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Building or buying an outdoor table tennis table

Updated on April 16, 2011

Information about outdoor table tennis tables

Whether you are building an outdoor table tennis table (or ping pong table) or buying one, there are a few things to consider if you're interested in keeping your outdoor table tennis table in good working condition.

If you're planning on building your own table, these outdoor table tennis table tips are extremely important.

Space requirements for a ping pong or table tennis table

If you've been searching for some good information about ping pong table space requirements then this post is for you. Questions like, "how much room to leave for a table tennis table" will be outlined here. Use the information provided here to help you determine the room size needed for a ping pong table.

These figures are the standard playing conditions for international play as defined by the International Table Tennis Federation. International play is the standard for the best of the best who play table tennis.

If you're not looking to build an official regulation size table tennis court but are looking for some guidelines to follow when adding a ping pong table to your existing home these figures can be reduced considerably.

International table tennis space requirements

  • Length of the table tennis playing area should be at least 45ft.

  • Width of the playing area should be at least 23ft.

  • Height of playing area should be no less than 16ft.

  • The light source shall not be less than 5m above the floor.

  • Clearance from end of ping pong table to barriers 18ft.

  • Clearance from side of table to barriers 8-9 ft.

Larry Thoman at ITTF says that the absolute smallest space you want to leave room for when placing a table tennis table in a room is about 35 ft. long and 15 ft. wide. The skill level of table tennis players that will be playing on your intended court should determine how much space you leave around your table tennis table.

Outdoor table tennis table surface materials

For the most part, outdoor table tennis tables are usually made from 1 of the 3 most popular materials. These materials are known as wood, metal, and laminate. Choosing the best material for your outdoor table is critical and should not be overlooked. The usual rule of thumb is that the more expensive the material, the more durable it is resulting in a longer life.

Most homemade outdoor table tennis tables are made with a wood playing surface. If you are building your table on your own and out of wood, I strongly suggest using the very best type of wood available to make your outdoor table tennis table last season after season with minimal deterioration.

Looking for table tennis tables?

Table tennis tables have always been very popular throughout the world but with the birth of the Internet and then the online table tennis community, obtaining an outdoor table tennis table is getting easier and more affordable every single day.

Table tennis table information

Table tennis materials in general is so inexpensive as compared with that required in other sports that you should not hesitate to purchase the best.  

A reputable store will sell you good equipment, if you insist upon it. If you wish to be really certain, look for the official seal of the United States Table Tennis Association, which is stamped upon their equipment by those manufacturers whose products meet the minimum specifications laid down by this body.

The standard table tennis table is nine feet by five feet, with the playing surface thirty inches from the floor. A white line one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch runs lengthwise down the center of the playing surface and divides the table into two parts. Since the line is only used in doubles, it is not mandatory in singles play, but is certainly preferable.

The best table tennis table to purchase is one with a three-quarter-inch, five-ply top. A three-ply table is cheaper but deadens the bounce of the ball so that a fast game is impossible. The table should be sturdy, of standard size, and should have eight legs.

The surface should be stained (not painted) a dark green, or some other dull, non-reflecting color. A painted surface will slow up the bounce of the ball and will also rub off on the ball and discolor it. The table can be either of the folding or stationary type, depending upon whether or not you have a permanent place in which to keep it.

Professional Table tennis tables

Here are some of the table tennis conversion tops for sale on eBay right now.

Waterproof your outdoor table tennis table

When buying a new outdoor table tennis table straight from the manufacturer, it is a good idea to add an extra layer of water protection to the under-side of your outdoor table tennis table.

The surface of your outdoor table should be sufficiently treated with a water resistant/proof finish already. Make sure that the legs, wheels and metal fittings are also treated with something that prevents water damage and rusting.

For outdoor tables that are in wet climates, you should spend even more time finding out the correct way to weatherize the different parts of your outdoor table tennis table paying special attention to water proofing the bottom 6 inches of the wheels, legs, and braces.

Protecting your outdoor table tennis table

The single-most important thing you can do to increase the life of your outdoor table tennis table is to provide some type of shelter to protect the table while it is not being used.

The best set up to make your outdoor table tennis table last longer would be to store the table in a garage when you're not using it. Even better would be to purchase or make a waterproof table tennis table cover that will shelter your table from the elements. If your funds for protecting your outdoor table are limited, there are many ways you can add a cover to your outdoor table tennis table for a fraction of what an outdoor cover would cost.

Table tennis table - lighting area

If you are planning a table-tennis game room in your basement, you will need good lighting overhead - at least four 200-watt bulbs; a minimum playing space of twenty-five feet by twelve; and enough room between floor and ceiling so that you can follow through on your strokes without hitting the racket on the ceiling - about eight feet.


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