How To Fix A Warped Picnic Table: A Complete Guideline




A picnic table is an important piece of furniture. A lot of beautiful moments occur in a picnic table and we store and cherish those moments for the rest of our life. It feels awful when your favorite picnic table with tons of memories gets warped and damaged.

How To Fix A Warped Picnic Table

If it is happened to you and you are looking for ‘How to fix a warped picnic table’, don’t worry. You will get the answers to all your questions below.

Fix A Warped Picnic Table

There are a lot of different techniques to fix a warped picnic table. If the warp is mild, the easiest way to fix a warped picnic table is to use heat. You can use direct sunlight or other heat sources on the warped part. Also, you can use damp paper towels and heavy objects with wood clamps on the warped part of the table to get a flat surface.

Some key points to help you get a clear overview of the issue:

  • Carefully inspect the table and look for all the possible problems so that you can complete the process properly.
  • It is crucial to learn about the factors that contribute to warping and seek protection to avoid future warping.
  • It is important to follow the steps properly for a fruitful result.

What Are The Different Methods To Fix A Warped Picnic Table?

Fixing a warped picnic table is easy yet complicated. Sometimes it becomes more complicated to fix than fixing a wobbly TV tray table. There are a few methods to fix a picnic table. The methods are applied depending on the situation. 

Heat-Only Method

If your table is warped moderately or a part of the table is warped, you can use direct sunlight. It can take a few days but it is one of the natural ways of fixing a warped table. During this process, get the warped piece of wood slightly damp. The goal is to not let it dry completely.

Repeat the process until you get your desired result. You can also use other heat sources. For example, an iron, a heat gun, or a heat lamp too if a specific, small part of your table is warped. It is the quickest way if you use heat only but it is not for a whole table.

Paper Towels Method

It is kind of similar to the heat method. The difference is in the heat method, you use heat only. Here, first put some moist paper towels or wet towels all over the warped part and keep it in the sunlight as long as you need to fix it. Damp the towel repeatedly and do not let it dry completely.

If damping again and again is hard for you, you can use a plastic cover all over it. It will help to retain the moisture inside and not let the towel dry less often. You can use a moisture meter to know the moisture levels of the wood. It will help you to determine how long you need to use the paper towels.

The Pressure Method

The pressure method is a combination of the previous 2 ways. The additional part is after you are done placing damp towels or damp paper towels and covers on top of the warped wood, place objects with heavy weights on the warped surface. Use a welding table for a flat surface and wood clamps to prevent any wood movements.

The Leveling Method

In this method, you will need to level the surface of the warped board or wood. Start by using sandpaper. You can use an electric sander as a better option. If the warping is minor, sanding could get rid of the warped part. If it is severe, you need to use a wood planer.

There are different choices for this but a jack planer would be perfect for this. This method is only applicable if the entire surface of your picnic table is thick enough. Otherwise, you should not use this method. Because if the wood is not thick enough and you scrape it more, the table will lose its durability.

Which Method Is Best For My Picnic Table?

Which method will work the best for your table depends on your table. To find it, you need to know 3 key factors that will help you determine.

Which Method Is Best For My Picnic Table
  • You need to identify the type of warping. Warping can be of different types. For example, bow, crook, kink, cup, twist, etc. To know the cure to fix your table, find out the type of warping your table has.
  • You will need to know how severe the warping is. Choose the method according to it.
  • You need to know how much of your picnic table is warped. Depending on the quantity you can customize the plan. For example, if you want to use the heat-only method, it would take a long time. If some small parts or pieces of wood are warped, you can save time by using other heat sources instead of direct sunlight. But if an entire piece of wood is warped, direct sunlight is the only option.

What Factors Contribute To The Warping Of A Picnic Table?

There are some factors which will cause warping if you do not become aware of those. These factors are:

The Quality Of The Wood

The wood quality of a picnic table is the primary factor that causes the picnic table to warp. If your picnic table is made out of fine wood or even semi-fine wood, you should not be worried about it warping anytime soon. But, if your wood quality is below average or even worse, made out of low-quality wood, it is normal for the table to warp.

The way the wood is cut from the tree is an important factor. It can make the wood prone to future damage or prevent it. High-quality wood is cut with care which prevents it from getting primary damage. Cheaper wood on the other hand cut with less time and care which makes it sensitive to primary damage factors. So, be careful and choose wisely while buying new wooden furniture if you want to prolong its longevity.

The Surroundings

Warping is caused due to fast, uneven changes in the moisture content of the wood. The natural moisture content of the wood when it is in the tree is high, around 30-50%. When the wood is harvested from the tree, the moisture content in the wood over time starts to dry. 8-10% is the middle line for moisture content in the wood. When it drops below this level, the wood starts to warp. 

After the quality of the wood, the next factor that causes warping the most is the surroundings. A picnic table is an outdoor table where it is exposed to direct sunlight and rain. The heat and UV rays from the sunlight cause the retained moisture in the wooden table to dry out quickly which results in warping. After getting soaked in rain, when the water or moisture dries quickly from the sunlight or air, it causes warping too.

Insects & Parasites

Insects and parasites destroy the tissues that contain water by boring into the picnic table. Most wood-boring insects make holes in the table, live there, and keep their larvae in it. This causes the moisture level in the wood cell to drop and the table to warp.

Storing It In The Wrong Way

You don’t need the picnic table at the moment and thinking about storing it in the basement or attic with other wood, you may need to think of other options, because it is hard to fix high water table under house and also that is a terrible idea. Storing wooden furniture with other wooden things that are stored for some time and warped causes warping.

What Tools And Materials Are Requires For Each Repair Method?

Most of the tools and materials are the same for all the methods except for a few which are used depending on the respective method.

What Tools And Materials Are Requires For Each Repair Method

Heat-Only Method

  • Direct Sunlight 
  • Heat Sources

Paper Towels Method

  • Direct Sunlight 
  • Heat Sources
  • Paper Towels
  • Moisture Meter

Pressure Method

  • Direct Sunlight 
  • Heat Sources
  • Paper Towels
  • Welding Table
  • Wood Clamps

Leveling Method

  • Sandpaper
  • Electric Sander
  • Welding Table
  • Jack Planer

How To Fix A Warped Picnic Table? Step-By-Step Solution

If you are wondering ‘How to fix a warped table’, ‘How to fix a warped table top’, or ‘How to fix a warped picnic table’ just follow the steps below and you will get the results you want.

What Are The Steps Involved In Fixing A Warped Picnic Table

Identify The Issue

Identifying the issue first would help in performing the steps. So, take your time and find out the issues, types of warking, warped parts, and how severe it is.

Disassemble The Table

If possible, disassemble the picnic table and take out the parts of the table which are warped and need repairing. It will help you to work on those parts easily and efficiently. 

Choose The Fixing Method

The four methods to fix a warped table are 1. Heat-only method, 2. Paper towels method, 3. The pressure method, 4. Leveling method. Analyze the 3 key factors and find out the method that works for your warped picnic table.

Fix The problem

After choosing the right method, follow all the steps of that method. Do not try to skip any part to hasten the process. It will only make things worse and make the picnic table more prone to future warping.

Refinish The Table

If you use the leveling method, it is not necessary but for the other methods, finish the process by sanding the picnic table. Use sandpaper first, then use an electric sander for a smoother surface. For any uneven spots or parts, use a jack planer and make the surface flat and smooth.

You can use a wood stain if you want to change the color or make it darker. Then, use a wood sealer to seal the paint, add some gloss to the table, and make the paint durable. You can use a water-base or an oil-base wood sealer. The tip is to apply a few light, even coats. In between each coat, use a scotch brite pad, sand it, wipe it, and apply the next coat.

How Long Does It Take To Fix A Warped Picnic Table?

Dealing with wood warping is complicated. You will have a lot of questions in mind such as ‘Can you fix a warped table’, ‘Can you fix a warped table top yourself’, ‘How long does it take’, ‘What are the methods’, ‘What is the best method’, etc. The answer to all these questions is the same which is ‘It depends on the table’.

There is no specific time limit to fixing a warped picnic table. But it is more time and cost saving process than replace a pool table cloth. It can take up to a few days but you can not be sure about how long it will take. The 3 key factors that affect the time are-

  • The type of warp.
  • The severity of the warped part.
  • The amount of the wood warped.

The fixing time varies depending on these factors. 

What Are Some Tips For Fixing A Warped Picnic Table?

What Are Some Tips For Fixing A Warped Picnic Table
  • Take your time and be patient with the process.
  • Pay attention to all the details while inspecting the table to find out all the issues.
  • Do not miss any step.
  • Take professional help or consult if needed.

How Can I Prevent My Picnic Table From Warping In The Future?

By taking protective measures, you can prevent the picnic table from warping. There are some factors that mainly cause the table to warp. 

  • Learn about the factors and how to prevent them.
  • Maintain your picnic table on a regular basis.
  • Take protective measures according to the factors.

What Are The Best Practices For Maintaining A Wooden Picnic Table?

  • Use a table cover to prevent it from getting wet.
  • Use coasters and placemats to prevent from water spilling from glasses or hot surfaces.
  • Use a moisture meter to assess its condition regularly.
  • Keep it clean even when it is not in use.
  • Store it indoors when it is not needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Use A Picnic Table Cover To Prevent Warping?

Yes, A table cover will prevent the table from getting wet and warping. But when the surrounding is humid, it will make the picnic table warp even if you use a picnic table cover.

Is It Possible To Fix A Warped Picnic Table Without The Use Of Tools?

No. You will need proper tools to fix a warped picnic table.

Can I Fix A Warped Picnic Table Top?

Yes. With proper tools and a guideline, you can fix a warped picnic table top even if you are not a professional.

Can I Repair The Warped Picnic Table Myself?

Yes, you can. It can be complicated as you need to know the specific details. Therefore, with the help of proper tools and detailed guidelines, you can repair the warped picnic table yourself.

How Do I Stop My Table From Warping?

If you know the factors that cause warping and take protective measures, you can stop your table from warping.


If you want to know ‘How to fix a warped picnic table’, this article contains all your answers. Repairing a warped picnic table needs a significant amount of time and patience. A simple mistake can make the situation even worse. But if you follow the guidelines, it will help you achieve your desired results and make things a lot easier.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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