Records not stored vertically for decades

I’m looking to eventually get my vinyl rig back up n running and went to get my albums and found they’ve been lying flat probably for decades in two stacks of about 75 albums in each stack.  Any chance they’re still in good shape, or what damage may have been done versus being stored vertically?  They’ve been in a dry, temperature-controlled basement the whole time.  No way to play them right now so just hoping they might still be ok.  Thanks for thoughts.


Dear @soix  : Sorry but your thread has no sense to me. 

Who cares what other gentlemans could think about when you have you are the LP owner and you can watch directly to see if are ok or not?


It could be better that you check 100 of those LP and then share with us in which condition are. Don't yu think?

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


The big problem with stored records is mold growth on the vinyl and jacket which produces that mildew smell. This is worsened by humid environments. As long as you do not smell mildew and the records were not subject to heat you will be ok. If they were subject to heat the results will be rather obvious.

soix, I've seen many cautions against horizontal stacking but never read any specific reports of damage when doing that.  I assume it relates to flatness since humidity or mold could be a problem when stored at any angle.

Apparently your turntable is not set up.  So maybe a few visual inspections.  If you have any glass tabletops or other absolutely flat surfaces, pull a few LPs from the piles and lay the bare records on top.  If there was severe warping or cupping it should be obvious.

The advantage of the horizontal stacking is you don't compromise album covers as much as they're stacked on top of each other.

Record surfaces should be fine otherwise. 

Returning to us a Vinyl Source with a selection of Vinyl LP's stored for 20 years +.

That seems like a experience that can generate excitement, especially when some of the Albums in storage, might be worth a much more than the price from when acquired.

There might be one gem in their that can cover the cost of a Vinyl Replay equipment ? 

"Who cares what other gentlemans could think about when you have you are the LP owner and you can watch directly to see if are ok or not?"

- What does this even mean?

You're making this way more complicated than need be.  Simply turn them over and let them sit for another few decades.

"You're making this way more complicated than need be.  Simply turn them over and let them sit for another few decades."

Sanest advice I've read in this forum in years.

Stacking causes ring wear on the jacket. The record(s) should probably be okay.

other than the records being pretty pissed at you and wanting to breathe a bit, probably no issues

I stored my records vertically for two decades, and I think that the only issue was some of the cover art was faded. Personally, I would be a little bit more concerned about heat and humidity than vertical versus horizontal but what do I know?

A quality analog rig is a very expensive proposition and I would think about it carefully before going down that road.

Ok. I was mainly concerned the pressure from the weight would affect the grooves and the sound but not sounding like that’s much of a problem. 

I’m rather disappointed with these responses. There is simply no reason to reply in such a snarky and downright mean manner. You are not being glib or witty. You’re only demonstrating your lack of civility and proper upbringing. 

I shall skip my traditional friendly signoff. 

But Raul’s pint is valid, especially since we are not sure we have the full story(conditions of storage being the most important). Why not play a few LPs from the bottom of the stack and a few off the top.? Then let us know your results.

@Soix - The records may be noisier and or skippy because the lower ones will have quite a bit of pressure on them so any surface contaminants are going to be well pressed into the grooves.

If 150 records is the totality of your collection, I would also carefully consider the opportunity cost of investing in a vinyl playback system versus what else you could do with your system.

lewm is right. If you have a friend with a decent analog rig, take some samples to him and give them a spin. Given the high cost of quality gear, it’s a good step.

A couple decades of records being stacked may actually help some warped LPs straighten out, in my non-informed opinion 

@lewm Raul’s Pontus are not valid or useful for my situation.  Did you not read my post?  I mentioned both the storage conditions and that I currently can’t play the albums, so I was simply asking what damage may have been done by storing the records flat in piles rather than upright/vertical.  That’s all.

@yoyoyaya Thanks for your thoughts regarding contaminants — that makes a lotta sense and makes me hope my better records are near the top 🤞🤞🤞.  Also, I already have a turntable/phono pre ready to go so won’t cost anything to get going but currently don’t have a place to set up my system due to personal circumstances.  Looking forward to rediscovering vinyl though.

@soix Here's my best guess as to what you may eventually encounter:

If the stacks were perfectly stacked one atop each other (i.e.  records and/or jackets not askew here & there) so that there was equal pressure on each disk and the floor was perfectly flat, the top 5 to 7 records of each stack might have some degree warping.  I don't think you have anything to worry about regarding groove damage.  The major concern, I believe, would be dust, mold spores or other fine infiltrates in the storage environment, especially if the records were not ensconced in and inserted properly into good quality anti-static inner and/or outer record sleeves.  If I were you, I would invest in a good record cleaning machine or system before playing those records on a good TT.  Depending upon how much you want to spend, there are a number of record cleaning options to consider (e.g.  ultrasonic, vacuum machines; manual cleaning; etc.).  Have a read (i.e.  not an easy read but worth the time) of this: Vinyl Record Manual Cleaning Process (

Investing in a good TT is, obviously, also a must if you want good sound quality.  If you ultimately decide to go ultrasonic cleaning and don't want to spend 4K or more on a nifty ultrasonic cleaning machine, have a look at this: CleanerVinyl Ultrasonic Record Cleaning

Good Luck!  


As to the integrity of the grooves storing them horizontally, if the vinyl is stored in paper sleeves, paper deposits will probably be encrusted into them deeper, hence you'll need some good wash. I use ultrasonic. And then switch to plastic sleeves. Other than the covers at the bottom probably suffering some visual damage, you should be fine but it will take work. Vinyl requires a lot of time to get started but once the equipment is properly setup and the records cleaned and stored in plastic sleeves, you're good to go. Also use plastic sleeves to protect the covers. A tip of mine that no one ever mentions: SLIDE THE COVERS OPENINGS IN FIRST. That way dust will never enter the covers. Simple but totally effective. And store them vertically.

You should buy a quality disc washer 

For $2-3k you should be able to get one that washes

Dries. Myself csnt be bothered with high quality digital being so good 

But disc have their own qualities my brother disc washer 

Is to me expensive over $5 k  check with

The needle doctor or others  on quality, pricing.

What fun you will have re-discovering those recordings.

Checking if flat on glass is a good idea. If not flat, a Shure cartridge with a damped brush would be a good idea.

My favorite elliptical with damped brush is M97xe

M97xe, good price

Other aftermarket stylus replacements that have brushes are not damped, like my Jico replacement for my Shure V15Vxmr. Great stylus, the brush is good, but not as good for warps as damped. 

btw, you can play these cartridges with the brush down/working or up, they simply click in up position.

My other thought is that some paper dust might be pressed in the grooves more aggressively than vertical, i.e. not easily dislodged.

My old LP's sound significantly better after a good manual scrub. I do batches of 10 at a time, the brush is a baby scalp brush from Amazon

baby scalp brush

I've had records that were stored flat for months to years and never had an issues with them.  I think as long as they weren't submitted to excessive heat or humidity they'll be fine.

So since you have about 200 albums, I would run them all thru a US RCM. That will get rid of any mould/dirt/dust, etc. The only ones I would worry about for warping are the top 5-10, since they would not have much weight on them. Vinyl is heavy, so anything under those would be fine from any warps. 

My 2 cents... Good luck and enjoy when you get everything back up and running. Lots of fun. Just finished listening to Analogue Productions Gaucho - 45 rpm - re-mastered by Bernie. Another home run if you are a SD fan.

The issue with storing records flat has already been brought up. Primarily, the increased potential for warpage and sleeve damage. This will depend to some extent on whether the record in question is a box set or not, generally a box set is more durable as to the contents. Easiest thing to do is just set the record on the platter and do a little spin, this should tell one if warping is present.

Just finished listening to Analogue Productions Gaucho - 45 rpm - re-mastered by Bernie. Another home run if you are a SD fan.

@dmk_calgary Funny you mention Steely Dan — my favorite band.  One of the things I was hoping is that my old vinyl sounds better than the digital versions that I find hard to listen to — especially the older stuff.  I have MoFi Orig Master Recordings of Aja and The Nightfly on vinyl that I’m especially looking forward to but heard the latter’s not all that great (never critically listened to it on a good system).  Any recommendations for some really good SD vinyl?


@soix I am confident that your records will be quite well.  The pressure from horizontal storage no doubt pushed contaminates into the grooves.  But that is the only real issues you need to be concerned with.  No matter how you cared for them many years ago, you definitely need to use a more sophisticated cleaning system for their new use.  Without having to spend very much, you can get a respectable wet/vacuum record cleaning system, such as The Record Doctor or a Nitty Gritty, and also a stack of plastic anti-static sleeves.  Treat your records right and they will deliver good results, better than in the past.  Acoustic Sounds has the record sleeves you need, and at about 25 to 30 cents per record it's the very least investment there is into the world of vinyl.  Acoustic Sounds also has all of the Steely Dan albums you desire.  From relatively inexpensive reissues to the state-of-the-art UHQR reissues.  Analog is a lot of fun.  Enjoy the newly inspired journey, once again.  

really good SD would be Analogue Productions - they just released - well you can order them - Aja and Gaucho and maybe one other have shipped - all 45 rpm, all remastered by Bernie. I have the Mofi of Aja and the AP version is much better - dynamics, black background - esp the cymbals at the end of Aja - the Mofi version they are very muddy - like they were distorted on the original - much more listenable on the AP version.Gaucho is great - music and sound. Not cheap - $150 a pop, but if you are a SD fan, must haves.

I forgot - after you clean your vinyl in the US RCM, get some rice sleeves for them - Mofi and AP have them, as does Square Deal Recordings and Supplies on eBay - much cheaper than the other two and just as nice, if not nicer. Throw out all the paper ones unless they have rice liners.

Anyway, have fun listening to the new SD and getting your system up and running. Its a fun hobby and I have discovered a ton of great artists - Discogs is my new best friend.

@soix I can't say enough positive compliments to the PAVCR Manual Cleaning Method.

It has blown me away to the point the US Tank is unused.

I have purified Albums, I thought I was never to play again when in contact with a Stylus on a on a quality Cart'.

Those Albums I would now let meet any Cart's Stylus and have no fears for the owner of the Cart' showing a concern.

Just play the LPS. If it sounds ok, it is ok.

So simple, just ply!.  LPs are not the best audio format, so I do not spend any extra energy with the LPs. Maybe, somebody, emotionally, thinks the LPs very valuable. But, not me, though I do have >2,000 LPs.

Thanks to all those recommending record cleaning methods/equipment cause I’m gonna really need them and am looking into each and every one.  Back in the day I just used the ol’ Discwasher brush/liquid so I’m sure there’s a ton o’ crap lurking in them grooves.  Also definitely gonna get some good rice sleeves so thanks for that tip too.  Think I’m gonna get to see the records tomorrow so I’ll see what I’m dealing with here. 🤞🤞🤞

Always a good idea to clean your LPs, but I see no reason why horizontal storage would make the LPs any more or less in need of a cleaning.  I disagree that even the bottom-most LPs in the pile would have had dirt driven into the grooves to any greater degree than if the LPs had been stored vertically, because the playing surface per se is not supporting most of the weight exerted downward by the stack.  That force will be mostly resisted by the raised lip around the circumference of each LP and to some degree possibly by the label.  The greater possibility for damage is that the topmost LPs might have developed some warps.  But that you can discover for yourself by simply looking; you don't need to be able to play an LP to determine if it is warped.  Someone else already said as much.

@soix As you were informed earlier in the thread that you are the sole investigator of your concerns about quality of the Albums condition.

Your follow up response:

" Ok. I was mainly concerned the pressure from the weight would affect the grooves and the sound but not sounding like that’s much of a problem." 

If the Stack was quite neat, without too much edge overhang of the Albums perimeter edges between tiers, the idea of the Groove receiving compression is one that is less of a concern, as the Outer Raised Dead Wax Rim and Inner Raised Label will have been the points of loading. Hence, references being made to Ring Damage demarcation visible on Album Covers. The Grooves will have been recessed in relation to these two positions and been free from excessive force being applied.

If there has been an increased overhang of the Albums Perimeter Edges between tiers, The Likelihood the Offset in alignment is more that 50 % of the surface area of the Label diameter seems excessive, but the off set being more than the 50 % of the width of the outer Dead Wax, does seem quite viable. If this off set is seen in the stack, there is the likelihood the Grove have been exposed to  point force, where the Dead Wax was able to be compressed and add force to the Groove.

Note: Force applied will be if typical as a Storage, passed through an Albums Outer Sleeve and then the Inner Sleeve, there might even be a Outer Sleeve Protector in use as well. These layers of protection being present, where the point of force is being applied, is certainly an area where an amount of cushioning is also working against the hard / full contact force being exerted to its worst effect.

If the Base the Albums are laying on is perfectly flat then the lower Album should not be exposed to being compressed onto the uneven surface in the area of the Grooves.

As an optimist, I sense the Paper Sleeves may have been exposed to a accelerated deterioration as a result of the environments impact at the storage location. Proper Cleaning Methods will firstly correct any earlier used cleaning methods failings, as well as deal with contaminants from inner Paper Sleeves deterioration being bedded into the groove as well. 

I keep the original Paper Sleeve stored in the Album Cover, but use Anti Static Sleeves to insert the Vinyl into  following the PAVCR Manual Cleaning Method.

Ring Damage to Album Covers is quite likely.

Warping is also a risk. 

The question is when you do get to have hands on the Vinyl LP's once more, are the Storage methods to change, is the new configuration to be that the Albums are to be flipped to the Vertical for the period of storage until you can get to using them regularly ?!!!

Do not overlook that this Album Collection is very likely to be worth a reasonable sum of monies, it can also contain an Album or Two that are much appreciated in value as well. 


The causal formula for vinyl deformity is (Heat > 70 degrees F+ Uneven pressure across a recrd’s surface) / Time.

IOW: The vinyl substrate on which records are pressed softens in direct proportion to exposure to temperatures >70º Fahrenheit. The duration of their exposure is inversely proportional to the temperature elevation that softens vinyl to the same extent.

Record warping is a process that begins when heat softens the vinyl enough to deform during the simultaneous application of uneven pressure across a record’s surface. This uneven pressure occurs when records lean to one side. The higher the temperature, and/or the greater the uneven pressure, the less time it takes a deformity to develop.

The closer one edge of a record’s proximity to a home heating source, the greater the tendency for an isolated edge deformity to develop. Edge warps cause phonograph styli to skip or repeat playback of a record’s outer grooves. An edge warp that extends far enough toward the record’s center can render the introductory portions of the recorded music unplayable. Severe edge warps under the influence of modern anti-skating mechanisms can toss a playback off the edge of the record. Most edge warps are irreparable.

“Dish” deformities develop when an entire record is exposed to heat while the angles at which they lean are great enough to form pressure voids over a substantial portion of a record’s large midsection.

Dish warps decouple a record from the turntable platter when they’re played. This phenomenon allows the record’s inherent resonance to color the sound listeners hear—differing in intensity with each record rotation. This, in turn, has a deleterious effect on the fidelity that leads music lovers to choose vinyl records because of their extraordinarily high fidelity to the music’s source. The good news is that dish warps are repairable, as described by Sumiko

Either deformity becomes set when a deformed record cools. Repeated heating/cooling cycles “ratchet” up the warp’s severity over time until listeners finally notice it. The bad news is that in most cases, the process is so insidious that the process goes unnoticed until it’s too late to prevent it.

The good news for you, SOIX is that per your description, your record collection hasn’t been subjected to temperatures >70 degrees F while they’ve been stored as you’ve described. So unless they were subjected to temperatures > 70 degrees F at the same time they were exposed to uneven surface pressures before you began storing them as you’ve described, I can assure you that your valuable and sometimes irreplaceable records are not warped.

Look for Diamond Record Guardian, LLC to introduce its failsafe warp prevention system at the beginning of July.

@soix The Post from @recordguardian a very appropriate name, has made it clear what is a ambient environment condition that can cause a warp to occur.

When hands on with the LP’s, this is one more consideration to be checked for and avoided, for this condition to be created in close proximity to the LP’s.

I don’t think there is an LP owner from their heyday of usage that has not had a LP warp from leaving an Album local to an external window that receives Sunshine.

I may have even been expressive of a wicked nature, where at a certain time, exposed a Sibling Brothers Album or Two to such a condition 👹


You asked, "Where do you get your “rules of warping”?"

Thank you for asking.

I got those rules from verified facts and sound logic. The verified facts were gathered from extensive research I engaged in order to understand my 55 years of anecdtotal experience with warps in my own records added to the experiences of other record collectors posted on the internet.

The sound logic cmes from my undeclared minor in formal logic when I earned my bachelors degree in business administration, passing all of my science and math courses with nary an error.

Assuming you have your own "rules for warping", how do they differ from mine?

Thank you.



I am trying to figure it out how horizontal records storage causes warping. If anything it ought to flatten them. I could be wrong, I have been wrong before.

The only way to find out is by playing the albums.Heat and Humidity, the way records are stored are the big killers.Moldy record covers and moldy on the vinyl another...warping  from storing them horizontally can happen. You want to play them to checkout the sound.They can be cleaned my hand ,brush,cleaning fluid.A  car can look great but until you drive it who knows.


Yours is a valid concern. And if you don’t mind, I’ll respond with verified facts and sound logic.

The interiors of functional record storage compartments must be wide enough to accommodate album sets in larger than normal jackets and to ease removal for playback and replacement afterward. So most of them are at least 13" wide. When records are stored on a horizontal surface that wide, ½" of their edges can be misaligned with the record beneath it in a stack. This leaves that edge of the record devoid of pressure. The air temperatures very close to home heating sources can approach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. And a brief exposure to temperatures that high can deform the unsupported edge. Subsequent cooling sets the deformity, creating an edge warp. And repeated heating/cooling cycles increases the edge warp.

Unfortunately, few edge warps can be repaired.






Recordguardian, I was wondering whether there was any scientific basis for the 70 degree F cutoff point. That seems low , plus I would think humidity plus temperature together are the determinants. Therefore the temp cutoff would vary with ambient moisture. Furthermore while it seems inescapable logic to say that storage at an angle promotes warping, one also notices (during my own 50 years) that sometimes warps appear for no logical reason, even in LPs stored vertically in tight rows, and even free of charge in brand new LPs.


The storage angle is immaterial as long as it comprises a flat surface that provides even pressure across the suraces of records stored therein. In fact, Diamond Record Gurdaiian’s failsafe technology stores recoreds on a flat surface rotated to a 45 degree angle so gravity forces the edges of records into alignment. Its up to our customers to ensure that the back edges of records are also aligned--an easy tqsk when one edge is already aligned with the edges of records below it in the stack.

The consensus recommendation by acknowledged experts is to store records vertically at dry temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F. As long as those records are supported be even pressures across both surfaces, they won’t deform. But that creates its own problem. Imagine organzing your record collection in alphabetical order by the recording artist’s name. You decide to add all ten of Abbq’s albums to your collection of 500 records stored in eight compartments. You’ll be fced with a hree-way quandary: you must be willing to shift ten records at a time from one compartment to the next x 7, cross referencing your collection by date of acquisition, or leqve a gap in each storage compartment to accommodate new acquisitions. If you’ve ever tried to balance a jacketed record on its edge, you alreqdy know it will fall toward one of two supporting surfaces until it encounters the highest obstruction. That leaves portions of the record devoid of pressure. This isn’t a problem as long as the stored records are not exposed to temperatures above 70 degrees. But how many record collectors listen to their records while sitting or standing in temperatures that do not exceed 70 degrees?

New records can be subjected to extremely high temperatures during shipping, and any misalignment omong records in their corrogqted cardboard containers completes the formula for vinyl deformity. Diamond Record Guardian (DRG) recommends having your records shipped by air to minimize their time of exposuure to high temperatures. Even worse, there is no guarantee that other freight not aligned with the surfaces of your recordswon't be stacked on top of your records. The only portection from that eventuality is to have your records shipped in a rigic container, i.e. milk crates.

You can’t control how your local record store ships has its inbound stock shipped. But they won’t stay in business long if they refuse to replace or refund the price you paid for records that turn out to be warped.

To overcome any concerns about playing Vinyl Horizontally after storing it Vertically. The Link is to show a type of device to help address such a concern.


Well, I got to look at some of my records today and they look to be in surprisingly good shape.  There may be some warping but tough to really tell just by looking (unfortunately didn’t get to view them on a flat surface) , there was no visible mold, and even the albums toward the bottom in their original paper sleeves looked very clean with no visible signs of the paper being embedded into the grooves.  Obviously the proof will be in the playing, but I was encouraged by what I saw and was surprised it wasn’t worse given the extreme length of time it’s been. 

@recordguardian what an "interesting" scenario of albums stacked up willy-nilly next to wood stove or fire place.

@soix If the PAVCR Manual Cleaning Method is utilised prior to any replays of this collection of Albums, there should be very very little, if any evidence of contamination in the Groove when the earliest of the replays are carried out.

Purified is the most accurate term I can select for describing the Cleaned LP played fresh of the Cleaning Process.    

I’ve always heard that laying records flat can cause warping but I can’t verify that. Stand them back up and hope for the best. Cheers