How To Refelt A Pool Table

how to refelt a pool table

Having a smooth playing surface on your pool table makes a big difference in the playing of the game. There are several different reasons why you might need to know how to refelt a pool table.

how to refelt a pool table

You might need to know how to reflelt a pool table as part of moving your pool table from one place to another. Or your pool table might need a new felt, as the existing one has become worn.

Refelting a pool table is often left to the professionals. Even one small bump or incorrectly laid bit of cloth could cause your pool shots to be knocked off course.

However, if you have a tight budget, some basic tools and lots of patience, you can do this job yourself. This article will give you all the information you need on how to refelt a pool table.

table of Contents

Why Does My Felt Need Changing?

Over time your felt can naturally degrade and need changing. If your felt feels bumpy to touch, is ripped or has risen in parts then it might need changing.

Some felts will last longer than others, depending on the quality of the felt used and how well the pool table is cared for.

For example, if the pool table is used by people who bounce balls on it, and hit the felt with their cue instead of the balls, then it is not likely to last as long.

If you need to refelt your pool table because you are moving it, we have a detailed article covering you each step of the way.

How to Remove The Felt

The first step you need to take when removing the felt. Felt is attached to the pool table in one of two ways – either by glue with staples.

pool table no felt

If your current felt is fixed with glue, you can simply tear the felt off. Some glue is likely to be left on the table, and you will need to remove the glue carefully, so you don’t damage the surface.

If the felt is attached using staples, you can use a pair of staple removers to remove the staples.

Check the Slate Board and Railing

Most pool tables have a slate board underneath the felt, and every pool table will have cushions on either side – if either of these are in poor condition, they will likely impact on your game.

For example, if the slate board is heavily damaged, then no matter how well you refelt your table, it will never be smooth as the underlying surface itself isn’t smooth.

If you need to replace the slate board or the cushions, you would need to take the felt off, so refelting is a good opportunity to check the overall condition of your pool table.

Clean the Slate

Slate board should last for a long period of time. To make them last longer, when changing the felt, it is a good idea to clean the slate.

Use a dry cloth to remove any dust from the surface. Don’t use a wet or damp cloth, as this will add moisture to the surface, which can lead to the slate surface deteriorating.

Measure and Cut The Felt

When purchasing some new felt, it is a good idea to buy some extra felt to allow for any problems when fitting it.

Also do not forget that you will need to felt the cushions as well. Before cutting your felt, give it a quick inspection to make sure that it is in good condition.

To avoid any unnecessary wastage, remember the old saying – measure twice, cut once.

If you use this approach, and take extra special care with your measurements and cutting, you are much more likely to cut the felt to the size you need.

Make sure you use sharp scissors when cutting the felt, as blunt scissors can lead to tears and an unclean cut, which will affect the playing surface.

stapling felt

Staple or Glue The New Felt

Once you have measured and cut your new felt, it is time to attach it to your table, and you can do this by either using staples or glue.

Whichever method you use, this is a vitally important step for a smooth and true playing surface, so make sure you take your time.

Staples can be used on pool tables which have a wooden or particle board which lies beneath the slate. If your pool table does not have one of these boards, then you should use glue to refelt your pool table.

To attach your new felt to your pool table, using staples you will need to do the following:

Roll the felt over the table – make sure the felt is the right way up. Most will have stickers or labels to let you know which was should be facing up.

Stretch the felt across the table and over the edge of the table

Staple the felt on the vertical edge – Do not staple the felt on the horizontal area where you play shots – the staples will make an uneven playing surface.

Instead, staple the outer edges, stapling around every 3 inches. You may want to have a friend help you, by stretching the felt as you staple it in.

This will keep the felt nice and tight, hopefully giving you a smooth playing surface. Work your way all of the way around the table.

If you are using glue then use the following steps;

spray adhesive

Use specialised spray adhesive

Protect the pool table with clothes or paper. You do not want to get glue on the other parts of your pool table.

Stretch the felt across the table and over the edge of the table

Spay the edge of the table, and press the felt down firmly and tightly

Once you have completed the steps above, you will need to trim the excess felt, especially around the pockets.

Replacing Railing or Cushion Felt

The railings or the cushions are the felted sides of the pool table. The cloth on the railing may not deteriate as quickly as the main surface, as it does not have the same stresses and strains.

But if you are refelting your pool table you should also consider doing the railings or cushions.

installing featherstrip

Firstly you should remove the old felt from the rails, again this will be attached either using glue or staples.

The railings contain a thin wooden strip, sometimes called a featherstrip. You will need to remove this carefully with a flathead screwdriver.

Place the new felt over the rail, this time face side down, and keep an overhang of around 4 inches. Then you will need to wedge the featherstrip back into place.

Make sure you do this gently, as hitting the featherstrip too hard will damage the table – using a tapping block can help.

Then pull the felt towards the railing or cushion and tap in the remainder of the featherstrip. Trim any excess felt, and reassemble the railings.

Enjoy playing on your new playing surface

If you still need a little more info hears an article that may help.

After following the above steps you should now have a new and fresh playing surface, which should run smooth and true. Invite your family and friends round for a game of pool and show them your new found skills. 

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