How long will the cushions be good on my pool table?
How long do the cushions last? Good question.
The replacement cushions installed by Southern Billiards are guaranteed for the life of the pool table and would include the parts and labor to replace.
I'm assuming, however, that you are referring to the original cushions that were installed at the factory on your pool table.
Pool table cushions are referred to as "pure gum rubber" cushions. Over time cushions begin to revert back to their original consistency of a syrup-like liquid, Many times I have gone on a job where the cushions had actually "melted" onto the play surface and the cloth on the rails was effectively glued to the bed cloth. We have on occasion had to pry them off with a screwdriver! Obviously, these cushions were far past due.
For the homeowner, you can usually tell when the cushions are going bad by the action of the balls off of the rail. The rebound. If you notice a thud when the ball strikes the rail there is a good chance the cushions are going bad. And much like an old set of tires, once one goes bad the others are sure to follow soon thereafter. We always recommend replacing all of them at once. Often you will hear this job referred to as a "re-rubber".
As far as longevity of the factory cushions, there is a huge disparity among the different manufacturers! Some of the manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty but most do not.
I can tell you that in my many years of servicing pool tables defilnitely the worst quality of cushion from the factory would be the tables from a certain "warehouse" company that has sold countless tables here in the Atlanta area. The brand names are many and include Leisure Bay, World of Leisure, American Heritage, Olio, Winner's Choice and more. Of the many recushions we provide at Southern, I would say these models account for over 50% of the jobs done. We average over 10 sets completed per week! It's almost a sure bet when you work on one of these tables that the rebound is going to be sub-par from the factory.
Of the high-quality cushions that last many years, I would have to say Olhausen, Brunswick, C.L. Bailey, ProLine, AMF, Steepleton, Playmaster, Connelly and a few more use very good cushions as a rule. I don't say this because we are a dealer for these as we are not a dealer for most of them. I just want to be truthful concerning this issue and will be happy to answer questions regarding certain makes or models.
Be aware that there are outside influences that definitely affect cushion life. Humidity is an enemy of your pool table cushions and hard on the table as a whole. In a humid area like Georgia I recommend a dehumidifier for your game room if the air conditioner is not being run when needed. Direct sunlight is also hard on the cushions and will destroy the cloth faster than the top of the back seat on your old '55 Chevy.
The biggest factor is the beginning quality of the table though. Ask a knowledgeable billiard table mechanic before making any big decisions on cushions and never, ever let a mechanic recushion your table on site. Any mechanic that would offer that would not work on my table at all. There is no way to do a good job with proper nose height and good adhesion of the cushion to the rail without taking the rails to the shop and using jigs and nose height gauges to assure proper completion of the work. We recommend at least 3 days to do the job correctly.
Good luck and good shooting. Always remember, Jesus loves us!!!