What is a warp?
A warp is a deviation from a flat surface. All table tennis tables will vary to some degree from a perfectly flat surface. It is when the deviation is outside of the normal variance that is allowed by the manufacturer’s specification of what constitutes a warped top, that the top is considered to be a product defect covered under warranty. Different table tennis table manufacturers will have different specifications of what constitutes a product defect due to warping. This specification can be determined by a table tennis association or the specification can be determined by the manufacturer itself.
Tables can temporarily warp.
A warped top on a new table tennis table is often a temporary condition. The change in humidity and temperature in transit can cause a temporary warp on the wood top. These temporary warps will many times self correct by following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Warping Discovered Prior to Assembly
Manufacturers will often suggest that if you notice a warp prior to assembly that you lay the table top halves face down on a flat surface for a period of time to allow the table to flatten. (When doing this, it is best to place a blanket or some protective material on the surface prior to setting down the tops to prevent scratching.) Manufacturers often require that this be done first before they will consider replacing a top due to warping.
Warping Discovered After Assembly
FMany warps are discovered after the table has been assembled. Manufacturers will suggest that the table be stored in the “folded-up storage position” for a period of time before they proceed with warranty processing.
In some cases, plastic film is placed over the table top’s playing surface after production to protect the top in storage and shipping. These plastic sheets provide good protection, but can sometimes contribute to a temporary warped condition, because of the imbalance in absorption of humidity from the top to the bottom.
Many times uneven table tops that are thought to be warped, are not warped. Faulty assembly or a misaligned chassis can have the appearance of a warp, but the chassis can be manually adjusted to correct this condition.