What Are Ping Pong Tables Made Of?

I was never the ping pong guy really. In fact, I never dreamed of the day I would hold the ping pong paddle and splash the ball on a table. But like they say…stuff happens and here I am now enjoying the game of a lifetime.

I know there are many people out there who probably don’t know so much about ping pong and that is why they aren’t in the game. Others are in but don’t really understand how it goes down. You don’t have to worry. I was there before and I quite understand the feeling and that’s why I want to help.

What this Post?

In this post I am going to address the one question that many gamers ask themselves; what are ping pong tables made of? In addition to that, I will give you a few rules on the table. So if you have always wondered what these tables are made off, this is your best chance to actually learn everything about these tables.

Let’s dig in!

Top Surface

I will start out with the most important surface of the table, the top surface. I will also show you how to give it the best protection.

ping pong table top surface

Color

You might choose your favorite color…and that’s fine. However, there is the rule of thumb when dealing with the color of the surface. It is quite vital that you find the right color. Typically, a good color should be able to provide you with enough contrast with the surrounding so that you easily see the ball.

Conventionally, the surface of the ping pong table was usually green or grey. However, with improved technology and the need to make them pretty visible for TV audiences, many colors were developed and tried out and a matt blue color was finally chosen. However the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has since changed the color to matt or dark.

NOTE: The most important thing is that the color reduces the glare and ensures that you get a highly consistent bounce rate.

Material

ping pong table materials

Tabletops are often made out of a number of materials. These materials include the following options.

  • Plywood
  • Particleboard
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Concrete
  • Fiberglass

However, the most prominent material that has up to now been really exploited is plywood. It is used the world over and is the most recommended probably because it is easy to get and is quite affordable to make.

Today, a new technology of using the Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) has been discovered and exploited by some manufacturers to improve table durability and to prevent warping or dead spots.

Thickness

Tabletops vary in thickness. Even so, the preferred thickness will lie between 12mm and 30 mm or in other words 0.47 inches and 1.2 inches.

Nonetheless, the very best tables are made of wooden tops with a thickness of 25 to 30 mm or basically one inch.

What this means is that the thicker the surface of the ping pong table, the better the table will be. Due to these major tournaments only go with wooden derivate.

Stand

Another thing that ping pong tables are made of is basically the stand. This is what the plywood table top rests on when you play your game.

Steel or metal alloy stands have been exploited for a pretty long time by many manufacturers. I guess because they are stronger and will last longer than many other materials. Some are super light so that you can easily carry them around.

What Type of Plywood is the Best?

The type of plywood that’s a ping pong table is made out of isn’t quite important. However, if you need a durable material you could go for hardwood plywood instead. What you should understand is that there are many other softwood plywoods that have also done a great job at making the best table tennis tables including:

  • Fir
  • Pine
  • Spruce

How is the Plywood Laid?

Plywood sheets come in different sizes; and because the ITTF recommends a 5 ft x 9 ft size, getting this size is never easy. Even so, plywood sheets are usually planked together with the standard 4 ft x 8 ft taking the larger part.

How Smooth Should the Surface Get?

Ideally, table tennis playing grade must be smooth. A rough piece of plywood is generally not recommended. To make the surface smooth, most manufacturers will first of all sand it to the recommended standards before laying it and painting it with matt or dark colors as recommended by the rules.

smooth surface

Why Use A Cover

A table tennis cover is one of the things that many people often brush off – and that’s just wrong. Typically the best way to store a table tennis table is to keep it in a cool area. This will prevent warping.

Using a table tennis table cover helps you to minimize these effects. It will prevent your table from losing its adhesive touch and also preventing it from becoming shiny. A shiny table will allow the ball to skid a lot rather than bounce.

Ping Pong Table Rules

Ping pong table rules come from the ITTF. They state that the best table tennis should have a uniform bounce of about 9 inches when you drop a standard ball on it from a height of 12 inches.

The rules also dictate that the playing surface color should either be dark or matt to prevent glare and improve visibility and should come with a 2 cm wide line along every edge of the table. The line should be white in color.

And if the table is recommended for doubles, then each cot must be divided into 2 equal half court too.

Conclusion

The most important thing is that the ping pong table is made from continuous material so that it can produce a uniform bounce rate. This should be quite evident when you drop a standard ping pong ball on it. It is in the spirit of providing uniform play that’s why this rule is often very important.

Nonetheless, the ITTF only provides wooden ping pong tables. That’s why it is recommended that in case you intend to practice, going with a wooden surface of its derivate would be the best ideas to sick with.

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