Darts is a great social game (often played in the pub) or even one that can be played solo at home, but regardless of where you play and who with, a common question is why is my dartboard swelling or bulging. There are actually a number of reasons for this, most of which you can control and reduce the likelihood of either swelling or bulging.
Your dartboard is swelling or bulging because of a combination of moisture, humidity, and excessive use. Excessive use of the board, particularly on popular numbers like 20, will slowly start to bulge your board due to the constant removing of darts on a bristle dartboard.
Heat or Humidity can cause problems, especially when very close to the dartboard. Moisture or Dampness will instigate an issue and getting water directly will affect it badly. A dartboard that swells or bulges prematurely could simply be boiled down to the poor original build quality. And whilst you cannot prevent bulging or swelling forever, the good news is that by following some simple rules you can do a lot to extend the life of your dartboard.
The most common reason your dartboard will swell is down to excessive use, constantly throwing sharp objects at a board will damage it over time, but you have a couple of ways to lessen the impact.
- Firstly, twist darts when you pull them out of the board, do not pull them out. The firmer in a dart goes, the more tempting it is to pull it out forcefully but this is when you should be looking to twist the dart and lessen the impact on the bristle
- The other key technique is rotating the board. As the number 20 will be hit more often than other areas (if you are playing well of course!), rotating around where you are throwing at the 20 will mean a different area is getting hit each time. So, move the number 20 around to where 18 was previously and repeat this exercise regularly
Heat / Humidity
Both heat and humidity can affect the board. Humidity is harder to avoid unless you have a house with good air conditioning or a dehumidifier, but by using some sensible rules we can prevent heat from becoming the problem.
- Don’t have a hot heat lamp pointing directly at the board. It is tempting to point a light directly at the board to improve visibility, but just make sure the room has good lighting rather than pointing a hot lamp directly at the board
- Avoid setting up your board next to heat sources like pipes or a radiator, as both will create heat sources that will affect the dartboard
Moisture / Dampness
A dartboard is made of sisal fibres and these are very susceptible to dampness or moisture and the worst possible thing you can do is intentionally put water on your dartboard! If the sisal fibres become damp or wet then they are likely to swell and come away from the back of the board. Therefore, it is important to remember these guidelines.
- If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that allows you to play darts outside, then always remember to bring the board in after playing, do not leave it outside
- Never put water on your dartboard. People have been known to wash their board to ‘spruce it up’ because it looks worn or dirty, this is a terrible idea and should be avoided at all costs. It will immediately soak into the sisal fibres and will pull away from the board quickly.
Use a High Quality Dartboard
Unfortunately, one of the biggest reasons that your dartboard is swelling or bulging comes down to how it was made. The likely issue is that the sisal was not glued on properly to the board, particularly in one particular spot, making it a lot more susceptible to the issues mentioned above around moisture or heat.
The only real solution is to look for a good quality board, look for reviews that talk about the quality of the sisal and mentions premium-grade sisal. We recommend a high quality dartboard like Winmau. Winmau is a trusted and proven darts manufacturer in the competitive world. We recommend this Winmau dartboard that can be purchased on Amazon.
Again, the main reasons a dartboard will swell and bulge is from moisture and dampness. Keep your dartboard indoors and in a cool, dry area. Removing your dartboard from these elements will help it last for years to come.
Also be mindful about how darts are removed from your dartboard. Always use a twisting motion to help free your dart without too much damage to the bristle fibres. Be sure to rotate your dartboard often to help evenly wear your dartboard.
Purchase a high-quality dartboard. Having a tried and true high-quality bristle dartboard will insure that you will get the most life out of your dartboard if the proper dartboard maintenance is followed.