Slate Topped Table
Billiards tables have different quality levels depending on the materials, manufacturer, and where it will be used. So a tournament quality table will be VERY different than a recreational table. The biggest difference will be what the underlay is made of and also the quality of the wooden frame.
The highest quality billiards tables are made with pieces of slate which is a type of sedimentary rock. Only slate topped tables are used for tournaments because there is no possibility of warping. Slate topped tables are the best because they are able to absorb moisture without the chance of warping and will last the longest in humid climates.
Of course anything that is high quality means the repairs and maintenance have to be higher quality. This is just one of the disadvantages of owning a slate top billiards table. The price to repair a rip in the felt won’t be affected much, but to fully re-felt a table will depend on the type or felt.
If you ever need to move a slate topped table, plan on spending around $800 for a company to disassemble, move, reassemble, and re-felt your table with the price varying depending on the size of the table. A high quality pool table can weigh anywhere from 700-1000 lbs. These pieces of furniture cannot just be picked up and relocated.
It is possible to disassemble, move, reassemble, and re-felt a slate-topped pool table yourself and with the assistance of a few friends. This may save you some money, but the table is much more likely to be damaged. A lot of the tables value will be lost if the slate is cracked or broken.
Slatron and Permaslate are basically sheets of fiber board that have been laminated with a few thick sheets of plastic. MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard, which is a sheet of material made by compressing small pieces and flakes of wood together. MDF is very similar to particle or fiber board.
These materials are cheaper and much light, but do not last as long. Tables with Permaslate or Slatron sometimes come with a lifetime warranty, but tables with MDF are only insured to be good playing surfaces for 5-8 years. They begin to warp after a few years.
When buying a pool table, also take into consideration location, budget, and frequency of use.