Pool tables can come in both single slate and sectional slate versions. Both will give you a fantastic playing surface being slate however they do have their differences.
English pool tables are typically 6ft, 7ft or 8ft in size and will always come with a single slate playing surface, sometimes referred to as mono-block. Usually the slate is 3/4” thick and installation is relatively straightforward. Our English pool tables come with pre-clothed slates which means the manufacturer will stretch and glue the cloth to the slate before we come to install the table in your home.
American pool tables and snooker tables are almost exclusively sectional slate tables. Often 7ft American pool tables are mono-block, but can be made in sectional slate as well. Usually anything 8ft and above in an American table is sectional.
Image above: Bilhares Carrinho - New York Pool Table (Sectional Slate)
Sectional slate pool tables come in 3/4” - 1 1/2” slate in 3 or 5 pieces and this is for a number of reasons. Firstly finding pieces to slate that can be milled in one piece that are 8ft+ can be quite tricky, not to mention the brittle nature of slate. When the table is installed each of the pieces of slate, normally 3 pieces for a pool table, are installed in turn and levelled. Once all three slates have been installed then a filler will be used to ensure there is a seamless gap in between. Sometimes wax can be used also. Then the cloth is stretched and stapled into place. The cloth will be glued down around the pockets.
Imagine if you will a 12ft snooker table with a 1 piece slate, how many guys would it possibly take to lift that and set it in the frame? The answer is a hell of a lot! A 1 piece slate in any of our 7ft pool tables already weighs in at around 120kg, anything larger becomes problematic to manoeuvre or pass through a standard door frame which any 7ft slate will be able to do with ease.
A benefit of sectional slate pool tables is that because most of the tables are 8ft+ it means they can be installed in more hard to reach locations. If you have a basement games room or a loft conversion, sectional slate tables are ideal for access issues. Being able to take the slates in separately makes the task of taking the slates down or up stairs much easier, particularly if there are turns in the stairs to go around.
All sectional slate pool tables require specialist installation by a skilled billiard fitter. It is not a quick job or something you can try at home without previous experience. The slates need placing inside the pool tables frame, ensuring they are totally inline and level with each other where they are cemented together and sealed with beeswax. Once the slates are set, the fitter can then begin to cover the table with the chosen cloth.
Typically sectional slate pool tables are better quality as they have more levelling points on the table, the brands of sectional slate tables would usually be considered part of our luxury range. If your table is 7ft, you need not fear about it being a single piece slate, this is more than adequate for a table of this size and is the type used in all competitions including the World Championships.
Although a sectional slate pool tables will be more expensive, it is down to the brand, the build quality of it’s frame and the thickness of the slate. Technically speaking a sectional slate table is superior, which is why the larger tables are always of this type. But you won’t be able to move a sectional slate table once it has been installed, as the the slates will move fractionally as you lift or move the table, causing the filler between the slate joins to come loose. A single piece slate table can be lifted or moved on a pool table jack, which is ideal for customers who need to be able to move the table from time to time.
If you are interested in seeing more about the subject of sectional and single piece slates then please watch our video showing both types of table being installed and clothed in our showroom.
Written By: Michelle Beresford