Moving and storing a pool table is one of those things that sounds like it should be straightforward, but actually takes some work, time, and muscle.
Let’s get into the details. We’ll cover preparation, moving, and storage.
Disassemble Your Pool Table
We recommend taking apart your pool table before you store it. Pool tables are extremely heavy because the playing surface beneath the felt is made of slate. The advantage of slate is that, unlike wood, it does not easily warp. Therefore, it allows for better gameplay.
The downside is that assembled pool tables are extremely difficult to lift, let alone get to a truck and to a self storage unit.
Even after you take apart your pool table, there will be heavy parts to move, but we’ll cover that shortly. In any case, remember that whenever you move heavy objects, your focus should be on protecting yourself and your items.
Before you disassemble your pool table, we recommend finding the instruction manual that came with your table. If you can’t find it, see if it’s available on the company’s website. The following instructions are generic. Those that came with your table should be more specific.
Most pool tables can be taken apart in the following manner.
Gather your tools. You will need:
A socket wrench
A flathead screwdriver
A power drill
A staple remover
Eight to ten moving blankets
Sealable plastic bags
Strong twine or packing tape
High-density plastic sheeting
A moving box
You’ll also need a small moving truck and a hand truck—and make sure you have several strong and able-bodied helpers. You won’t be able to do this alone.
We know, this sounds like a lot, but having the right tools will make moving and storing your pool table so much easier.
Here are the steps.
Remove the pockets. This will probably involve removing screws, or possibly staples. Put the pockets in the moving box, wrapped in bubble wrap, and place any screws or other small parts in a sealable bag.
Disengage the rails and slide them out carefully. Put screws or bolts removed in a sealable plastic bag, and set the rails on a moving blanket.
Remove the felt from the table. It may be stapled in place or glued down. Unfortunately, you do have to remove it to get to the slate. Either fold it gently and put it in a box or larger plastic bag, or roll it and put it in a picture tube.
Remove the slate. Here’s where you’ll really need your helpers. The slate in your pool table may be in two or three parts, but it may also be one big piece. These typically weigh from 400 to 600 pounds in total, but can weigh up to 800. Here, you’ll probably need your power drill to remove the screws. Remember to wear safety goggles when you use a power drill. Carefully lift out each piece of slate and place them side-by-side on one or more moving blankets.
Flip over the frame. Without the slate, it will weigh much less. Remove the legs. Remember to put those nuts, bolts, and screws in a plastic parts bag.
Wrap individual large pieces in bubble wrap, then wrap them in moving blankets. You may be able to wrap the rails in one blanket and the legs in another. Each slate should get its own blanket, as should the tabletop portion of the frame. Use packing tape or the strong twine to secure each bundle.
Moving the Table
Next, you’ll need to get the pool table to your moving truck. Use the hand truck to move the slates. You may want to use bungee cords to keep those pieces secure on the hand truck, and have a friend spot you as you bring it to the truck. If you need to go up a ramp, you can slide the bundle up on a moving blanket.
Place some plastic sheeting in the back of the truck, and place the table top, the slate, and the parts on it.
It’s important we say a word about the sort of storage unit you should have for a pool table. Specifically, you’ll want one with climate control. Pool tables are carefully balanced to have a very even, smooth surface. While slate doesn’t warp, wood can, and the frame of your pool table is wooden. In a climate controlled unit, the table and all its parts will be in a room at a constant, safe temperature, which will prevent the wood from warping or cracking.
Once you reach your storage unit, again, enlist the help of your friends to carry some parts into the unit, and move others by hand truck.
Place high-density plastic sheeting on the floor of your unit, and place the slate, or slates, on it. Lay the other parts carefully on top, including the bag of screws, nuts, and bolts.
Climate control will help prevent warping, SO important to keep your pool table as it was meant to be. Protects wood from cracking or warping.
Lay high-density plastic sheeting on the floor and the slate on top of it. If there are multiple slates, put more sheeting on top of the first and place the second slate on top of it, and so on. Add a final piece of sheeting to the top. Place the other parts, secure in their moving blankets, on or beside the slates. You may also want to place several packing crates on the ground together, then place the sheeting over the crates, and the slates on top of that, to elevate everything off the ground.
We hope this helps you get through the work-intensive project of putting your pool table in storage and keeping it safe. Doing it correctly will allow you to get it back when you need it, and have it in great shape.