For many people, the garage is the best (or only) place for a home pool table. Unless you only have a single car garage, there’s plenty of room for a table. You can even leave enough room to share the garage with a car when you’re not playing.
Or, if you want to go all out, you can turn the space into a miniature pool hall complete with stools, a fridge for your favorite beverages, a couch, and even a TV. But, all this begs the question of whether it’s advisable to put a pool table in a garage.
Fear not, I have you covered. If you’re thinking about putting a pool table in the garage, read on to discover what you need to know.
Can You Put a Pool Table in a Garage?
You can absolutely put a pool table in a garage. It’s a great place for one but there are a few factors you need to consider before shopping for a table. These include the slope of the floor, the climate in which you live, the space required, the type of pool table, and the wear-and-tear that will undoubtedly happen. The good news is that it doesn’t take a bunch of money or a bunch of work to make a garage a great place for a pool table. So, let’s start with the space required.
How Much Space You Need For a Pool Table
Most people’s garages double as a storage area for tools, bikes, toys, boxes, and a bunch of stuff whose origins are a mystery. I know mine is like that, as much as I’d prefer to admit otherwise. It’s easy to look at a partially-cleared space in the garage and think that there’s plenty of room for a pool table there. But, most people underestimate how much space they actually need to comfortably play pool. So, here’s a breakdown of how much space you need in the garage.
- For a 3.5’ X 7’ table, you would need a minimum of 13’ by 16’ of space.
- For a 4’ X 8’ table, you would need 13.5’ by 17’ of space.
- For a pro-style 4.5’ X 9’ table, you would need 14’ by 18’ of space in the garage.
Considering that the minimum size of a 2-car garage is 22’ X 20’, you should take a hard look at the space and see if you actually have enough room. A smaller table you may be able to fit while still using one side for a car, but this also depends on what, if any, shelving or storage you already have in place.
Related Article: What Size Room do You Need For a Pool Table? (With Chart)
What Type of Pool Table is Best for a Garage?
Unless you’re going to spend a good chunk of money on converting the garage to an insulated and climate-controlled room, the elements are going to sneak in. For this reason, it’s always best to purchase a slate bed pool table for the garage. Not only are slate bed tables what the pros play on, but they also resist warping and last a long time. Slate is a type of rock so a bit of humidity isn’t going to affect it. A slate bed table in the garage will play true for decades with a little bit of care.
The alternative is the cheaper MDF bed pool table. MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard. It’s a bunch of small wood fibers pressed together and sealed with moisture-resistant chemicals. Even with the sealant (which not all MDF tables have), the wood can’t resist warping forever. You may get a couple of years of true play out of an MDF table before it starts to warp enough to affect your game.
Slate bed tables usually feature sturdier frame construction that can hold up better to both the elements that sneak into the garage and the normal wear-and-tear that comes from playing. For these reasons, slate bed tables are the best choice for the garage. But, slate bed tables are not totally impervious to moisture and extreme temperatures. Let’s move on to how the climate will affect a pool table in the garage.
How the Climate Can Affect a Pool Table in the Garage
Extreme temperatures and humidity are the main enemies of a garage pool table. If you live in a temperate climate, you can rest easy knowing that your garage will be relatively safe for a pool table. But, for most of the country (and the world), you’ll want to take a few precautions to ensure the table’s longevity.
Most pool tables are made out of wood. This wood may be treated to resist humidity, but it’s still wood. Over time, high humidity can warp and crack wood. It can also cause mold to grow on different parts of the table. And high water content in the air can also affect playability by causing the felt or cloth on the table to loosen, which can increase resistance on the balls. When the felt is exposed to humidity, it’s lifespan goes down. You’ll probably have to replace it more often than is normal for an indoor pool table.
Whether it’s hot or cold temperatures, a pool table is not completely immune to extreme temperatures. The cushions are the most susceptible, as they can harden when exposed to heat or cold for long periods. Replacing cushions is possible, but it can get to be expensive over time. If the table has any leather on it (like the pockets), dry weather and extreme temperatures can cause it to dry out. This won’t necessarily affect playability, but it can affect the aesthetics of the table.
Finally, the temperature in the garage may be uncomfortable (or unbearable) during much of the year, depending on where you live. In the summer it could be stiflingly hot. In the winter it could be freezing cold. Playing pool in three layers of clothes and a big, puffy jacket adds a whole new level of difficulty.
Plus, you need to consider when you’re likely to play pool. Most people turn to indoor activities during the cold winter months since there’s not much to do outside. Your friends or family members may not want to venture into the cold garage to play a game of pool with you.
Luckily, there are things you can do to counteract all of the above issues.
Simple Ways to Protect Your Garage Pool Table
You’re probably already thinking about how you can protect a pool table in the garage, but I’ll go over a few ways you may not have thought about.
The best solution to all the issues above is to insulate the garage. Even putting up insulation on three walls can help keep the area cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But, it’s no longer a big hassle to add insulation to the garage door itself. You can use a garage door insulation kit, like this one from NASA Tech.
And this doesn’t have to break the bank. Insulation is fairly cheap and easy to install.
Even with insulation on the walls, the concrete floor does little to help keep the temperature steady. This is mostly a problem in the winter, but it’s an easy fix. There are plenty of garage floor coverings available.
I recommend these interlocking foam mats by BalanceFrom. They can help insulate the floor as well as protecting any balls that fall off the table from getting damaged on the concrete. Billiard balls are pretty tough, but even a small chip can change the ball’s dynamic on the table. Of course, if you have some old carpet laying around, that can work in a pinch on the garage floor.
AC Unit and Heater
Depending on your home’s setup, you may be able to tap into the existing AC system to include the garage. If not, a simple window unit or a portable air conditioner can do the trick. Some of these portable AC systems handle both heating and cooling, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Or, if you can always purchase a space heater that uses infrared technology to keep your garage warm during the cold months.
For those of you who live in areas with high humidity, a dehumidifier can help protect your pool table from moisture damage. Of course, AC systems can remove some of the humidity from the garage, but some climates will need the additional help of a dehumidifier. Some players even find that a dehumidifier works well by itself.
- This SereneLife portable AC unit has a built-in heater and dehumidifier. It’s the best of all worlds for those looking to protect a pool table in the garage.
Leveling a Pool Table in a Garage
Now that we’ve covered the common climate-related issues, let’s talk about leveling a pool table. Garages are typically graded to allow water to flow out away from the house. On average, this grade is about 1 inch over 8-feet. Since the most common home pool table is 7.5-feet long, this makes for about an inch slope when the table is placed lengthwise in the garage.
The most common fix for this is to place the table widthwise if you have the room. You’ll still have a slope, but it won’t be as pronounced and therefore easier to fix. Either way, there are ways to address this issue.
Leg Leveling Pool Table
Some pool tables are made with leg levelers built-in. On these models, you usually have to twist out the feet to level the table. If you can find a table with leg levelers, great. If not, it’s no big deal. You can always use shims.
Pool Table Shims
Shims are the easiest way to level a pool table. The biggest complaint about using pool table shims in a garage is how it looks. A stack of shims under two of the legs isn’t the most pleasing sight, but it’s a small price to pay for a level table in the garage. You can always place the table on a nice thick rug to hide the shims. Or you can get creative and place decorative curtains around the legs. These rubber shims can be cut to fit the legs of the table, helping to hide them from sight.
If you’re not sure how to level your table, check out this video:
Related Article: How to Level a Pool Table the Fast & Easy Way
How to Maintain The Table When Not In Use
The best thing you can do to help maintain the pool table in your garage is to place a cover on it. This will help protect it from mishaps in the garage and will even do a little bit to protect it from the elements. It’s also a good idea to lay ground rules about the table. The moment people start placing items on it is the moment the table starts to wear down quickly. For longevity, the only things that should be placed on the table are the balls and cue sticks.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a pool table brush. This brush will help you keep the cloth nice and clean. It should be used after every few games, or after every game, if you have the time and inclination.
Putting a pool table in a garage takes a little more effort than putting it in a climate-controlled room. But, when you consider how much money you would spend on gas and hourly pool table rentals, the investment will be worth it in no time at all. Grab a space heater for the winter and a cheap AC unit for the summer. Throw up some insulation and you’ll be ready to perfect your game in the comfort of your own garage.