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A pool table is a wonderful addition to anyone’s game room or bar area, and they can last a long time if taken care of properly. Part of that care is replacing the felt if it becomes damaged or uneven.
Refelting a pool table is a particular and precise process but it can be done on your own. This guide will take you through the steps you need to get a fresh new felt. While you don’t need to do this too often, with a little practice, this task could turn into an enjoyable and easy one.
Can You Refelt a Pool Table By Yourself?
Doing this process on your own is a fulfilling DIY experience, and you can make your felt just the way you want it to be. After all, if you have a smaller pool table or an oddly shaped one, it would be a much better idea to refelt it how you like it and not worry about inexperienced contractors doing it the wrong way.
However, if you have a standard pool table and you lack much experience, you should consider hiring a company to do the refelting. That’s because while it’s a great DIY project it also is a precise one.
If you try this yourself and damage the felt or lay it on wrong, it could end up costing more money and taking way more time than if you just paid a company to do it for you in the first place.
How Much Does It Cost to Refelt a Pool Table?
Next, let’s look at how much getting your pool table felt replaced costs. We’ll look at both the DIY option and the case of hiring a professional company.
Doing It Yourself
The cost of a new felt can range from $50 to $200 depending on its material and size. Assuming you will need to buy the tools to pull off this project as well, you should start with a staple gun, staples, and glue, which could set you back around $45 or more.
Another thing is that once you have removed the felt, there might be noticeable chips on the slate. You will need to get a special filler that will smooth the table, which would cost you around $10.
You will also need to remove the staples attached to the old felt. A tool that will help you with that costs roughly $30.
So all in all, doing this DIY project will cost you somewhere between $130 and $300. Although, if you already have some of the tools available and are planning on using a cheaper felt, you may even need less than $100.
Hiring A Company
If you decide to hire an expert to refelt your table, you will still have to pick out the felt you want them to put on. So, it is more a matter of labor costs, which can cost on a low range an average of $125. A larger or more advanced installation could cost a minimum of $280.
If the people you hire have to fill in chips on the table slate it will likely cost an extra $75 to $200 for the filler and the labor to fill the chips.
All in all, getting the job done can cost, on average, anywhere between $260 and $600. Sometimes the company will offer warranties as well, and it is important to ask what kind of options they have in case there are any mistakes when they finish.
How to Refelt A Pool Table
So doing this project on your own will definitely save you a solid amount of money. If you are ready to take the jump, here are the steps on how you can refelt your pool table.
Step 1: Disassembling of The Table
Start by removing the pocket liners from each pocket first. Next, find the bolts on the underside of the table that are keeping the railings in place, and remove them. The railing should come right off once the bolts are removed.
The railing may be composed of one, two, or four pieces. If it is one piece, you may need some help moving it. Keep the railing in a safe place for later when you eventually put it back on with the new felt.
Step 2: Remove the Old Felt
Felt can be either stapled on or glued on. Use a staple remover if the felt is stapled to the table and if it is glued, you can simply rip the felt off.
It can be a rather lengthy process if you have to remove all the staples, but be sure not to be careful to not damage the wood underneath. The same goes for ripping off felt that is glued on.
Step 3: Clean the Slate
Use a dry, clean cloth to remove dust. This is important to do carefully because any clumps of dust could alter the terrain of your table and make it a bumpy ride for your balls.
If there are any old glue or other residues that have built up, scrape them off with a putty knife. Do not be too rough with it when scraping, though, and try to make sure the slate is as smooth as possible when you’re finished.
Step 4: Cut the Felt into Pieces for the Table and Railing
Typically, the felt you buy comes in one large piece and includes instructions for cutting pieces to fit each railing. Follow these instructions carefully, or the cut pieces may not fit your table. Before making any cuts, make sure to measure your pool table.
With some felt, you can make a one-inch cut, then rip the felt by hand in a straight line. Other felt may require cutting with a razor blade or box cutter.
Step 5: Roll the Felt Out Face Up Over the Table
Look for a sticker or other label that tells you which side is face up. If it is unlabeled and you cannot easily tell which side is the playing surface, consult a professional. It is very important to have the right side of the felt face up.
Hang more of the extra felt over the foot end, and not much on the head end where you will begin the installation.
Step 6: Stretch the Felt Across the Head End and Attach It to the Vertical Edge
Use a staple gun to attach the felt to the wooden or particleboard lining of the table at one corner of the head end. Have an assistant help you stretch the felt across the head end until there are no wrinkles, keeping the overhang parallel with the table edge.
Staple about every 3 inches along this stretched edge, ending at the second corner.
If you are using glue, fold the head end of the felt over onto the table, exposing the underside that will hang over the vertical side of the slate, and spray that portion of the underside heavily with the adhesive.
Spray the slate where it will be attached and let it sit until it becomes tacky. Follow the adhesive’s instructions to see how long you should let it sit. Then repeat this process on the other side of the table and foot ends.
Step 7: Trim the Excess Felt
Make three slits in the felt directly over each pocket, then fold the loose felt down into the pocket and staple it inside the pocket. Once this is done, use a pair of scissors or a razor blade to snip off the excess felt.
Step 8: Replace the Railing Felt
Each rail has a thin wooden feather strip running alongside it, which is typically not attached by any adhesive or nails. Remove this carefully with your hands, if not a flathead screwdriver.
Once you place the new felt on the railings, place a tapping block over the feather strip, then use a hammer to gently tap the block.
Push the feather strip down into the stretched portion of the felt, but stop about 2 inches from the end, where the corner pocket will be located. Stretch the other half of the felt, and repeat this process for the remaining length of the feather strip.
Step 9: Reassemble the Outer Rails
Once all your rails are complete, bolt them to the table again. If you’re having a hard time finding where the bolts should go, you can push a screwdriver through the bolt holes as guidance.
Your pool table should now be all finished with a new set of felt on. Now go find a friend, some drinks, and give it a test run.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
This is a precise process and there is plenty of room for mistakes, so here are a few common ones that give many pool players headaches after finishing the job:
- Don’t use any water or cleaning solutions when you are cleaning the slate: This could cause damage to the slate and thus make divots or scratches in the felt which is a huge problem for any pool table.
- Do not strike the feather strip directly: You could dent the table by doing this. They call it a feather strip for a reason, and it is not like hammering in a nail. Be gentle and precise and this step should go just fine.
- Never try to cut holes in the playing surface from the top of the table: You may cut in the wrong place when reassembling the outer rails and this will just result in a large hole on your pool table. You may think you need an extra pocket, but it will not look good.
Hopefully, by using these steps, you can now make your pool table look sleek and professional without having to spend the extra cash on the experts to do it for you.
Remember to keep the mistakes to avoid in mind, and best of luck with your first game on the fresh felt.