There’s a Right Way and a (Very) Wrong Way to Move a Pool Table

Jennifer Billock

Real Estate

What game room is complete without a pool table? Well, it depends on the game room, but that’s beside the point. Most people who have pool tables love them—and want to take them with them when they move (especially if it doubles as their dining table).

Moving a pool table is a long, complicated, and expensive process. To make sure you have everything you need to do it properly, professional movers Isaac Pulkkinen of Gentle Giant Moving Company and Gabe Misinksi from Olympia Moving & Storage shared their tips.

1. Put some thought into whether you should keep it in the first place

Sure, you love your pool table, but hauling it to a new home may not be the best course of action. Most movers charge by weight or time, and pool tables are both heavy and time-intensive items to move. So consider all your options before packing it on that truck.

How much does it cost to move a pool table?

Misinksi admits moving a pool table is an expensive job. Not only will you have the cost of the movers to cover, but you’ll also need to pay for specialists to come out and take it apart and put it back together. That’s about $450 on each end, depending on the type of pool table and moving distance.

Can you move a pool table without taking it apart?

If you think you can avoid the specialist cost by leaving your pool table together for the move, you’re just opening yourself up to a whole new expense. Moving a pool table without taking it apart will likely lead to it breaking—and then you’ll have to get an entirely new one, or invent new rules for broken billiards.

2. Hire professional help

Please, don’t try to do this by yourself. Pool tables are complicated structures—and they’re incredibly heavy.

“I’ve been a mover for 12 years. When it gets down to moving pool tables, there’s a lot of disassembly involved,” Pulkkinen says. “Unless somebody is pretty handy and pretty methodical, having professionals come in to disassemble one is pretty important.”

Can I move a pool table by myself?

Theoretically, yes. But you drastically increase the risk of breaking yourself or the table in the process. Misinksi’s company will have you sign a waiver if you decide to move a pool table without using specialists. That way, if it’s broken during the move, you only have yourself to blame.

What is the easiest way to move a pool table?

The easiest way to move a pool table is to have someone else do it. It’s also the most expensive way, but it’s worth it. A third-party specialist can come in, take it apart, and put it in a crate. Your movers will move it. Then, the third-party specialist will return to rebuild it in your home. Your moving company will have recommendations for these kinds of specialists. Or, if you’d like to take matters into your own hands, a quick Google of “pool table movers” or “billiards services,” should do the trick. A search in my home city brought up Pool Table Movers Milwaukee, Absolute Billiard Services, and STL Billiard Repair.

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3. Take the pool table apart completely

Whether you decide to try and move the pool table yourself or a specialist does it, there’s a general process for taking it apart. First, remove the pockets. You can unscrew those from underneath the table. Second, remove the bumpers and the corners—you’ll have access to the screws for those once the pockets are off. Third, remove the felt. This is a tricky step. If it’s stapled down, you can pull out the staples, but sometimes it’s glued down and you’ll need a putty knife to get it off. You’ll want to be meticulous about it so it doesn’t stretch or tear. And be prepared to replace it with a new one anyway. Pulkkinen says the felt isn’t meant to be removed and replaced.

Once the felt is off, your next big concern is removing the slates. The table will have two or three. They’re heavy (about 150 pounds each) and brittle.

“The slate fits together nicely, but once you start moving it, tipping it around, and putting stress on it, there’s a very real possibility that you can tweak the table enough that it chips or cracks the slate,” Pulkkinen says. “Once that happens, you need to get new slate. And they’re matched, so if you chip one, most times you have to get a whole new set.”

Once the slate is safely removed, unscrew the legs from the table. 

4. Secure the pieces

All the pieces of your pool table fit together nicely like a puzzle. To make sure that stays true, every piece you remove needs to be secured and protected for the move. Wrap the pockets, bumpers, corners, and legs in moving blankets. Roll up the felt and secure it. Crate the slates in a wooden box or really sturdy cardboard. The specialist should handle most of this for you.

Then, secure everything in the truck. You want to strap the slates to the wall of the truck standing upright; otherwise, they could snap under their own weight while bouncing around in the truck.

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5. Reassemble and level

When you arrive at your new home, have specialists come back out to reassemble your pool table—unless you’ve taken meticulous notes about how it came apart so you can put it back together. The very last step, while you’re reassembling it, is to level the slates and put on the new liner. You can use a standard level for this, and make small adjustments with screws to the slates. And be extra careful (again) with the liner.

“The hardest thing is the liner on top of the slates,” Misinksi said. “That needs to be very straight and the whole table needs to be leveled. Floors aren’t always even, so you need to make sure that when you put a ball on the table, it won’t move on its own.”

Voilà. Play ball.

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