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The pool table bumpers, also known as cushions or rubbers are on the most important parts of your pool table. This is the part that the balls hit, bounce back to head to the intended direction. This means that if the bumpers are bad, then you will not play the game smoothly as expected.
This begs the question about the durability of pool table bumpers. How long do they last? Generally, a good pool table bumper can last for about 20 to 25 years. Some may even last longer than that. Nevertheless, standard bumpers may just last 12 to 15 years.
Read this article to learn how to detect bad bumpers, bumper replacement, and other pool table bumper related questions.
How Do You Tell That the Bumpers Have Gone Bad?
Pool is a great pass time, whether you are playing it with a stranger or a friend. While it is a competition for skill between the two of you, you still want to enjoy a smooth game. This calls for a good and well-maintained table. All the table components should be in good shape, and this points us to the direction of the table bumpers. Are they in good shape? If not, how do arrive at that conclusion?
Below are simple ways to check if your pool table’s bumpers are fine.
The sound that the balls hit when they hit the rails can determine whether the cushion is in good shape or whether you should be worried. A good bumper produces a light sound like in a vacuum. The additionally, the sound should be consistent all around the table. However, if it produces a loud heavy sound, proceed with the inspection just to be sure.
- Squeeze and Feel
Using your fingers, go around the table squeezing your table cushions at a moderate distance. Let your fingers run through the table rail edges where it hangs over the playing surface. You should be able to detect worn tracks and grooves on the playing surface under the felt. If present, it means the bumpers are worn, and this will hinder the rails from being springy.
- Spinning the Ball
Shoot a ball straight into the rail at a moderate spin but high speed and observe the ball’s movement. If it bounces more than an inch, your bumpers must be worn out, needing replacement.
- Ball Rebound
Slowly roll a ball using a cue or a bare hand towards the rail. For a table whose bumpers are worn out, the ball will simply stop once it hits the rail. However, if it brings back to the center at a consistent angle, you are good to go.
What Factors Cause Pool Bumper Deterioration
It is normal to have the felt surface of your table replaced occasionally. However, the same should not be the case for the bumpers. Properly used and cared for bumpers can last up to or even more than 25 years. However, the factors below may reduce its lifespan significantly, and force you to do the replacement sooner.
- Extreme moisture, heat, or cold can significantly reduce the bumpers lifespan. You will note that the rubber becomes either too hard or brittle.
- A room with direct sunlight is dryer and hotter, thus bound to accelerate aging and reducing the lifespan.
- Most basements tend to be cool and a bit moist, thus the bumpers aging process is slower.
- The quality of the cushion also plays a role for time it will last before it starts to lose it bounce. Most often, the inferior cushion will be pink instead of tan or amber. You may not know what color your is as it is covered with the felt cloth. You don’t have to remove the cloth. Simply do the test of finding out if your bumpers are bad.
A DIY Guide for Pool Table Bumper Replacement
Though pool table cushions are meant to last long, they may lose their spring for any of the reasons already discussed. You are not going to cry over it. You have to take action to bring it back to the desired condition. Below is a simple DIY guide to help you replace your pool table bumpers.
- If the wood backing is joined using glue, clean out the glue. If it has any screws, unscrew up and out until they come off.
- Apply adhesive to the cushion as well as the wood and let it rest for up to 10 minutes. It is recommendable to let it get sticky before attaching the cushion. Ensure that the cushion in line with the surface of the wood rail.
- The cushion can be bigger compared to the table surface where it will be fixed. Trim it to ensure it fits perfectly. To get the desired size, use a straight edge to mark the areas that you will cut. Alternatively, you can use the existing angle of the wood rail. Do not worry if it is not exact, but at least try to make neat and as close as you can.
- Additionally, apply some rubber facings. This will clear out any imperfection that may be remaining in the bumper. Stick the rubber facing on the cushion using adhesive and clear out any excesses using a razor blade or knife.
Bumper replacement is as easy as that. However, you may want to call a professional to do it for you so that you get a thorough job.
Best Pool Table/ Bumper Maintenance Tools
As said before, you should never have to replace your pool bumpers at all especially with good maintenance practices as the ones highlighted below.
Use a cover– always keeps your table covered any time it is not use. Most pool tables come with waterproof covers. However, you can always purchase one along the way.
Vacuuming– vacuum any debris from the table surface with low suction power.
Soft towels- do not use dirty balls, as they will cause tears on the table surface. You can use warm water and soft towels to clean the balls any time you feel they are dirty.
Soft brush-a horsehair brush is soft to the feel, and most recommendable as opposed to using the synthetic bristled brush.
How much does bumper replacement cost?
Generally, it would cost you around $50 to $90 replace your pool bumpers. However, if well maintained, you have around 20 to 25 years before you can think of replacement.
Why do pool table rails become hard?
Pool table rails can be hardened by extreme moisture, heat, or cold. To be on the safe side, ensure you store it in a moderate environment to extend its lifespan.