Unwarp Wood Table Top: How To Flatten a Warped Table Top

By MWB-Team •  Updated: 05/23/23 • 

Wood is a hygroscopic material, and with changes in humidity, it will lose or gain moisture. A tabletop, when exposed to low humidity will warp or swell in high humidity.

If you start noticing the edges of your tabletop, start taking a concave on convex shape, then it is warping. Fortunately, there are different ways you can unwrap a tabletop and flatten it back to normal. Below are some methods you can try to fix a warped tabletop. Also, check out our informative guide to unwarp wood.

How to Fix a Warped Tabletop

1. Use an Iron box

This straightforward method of fixing a warped tabletop works mainly for thinner wood. This is done by applying heat and moisture to the concave side of the table.

Take a towel and dip it in water, but wring the excess water leaving it damp and not dripping wet. After that, take the towel and place it on the tabletop making sure you cover the warped part. The towels should be wide enough to withstand heat from the iron box.

Once you’ve covered the tabletop, plug the iron in and turn it to the highest setting. Once the iron heats up, press it on the towel covering the wood while applying pressure. This forces the wood tabletop to absorb moisture, and the heat will slowly flatten it.

As you’re working, check the progress, and if the warp has been corrected, stop and give the tabletop some time to dry. Once dry, finish the tabletop with a protective finish to prevent future warping.

2. Use Weights to Flatten the Table

This is another DIY-friendly method you can try to unwarp a tabletop. With this method, the more severe the warp, the longer it will take to flatten it and get it back to normal.

First, remove the table legs to remain only with the tabletop part. Then, cover the concave side of the tabletop with some pieces of damp paper towels. Place the tabletop on a flat surface and add battens that span over the length of the tabletop.

Add some weight to the battens to fasten the process. Once in a while, spray paper towels with water if they dry up. You can also do this outside in direct sunlight to fasten the results.

How Long will it Take to Unwarp a Tabletop?

This usually depends on how severe the warp is and the method used to fix it. Depending on the warp, fixing a warped tabletop can take several hours, a day, or several days. If you’re using iron and damp towels to fix a minor warp, this can take an hour or several hours to bring the wood back to normal shape.

If you’re using weights, the process could be longer or shorter depending on the severity of the warp. It could take several hours for slightly warped wood but days for severe warps. To fasten the process, add heavier weights to the battens.

Remember to take your time to ensure your tabletop is flattened and leveled out perfectly. If you rush through the process, you might start over again.

How to Prevent Your Tabletop From Warping in the Future

  1. Use a protective finish on your tabletop.
  2. Clean liquid spills dry immediately.
  3. Avoid placing the table under direct sunlight.
  4. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the dry air in your home.


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