There are many ways in which people store their record collection. Some of them choose to stack them, one on top of another. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out something’s not exactly right with that kind of storage. However, sometimes folks don’t have a choice, and “stacking” might simply be a temporary, ad hoc idea. Therefore, such people must ask: How long can vinyls be stacked?
So, what’s so wrong with stacking records horizontally (flat), one on top of the other? We’ll answer that one, too. In the article that follows, you’ll find all the answers you need related to the subject of stacking vinyl records. Stay tuned!
While keeping your vinyl records stacked isn’t recommended at all, most folks agree that storing them in such a manner for 2-3 weeks max cannot leave severe consequences. Now, if you’re eager to store them horizontally, make sure you shift the whole pile every 2-3 weeks.
Reading just the preview ain’t such a good thing since it’s delicate vinyl records we’re talking about. Read the whole thing! Also, be sure to glance at our blog and find more interesting articles, like the one on what to do with stickers on records.
Table of Contents
Is it OK to stack vinyl records?
Before we tell just how long you should keep records stacked, let’s consider whether storing your records horizontally is OK. Of course, it’s not so hard to guess the answer. Let’s see it!
Storing records horizontally by stacking them one on top of another is a serious NO-NO. It’s far from OK since this kind of setup could do some permanent damage to your record collection, regardless of whether they’re outside or inside their jackets. Here’s why that happens: the weight will cause some of them (those at the bottom end up getting the worst treatment) to warp, and in some cases – crack or break. Not to mention you’re also doing some damage to the cover artwork.
You surely don’t want to risk the stuff we’ve mentioned above. Also, did you know that archival record boxes are designed for vertical record storage? There must be a good reason for that, right? Right, storing vinyls in the opposite manner will cause too much pressure on the records that are lower or at the bottom of the pile resulting in some good damage over time.
Okay, so now we know that it’s not OK to stack vinyls in a horizontal (flat) manner. However, what if you’ve just found out that your records storage method is wrong? What if you don’t have any other options (which, of course, we doubt that you don’t)? Let’s move on to the main section and consider just how long vinyl records can stay stacked before some permanent damage is done to them!
How long can vinyls be stacked?
In an ideal setting, this question shouldn’t even be asked since storing vinyls in the mentioned manner is, by all means, not recommended. Of course, there are opinions that counter this reasoning. Let’s hear them!
Some say that the whole “stacking records is highly forbidden” trend is something new. They also add that we should keep in mind that record companies stored and shipped vinyls stacked on top of each other in boxes since the birth of the media. If you’re to listen to this kind of advice, we recommend that you at least flip the contents every 2-3 weeks so every record gets an equal share of the trouble. Also, don’t forget to keep them in a cool, well-ventilated place, away from any potential heat sources (we’ll talk more about it later on).
How long does it take for stacked records to warp?
Okay, let’s try to answer the main question. So, how long can vinyls be stacked on top of each other before they suffer some permanent, hardly-repairable damage? Most folks would agree that you shouldn’t opt for more than 2-3 weeks (it’s the same period once again). Of course, it goes without saying that you keep your records stored in optimal conditions, away from excessive heat, dampness, etc.
Now, if your records end up warped because of this or that incorrect storage solution, it’s not the end of the world. That’s right, you’ll be able to fix the damage without much effort. Find out if warped records are worth anything in our blog.
Tips on proper vinyl record storage
Let’s check out what else you can do, besides storing your records in a vertical manner, to ensure that your collection is safe & sound. Here are some tips on proper vinyl record storage!
#1 Keep your records clean
Just like any other item you’d consider putting in storage, records too have to be kept as clean as possible. That’s because you’ll have some issues with reproduction if you let dust build up. Yup, the appearance of good old dust on your vinyl’s surface will result in a rather unwelcome background static noise. Also, it will decrease the fidelity that’s coming out of your speakers. Learn whether small scratches on vinyl are normal in our blog.
So, how should a person make sure that their records are clean before storage? Let’s find out! Here are some of the things you’ll want to do:
- Keep your turntable cover shut. It’s the most obvious way to keep dust out of your record’s surface.
- When you’re finished playing the records, right before you put it back into the inner sleeve, simply brush it with an antistatic brush or with it with an antistatic wipe to do away with the static charge.
Besides keeping your records clean before storage, there are other things you can do to prevent various issues that come as a result of poor storage conditions.
#2 Change the inner sleeve
Now, of course, the original inner sleeves that come with the record might offer protection from scratches once the record’s removed or put into the outer sleeve, but that’s about it for its protection traits. Also, sometimes – it even might damage the record. That’s because these original inner sleeves are often made of low-grade paper and can become a place where dirt, dust, and acid find their home to your dissatisfaction.
Here are some other things that will inspire you to buy acid-free archival vinyl record inner sleeves:
- The acids found in the old paper sleeves could quicken the breakdown of the plasticizers found in vinyls. Also, they might do some harm to the outer sleeve.
- Also, vintage inner sleeves might become creased. Once under pressure, they could cause some issues on the surface of your vinyl.
- The aforementioned acid-free archival inner sleeves produce very little static. Unlike their plastic counterparts, that is.
- Lastly, in some cases, the inner sleeve might hold some info or have a specific value. Therefore, you should store it separately from the record.
We’re not done yet! Also, you may want to learn how to save hype stickers.
#3 Picking out the storage area
There’s no need to emphasize the fact that the storage space in which you keep your vinyl records has a significant impact on the shelf life of your records. Yup, records react in a negative manner to high humidity and changes in temperature. Such conditions will result in mold growth and propel the degradation of your records. Also, sunlight and excessive heat will fade your record sleeves and probably warp the record itself. If you want to learn how to remove shrink wrap from vinyl, take a look at our blog.
So, how do you choose the ideal storage area for your vinyl records? Here’s how:
- Your record collection should be nowhere near a radiator or window. As we’ve said, sunlight and high temperatures aren’t good for your vinyls.
- Also, make sure your records are stored away from cold, external walls since they’re the ideal place for mold to show up. They could also attract certain types of insects which you can guess ain’t a good thing.
- Don’t store your records in a garage or a shed since frequent temperature changes aren’t good for your vinyl records.
- Lastly, see that your records are stored away from any potential sources of vibration such as washing machines or subwoofers.
All in all: you’ll need to find a cool, dry space that is away from any potential sources of leaks in order to rest assured knowing you’ve done all that’s in your power to keep your record collection safe & sound.
#4 Know how to handle a record
Your everyday interaction with records is vital to their well-being. Here’s what you need to know about handling vinyl records:
- Never handle your records using dirty hands. Always keep them clean before you start to mess with the old collection. If want to be thorough, use finger cots.
- Always hold the record around the edge and near the center, steering clear of touching the grooves.
That should’ve done it on the proper storage of vinyl records. All that’s left is to say goodbye!
Okay, folks, that’s about it on the subject of how long you should keep vinyls stacked (if at all). We hope you’ve had a good one reading this piece. If you’re on the lookout for more information about everything music-related, click right here.