fine, and others are accidents waiting to happen. Just ask any flooring installer (not the salesperson). A number of floor salespeople sell inferior products as if they were just as strong as hardwood, but when it comes to laminates, the strength of these floors is now determined by the filler underneath the laminate, not hardwood.

Piano wheels and hardwood floors.

Most pianos have metal wheels on them. Depending on the piano and the floor, they can sometimes move around fine together at first. Unfortunately, metal wheels are known to seize up over time. Personally, I am of the opinion that metal and wood do not mix for a number of reasons. While many people have rolled their pianos around safely without incident. Many other people have not! The question you always have to ask each time you move it: “Which one will I be today?” This is one of the main reasons why people always recommend hiring a professional piano mover. Piano movers roll the piano around on their own piano-moving dolly that they know and maintain.

How can the odds of floor damage be reduced?

First, tell the piano movers what they will deal with when they arrive. That way, they at least have a fighting chance and can give you recommendations. They are not Superman and do not have x-ray vision to see how strong your flooring is. Most movers will only have moving blankets to protect your floors. While moving blankets do help, they do not solve the problem for all soft floors. An alternative might be buying some Masonite to spread the weight and give another layer of protection. Most movers do not supply hard floor coverings like Masonite. That would be your responsibility. Talk to your piano movers beforehand if you want some guidance.

Looking for a piano moving expert? Click here for a piano-moving quote.