When playing pool, one of the first things you’ll be aware of – even as a beginner – is that the edges of the playing table are cushioned. These edges are known as the pool table bumpers.
These bumpers have rubber inserts located inside the table felt and allow pool balls to bounce off them upon impact. This allows for a greater variety of shots and is one of the aspects that makes pool such an enjoyable game.
As a pool table owner though, you might be aware of the frequent impact that these bumpers take during use and wonder do pool table bumpers go bad over time? Wear and tear affect most things and alongside the pockets and table felt, pool table bumpers are essential for gameplay.
In this article, we’ll explain how long a typical pool table bumper lasts, whether or not they go bad, and if you can replace them.
Quick answer – Pool table bumpers should last anywhere from 10-50 years without needing to be replaced. If however, a part becomes damaged, a pool table owner can replace them without expert help.
What Are Pool Table Bumpers
Pool table bumpers, also known as cushions, are the padded edges that run along the playing surface of a pool table. These bumpers allow players to make different types of shots during a game.
They provide a bounce meaning you can utilize angles during a game and play more complex shots when potting balls.
How Long Do Pool Table Bumpers Last
The average lifespan of most good-quality pool bumpers is anywhere from 25 to 50 years.
Although this is a very large range it does depend on a number of factors such as usage, maintenance, and the environment that the pool table is in.
However, it is also possible that your bumpers last longer than 50 years depending on their quality and just how well you take care of them.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of table bumpers will only have a lifespan of 12-15 years as they are not made of the best quality materials and are not properly maintained.
If you purchase bumpers that are made from gum rubber and that are sold by reputable sellers then the chances are that they will last you a very long time with the proper care.
Why Do Pool Table Bumpers Go Bad?
Although the surface of your table will need to be replaced regularly due to the friction caused by use, the same should not be true for the bumpers which, in theory, should last you much longer.
However, there are some reasons why you may find that your pool bumpers deteriorate much quicker than they should.
Firstly, humidity, heat, and moisture are all key factors in the longevity of your pool table bumpers and great care should be taken to ensure that these levels do not become extreme.
This is because the bumpers are made out of rubber which is a material that does not react well to overly hot, cold, or moist conditions.
One way that you can tell that your environment is having negative effects on your bumpers is if it appears too brittle or too hard. These are key signs that the air is causing havoc on the rubber.
If your table is in direct sunlight, for example, if it is in front of a big window then this will cause extra heat and added wear on the bumpers, again due to the fact that they are made of rubber. A cooler environment is better than a hotter one as the rubber will last longer.
How to Prevent Pool Table Bumpers From Going Bad
There are many different ways to keep your bumpers in good condition for as long as possible and this ranges from where you place the table to the quality of the rubber and even how frequently you use the table.
Good quality rubber on your bumpers should hold up easily against years of use but if you store the table under harsh light or in moist conditions, then the environment will lessen the lifespan of the bumpers as the rubber becomes damaged.
How Do You Know if a Bumper Has Gone Bad
As soon as you notice that your pool bumper has turned bad you should change it as it can cause problems with gameplay.
There are several signs that you can use to tell that they need replacing.
The first way to tell that you need new bumpers is the sound. If your bumper is in a good condition then you should hear a light sound as if in a vacuum. Not only this but the sound should be the same at any point on the table no matter where a ball hits.
If you notice that the impact produces a heavy sound then you will need to inspect further to see whether you will need to purchase new bumpers. Hearing a heavy thud likely means that the ball is hitting part of the wooden frame, caused by a damaged bumper.
Another way to check the condition of your rubber is to have a feel. Go around the entirety of the table gently pinching the cushion. By placing your fingers on the rubber and running them around the entire strip you will be able to notice issues such as grooves, bumps, or other defects in the rubber.
You can also use a ball to test your bumpers. You will need to aim a ball straight on at the cushion and place a decent amount of spin on the ball. If your ball jumps more than one inch this is an indication that you will need to replace the bumper.
How to Replace a Pool Table Bumper
If you have noticed that you need to replace your bumpers then you can do this yourself.
To fix or replace a pool table bumper you’ll need the following items:
- Replacement rubber strips
- Replacement rail (it necessary)
- Pool table felt
Check if your backing is adhered using glue, if so remove this. If there are any screws, remove these.
Add glue or another type of adhesive to the new backing and leave to set for a short amount of time until sticky. Line the cushion with the rail and if the cushion is larger than the rail trim it to fit correctly. Try to make it as neat as possible but it doesn’t matter if it is not exact.
Add rubber facings. Adding these will help to sort out any imperfections in the bumper and remember to remove any excess glue.
Of course, this job can easily be done by yourself but it will take some effort and a little bit of know-how. So, if you would prefer the ease of hiring a professional to do the task for you, do so.
Pool table bumpers are one of the most important components of a pool table and any dead spots or damaged bumpers will have a noticeably negative impact on gameplay. So, how long do bumpers last on a pool table?
Bumpers on a pool table are designed to last for 25 – 50 years, though they can become damaged over time meaning that some need repairing or replacing after 10 – 15 years of use.
Keeping your bumpers in good working condition doesn’t need to be a difficult task. Regularly testing the bounce and noise they make with a pool ball will give you an idea of the condition they are in. If any bumpers are damaged, then this is something most people can repair themselves with the help of a YouTube video!