Don’t Sink the 8-Ball: How to Move a Pool Table the Right Way
Learning how to move a pool table is the first step if you want to DIY the job. It will require a near-complete disassembly of the table and a healthy amount of muscle power to move the pieces that do not come apart.
While you may want to take on the huge task of moving a pool table with a couple of buddies, you should seriously consider hiring professionals. FlatRate Moving has excellent movers who have moved every large piece of furniture from massive couches to, yes, complicated pool tables. They have the necessary expertise to take it apart, carefully catalogue and pack each important part and assemble it in your new home with impressive efficiency.
You could do it on your own. All you need is to be handy, organized person, with good carpentry skills, some special tool equipment and have a few strong friends. At least three. Maybe even four or five. Seriously, pool tables are super-heavy. The major piece is actually made of rock!
Also, keep in mind that taking it apart is much more complicated than it might seem. It is not a dining room table with a few legs to unscrew and leaves to take out. Removing the felt from the slate is a tricky process that may leave one tearing their hair out. So is putting it back on.
A pool table is one of the hardest things you can move. It’s heavy, bulky, wide, and surprisingly delicate. The DIY approach can be dangerous to you and to the pool table. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to treat it like a dresser or sofa by calling a bunch of friends to help, and then twisting it every which way to fit through the door. Unfortunately, these actions often result in injury to you or your friends, and you can warp the surface or break a component. If you really want to know how to move a pool table, the steps are below. Read thoroughly and carefully.
Tearing Down Your Pool Table
The proper way to move a pool table is take it apart. You may feel a desire to maneuver the full piece through doorways and upstairs without disassembling, but that would be a mistake.
Before you break out the tool box, heed this warning:
Label, label, label. Everything that you remove during the disassembly needs to be carefully cataloged, so putting it back together will be a simpler process. There is nothing worse that moving a pool table across town, then being forced to look for missing screws in all your boxes of belongings. Or running out to the hardware store to find that perfect hex bolt that you need to attach the pockets. Trust me, the hardware store won’t have it. It’s just Murphy’s law.
You are going to need a lot of tools, including a staple puller, flat head screwdriver, safety goggles, socket wrench, and power drill. If your table has instructions on how to take it apart to move it, refer to those. Otherwise, follow our general guidelines.
Begin by removing the staples to unfasten the six side pockets. You might need the screw driver at this point as well. Sometimes the ball pockets are just stapled in, but sometimes they are secured with screws.
Keep an eye out for bolts. Use a socket wrench to hold each rail while you unscrew the bolts. Remove each rail. If the rails are attached at the corners, have a helper assist you in flipping them over so you can take them apart. Again, don’t forget to label all the pieces accurately so you can reassemble quickly at your new home.
This is the probably the trickiest part of disassembly. Taking the felt off reduces the chances of it being damaged during transport, but it is time-consuming. If you are replacing the felt, you can just rip it off. But if you plan on re-attaching, removing the staples from the felt becomes the only option. And you want to remove those staples carefully. One wrong move and the felt will become unusable.
Remove the screws from the slate using a power drill. Take the slate off. If it is all in one piece, the slate could weigh upwards of 800 lbs. You are going to need multiple people for this part. Even if the slate comes apart into multiple pieces you are going to need a hearty crew. Each one could weigh a few hundred pounds apiece.
Detach the frame, wrap it, and move it to the back of the truck. Wrap the rails and legs, and move them to place on top of the frame.
Any chip or dent to the slate can have an enormous effect on how the pool table is functions when it is put back together. All the parts, including the slate, need to be wrapped carefully. If the slate comes in multiple pieces, remember that damaging one is just as devastating as damaging them all. They are matched to each other, so you cannot just replace one piece of the slate.
The Right Room
Having trouble figuring out where to put it? You need plenty of room to maneuver the sticks and store all the ancillary equipment. This visualization gives you a good idea of what kind of square footage you need to comfortably fit most pool tables.
Try to choose a room with no carpet. It is possible to level a table on carpet, but the inherent instability of the floor covering will make it more likely that one leg will sink further than the others. Especially if the carpet is thick.
Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men would need this guide on how to move a pool table. Piecing an eggman back together is child’s play compared to this. (Hope you labeled everything.) Keeping all the screws and bolts in the proper bags and knowing where they will go will make reassembling that much easier.
But not that easy. Putting it back together comes with its list of challenges. You are going to need to reassemble the legs or base under the frame with the pool table upside-down. This means you will need help flipping it back over.
Now you will have to add the slate. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of just installing the way it was. You need to level the slate according to the floor. You will need to use shims to get the table perfectly level. Otherwise, your game will be off. Leveling the slate is a harder process than you are probably imagining.
Essentially, the floor that you choose for your pool table in the new house is almost certainly not perfectly level. Houses go through a settling process will slightly chance and warp any floor. Leveling the table is the best way to get your pool table back into tip-top shape after transport.
Once leveled, you will have to wax the seams. You can also use the beeswax to fill in screw holes. A propane torch will melt the wax. Once dry, a metal paint scraper will help make sure the surface is smooth.
Adding the felt and rails is next. When the felt is in place, a razor blade will be needed to cut holes to add the bolts.
This is a tedious and time-consuming part of the process. You might want to use that metal paint scraper to streamline the felt and push any air bubbles. Bumps or creases in the felt can be the difference between a sweet shot and a scratch.
After the felt goes on, it’s time for the rails. You will have to tighten the rails and close gaps, all the while making sure there are no wrinkles created in the felt.
Hire a Professional to Move Your Pool Table
This cannot be stressed enough. Moving a pool table is best left to the professionals. Even disassembled some components are incredibly heavy, especially after moving many other pieces of furniture throughout the day, as well.
A professional will inspect the frame for breaks in the joints and cracks in the wood that you likely wouldn’t notice. They will often include new felt right in the price, so you don’t have to reuse the same felt. Of course, they are also the most qualified to level the slate because they do it every day.
All the small factors that go into breaking down and moving a pool table can have an effect on its use down the road. Do you want to be shooting uphill at an 8-ball when you could have just dropped a little bit of cash to have the pros move the pool table.
You could go the middle route, just taking the pool table apart yourself, and bringing in professionals to attach new felt and re-level the slate in your new place. Those are the most detail-oriented parts of the process.
All-in-all, this is the most involved process for moving a piece of furniture short of some sort of historical artifact or antique. Professionals are not just a good solution, but, if you are not the handiest individual around, they are probably the only solution. So what are you waiting for? Don’t put your back and muscles behind the 8-ball; call in a professional mover to help you disassemble and move your pool table.