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  • Adam Gibson

Best Practices for Snooker Table Cushion Replacement

Are your snooker games feeling lackluster or deflecting off cushions at unexpected angles? Worn-out cushions could be at fault. Replacing them is an investment with significant returns that restores optimal bounce, responsiveness, and overall better snooker gaming experiences.

This comprehensive guide offers all the knowledge and best practices needed to confidently handle snooker table cushion replacement. Everything will be covered here, from the safe preparation and removal of old cushions to selecting replacement cushions that perfectly meet your installation requirements. So, let's get going!

Replacing your snooker table cushions is an investment that will enhance your game, returning optimal bounce and responsiveness.  Here's a breakdown of key preparation practices to facilitate an effortless cushion replacement experience:

1.     Assess cushion condition

Before starting, thoroughly assess the state of your cushions for wear and tear. Keep an eye out for uneven bounce patterns, visible cracks, or any compression in their profile that indicates a loss of elasticity. Unevenness can be tested by rolling a cue ball across its surface; deviations from its straight path signal the need to replace your cushion(s).

2.     Gather the right tools

Preparing with the appropriate tools will streamline the process. Typically, you'll require a staple remover, hammer, tape measure, utility knife, sandpaper, scuff pad, rubber mallet, and contact cement. Consider investing in a cushion removal tool designed specifically for snooker tables, which will simplify this task significantly.

3.     Clear your workspace

Before commencing this project, designate an ideal workspace, such as an area with ample ventilation, where snooker tables may be safely moved around easily. Remove all accessories, such as balls, cues, and covers, so as to reduce accidental damage.

4.     Prepare the table

Disassemble your snooker table as much as necessary in order to access its cushions, such as by taking apart rails, pockets, or the slate (depending on its design). Take pictures or write notes during disassembly in order to facilitate subsequent assembly later on.


Now that your preparations have been completed, it is time to remove your old snooker table cushions. Follow the best practices below to do so.

1.     Locate fasteners

Determine how the cushions are fastened to their rails using staples, nails, or combinations thereof. Look for any visible signs of fasteners along the top edge of the rail where the cushion meets the wood.

2.     Start with staples

Staples should first be extracted. Use a staple remover to carefully extract them along the entire length of your cushion to avoid tearing the cushion material during detachment.

3.     Deal with nails (if present)

For cushions with nails attached, use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry out the nail heads without damaging the wood frame.

4.     Break the glue bond

Once all fasteners have been removed, use a thin putty knife to break through the initial seal between the cushion and rail. Insert it between the top edge of the cushion and the rail and carefully pry upward with minimal force until the glue bond loosens up.

5.     Gradual detachment

Once the initial seal has been broken, gradually detach your cushion from its rail. Be cautious not to pull upward; instead, use a rocking motion while gently lifting away at an angle from its base to reduce stress on both pieces. This decreases the risk of tears or splits in either the cushion or rail.

6.     Repeat and remove

Continue working your way around the perimeter of the snooker table by repeating steps 4 and 5 to detach the cushion sections. If any sections prove particularly stubborn to remove, return with the putty knife to ensure a complete break in the glue bond before trying further removal attempts.

Note: Take your time when removing cushions. If a cushion seems stuck, evaluate your approach to ensure all fasteners have been unzipped and glue bonds are broken before resorting to forceful removal methods.

Choosing New Cushions

Selecting replacement cushions that suit the characteristics and needs of your snooker table is paramount for optimal performance and long-term usage. Here are some practices that can help ensure you select an excellent match:

1.     Measure twice, buy once

Before shopping for replacement cushions, take accurate measurements of both their thickness and length. Snooker cushions usually feature standard thicknesses (often 1/2 to 3/4 inch), yet slight variations could exist between models. New cushions must meet this exact dimension to ensure optimal play and ball response.

2.     Find quality materials

High-grade snooker cushions are typically constructed using vulcanized rubber. This material provides superior responsiveness, consistent bounce, and durability and should always be preferred over cheaper alternatives that may compromise your playing experience.

3.     Consider competition-grade vs. recreational play

Competition-grade cushions feature fast and responsive gameplay for tournament-level performance, while recreational-grade cushions, while slightly less responsive, provide an affordable balance between performance and affordability that makes them suitable for casual use.

4.     Evaluate brand reputation

Purchase cushions from well-recognized billiard supply brands known for quality and performance, reading online reviews from players for insight into specific brands' offerings.


Now that your old cushions have been removed and new cushions chosen, it is time to transform your snooker table by installing its replacement cushions properly. Below are a few best practices that should ensure an efficient installation:

1.     Prepare rails for cushion installation

Before attaching new cushions to rails, take time and care in cleaning and prepping them. Use a damp cloth to remove dust, dirt, or debris that might otherwise cling onto them; this ensures strong adhesion between cushion and rail.

2.     Apply contact cement

While certain high-end snooker cushions come pre-glued, others require the application of contact cement. When doing this, carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions. Apply an even coating to both the underside of the cushion as well as the designated area of the rail, and then allow proper drying time before proceeding further.

3.     Arrange the new cushion

With both rails prepared (and contact cement dry), carefully position a new cushion along each rail's edge until its full length sits flush against it with perfect alignment across its entirety.

4.     Secure the top edge

Once in position, use a rubber mallet to gently tap the new cushion's top edge against its rail, securely seating it against it. Start from its center point and work outward in small sections until all pressure points have been covered evenly along its entire length.

5.     Address the corners

Corners require special consideration. With a utility knife, carefully slice diagonal cuts at each corner of a new cushion so they fold neatly against its rail corner and conform perfectly. Apply contact cement (if needed) directly on top of these cut corners before pressing them firmly against their rail corners for secure adhesion.

6.     Secure the bottom edge

Some snooker cushions feature holes or slots along their bottom edges for additional fastening purposes. If present, use nails or staples (appropriate size for the holes or slots) to secure the bottom edge of the cushion to the rail. Ensure the fasteners are driven in straight and flush with the wood surface.

7.     Repeat and refine

Continue working your way around the entire perimeter of the snooker table by repeating steps 3-6 to install each cushion section. When finished, take time to inspect your work; ensure all cushions are secure against their rails, with evenly spaced placement.

8.     Reassemble

Allow any glue used (if any) to set according to manufacturer specifications before reassembling your snooker table in reverse. Follow all steps taken during disassembly until all steps have been completed in their entirety. Finally, string your newly revived table for increased performance!

Finishing Touches

Now that your new snooker table cushions have arrived and been installed correctly, it is time to experience their rejuvenated responsiveness and enjoyment of gameplay. Here's how you can ensure a perfect finish:

1.     Alignment check

Before racking the balls for your first game, use a level to examine the slate's flatness. Even minor inconsistencies in flatness could affect ball movement or bounce. For adjustments as necessary, seek professional snooker table technicians' services as soon as possible for effective re-leveling procedures.

2.     Invest in cloth brushing

Invest in a high-quality snooker table brush and regularly use it to brush the cloth (ideally after every game!) to remove dust, dirt, and chalk particles that might accumulate and impair ball movement. Brushing can also maintain the cloth's naps for smooth playing surfaces.

3.     Clean the rails and cushions

Regularly use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down rails and cushions to remove surface dirt or grime, such as fingerprints. Avoid harsh cleaners that could potentially harm both cushion materials as well as the cloth covering them.


Once everything has been taken care of and your newly installed cushion provides optimal responsiveness and bounce, you must devote some time to learning how to maintain them for extended use properly. Here are a few practices that could go a long way toward doing just that:

1.   Climate control

Properly setting your playing environment up to support maximum performance requires creating the ideal conditions. Aim for temperatures between 68 and 72°F (20 and 22°C), with relative humidities between 50 and 60%. This helps avoid cushions drying out or cracking and clothes becoming loose or excessively tight.

2.   Sun protection

Direct sunlight can significantly diminish snooker tablecloth and cushion durability over time, so for best results, position it away from windows or utilize curtains and blinds as shade to limit sun exposure.

3.   Regular inspection

Make it part of your routine to periodically inspect your snooker table for signs of wear and tear, such as inconsistent ball bounce, tears or cracks in cushions, fraying or excessive wear on cloth, fraying of fabrics, etc. Addressing minor issues immediately can prevent them from developing into more significant ones later.

4.   Opt for professional servicing

For optimal responsiveness of the snooker table and optimal playing performance, professional servicing should take place every 1-2 years. A qualified technician can conduct a complete inspection, make necessary adjustments, and potentially offer cushion re-profiling in order to restore optimal responsiveness.

Contact All American Billiards

Snooker table cushion replacement is an enjoyable DIY task that demands precision and careful attention to every step in the process. However, if you need help or would rather leave this task to someone else, All American Billiards is here to help. Our team of experienced technicians specializes in maintaining and refurbishing snooker tables of all makes and models, including cushion replacement. Contact us now and arrange for a service appointment so your table continues to play like new!


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