Rack em Up

By: Gary Ashton

So you've decided to take the plunge and buy that pool table you've always wanted. Realize that, the purchase is just the beginning, in order to fully appreciate your new table it needs the right location and the right atmosphere. In other words, before you take your first shot, you have to design a billiard room for your new addition. Here are some things to keep in mind while you're planning your new room.

Sizing Location:

Nothing is worse when trying to take a shot then hitting your cue stick on a wall or piece of furniture. A shorty stick can be used, but it should be the exception, not the rule. When determining the location of your table and the necessary space you'll need, keep in mind that a standard pool cue is 57 long and the draw length is about 6. Not only do you have to allow for the shot, but you also have to allow for any seating around the table.

Get yourself some graph paper and create a floor plan including doors, windows, furniture, and table, and allowing for a 63 radius from the corners of the tables. This will allow you to play with different designs before setting up the table. If you are planning for a new house, check with your builder to ensure there are no columns or poles that may create an obstruction.

Try to avoid placing the foot of the table (the end where the rack of balls is placed at the beginning of a game) facing windows, chairs, or anything breakable. This is the most likely area to be hit if a ball jumps off the table after a break.

Similarly, if you have an unavoidable obstruction such as a pole or column, try to avoid positioning the head of the table in front of it, players need the extra space behind when making a break.

It's not likely your floors are completely even; you'll also have to level the table once it's set up.

Lighting:

Good lighting doesn't mean an expensive stained glass fixture adorning your table, but it should be bright enough to light the entire table evenly without creating shadows. Aim for 400 watts for a 9' table, and 310 watts for an 8' table. Avoid halogen lights as they create eye fatigue over time, as do overly bright bulbs.

Flooring:

Keeping in mind that there is constant wear around the perimeter of a table, so whatever type of flooring you choose will need to withstand this pattern of movement. If you decide on carpet, wall-to-wall decreases the risk of tripping or having the edges turn up.

Soundproofing:

Between the balls hitting each other, players shouting back and forth and the occasional cue being slammed on the table, a game of pool can create a lot of racket. If this room is planned prior to construction, you can add extra insulation in the walls or ceiling. Otherwise, you can add other materials to the room to absorb the sound. These may include cork flooring (excellent for sound absorption), carpeting, cushioned furniture, drapes, or bookcases.

Accessories:

In addition to coffee tables and seating for your friends, a small bar area is great for handy beverages and snacks. Cue and ball racks help to protect your cue sticks and keep the pool balls together when not in use. They vary in design and may include a small chalkboard for scoring and extra storage space. Designs vary from standing floor racks to the wall mounted versions. Whichever you choose, ensure they do not create an obstruction, and are well out of the line of fire.

To create the perfect gaming atmosphere, choose from some of the many billiard themed prints and accessories out there, such as lamps, clocks, upholstery, or small pub tables. Visit your local games store for ideas.

Table Covers:

Table covers available in vinyl or leatherette will help to keep your table clean between use and prevent fading in sunny rooms. The covers are especially helpful if you have cats, who love stretching out on the soft surfaces.

You've done a great job with your new room, now all that's left to do is pour a cold beverage and rack 'em up!

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