Is It Normal For Vinyl To Be Warped?


Is it normal for vinyl to be warped? Warping is a result of poorly stored vinyl records. However, sometimes new vinyl records come at your doorstep a little warped. Is that normal? Let’s find out. 

Unfortunately, it’s normal for new vinyl records to have a warped state. It’s the current state of the vinyl economy. Why is that?

  1. Warping is an adverse effect caused by improper storage of vinyl records.
  2. You can also get warping by leaving your vinyl records under the sun.
  3. Unsealed records can also warp if they are not stored properly. 

As a vinyl enthusiast, you will come across warping a lot. It’s up to you to correctly determine the vinyl records state and whether or not you can fix the vinyl record. You’re welcome to keep reading and get more information on how you can achieve that result. 

Is It Normal For Vinyl To Be Warped?

In my experience, getting a warped vinyl is a result of poor storage and maintenance. Whether it’s a new, old, or used vinyl, a warped state is not normal, and you shouldn’t normalize it in the first place. 

Vinyl collectors grade valued vinyl records using Goldmine standard. If a collector analyzed a warped vinyl record, it might receive a P grade regardless of its release date and other exceptional factors. P means poor, by the way. 

This fact doesn’t mean that you should grade every record you see, but you should hold your vinyl records, their condition, and storage to a high standard. 

Vinyl record storage is one of the basics of vinyl collecting, and of course, you might slip up and warp one record at least. But it would be better for you and your collection to care for them a little better. 

Why Is My Vinyl Warped?

To answer this question, you have to understand what warping is. By understanding what warping is and its causes, you can understand why your vinyl record is warping in the first place. 

What Is Warping?

Warping is an adverse effect caused by the following things:

  • By exposing the vinyl record to high temperatures. For example, the summer heat. 
  • Improper storage of vinyl records.

Vinyl records require specific temperatures to stay flat and playable; in the case of sealed vinyl records, flat and profitable. Vinyl records require room temperature to remain playable and flat. At room temperature, you’re talking around 65°F or 70°F.  

At about 140°F, the vinyl record will warp. It is inevitable. Moreover, if the temperature increases, the vinyl record will eventually melt. 

As a vinyl record enthusiast, make sure the room or area you’re storing your vinyl records maintains a constant temperature that will keep the record cool and flat. 

Another thing to note is that the vinyl records will become brittle and break if the temperatures get any lower. 

Why does vinyl warp in the first place? Vinyl records consist of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC is a type of plastic. When you expose a thin plastic (vinyl records) to harmful conditions, it will melt, break or warp. 

Look at it this way; if you left a plastic cup out in the Summer afternoon for a long time, you wouldn’t be coming to a plastic cup in an hour or two. It’s the same concept. The plastic will bend (warp) or melt (if we’re talking Death Valley). 

Is It Normal Few New Vinyl Records To Come In Warped?

If you chose to have your vinyl records delivered to your doorstep during the summer, there’s a high chance that they will come in warped. It’s not that it’s normal, but rather it’s a form of cause and effect. 

The keyword here is Summer. 

There’s no way of regulating the heat inside your package while it’s in the delivery truck or shipping center. Many vinyl enthusiasts will not ship vinyl records during the summer because of this particular problem. 

Experts recommend shipping your vinyl records in seasons other than summer, preferably the beginning of autumn where it’s not too cold or too hot, and the record should make it in peak condition.

How Do You Fix A Warped Vinyl?

Fixing a warped vinyl isn’t hard, but it does take some patience. It requires heat to warp a record, but it also requires heat to CTRL Z the warping process. 

What do you need?

  • A source of heat
  • Heavy objects to sandwich the warped vinyl record

Kindly note, do not use a stove to undo the warping. Not only is it dangerous, but it might also break a couple of restrictions in your locale or building. Experts recommend staying away from the stove method; it’s not safe for you.

Some experts wait for summer to undo the warping. Then they leave the records between books that will hold them in place and provide that pressure to flatten them. Please note, you are still keeping the records at a pleasant temperature that won’t warp them. 

It’s essential to check the temperature so that you’re not crossing the line. 

After leaving the records for around a week, the process should’ve fixed the warped record or reduced the warping to an agreeable state. 

Doing this method a couple of times should fix most of the warping, and you would’ve done it safely. Again, the keyword is safe. 

Regardless prevention is better than cure. Take care of your vinyl record, store your records correctly and make sure that you consistently clean your records.

This method is the best way to keep your records free from warping. It may seem like a pain in the neck, but the results will never disappoint you.

Lastly, vinyl records can warp; sometimes, it’s inevitable. However, do not normalize the warping of vinyl records—God speed. 

You may want to take a look at my other articles if you want to learn more about the subject.
Is It Ok To Play A Warped Record? (Answer Here)
Will A Warped Record Damage The Stylus? Is It Ok To Play A Warped Record? (Answer Here)

New And Second Hand Vinyl FAQs

  1. How Are New Vinyl Records Warped And Second-hand Vinyl Records Are Flat?

It’s tricky trying to pinpoint the problem with new vinyl records warping. The reason for this problem may lie with pressing companies, warehouses, or even shipping companies. Maybe blame the entire manufacturing process. 

There’s also the case of 60s records were much thinner and warped a lot easier. However, records from the 50s were a lot sturdier and didn’t warp as quickly as other vinyl records after that decade. 

It’s pretty challenging to poke and prod where precisely the problem is coming from, but if you had to choose one clear winner, it would have to be cats. Blame the cats. 

  1. Should You Return Warped Records That Sound Fine?

It depends on how much warping the vinyl record has undergone. If the warping is undisputed and doesn’t satisfy your level of quality, then it’s an excellent choice to return the vinyl record. You can get a new one or get your money back.

However, sometimes it’s never that serious. If the warp is less than an inch and the album plays well, then it should be fine to keep it and play it on your turntable. 

Regardless, overly warped vinyl records are worth returning to the seller and getting a better vinyl record for your money.

  1. Can You Fix A Warped Record With A Hairdryer?

Well, this tool of choice is quite uncontrollable. You can’t control how much heat is on the record, and you might blast it with so much heat that you make the warping a lot worse. 

Experts do not recommend using a hairdryer. It’s an uncontrollable medium that may let things go south in the blink of an eye. 

Sources

  1. Jenna Miles, The Beginner’s Guide to Vinyl Records: How to Build, Maintain and Experience a Music Collection in Analogue (Massachusetts: Adams Media,2017) Accessed August 15th,2021. 
  2. Record Player Expert, Vinyl Temperature Guide, Record Player Expert, https://recordplayerexpert.com/vinyl-temperatures/ Accessed August 15th, 2021.
  3. Steven Williams, How to store vinyl records, Discogs, https://blog.discogs.com/en/how-to-store-vinyl-records/ Accessed August 15th,2021. 

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