How to repair vinyl records

Written by samantha volz
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How to repair vinyl records
Warped records can ruin an otherwise enjoyable listening experience. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Collecting vinyl records allows you to celebrate your musical tastes and relive your glory days. For many collectors, few things sound better than the crackle of static as you first touch needle to vinyl and your music starts to play. Storing vinyl records can present a problem, and as time passes, the vinyl sometimes becomes warped by temperature changes or uneven pressure.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Glass pieces
  • Oven

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  1. 1

    Remove the record from its dust sheath or case. Place the record flat on a piece of glass that is large enough to support the entire record without any edges sticking out.

  2. 2

    Place an identical piece of glass on top of the record so that the vinyl is pressed flat between the two pieces of glass.

  3. 3

    Bake the record in an oven set to no higher than 65.6 degrees Celsius; Johan le Roux from Restoration of Vinyl to CD in South Africa advises that the temperature remain below this point for safety of the vinyl. Check the record every 3 to 5 minutes. Bake only until the record appears completely flat; the heat will soften the vinyl and the pressure from the glass will flatten it. The time it will take depends on the severity of the warping.

  4. 4

    Remove the record from the oven as soon as it is completely flat. Allow the record to cool completely before removing the glass, so that it cools it in the flattened form.

  5. 5

    Store the record upright on end, sandwiched between other records or other flat objects, at a temperature no higher than 21.1 degrees Celsius to prevent future warping.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't want to risk applying heat to your records, place the warped record in a dust sleeve on a flat surface. Stack records, books or other objects on top, making sure the pressure applied is even across the entire vinyl surface. Over time, the record will return to its original shape.
  • If you don't want to bake your record, place it between the glass plates and set it in the sunlight. Like the baking, you must check on the record every few minutes to ensure that you do not completely melt the vinyl.
  • For an alternative method, sandwich the record between two identical pieces of metal, and iron the metal with a low-heat clothing iron. As the metal heats, it will gradually flatten the record.
  • Severely warped records, or those with scratches, cannot be fixed at home. Take these records to professional collectors or repairers to return them to playable condition.

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