A Player’s Guide To Pool Table Felt

What is Pool Table Felt?

The special material that covers the playing area of a pool table is known as billiard cloth, or felt. Billiard cloth is typically green, to represent the grass of the lawns that billiards has evolved from, and made most often from woven wool or wool and nylon.

When installing a new pool table or re-felting the one in your game room, it’s important to know what type of cloth will be on the table. Keep in mind that while billiard cloth has many names besides pool table felt, such as a pool table cover or a green, they are all the same product.

Pool Table Felt Guide

Photography by Christopher Sessums

What Does Felt Do?

Billiard cloth is responsible for affecting the speed and spin of the cue balls when they are hit. The material and thickness of the felt also controls how it will swerve and deflect against bumpers, and ultimately control the finesse of each shot.

What’s the Best?

A lot of factors go into deciding what the best cloth is for a specific table. For example, if you only play casually or if your pool table receives limited use, you might feel less inclined to spend a lot on higher quality tournament felt. On the other hand, if your pool table endures continuous use, you might want to consider a thicker felt that will not wear down quickly.

But if you would like to upgrade or replace your cloth at any time, purchasing new cloth to resurface the table is always possible.

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Qualities to Consider

Durability

The wool present in the cloth is almost always what determines how durable cloth will be. How long a fabric lasts, however, varies, and depends on a variety of factors such as the

  • Quality of Installation
  • Amount of Play
  • Tightness of the Fabric’s Weave

Tighter weaves use more material than looser weaves, and thus typically last longer before needing to be replaced. Durability can also be determined by looking at a fabric’s ounce weight per yard, which is generally around 20 oz. Quality fabric will usually have a minimum of 19 oz.

Speed

The roll and speed of a cue ball relies heavily on the material the billiard cloth is made from. Pool table felt is most commonly made from worsted or napped fabrics, both of which cause the cue balls to react differently when rolling on them.

Worsted wool will cause cue balls to roll smoothly and faster than if they were on other fabrics. On the other hand, fabrics with a directional nap cause a ball to roll faster when it’s with the nap and slower when it’s against it. Napped cloth is typically more common and less expensive than worsted cloth.

8 Ball Close Up

Photograph by Will Folsom

When Should You Replace Felt?

Regardless of the material that the felt is made of, they will eventually show signs of use. The friction from the rolling billiard balls will slowly burn the cloth, leading to small white burns, known as “bruises.”

Bruises are generally an aesthetic concern and do not affect the playability of a table; however, some brands of cloth will turn into holes that change how the cloth plays.

Shopping For Pool Table Accessories

Now that you know what to look for in pool table felt, you’re ready to play like more of a pro. If you’re looking for other accessories or advice to enhance your playing experience, visit GameTablesOnline.com so you can become the next champion.

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