Quite often We are called upon to deliver a piano in NYC to a building without an elevator and up a difficult set of stairs. The best way to size up the situation is to bring a piano template (a cardboard cutout) and physically pass it through the the stairs. Most deliveries have no problems, just a lot of juggling and sweat. Then there are those jobs that are seemingly impossible to do yet we have to get the piano in somehow since hoisting in NYC is very expensive ($1500 and more).
What is not understood is how the pianos are moved up stairs. The shear weight of a piano (500 lbs +) makes it impossible to carry it through the stairs thus it has to be slid up on a piano skid. Sliding and sometimes tipping it on its end while lifting it around the turns is very tricky. It is virtually impossible to guarantee that a nick or some minor scuff wont happen.
Why do I write about this? I recently had a flashback to 1990 and what was seemingly a textbook delivery of a Yamaha upright in Brooklyn. I got a call from the building owner about damage to his steps. Needless to say I had to take a look at the damaged steps after the movers gave me their assurance that nothing was damaged. I arrived at the building and after meeting with the irate owner he then proceeded to show me the damage. I looked and looked unable to see anything but superficial nicks on the wood. With a flashlight he pointed at the tiniest scratches . Obviously this was an extreme case but the point is that no matter how carefully a piano is moved and covered there will be some wood to wood contact and chances are that something can happen with this kind of weight. Even shoes will scuff the steps to some degree. Maybe we have to call this “wear and tear” because remember: the piano moving equipment is meant to protect the piano, not the steps.