In this guide we share how to unwarp a vinyl record the right way
Updated August, 2022
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE ON HOW TO FIX A WARPED RECORD
If you're a music lover, then you know that vinyl records are making a comeback. More and more people are starting to appreciate the warm, rich sound of vinyl records.
However, if you want to be able to enjoy your vinyl records, they need to be in good condition. While some degree of warping is to be expected with older records, severe warped can make it difficult or impossible to play them.
"PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE"
We know, it happens. There are two main reasons why vinyl records warp:
1. HEAT: Vinyl is a synthetic plastic. They are lightweight and difficult to break. But plastics are also moldable when there is excessive heat. We are not talking roasting them inside the oven, but just leaving records under the sun or inside a car during Summer months could cause a warp.
2. HORIZONTAL STACK: Second, when you stack too many records they warp due to high pressure. Record covers and packaging are different. So uneven weight in the stack will cause damage.
But let's say it already happened. What to do next?
PRESSURE, HEAT AND TIME
A combination of these will flatten almost any vinyl record.
The same way they got warped, we can unwarp. Not Magic, but Science.
The real challenge is to get the right combination of pressure, heat and time without damaging our record. There are a few options:
1. DIY GLASS PLATES AND OVEN [WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS]
Sure, you went to a forum, and someone said they had success with two glass plates and using your kitchen oven. THIS IS A HIGH RISK METHOD!
In theory, it could work. You are applying some pressure with the plates and heating in the oven. So, what's the problem? Glass plates can easily damage the grooves on the record. Also, kitchen oven temperatures are inaccurate and the lowest setting is usually 175 degrees Fahrenheit. This is way too high to fix a record.
2. USE TWO HEAVY BOOKS AND WAIT....AND WAIT...AND WAIT...MONTHS? YEARS?
Yep, this is safe for the most part. Although it could also damage grooves due to the uneven pressure. Even if the book is perfectly flat. But oh boy, this is ineffective and could take forever, literally.
3. USE A FLATTENING DEVICE
There are some devices that could do they work. But they are $1000+. Who wants to spend this money? We didn't.
That's why we invented The Vinyl Flat more than 10 years ago. To provide a simple, affordable and effective method to unwarp records.
The concept is the same. It works by applying gentle heat and pressure to the record, slowly easing it back into its original shape. The process is safe and effective, and it can help to significantly improve the sound quality of a warped record.
The Vinyl Flat comes in two separate products:
The Vinyl Flat Record Flattener: Includes two heavy-duty plates that apply pressure, and groovy rings to protect the grooves on the record. On its own, it can be used to flatten records over a long period of time. This technique is recommended as the first step to repair extremely valuable records.
The Groovy Pouch: This is our heating device to accelerate the process. It uses medical precision to heat records to an optimal temperature of ~130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whether you're a casual listener or a serious collector, a vinyl record flattener is a valuable tool to have on hand.