How to Replace Table Tennis Rubber
Finding yourself a perfect paddle may bring you the utmost joy, besides a good match of ping pong itself. And once you have found yourself an ideal paddle, the one that suits your hand and your playing style, wouldn’t you like to hold on to it?
Now, here is the good news. Most paddles are made in a way that they allow you to replace your worn out rubbers. Since the rubbers can wear off or be damaged with time, it is not short of a blessing that you can replace them!
And no, you do not need to take it to the manufacturer or even to some shop, you can do it yourself. That’s right, you can fix your paddle at home. And we are gonna tell you exactly how.
But before we go, let’s answer the question that may have popped up in your head:
Why should you replace the rubbers on your paddle?
There are a number of reasons why you would need to change the rubbers on your paddles. However, let’s just focus on the most common:
- Your rubbers are damaged. And there are several reasons why that could happen:
- Maybe the glue is wearing off. Of course, you can stick it back on but your rubbers will soon need to be replaced.
- Your paddle is exposed to harsh weather conditions and the rubbers are damaged.
- Your rubbers are simply old.
- Your rubbers have degraded with time. They might not be in a terrible state but they won’t be good as new either. If the performance of your paddle is diminished, it’s about time you changed its rubbers.
- You wish to upgrade your paddle. Maybe you want to improve your paddle’s spin, control, and power generation. And rubbers and sponges play a crucial role in it.
- You want to design your own paddle. You have a blade and you wish to apply the rubbers of your choice. Of course, this step does not require you to remove the rubbers.
Now, to another significant question:
How often should you change the rubbers on your paddle?
No matter how good care you take of your paddle, the rubbers will need to be changed at one point. However, how frequently you need to do that depends on:
- How frequently do you play?
- How well do you take care of your paddle? Because environmental factors such as sunlight, harsh weather conditions, and UV rays damage the rubbers.
- Have you or have you not yet found the ideal paddle for you? Intermediate level players tend to experiment with different rubbers in order to find the best one.
If you are a casual player, you will need to change the rubbers once a year. However, if you play frequently, you will need to replace the rubbers every season. Basically, every time the performance of your paddle diminishes, you have to upgrade the rubbers.
Now let’s see how it’s done
How to change rubbers on your paddle?
What you will need:
- A paddle with replaceable rubbers. (Make sure your paddle has replaceable rubbers before attempting to take them off. Certain paddles have permanent rubbers that can’t be changed)
- Your new rubbers
- Rubber glue specifically for ping pong paddles
- A sponge or an applicator
- A rolling pin or hard brayer
- Something sharp: a utility knife, or scissors
Step 1: Remove the Rubbers
Remove the rubbers using peeling motion. Do NOT rip them off. Apply gentle, even pressure and peel them off slowly and patiently. Watch a video tutorial for help.
Once you have peeled off the rubbers, inspect your paddle. Scrub off any residual glue left on the blade’s surface. You can use soft sandpaper if there is a lot of glue. If the condition of the blade is too poor, you would need to replace the blade too.
Now that is done, the next step is the application.
Step 2: Apply the new rubber
- Apply a thin and even layer on your rubber. With the sponge, brush, or thick card, make sure the coating is even and thin.
- Allow the rubber to sit while you apply the layer on your blade.
- Apply a similar thin and even layer on the blade with the help of a brush or sponge.
- Let the glue sit till it becomes tacky and sticky. The glue should not be wet. Check the instructions on your glue to see how long you need to leave it. Normally it is 3-8 minutes for the blade and 5-10 minutes for the rubber.
- Line up the bottom of the rubber with the bottom of the blade.
- Curl up the top of the rubber. Keep it away from the surface. Press the bottom end of the rubber gently into place.
- Unroll the top of the rubber on the surface. Prevent air bubbles.
- Press and smooth the rubber with a rolling pin or a brayer.
- Trim the edges of the rubber with a knife or scissors till they reach the blade.
- Repeat the procedure for the other side.
And there you have it! Clean, new rubbers.
Bonus Tip: You can use a blade sealant to protect your blade from the damage of frequent gluing.