Whether you’re a “social” pool player who has scratched the felt, or if your billiards table cloth is getting a bit old and tattered, it is possible to replace the cloth for a fraction of the cost of paying a professional. Replacing the cloth, which is also commonly referred to as the “bed cover”, isn’t only important for aesthetic reasons; having a smooth and undamaged cloth can also improve one’s game play.

While the procedure is not complex for the experienced DIYer, it is wise to consider whether a more economical option, particularly for lower priced pool tables, is to replace the whole table. There are some very inexpensive tables these days that ideal for family and home games room use.

Replacing the cloth

Though replacing the cloth needs to be done carefully so as to not damage the table itself, it can certainly be accomplished if you have the right tools:

- A screwdriver
- Needle-nose pliers
- A socket wrench

Step 1: Take the Table Apart

Pool tables typically come apart by having the pockets removed first. Most of the tables available for purchase come apart simply by pushing up the pockets, though you may need to unscrew bottom brackets before being able to push them up.

Next comes the removal of the rails of the pool or billiard table. Locate the bolts beneath the table, and then unscrew them with your wrench. Now that the rails are removed, you have access to the billiards table cloth.

Step 2: Removing the Old Cloth

Take your needle-nose pliers and carefully pry the staples out of the slate and the cloth. You can then lift it off the table.

Step 3: Placing the New Cloth

Now that the old cloth is removed, take the new cloth and stretch it as tightly as possible across the slate. There should be a bit of excess cloth that goes beyond the edge of the table.

Before you start stapling, it’s important that you measure the distance of the staples. Generally speaking, you should be using placing four staples that are equally spaced apart on the shorter ends of the table, and double the amount of staples for the long ends of the table. Once you’ve done the measurements, staple down the cloth.

Step 4: Rebuilding the Table

Once the cloth is all stapled neatly into place, take a heavy flat item (such as a large book) or an iron and place it against the slate. You want to make sure that there are no air bubbles trapped between the cloth and the slate, otherwise they can creep up under the cloth and ruin your game. When the air bubbles have been removed, bolt the rail back in and drop the pockets back in.

If the process seems too time consuming, complex, or out of kilter with the pool table’s value, a more sensible option is often to look at purchasing a new unit, particularly with today’s low prices. Before attempting the cloth replacement consider a brand new table at Funsports, located at Rear 9, Keegan St, O’Connor WA. Funsports ship Australia wide at very competitive rates. If you’re based in Perth and you’d like to try out one of their tables, Funsports are open from 12:30 to 3:30 Saturdays or you can phone them to make an appointment on 08 92006057.