Can You Flip Pool Table Felt?

can you flip pool table felt

If you have a pool table, you know the value of good felt. The smooth, usually green surface of your pool table is what allows the billiards to roll around smoothly. The more wear and tear that felt suffers, the worse the performance of the billiards and the more tedious it is to play the game.

So when the felt on your pool table gets worn, it needs to be replaced, one way or another. The real question is, can you simply flip your pool table felt to the opposite side and call it a day? Yes, you can flip pool table felt, but your results may vary, and may not be as good as purchasing new felt altogether.

Flipping Pool Table Felt

There are obviously two sides to pool table felt, and generally speaking, the difference between those two sides is negligible. In the case of your pool table, one side is face-down, and thus never actually used.

So, it stands to reason that you should be able to lift the felt off the table, and flip it over, right? After all, the other side is the same material and hasn’t been used. It should effectively be the same as buying new felt, shouldn’t it?

Well, generally speaking, this can be true. However, it isn’t always the case. There are a few particular things to take into consideration regarding this idea.

Is Billiard Cloth Reversible?

Billiard cloth is just another name for the felt on your pool table. Technically speaking, it’s not felt at all, since it is woven cloth, but for the simplicity of the discussion, we’ll mostly just refer to it as felt. Now, is that felt reversible?

Well, the vast majority of it is, not because the felt is particularly designed to be reversible, but simply because most of them are identical on both sides, and if they are identical on both sides, then both sides of the felt should be perfectly viable for covering your pool table.

It should, however, be noted that this is not always the case. There may be some billiard cloth options out there that are not the same on both sides, with only one side intended to be used in playing capacity. As for whether or not that means the unintended playing side would be completely useless, we can’t really say.

Should You Flip Your Pool Table Felt or Buy a New One?

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Naturally, just flipping your felt over isn’t guaranteed to solve all of your problems, depending on what those problems actually are. For instance, if your felt is simply stained, dirty, or scuffed, flipping it over should solve those problems, since they are usually limited to just one side of the felt.

Of course, there are also some issues that merely flipping your felt isn’t really going to fix. If you have actual tears or holes in the fabric, it’s not like flipping it over is going to make those go away. In such a case, you would just need to get a new billiard cloth.

If you don’t have such problems, then it goes without saying that flipping your pool felt is much cheaper than buying a new billiard cloth. After all, excluding your time and effort, it would be free, which is nice since billiard cloth can actually be pretty expensive.

Even if money is no issue, you should take into consideration how often you actually use your pool table. If it’s something that you play on every day, then ensuring the surface is as pristine as possible is obviously important. But if it’s only used sporadically, it would probably be better to simply flip the felt and save your money.

We always recommend going with a high quality pool table felt that’s also easy on the eyes. Green is typically the best choice. We recommend this pool table felt by Boshen. It’s high performance, pre-cut, and holds up great against a variety of scenes like hotels, clubs, or personal use.

Downsides to Flipping Your Pool Table Felt

Other than the process of fitting the felt back onto your pool table once you remove it, there isn’t too much for you to actually worry about. Not to mention, that’s hardly any different than buying entirely new felt since you’d have to do that either way.

It is worth noting that you could experience some minor differences in performance when you flip the felt: the speed of the billiards may be slightly more or less, though there’s no way to know if this will be the case until after you do it. 

All of that said, there’s no real harm to flipping your pool felt regardless. After all, if you flip the cloth and find that you don’t like it for whatever reason, the only thing you have lost is time. You can then go and buy a new billiard cloth and call it a day, no harm done.

Should You Clean Your Pool Table Felt Before Securing It?

Let’s say you choose to take your pool table and just flip it over. Should you clean it before securing it to the table again? Well, considering that the bottom side you are flipping it to should have been unmolested all this time, it’s not like it would have to be cleaned. But you could if you wanted to.

If you d choose to do this, you can wash the billiard cloth in a washing machine. However, absolutely do not put it in the dryer. If you accidentally shrink the cloth, it probably won’t fit your pool table any longer. You’ll have to hang it out to dry.

Final Thoughts

As long as your pool table felt doesn’t have any tears or holes in it, then simply flipping it has a pretty good chance to make it as though your pool table is brand new. Differences in performance should be minor.

If you aren’t paying anyone to refelt your table, then flipping it and buying a new billiard cloth constitutes the same amount of work, but the prior option is free of charge.

Finally, if you want to clean the cloth before putting it back on your table, feel free to put it in the washing machine, but allow it to dry on a clothing line or something similar. The dryer itself could easily shrink the fabric and ruin it.

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