How to Change Felt on a Game Table

A gaming table is a prime source of entertainment, whether it’s in a public space or in the privacy of your home. In order to maintain the quality of each game, it’s important to care for the felt, or billiard cloth, of the table. If it’s full of stains, tears, or not level, playing on the table will also be difficult, and you want the gaming table to be a focal point of entertainment.

Pool Table in Recreation Room

Photography by Andy Buckingham

Should You Consult A Professional?

Many people will opt for a professional to remove and replace the felt of a pool table. However, the process to do it yourself isn’t difficult, as long as you’re patient and thorough. Changing out the felt yourself is more than likely the only major maintenance project you will do for your table, and in turn it will give you years of service.

READ MORE: How to Maintain a Pool Table

Materials

  • Staple remover or flathead screwdriver (if the felt is stapled and not glued to the table)
  • 9/16″ socket and socket wrench
  • A dry, clean cloth
  • Measuring tape
  • Putty knife
  • A hammer tack or staple gun OR spray adhesive (3M Super 77 is a popular option)
  • New billiard cloth
  • Tapping block and hammer

How Much Cloth Should You Get?

Using the measuring tape, measure the dimensions of the pool table so you know how much billiard cloth to buy. The new billiard cloth should be 12 inches longer and 12 inches wider than what you will actually need. You may pick a new color, as it doesn’t have to be “pool table green.”

READ MORE: A Player’s Guide To Pool Table Felt

Preparing the Table

The first thing to do is to remove the old felt from the table. Disassembling the table can be accomplished by removing the pockets and railings.

Pool Table Corner Pocket

Photography by Stuart Kerr

  1. Remove the pocket liners from the pockets, if present.
  2. Locate the bolts underneath the table that keep the railings in place, and remove them.
  3. Carefully remove the railings and place them in a safe storage space.
  4. Check to see how the old felt is fastened to the table. If it’s with staples, it can be removed with a staple remover or flathead screwdriver. If it’s with glue, it can be ripped off. Take care not to damage the pockets.
  5. If there are staples, ensure that there’s no staples left in.
  6. Clean the slate using a dry, clean cloth. If other residue has crusted onto the slate, use a putty knife to remove it.

Stapling the New Felt

Check underneath the slate to see if there’s a wooden or particleboard layer. The wooden layer allows for staples to be attached to the tables. If there is no layer underneath the slate, you will have to glue the new felt onto the table.

  1. Cut the felt into pieces so it will cover the table and railing. Felt usually comes in one large piece and instructions to cut it properly. Follow them carefully.
  2. Lay the new layer of felt onto the table and check for any flaws. You want to catch that now so you won’t install a flawed cover.
  3. Make sure the correct side of the felt is face up. If there is no label that tells you which is correct, consult a professional.
  4. Stretch the felt across the head end of the table and staple it to the wooden or particleboard layer. Have another person stretch the felt while you staple, to make sure there are no wrinkles. Staple every three inches along the edge.
  5. Repeat this process along the left side, foot end, and right side.
  6. Cut three slits at the corner pockets in the excess felt. Grab the felt tight, and staple to the wooden layer. Cut off the excess felt.

Gluing the New Felt

If there’s no wooden or particleboard layer underneath the slate, a spray adhesive can be used to attach the felt to the table. 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive is a high-quality and popular option to use for this task.

  1. Cover the sides of the table with newspaper, to protect the edges from spilled glue.
  2. Cut the felt into pieces so it will cover the table and railing. Felt usually comes in one large piece and instructions to cut it properly. Follow them carefully.
  3. Lay the new layer of felt onto the table and check for any flaws. You want to catch that now so you won’t install a flawed cover.
  4. Make sure the correct side of the felt is face up. If there is no label that tells you which is correct, consult a professional.
  5. Hold the head end of the felt up and apply glue. Only the portion of the felt hanging over the vertical side of the slate should be sprayed with adhesive.
  6. Spray generously and let sit until the glue becomes tacky, and carefully attach to the table. Repeat this process for remaining three sides, waiting a couple minutes before moving to a new one.
  7. Trim the excess felt and use the excess to line the pockets.

Replacing Railing Felt

  1. Remove the old felt from the rails using a staple remover or flathead screwdriver.
  2. Gently remove the wooden “feather strip” running along the rail. Use a flathead screwdriver to lift it up without breaking.
  3. Place a felt strip upside down on the rail, unlike the table. The overhang on the ends should be at least four inches, and at least half an inch on the feather strip groove.
  4. Use the tapping block to wedge the center of the feather strip into place. Stretch the felt across the rail, and place the tapping block over the placed feather strip. Without striking the feather strip directly, push the feather strip down into the felt, leaving two inches not pushed in on the ends.
  5. Pull the felt at the ends towards the cushion of the table. Use the tapping block to tap the remaining ends of the feather strip, and then trim and fold any excess felt.
  6. After felting the rails, you’re ready to reassemble the table. Congratulations, you’ve successfully changed the felt on your game table!

More Tips For Game Tables

Taking care of your game table doesn’t have to be a difficult task- it can be fun and rewarding as long as you give it your best effort and patience. If you’re looking for more advice on how to care for your table, GameTablesOnline.com has everything you need and more!

Read More Tips

  1. The Proper Way to Level a Billiards Table
  2. How to Prevent Pool Table Slate from Warping
  3. How to Replace Pool Table Cushions in 1 Hour