Saturday, October 18, 2014

Take Your Cue: Planning a Pool Table Room

For many people the clack of colliding pool balls recalls happy times. That’s one reason pool tables are a classic addition to the game room, basement, garage, family room, loft, man cave or even dining room. But planning for a pool table requires more than picking out a leg style and felt color. Dimensions rule with this project. Here’s how to figure out how much space you’ll need and other considerations.

Table Sizes

There’s not a single standard-size pool table, but rather three common sizes. The length dimensions in the names are approximate. Although playing surface dimensions are consistent, outside dimensions can vary by manufacturer.

  • Pub size/7-foot:

Outside dimension: 52 inches by 90 inches (approximate)

Playing surface: 38 inches by 76 inches

  • Professional size/8-foot:

Outside dimensions: 60 inches by 106 inches (approximate)

Playing surface: 46 inches by 92 inches

  • Tournament size/9-foot:

Outside dimensions: 64 inches by 114 inches (approximate)

Playing surface: 50 inches by 100 inches

James Grimaldi of Century Billiards says the most common residential-size table has traditionally been the 8-foot size, but he has seen a significant rise in sales of 7-foot tables in the past five years.

Note that antique table dimensions are likely to vary. Tracy Mitchell of Mitchell Exclusive Billiard Design says that a long time ago, the standard playing surface was 44 inches by 88 inches, and the table name was shortened to 4 by 8. Some people still refer to new tables as being 4 by 8, but there’s nothing that is 4 or 8 about them, and it understandably causes confusion.

Perimeter Clearance 

While your designated space may fit your pool table, you also need to have ample clearance around the perimeter, as in the generously sized basement shown here. How annoying is it to miss a shot because your cue collided with a column or wall?

Sixty inches of clearance around the table perimeter is ideal for play, Mitchell says. “A standard cue stick is 57 inches, then you add 3 inches for your backstroke,” she says. “If you have 60 inches around the table, this provides the most comfortable playing area.”

Room Size Requirements

But how much space do you really need, considering the table size and the clearance on four sides? I see a lot of spaces that appear too tight. Here’s what Mitchell suggests for the room size:

  • Pub size/7-foot: 12 feet, 9 inches by 16 feet

  • Professional size/8-foot: 13 feet, 4 inches by 17 feet

  • Tournament size/9-foot13 feet, 8 inches by 18 feet

Take Your Cue: Planning a Pool Table Room

Take Your Cue: Planning a Pool Table Room

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