As sturdy and durable as most pool tables are, they do tend to get worn down and beat up over time. And in most cases, the felt is the first thing to go. Depending on how often you play, how well you maintain the table, and where the table resides, you may even need to change the felt every few years. If you’ve never had your table refelted before and it’s beginning to look a little worse for wear, you may be wondering, “how much does it cost to refelt a pool table?”
The average cost to refelt a pool table is usually between $200 and $600. The final price mainly depends on the size of the table, the type and quality of the felt material, and who you hire to do it. There are also a few ways to cut costs to some degree, such as doing it yourself.
Refelting Different Types of Pool Tables
Before we get into the main factors that determine the cost of a refelt, it’s worth noting that some types of pool tables may require a slightly different refelting process and some tables may not be worth refelting at all.
Slate pool tables are the most widely used, both in homes and in public settings. They feature a playing surface of slate rock, which is smooth, durable, and extremely heavy. Usually, when people talk about refelting their pool table, this is the kind of table they’re talking about.
One thing that can affect the cost of refelting is whether the slate bed is attached to a wooden backing. This is usually only the case with 3-piece slate tables and may mean that the felt is stapled into the backing rather than glued to the slate itself. Many 3-piece tables have glued-on felt, however.
Most of the tables that feature a 1-piece slate bed are coin-operated “bar boxes” – typically 7’ or smaller. These rarely have a wooden backing, so the felt must be glued on. The rails and cushions are usually constructed a little differently on bar boxes than on traditional tables, so the process of refelting the cushions may be a little different as well.
While the cost of refelting a traditional 7’ table and a 7’ bar box will most often be about the same, some companies may charge more or less in labor fees.
MDF pool tables have a playing surface made of medium-density fiberboard, making them a more lightweight and affordable option for the casual player. These tables don’t have anywhere near the lifespan of slate tables. Typically, by the time the felt becomes worn, so has the playing surface itself. In most cases, it will cost you almost as much to refelt an MDF table as it would to buy a new one.
If you really want to refelt your MDF table, check with the manufacturer beforehand, as these tables are typically not meant to be taken apart and put back together again.
Though built to last, not all outdoor pool tables are meant to be refelted. Outdoor tables use a special fabric, typically made from acrylic, that’s UV-resistant, waterproof, and very durable. It just doesn’t wear down the way traditional billiard cloth does, meaning that it usually lasts about as long as the table itself. As with MDF tables, be sure you check with the dealer or manufacturer to make sure it can be refelted.
Type and Quality of the Cloth
Probably the most significant factor in the price of a refelt is the cloth you choose. Pool table cloth is not actually made from actual felt, as the name suggests. Instead, the cloth on most tables is made from a blend of wool and nylon (or sometimes polyester). Tournament-grade cloth is almost always made from 100% worsted wool, which provides faster play and is resistant to “ball burns” or other marks made by friction.
The cost of pool table cloth varies immensely depending on the brand and quality – from around $50 up to $350. You’ll probably want to avoid going with the cheapest option, particularly if you want to keep your refelting adventures few and far between.
Here’s a look at a few popular types of pool table cloth and their prices for an 8-foot table.
- Accuplay Medium-Fast Billiard Cloth – ~$90
- Championship Saturn II – ~$125
- CPBA Competition Grade – ~$150
- ProForm High Speed – ~$210
- Simonis 860 – ~$320
If you’ve got your sights set on professional competition, you may want to go with a high-end cloth like those offered by Simonis, but if you’re more of a casual or intermediate player, a quality low-to-mid-range cloth should work just fine.
Pool Table Size
Naturally, table size makes a difference in the cost of refelting. The prices above reflect 8-foot table cloths because that’s the most common size for home pool tables, but it’s important to know that the cost will vary depending on the size. Just how much it varies depends on the quality of the cloth.
For a lower-end pool table cloth, the price goes up or down by about $10-15 per foot of table size. For a mid-range cloth, the difference is about $20-30 per foot, and for a high-end cloth, it’s around $50-60 per foot.
Labor Costs & Other Fees
The average labor cost for a professional pool table refelt is about $125. This typically includes disassembly, reassembly, and leveling. Of course, every company is different, and if the job requires extra work, they may charge more.
For instance, if the slate is chipped, the pool table mechanic will need to fill in the holes (with your permission), which consumes more labor time and materials. Little repairs like these can make the bill add up. Some companies may even charge travel fees if you live outside their typical service area.
Some companies offer a discount if you provide the cloth yourself, so be sure and ask about that ahead of time.
If you want to replace the rubber cushions at the same time as the felt (this is only necessary if they’ve become brittle or unresponsive), anticipate paying anywhere from $50 to $100 more – though you may be able to get a discount if you provide the new cushions yourself. If it needs doing, it’s much better to get it all done at once.
Similarly, it’s best to get your refelting done during a move, if possible. Moving a slate pool table involves disassembling the table and removing the felt anyway, so you may be able to save a little money by providing a new felt and having the movers install it when they set up the table again. Just make sure your pool table mover is okay with it!
What To Consider When Hiring a Pro To Refelt Your Table
When shopping around for a professional refelting service, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Are they licensed and insured? Since they’ll most likely be performing the work inside your home, you want to make sure they’re a trustworthy company with insurance to protect both you and them in the event of any unforeseen damage or injury.
- Are they certified? Many pool table service companies are certified by the manufacturer to work on their tables. This isn’t an absolute requirement, but it is ideal.
- Have they worked on your type of table before? You want to be sure they have experience refelting your particular model of pool table (or at least similar models).
- Do they have good customer reviews? Customer reviews tell the tale, so do your research! Look for things like up-front pricing, professionalism, cleanliness, etc.
Is it Difficult to Refelt a Pool Table?
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to save some dough by refelting your pool table yourself. But be aware: refelting a pool table is a complicated and intensive process. One small error can damage the table or leave an imperfection in the playing surface that can affect gameplay. It can also take several hours, especially for a beginner – not including research.
Cost of Refelting a Pool Table Yourself
You’ll save on labor costs by going the DIY route, but you’ll still need to invest in a few tools to get the job done right. You can find most of them at your local hardware store. Here’s a breakdown of supplies with their typical price ranges.
- Pool Table Cloth – $50-$350
- Spray and/or Contact Adhesive (3M Super 77 is most popular) – $15-$30
- Staple Gun & Staples (even if using the glue method, staples may be required to help secure the cloth to the rails) – $30-$100
- Staple Puller – $20-$25
- Fabric Scissors/Cutter – $10-$20
- Ratchet & Sockets (for removing rails) – $30-$80
These are the basics you’ll need, but there are a few other optional items.
- Rubber mallet (if the rails have a feather strip) – $5
- Screwdriver/Electric Drill – $5-$40
- Pliers – $5-$15
- Measuring Tape (if the cloth isn’t pre-cut) – $5-$15
Here’s a look at the total estimated cost of a DIY refelt, when the tools and materials are the cheapest, mid-range, and high-end.
- Low End – $155
- Mid-Range – $390
- High End – $680
As you can see, the costs can add up quickly even if you’re tackling the refelt yourself. These prices are just simple guidelines, of course. You can find ways to cut costs here and there.
The cloth is typically the most expensive element, but as we saw above, you don’t need to break the bank to get a decent worsted cloth. You may even own a few of the crucial tools already, and you don’t necessarily need to go with the most expensive option for the ones you don’t.
Still, considering the time investment and the risk of making a costly mistake, most people find it’s worth it to shell out a little extra to let a professional handle the job. However, if you want to get to know your pool table better and you’re willing to put in the time and work, a DIY refelt may be the right option for you.
The Process of Refelting a Pool Table
A full guide to refelting a pool table is beyond the scope of this article, but here are two videos that demonstrate the basic process. One involves the glue method and the other involves the staple method. Both will give you an idea of why refelting is so expensive and why it might take you all day to complete if you’re inexperienced.
The cost of refelting a pool table can range wildly, but the most important factor is the quality of the cloth you select. In general, you’ll probably be looking at a few hundred dollars. You may be able to save a little money by doing it yourself, but it may not be worth the headache.
Since refelting is such an expensive chore, you’ll want to do it as infrequently as possible. The best way to do this is to protect your pool table felt by keeping it clean, covered, and in a climate-controlled room.