How Sunlight Damages Your Billiards Table

Pool table cover to protect your table from sunlight

Lighting is important to consider when setting up a billiards room. Soft, balanced light improves a player’s ability to measure distance, angles, and trajectory.

Although you might feel tempted to put your table beside a window, avoid doing so to protect its finish. Sunlight can change a pool table’s appearance by fading or darkening its colours. It can also lead to over drying, which causes cracks and brittleness.

Fading and Darkening


The colour of cloth depends on the chromophores in its dye. A chromophore is the part of a molecule that absorbs and reflects light. Certain colours require greater absorption whereas other need more reflection. Ultraviolet light weakens the chromophores’ ability to bond and reflect light. This is known as photodegradation. The result: faded, bleached, or darkened material.


Like cloth, sunlight can bleach and darken wood, depending on its composition. Wood is photosensitive meaning overexposure to ultraviolet, infrared, and visible light can produce changes in its properties. Note that the finish may increase the table’s resistance to sunlight. However, even those with UV inhibitors cannot completely block or reverse the effect.

Cracking and Splitting

Too much sunlight can dry out the wood along the rails of a table. When compounded by poor humidity levels, the wood might begin to split.

Even if hidden from the sunlight, invest in a humidifier to stop cracking. Humidity levels in a billiards room should hover between 40% and 60%. Otherwise, the playability could change.

For example, in dry conditions, the fabric offers more rolling resistance. The banks, too, produce shorter deflection distances. These are some of the ways natural conditions can affect a table’s look and feel. Keep such things in mind when selecting a spot in your home!


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