Moving a pool table is a big job, no doubt it. Pool tables are enormous pieces of furniture, often topping 500 pounds, and getting them around corners and up and down stairs is no easy task. If you’re moving a pool table, however, it’s important to spend at least some time thinking about how to properly care for the table’s felt during a move. After all, the felt is incredibly vulnerable and can be damaged easily. And because it’s so integral to a pool table’s performance, it’s absolutely vital, during a move, to do everything possible to preserve its condition and maximize its longevity. Below we offer a few tips on how to do just that.
Checking for Existing Damage
First, fully assess the felt’s condition prior to moving your pool table. Check thoroughly for any existing damage or wear. Identify weak spots or tears, and take note of any areas that require special attention. If you feel the need, take photographs to document the felt’s condition. Photos can be incredibly helpful—not only to help you remember exactly what the felt looked like prior to the move—but to establish an accurate record for insurance purposes.
Removing the Felt with Care
When disassembling the pool table, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully. If you still have the user’s manual or are able to obtain an electronic version of the manual online, consult it thoroughly. Remember, randomly loosening various parts and pulling sections apart can lead to disaster. Be patient and take your time. Don’t force anything. The more organized and disciplined you are at this stage of the process, the easier things will be going forward—particularly when it’s time to reassemble the table. When it’s time, carefully remove the felt from the table, taking care not to stretch or damage the fabric. Label each piece of the felt to ensure easy reassembly when you get the table to where it’s going.
Cleaning the Felt Before Moving
Take advantage of the opportunity to clean the felt prior to moving the table. Employ gentle cleaning methods, like a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner on a low setting. By removing any dust and debris, you ensure a better playing experience once the table is reassembled. But remember: avoid liquid cleaners or any other source of moisture, which can leave visible stains and damage the fabric. Also, thoroughly cover the felt prior to the move itself. Use soft and clean blankets or felt-specific covers.
As our other pool table-related instructional blogs make clear, be sure to properly wrap and pad all parts of the pool table prior to moving it. Again, don’t rush through this. The better protected your table is, the more likely it is that your move will be smooth and drama-free, which is obviously the goal. Protect the edges and corners and use foam or bubble wrap to mitigate the possibility of impact damage. Apply extra padding to the table’s playing surface and carefully secure the padding with tape or bands.
Using Specialized Moving Equipment for safe transport
When it comes to loading and unloading the table itself, always use specialized moving equipment. Dollies and ramps make things safer and easier. Never drag the pool table. Always keep it elevated, and do your best to avoid contact with uneven surfaces or debris—anything with the potential to distort the surface. Practice gentle handling and lifting techniques at all times. When it comes to the felt specifically, make sure it too isn’t subject to unnecessary pressure, which could result in damage.
When moving the table to a new location, always choose the most suitable vehicle possible. Don’t try to save a few bucks by using a vehicle that isn’t quite right. It’s not worth it. At best, you’ll end up incredibly frustrated; at worst, you’ll damage the table. Select a vehicle into which the pool table fits easily and comfortably and one in which it’s possible to properly secure the table with straps or ropes during transit. Don’t forget to cover the table to protect it from dust and potential scratches.
Unpacking and Caring for Your Pool Table Felt
When you get to where you’re going and you’ve moved the table into place (following all of the same moving recommendations noted above), cautiously unpack the felt. Keep it away from anything with the potential to puncture or tear the fabric. Check the felt thoroughly for signs of damage, and—if any are found—address these issues before reassembling the table. When you finally reassemble the table, put the felt together again using proper techniques. Avoid overstretching or misalignment.
Adjust the pool table to its optimal position and make sure the playing surface is perfectly level and smooth. Check the seams and edges. If necessary, seek professional calibration to ensure accurate gameplay and optimal performance.
Protecting Your Pool Table Investment
Once you’ve got everything—including the felt—re-assembled and in place, carefully examine the felt for any new damage. If you find any, take whatever time you need to get the felt repaired or, worst case scenario, replaced. Formally document any damage by taking photographs and notify the moving company (if you hired movers) and the insurance provider (if the table is insured). If the movers were in any way negligent, don’t hesitate to contact them to seek a resolution. Most reputable pool table movers will happily compensate pool table owners for any unexpected damage and repairs.
Keep in mind that a pool table’s felt benefits enormously from regular maintenance and care. Establish a cleaning schedule to keep the felt looking and performing its best. And when the table isn’t in use, always keep it covered to protect the felt from dust and sunlight. Even well-cared-for felt has a natural lifespan. So, don’t hesitate to replace the felt if it’s worn beyond repair. This will help you to maximize the enjoyment you get from the table for many years to come.
In short, even though moving a pool table is an enormous task—and one that is mostly about effectively managing the table’s size and weight—don’t forget to invest some time and energy into properly caring for the felt. Carefully assess the felt’s condition pre-move and, if you feel the need, document that condition. Disassemble the pool table and take the felt apart carefully while doing everything possible to avoid stretching or damaging the felt. Label each piece. Clean the felt (without using liquid), then cover it carefully to protect it during the move. Carefully wrap all components of the table, use dollies and ramps and proper lifting techniques, and always use the right vehicle. Secure the components in the vehicle, cover them, and store the felt carefully so that it isn’t subject to any damaging pressure. At its new destination, re-assemble the table—and the felt—with extreme caution, noting, documenting, and remedying any new damage. Cover the felt when not in use to protect it and establish a maintenance schedule. Replace the felt when the time is right.
Remember—effectively protecting a pool table’s felt during a move means taking the time necessary to plan and prepare and using safe handling techniques. Protecting the felt is similar to protecting your health: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! The more you care for the felt before and during a move, the less likely it is that costly repairs (or replacement) will prove necessary. So always give your pool table’s felt the attention it deserves. You’ll definitely see the results in how the table performs.