This probably won’t help you at this point.
But the best way to fix a warped record is to not let it get warped in the first place.
We’ll help you with that below.
But first, we will show you exactly how to fix a warped record.
In fact, we have four different methods for you.
Read through each one below and see which one makes the most sense for you. Then give it a try and see if you can recover that warped album!
- 1 How To Fix A Warped Vinyl Record
- 1.1 Method 1: Using Glass Plates And An Oven
- 1.2 Method 2: Applying Pressure With Weight
- 1.3 Method 3: Record Flattening Machines
- 1.4 Method 4: Professional Record Flattening Services
- 2 How To Prevent Records From Warping
- 3 How To Fix A Warped Record: Final Thoughts
How To Fix A Warped Vinyl Record
When it comes to fixing warped records, there are a few different methods you can consider. Whether you opt for a do-it-yourself approach or seek professional assistance, it’s important to assess the severity of the warp and the type and/or value of the record before deciding on the best course of action.
Here are the four most common methods for fixing warped records that you can explore:
- Using glass plates and an oven
- Applying pressure with weight
- Record flattening machines
- Professional record flattening services
Each of the above methods presents its own considerations and potential outcomes. It is essential to make an informed decision based on the condition of the record and your comfort level with the chosen method.
The first two methods are not as effective as the third and fourth methods. And the first method in particular comes with added risks.
Method 1: Using Glass Plates And An Oven
This method is considered the most risky. You can find anecdotal evidence of it working online, but most ovens produce too much heat, and there is a chance of doing more damage. Nevertheless, here is a quick rundown of how this method works.
The only materials you will need, apart from a warped record, are two sheets of glass and an oven.
Place your warped record between the two sheets of glass, and then place it all in your oven.
Heat the oven to begin the flattening process. Once the oven is on, monitor the process carefully. Ideally, the temperature should be around 130° to 150° Fahrenheit, but many ovens do not have a setting lower than 175° degrees Fahrenheit.
This is a little too hot, and the extra temperature can lead to the weight of the glass deforming the grooves as well as removing the warp. This is a high-risk method and certainly not our top recommendation.
Method 2: Applying Pressure With Weight
The second method is much less risky, but its effectiveness is open to debate. It simply involves using the weight of heavy objects to tease your record back into shape over time.
This method also requires very little equipment. Aside from your warped vinyl, you will just need two heavy books. And time. Lots of time.
Place your warped record between the two heavy books. Make sure you have an even distribution of pressure, and then leave them somewhere out of the way where they will not be disturbed.
Wait. The idea is that the weight of the top book, over time, will flatten your record back into its original, flat shape. However, without extra heat, this method can be very hit-and-miss.
It may work better in warmer climes, but it can still be very imprecise and may cause damage to the grooves of your record, if you add too much weight or leave them for too long.
Method 3: Record Flattening Machines
The third method of using a record-flattening machine is by far the best. It’s low-risk, effective, and fast. However, it is also the most expensive method.
For this method, you will need a few more supplies than for the first two. Here is what you will need:
- Vinyl record brush (like this one)
- Microfiber cloth (like this one)
- Special record cleaning solution (like this one)
- Warped vinyl record
- Record flattening machine (like this one)
The first step is to ensure that your warped record is nice and clean. Use a record brush to remove any dust, then a soft cloth with a specialized record-cleaning solution to remove any dirt or buildup.
The second step is where things start to get a bit pricey. You’ll need a record-flattening machine. There are different options on the market, with some costing north of $3,000!
However, you can find also suitable machines for as little as $250. Once you have your record-flattening machine, open it and insert the record.
Close the lid of the machine and turn it on. Depending on the model you have bought, you can then set the time and temperature and let the machine work its magic.
An initial temperature of 130° F for about an hour is a good starting point. This is a safe temperature to start at, especially for older, rarer vinyl records.
The lighter the record, the quicker it will unwarp. Usually, older records from the 1970s are the lightest, while more modern vinyl records tend to be a bit heavier. The heavier the vinyl, the more time it will need to flatten.
Method 4: Professional Record Flattening Services
Rather than risking doing more damage yourself, it can be a good idea to send your warped record to a professional to flatten it. This can be a particularly good option for your rarer and more valuable records.
Professional record flattening services use high-end flattening machines, which tend to work better than the cheaper machines aimed at home users. And unless you have a ton of records to flatten, a service will save you a lot of money over buying your own machine.
If you have a professional record flattening service in the area in which you live, you can have this service done for between $10 and $20 per record. If you have to send it away, you will also have to pay for the additional postage and packaging to get it safely to and from the service provider.
How To Prevent Records From Warping
They say prevention is the best cure, although it’s not always possible. But there are a few proactive measures and proper storage practices that can help. Here are some key ways to safeguard your vinyl collection and reduce the chances of warping.
Store your records in a cool, dry, and stable environment away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. It is best not to store your vinyl in a garage, basement, or attic
Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can contribute to warping, so maintaining a consistent storage environment is crucial. Be aware of direct sunlight and how it can move around your rooms at different times of the year.
Store your records vertically rather than stacking them horizontally to minimize the risk of warping due to pressure from above and misalignment.
Typically, in a horizontal stack of records, the weight will be unevenly distributed, and some parts of your records will be under more weight than others, leading to warping over time.
Sleeves And Jackets
Keep your records in protective inner and outer sleeves to shield them from dust, static, and other environmental factors that can impact their condition.
Handling And Care
Handle your records with care. Avoid exposure to high temperatures and ensure that you return them to their sleeves after use and correctly store them to maintain their shape and integrity.
How To Fix A Warped Record: Final Thoughts
We gave you four different methods for fixing vinyl records that have become warped. But the methods are very different and not all equally effective.
Before you decide how to fix a warped record, you need to consider the severity of the warp, the value of the record, your budget, and more.
The first two methods are definitely less effective and even somewhat risk (especially the first one), but they cost less to implement than the last two (especially the third one).
If you’ve only got a few warped records to fix, taking them to a professional is probably the best solution. And then follow our tips to help minimize the chances of any more albums becoming warped in the future. This means proper storage in a cool, dry, and stable environment, vertical storage, and using protective sleeves.