how to refelt a pool table

How To Refelt A Pool Table?

Big Cat Cues

Refelting a pool table is essential maintenance to ensure optimal playability and freshen the table's appearance. Over time, the felt can wear out, get stained, or lose its smooth texture, affecting the game's flow. 

Whether your table is a family fun hub or a professional practice area, renewing the felt can breathe new life into your game sessions. This guide will walk you through how to refelt a pool table, making the process straightforward and achievable.

Step 1. Prepare The Table And Felt

Before understanding how to refelt a pool table, you must gather all the necessary materials and tools. This way, you won't have to interrupt your process to find missing items.

how to refelt a slate pool table

Prepare the Table and Felt. Image source:

Here are the three highly recommended types of pool tablecloths and other tools that you need to consider:

  • Recreational-grade cloth, intermediate cloth, or professional-grade cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Ratchet
  • Stapling gun
  • Glue
  • Wire cutters

Step 2. Disassemble The Table

Once your tools are ready, cut the staples holding the pocket holes. Be careful to collect these staples as they come out so you don't accidentally step on them or get them on your clothes. After removing all the staples, empty the pockets and put them to the side.

how to refelt a pool table yourself

Disassemble the table. Image source: GCL Billiards 

Then, use a wrench to remove the bolts from the side rail. Some pool tables have one long side rail, while others have multiple pieces. Once you've removed the last bolt, you can gently lift off the rail from the table.

Step 3. Remove The Old Felt

The felt on the pool table, like the rails and slate underneath, can be made of different pieces. Taking off the felt can be time-consuming, based on how the manufacturer initially put it on the table. Removing the felt carefully is essential to protect the slate and cushions. The way you remove the old felt depends on how it's attached:

Glued On

If the felt is glued, you can pull it off. Some glue might be left on the table after removing the felt. You can scrape this off, but be careful not to scratch the table.

how hard is it to refelt a pool table

Remove the old felt. Image source: Pearson Cue

Stapled On

If the felt is stapled, use a staple remover to take them out. Make sure to do this step slowly and carefully to avoid damage. After removing the felt, check for any leftover staples, fold the felt, and put it away.

Step 4. Clean The Slate

A pool table is made with slate, a durable material that lasts long. That's why buying a pool table is usually a one-time thing. When replacing old felt, cleaning the slate is a good idea.

Use a dry towel to remove any dust. Don't use wet cloths or sprays because the water might penetrate the slate, causing damage to its material. If there's any leftover glue, carefully scrape it off with a clean, dry cloth.

Step 5. Seal The Seams With Beeswax If Necessary

If your pool table has gaps, you can fix them with beeswax. Many pool tables contain three slate pieces, but sometimes, the wax between them wears off. Warm the holes with a small torch to refill them, then pour beeswax into them. 

how to refelt a pool table slate

Use the seams with Beeswax if necessary. Image source: Metro League 

Spread the wax, let it cool briefly, and then scrape off any extras to level it. Remove as much extra wax as possible immediately. Consider using a special putty for pool tables if your table turns hot. 

Step 6. Measure The Table

Now, you need to measure your table to find the right size for your tablecloth. Use a tape measure to get the size of the table's surface. Measure the main playing area, but don't include the cushions or the inside parts of the pockets.

how to refelt a valley pool table

Measure the pool table. Image source: Billiards Direct 

Most pool tables come in standard sizes, in which the length is twice as long as the width. It's a good idea to get extra when buying the cloth, especially if you plan to cut it later.

Note: You can use staples if your table has a wood or board layer under the slate. Check the edge of your table. If you only see slate, follow the glue method. For stapling, you'll need a hand stapler or a staple gun.

Step 7. Cut The Felt

After buying the felt, you need to:

  • Spread it out on the table and leave it for a bit.
  • Use your fingers to check for lumps or uneven areas under the felt. The felt should feel smooth.
  • Use sharp scissors to cut the judged based on the size you measured earlier.
  • Make sure you leave some extra felt to cover the rails.
    how much to refelt a 7ft pool table

    Cutting the felt. Image source: Pearson Cues

    Step 8. Identify The Playing Surface And Place The Felt Over The Table.

    If the top side of the felt isn't marked, determine it by touch or seek expert advice. The playing surface could be even or have a directional texture; consult a specialist to discern the correct side if you need more clarification. Position the felt over the table, ensuring just a few inches (or centimeters) of excess at the shorter end. Ensure the overhang is uniformly aligned with the table's edge.

    Step 9. Install New Felt

    Installing new felt on a pool table requires a careful process to ensure a smooth and even playing surface. The method you choose depends on your table's material. Here's a simplified guide:

    refelt pool table

    Install New Felt. Image source: Pearsons Cues 

    Stapling The Felt:

    This method is ideal if your pool table's slate has a wooden lining underneath:

    • Step 1: Lay the felt evenly on the table.
    • Step 2: Start stapling the center of one short side and working to the edges, ensuring an even stretch.
    • Step 3: Move to the opposite side, pull the felt towards you to ensure it's tight, and staple from the center outwards. Keep the felt stretched uniformly, if not, you have to soften the pool table bumpers.
    • Step 4: Repeat the process on the other sides.
    • Step 5: Use a razor blade to cut holes for the rail bolts. Feel for the bolt hole underneath and cut from below to get the placement right.

    Gluing The Felt:

    Use this method if your table needs wooden backing under the slate.

    • Step 1: Apply adhesive on one end of the slate.
    • Step 2: Start from the center of a short side, lay the felt onto the glue, working your way to the edges. Wait a few moments to let the adhesive get tacky before pressing down the felt.
    • Step 3: Stretch the felt and move to the opposite side, applying adhesive.
    • Step 4: After gluing all sides, cut holes for the railings. Start from where you began gluing.
    • Step 5: Both methods require pocket cuts. Make 3-4 cuts for each pocket, ensuring they're about 1/2 inch from the slate edge. Fold these cloth flaps under the slate and glue them down. Optionally, line the pockets with cloth for a polished look.

    Step 10. Reinstall the rails

    After you've replaced the felt on the table's central part, continue to update the thought on the rails. The rails and their bolts are decisive factors in controlling how the pool table works. If not installed correctly, the balls might not bounce consistently. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you assemble the pool table and change the felt on the rails:

    Assembling The Pool Table:

    • Step 1: Start by securing the side rails first.
    • Step 2: Once you set the side rails, move to the head (top end) and the table's foot (bottom end).
    • Step 3: Secure each bolt properly to ensure a consistent bounce for the balls.

    Changing The Felt On The Rails:

    The process for this is similar to how you replaced the felt on the central part of the table.

    If you're using a stapling gun, ensure the staples are spaced closely, preventing any movement of the felt during gameplay. Given that this can be tricky, take your time and be careful.

    Alternatively, if stapling seems challenging due to the rail material being more complicated than the slate, you can glue the felt to the rails. Just ensure a tight and even application so the felt lies smooth.

    Paying attention to detail and patience will ideally help set up your pool table for a great gaming experience.

    Frequently Asked Question

    Is It Expensive To Refelt a Pool Table?

    On average, refelting a pool table costs around $366. The price varies based on the table's size and the felt type used. For a seven or 8-foot table, you might spend between $265 and $500. For a 9-foot table, it's between $280 and $550. If you have your felt, you can save about $100. There are different types of pool table felts. The more affordable option is Teflon felt, priced around $130. The top-quality felt, called worsted cloth, costs about $340.

    refelt your pool table

    Teflon felt. Image source:

    What Is The Pool Table Felt?

    The covering on a pool table is called billiard cloth or "felt." It's usually green, reminding us of the grassy lawns where billiards began. This cloth is mainly made from wool, but sometimes it's a mix of wool and nylon.

    pool table refelting

    Billiard cloth. Image source:

    Can I Refelt A Pool Table Myself?

    Yes, you can refelt a pool table yourself. However, it's a meticulous task that requires patience and attention to detail. Having the right tools and a good-quality felt is essential. If you're confident in your DIY abilities and follow a reliable guide, it's a manageable project.

    Do You Need To Glue Felt To a Pool Table?

    There are various glues available in the market for attaching pool table felt. Yet, the 3M Super 77 is a popular choice and preferred by many.

    Hopefully, after reading this article, players can understand how to refelt a pool table. Refelting a pool table is more than just a cosmetic update; it's about preserving the quality and integrity of the game. Whether a casual player or a professional pro, playing on a well-maintained table enhances the experience. With the right approach and effort, you can rejuvenate your table and ensure many more games of precise shots and smooth glides. Feel free to Big Cat, if you have any questions.

    See more related articles:

    DIY pool table

    How to soften pool table bumpers

    Best material for pool table cover