If you are considering if a pool ball can crack your tile, the most straightforward answer is YES.
Pool balls are fairly heavy, typically weighing about six ounces each.
That means that when dropped from a height or accidentally launched off a table, they can certainly damage the tile underneath your table.
I’ve played in various settings over the years, and I have seen some tiles get chipped and cracked. But, not all tiles are the same.
And, with some know-how, it’s easy to protect a tile floor and the pool balls from getting chipped.
So let’s look at some strategies to keep your floor safe from damage together.
What Type of Floor is Best for a Pool Table?
Full-size pool tables are big, unwieldy to move, and heavy.
So if you are contemplating the pluses and minuses of installing new flooring, make sure to do so before your table is in place.
Let’s look at three of the best flooring types for a pool room.
Linoleum is a budget flooring option that is easy to work with for most contractors. With a bit of DIY skills, you could even install it yourself.
It’s extremely durable, easy to clean, and linoleum probably won’t be easily damaged by impacts from pool balls.
It’s also unlikely to damage the balls in the event of a collision.
- Slippery, the table and players’ shoes may slide on it
- Not very aesthetically appealing
- Table feet may leave impressions in the linoleum
A hardwood floor is very stable when installed correctly. It is more than up to the task of supporting the weight of a pool table.
It’s pretty hard to damage a wood floor with an errant pool ball, and it’s also very unlikely that landing on it could ruin the ball itself.
Even a floating wood floor is a good choice for a pool room. But, it lacks fastening to the subfloor, so that means it may be pretty springy or spongy underfoot.
The trade-off is that it’s much less expensive than a nailed hardwood floor, and it’s a relatively simple DIY project.
Just make sure to use an underlayment to provide stability and cushioning.
- Slippery, the table and players’ shoes may slide on it
- Wood can be spongy or bouncy even if installed well
- Not easily cleaned or polished
- Table feet may leave impressions in the wood
Tile is a great choice for installation underneath a pool table. You can check the rating on a type of tile before buying it.
The rating number will reflect its hardness, and the grade will reflect its quality.
The higher the number in the hardness rating, the harder the tile will be. That will make it more resistant to impact damage and potential cracking.
Tiles that are rated ‘four’ are suitable for normal residential use.
For a pool room, you might want to select one with a higher hardness rating to help limit the potential of cracking one with a pool ball.
It is also pretty easy to clean, and it’s unlikely that your pool table or the players will slip on the surface.
- Easily cracked from a hard impact
- Can chip a pool ball on impact
- Expensive compared to other options
Protecting Your Floor (And Your Balls)
If you elect to go with a tile floor under your pool table, you’ll want to protect the floor from potential ball drops and impacts.
And, since a hard collision can also damage a pool ball, your protection will be two-fold.
A single, small chip on your floor might not be noticeable. But a similar chip on one of your billiard balls will likely render it unplayable.
Hardwood and linoleum floors might not need as much protection, but since they’re a bit slippery, you will probably want to employ one of the following ideas as well.
And, they probably won’t damage a ball.
Rubber mats are resilient, easily cleaned, and relatively inexpensive. It’s pretty easy to size a mat and have it delivered in one piece.
Just make sure that there is plenty of coverage to accommodate playing games of pool.
When planning for your purchase, consider not just the length and width of your table but the room around it where players will walk.
Consider adding at least four feet of extra space around the entire table.
Shorting the size of the rubber mat will create a trip hazard for players. But, the bigger your mat, the more difficult it will be to move.
And, with increased size comes increased cost.
Rubber Rolls or Interlocking Tiles
Another option is to use roll-out rubber mats or interlocking rubber tiles to cover the entire floor.
You can’t buy a one-piece mat that will cover a whole floor. It’s just too big.
So, by using rolls or interlocking rubber tiles, you can carry them into the room and set them into place quickly and easily.
Just keep working your way across the room until everything is covered.
Make sure that you go wall-to-wall. Otherwise, you won’t have the wall’s sturdiness to act as a rigid boundary and hold the tiles or rolls in place.
If you don’t go wall-to-wall, use thicker and heavier rubber, so its weight will resist movement and sliding.
Another simple way to protect a tile floor or prevent sliding is to use an area rug on top of the floor under the playing area.
Again, make sure that the rug affords ample space for players to walk around the table.
One thing that’s really nice about an area rug is that it provides a bit of ambiance to the playing environment.
You can use its design or colors to complement the rest of the aesthetics in your recreation or pool room.
But, make sure to get something fairly thick, or else your tile could still be damaged in the event of a hard collision with a billiard ball.
You can also use an area rug on top of a rubber mat to make things feel less industrial.
Wall-to-wall carpeting is also an option for protecting your entire floor.
If you have a beautiful tile floor, it doesn’t make much sense to cover it up with carpet, though.
So, expansive carpeting might be a better idea for protecting an existing hardwood floor or covering up a floor that is already a bit beaten up.
Wall-to-wall carpeting is also usually not thick enough to offer that much protection on its own.
So, you may want to use an underlayment as well for added cushioning.
Also read: Can You Put a Pool Table on a Carpet?
A pool ball can easily crack a tile. Even experienced players can send an errant shot off the table or accidentally drop a billiard ball.
And, let’s face it. Not every pool player who will step up to your table is going to be a pro.
Combined with the likelihood that there might be an adult beverage or two enjoyed while playing rounds of pool, snooker, billiards, or 8-ball, drops and flying pool balls can become even more likely.
So, if possible, buy and install an extremely hard tile. And, where you’re able to do so, consider protecting it with an area rug or a rubber flooring product.
Other articles you may also like:
- How to Rack Pool Balls – An Easy Guide
- How to Clean Billiard Balls (3 Easy Methods)
- What Are Pool Table Balls Made Of?
- Can You Put a Pool Table Outside?
- How to Move a Pool Table without Taking It Apart?