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Pool tables are generally considered to be inside furniture and are designed as such, but in some cases pool tables are kept outdoors. There are some challenges for keeping a pool table outside in good condition.
so, can a pool table be outside without getting damaged? There are going to be some downsides to keeping a pool table outside because the environment is not controlled in terms of temperature and humidity. Slate bed pool tables are going to be a lot more resistant to outdoor conditions than a pool table with a wooden bed.
Although there are a few ways that being outside could be bad for the pool table, it is not impossible to have an outside pool table. Bars do it all the time, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t either as long as you are prepared for the possible consequences.
Inside Pool Tables vs. Outside Pool Tables
There are some pool tables which are made to withstand the outdoor elements. Such as the Imperial 8ft outdoor pool table (Amazon link). This includes being more resistant to moisture and made out of more heavy-duty materials. You can also upgrade an inside pool table to make it more resilient by adding certain treatments to the wood. Pool tables can be an expensive investment so you will want to make sure that you are not throwing away money by putting a pool table in an environment where it will quickly diminish in quality.
What Kind of Pool Table is Best For Outdoors
The two main kinds of pool tables are slate bed and wooden bed tables. Slate beds have a solid, smooth layer of stone under the cloth felt surface which provides a uniform playing level. The other kind of pool table has a type of plywood under the cloth which has been pressurized and treated to mimic the surface of flat stone. Wooden pool tables are more affordable and lightweight, but they do not hold up well to moisture because wood can warp.
Slate Bed Pool Table for Outdoors
|Playing surface will not warp because of moisture||Expensive investment|
|Tournament level table for practicing||Very heavy|
|Higher quality|Wooden Bed Pool Table for Outdoors
|Less expensive than slate bed pool tables||Will warp with too much moisture or heat fluctuations|
|Easier to move because they are more lightweight||More susceptible to damage outdoors|
|Less of a financial investment|
|Can mimic the quality of a slate bed pretty well|
Because slate bed pool tables are a greater financial investment, it is understandable that for some a wooden bed table might seem like a better option for outdoors since there is less to lose if it becomes damaged. Slate bed pool tables are going to be a lot more resistant to the effects of the outdoors so they are the better option even though they are more expensive.
Difference Between Inside and Outside Pool Tables
Pool tables which are built for outdoor use have some different features than indoor pool tables.
The Felt Cloth
The first difference is that the felt cloth is made out of a slightly different, more durable material on pool tables made for the outdoors. Water resistant felts are tougher and thicker than regular indoor cloth for pool tables, which means that the way the billiard ball rolls against it will be slightly different.
You may have to hit pool balls harder with an outdoor pool table, which can make practicing for indoor tournaments hard since you may overestimate how hard you need to hit the balls. Playing pool outdoors can be a fun pastime, but for serious practice take into consideration how the cloth of an outdoor table will feel different than one made for the indoors.
To make an indoor pool table more resilient for the outdoors you may want to consider replacing the felt cloth layer with a more waterproof material.
The Framing Material
Most pool tables have a wooden frame which supports the bed of the table. The wooden framing makes the pool table blend in with the rest of the household furniture. For outdoors, wood is not a good option because it is very susceptible to the effects of rain and sun. The wood can become bleached with sunlight and ruin the appearance.
The main concern is that when the wood bends and warps because of moisture it can make the playing bed less consistently flat. Some types of woods can be reinforced with treatments and coatings to make them able to withstand the outdoors better. Pool tables made for use outside are usually made with metal framing instead of wood.
Metal frames are more resilient against the effects of the outdoors than wooden ones are. Examples of the kind of metals used for the framework of outdoor pool tables are stainless steel or aluminum alloys. Metal is far more resilient against rain, temperature, heat, cold, and moisture than wood is.
Things to consider when keeping a pool table outdoors
One thing to consider about keeping a pool table outside is what the climate you are living in is like. A moderate climate with average humidity levels can usually work just fine with an outdoor pool table, but if the climate is often freezing cold or burning hot, then it will be more difficult. Cooling or heating the area around the pool table to keep players comfortable can be hard and also people living in climates with heavy rain or snow will have a harder time keeping the pool table dry.
If you already have an inside pool table and you are considering moving it outside to make more room, then you should be aware that the outdoor elements will have an effect on the table. Here are a few tips for keeping a pool table outside while minimizing negative effects of temperature, humidity, and moisture.
Tips For Keeping a Pool Table Outside in Good Condition
I would like to run through a few tips that will help prolong the life of your table when housed outside.
Keep the Pool Table Covered
There should be some kind of roof covering over the table to keep it from getting rained on. The roof needs to be waterproof and direct the flow of water away from the table. The wooden elements of the pool table can become damaged, moldy, and warped if they get wet so it is important to keep the rain off the table. This can be done with an outdoor gazebo or a heavy-duty tarp. It may be a good idea to double reinforce the covering by adding a gazebo covering and putting a cover over the pool table when it’s not in use.
One gazebo I can recommend is the PHI VILLA (Amazon link) It’s 13ft x 13ft, making it large enough for your table, even if you have a 9ft pool table. This size will also give you some shelter to play under too. There are many gazebos to pick from but I found this one to be the best option at an affordable price.
Keep the Pool Table Dry
When pool tables get wet it can cause serious damage to the wooden and cloth components. In addition to keeping the rain off of the pool table with an outdoor pool table cover, it can also help to add fans in the area to keep humidity levels low. Humidity in the cloth of the pool table can make the bed seem “sticky” and cause the balls to roll slower, making certain moves more difficult. Having fans pointed at the pool table can help to wick away humidity.
Keep the Pool Table Clean
One of the downsides of keeping a pool table outdoors is that it will get dirty faster. Regular cleaning of the pool table will help to minimize the effects of the outdoors. The covering should also keep most big debri off of the bed of the table. A high-quality spray or cleaning solution will help to maintain the performance and appearance of the pool table outdoors.
Buy the Right Kind of Pool Table for Outdoors
When you get ready to make a decision on which pool table is right for you, make sure that you are considering what the table is made for. There are tables which are better for keeping outdoors than others. A beautiful wooden pool table may quickly get damaged by the sun and rain outdoors which could leave you with regrets. Make sure that the table that you buy is made for the outdoors.
To help you out a little, these are two very nice pool tables designed for outdoor play. The Hathaway Alpine 8-ft (Amazon link) and the Imperial 8ft (Amazon link) use an aluminum frame that is more resilient than a wooden frame when exposed to outdoor conditions as well as a special waterproof and UV proof table felt that will prolong its life a little longer.
How Much Does an Outside Pool Table Cost
The price of a pool table has a lot of factors to be considered but they can range from $500-$3,000 for a wooden bed table to $1,500-$5,000 for a slate table. While wooden beds are more affordable and lightweight, they are also less resistant to the effects of weather. A slate pool table will be a better choice for the outdoors, even though the higher price tag makes it even more important to protect the investment with the proper precautions and covers.
That’s not to say, wooden bed pool tables cant be housed outdoors, it just means more precaution will be needed to keep them playing at their best.
To keep a pool table outside in good condition, it needs to be made for the outdoors. Indoor tables can be upgraded with treatments and new cloth to make it more resilient. Wood can warp and bend with moisture, which is why keeping the table dry is very important. This can be done with waterproof/water-resilient coverings.
Slate bed tables are better for the outdoors because wooden beds are more likely to become warped because of moisture. Pool tables with metal frameworks are also better for the outdoors since stainless steel and aluminum hold up well to the effects of nature, including temperature and moisture fluctuations.