How to Repair Scratches on a Ping Pong Table? (Simple Guide)

Table tennis tables last a long time if you treat them well. I always like to emphasize that. Nevertheless, over the years there will inevitably be a few scratches on the surface. In the beginning, they are perhaps still marginal, but at some point, the moment comes when the ball makes a strange bounce because of the scratches.

The signal to do something about it. Fortunately, you don’t have to get a new ping pong table when that happens. No, you can easily repair scratches, holes, and dents. How? You’ll find out in this post.

In most cases, you can use conventional wood or plastic putty to repair scratches on a table tennis table. To do this, simply fill the damaged areas and smooth the mass with a putty knife. Then sand the dried putty smooth with sandpaper and coat the spot with alkyd paint.

You can find a detailed step-by-step guide on how to proceed further down in the post.

Is it Still Possible to Repair my Table Tennis Table?

If you have no experience in this regard, the first scratch can be a real mood killer and the reaction might be this: “the ping pong table isn’t even old yet and now it’s already broken?!”

But scratches and even small holes can be repaired with simple means. If there are no further damages to your table tennis table, there is no reason to panic. And on the Internet, you can even find instructions on how to repair holes the size of a football. However, this requires a bit more craftsmanship.

The repair is more difficult if the table is warped. This can happen, for example, when an indoor table is exposed to moisture or extreme sunlight. Here are instructions on how to proceed in this case. However, the chances of getting the table repaired in this case are rather small – especially when it looks like this…

r/Wellthatsucks - Ping pong table left outside in the rain

Repairing Scratches on a Ping Pong Table – this is how to do it

But now back to the scratches. To repair the damage on your ping pong table, simply follow these instructions:

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1. Remove net

In most cases, it is advisable to remove the net before repairing it. Because it could be a nuisance in the next steps.

2. Clean the top

As with a wound, the top should be cleaned thoroughly before proceeding with the treatment. 

This is very simple: 

  1. Wipe the plate with a dry cloth to remove superficial dirt.

  2. Then wipe the surface with a cloth or sponge and some detergent and a little (not too much!) water. You can use the special cleaning sprays for this but usually the first will do. 

    Be careful with grease and similar things, because a table should have a certain adhesion so that the balls bounce on the table and do not slip off.
  3. Dry with a cloth

3. Inspect the tabletop for further damage

Now that the tabletop is clean, you can thoroughly inspect it for further scratches and damage. Affected areas can be circled with a washable pen so that they are not forgotten later on.

4. Treat superficial scratches

Scratches that only affect the surface don’t necessarily need to be repaired but while you’re at it, you might as well take care of them. This is also helpful in making sure they don’t get any bigger.

There are several ways to treat these small scratches. On the one hand, you can use wax similar to car wax. But afterward, you should “roughen” the surface a little bit with sandpaper. 

Another possibility would be to paint over the spots. The paint fills the small irregularities sufficiently. I’ll explain exactly how to do that a little later.

5. Treating large scratches – with putty

I mentioned it at the beginning. Most deeper scratches and also holes can be treated with simple putty. Depending on what kind of table you have, you should rather use a wood filler (indoor) or a plastic filler (outdoor).

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Mix the mass as described in the instructions and apply with a putty knife to the affected areas.

Make sure that you are as thorough as possible. This will ensure that the affected areas will not be noticeable after the repair.

Smooth the mass with the spatula and let it dry. Then sand the affected areas even with sandpaper.

Almost done! Now you have to repaint the table. You could treat only the affected areas but be warned that this could lead to an uneven surface. It is best to use alkyd spray paint in the appropriate color.

Apply several coats (at least 3) and let the paint dry overnight.

Once it is dry, you are ready to play table tennis as usual. 

What Causes Scratches on Table Tennis Tables?

You may be asking yourself now, “how do scratches happen?” This is interesting so that you can be more careful in the future, of course. However – as I mentioned in the beginning – you can never completely avoid a tabletop having scratches at some point. Here is a small list of the most common causes

  • Dirt: This is especially common with outdoor tables. If you play under a tree, for example, leaves, fruit, insects, etc. will fall onto it. In combination with wind, this can lead to scratches. 

    The ball can also get dirty. If it falls into soil, for example, it may well be that small stones stick to it, which then scratch the tabletop while playing. 
  • Pets: Anyone who has pets should be careful. From my own experience, I can say that a table tennis table is a very popular place for cats and dogs. With their claws, they can easily cause small scratches on the surface.
  • Your own Paddles: If such a scratch occurs, one notices it, of course. When playing, it just happens from time to time that you hit the table with the bat. It can also happen that you lose grip and it falls on the table. I have heard that some players even do this on purpose. Of course, I NEVER did that…
  • Weathering: Small, previously undetected scratches can become larger due to weathering and thus suddenly become a problem. Therefore, it is best to treat them when they are still small.
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How Can I Protect my Ping Pong Table from Damage?

Although damage cannot be completely avoided, you can protect a table tennis table from most causes with simple measures. The most unnecessary damages occur when you are not even playing.

Therefore, care should be taken to store your board correctly when it is not in use. Keep in mind that indoor boards should only be stored indoors. And no, the garage does not count!

Outdoor tables are more robust and can usually withstand standing outside. Nevertheless, it is advisable to store them at least in a shed or in the garage.

In both cases, it is worthwhile to use a cover. This can be purchased for as little as 20$ and protects the panel from most unnecessary damages.

Another measure is regular cleaning. This prevents small scratches from appearing, which then become larger over time.

The Table will pay you back with Memories

Now you know everything you need to know about maintaining your Table. Maybe you need a little incentive why this is worthwhile. Since a table tennis table lasts more than 20 years, it accompanies you through life. When I play with my father, it’s still the same table I played on for the first time. 

I have so many wonderful memories of this table and I can imagine that it is the same for you. And if you take good care of the ping pong table, there will be many more.

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