The rubber sheets covering each side of a ping pong paddle eventually wear out. They become worn and damaged from playing, and the edges often become loose or peel from repeated cleanings. As they wear, ping pong paddle rubbers lose their spin and offer less control over the ball. For best performance, rubbers should be replaced after about 60 hours of play. You can save a tidy sum of money by resurfacing your ping pong paddles yourself.
Apply acetone nail polish with a cotton swab to the seam between one side of the ping pong paddle blade and its rubber sheet.
Grip the edge of the rubber sheet and slowly pull it off the paddle. Add more acetone as needed to continue loosening the old adhesive. Discard the old rubber.
Set the paddle aside and allow it to dry completely. Use 100-grit sandpaper to remove old adhesive from the blade. Dampen a clean cloth with acetone and wipe the blade surface clear of any remaining adhesive residue and dust from sanding.
Apply a thin layer of table tennis glue evenly over the spongy side of the rubber sheet. Spread a thin layer of the adhesive evenly over the entire paddle blade surface. Allow the adhesive on both surfaces to dry until they feel tacky.
Hold the rubber sheet with the adhesive side down and center it roughly above the adhesive side of the paddle blade. Position the bottom edge of the sheet so that it will bump the top of the paddle blade handle. Line the edge of the sheet up so that it’s as perpendicular to the handle as possible. Keep the opposite edge of the sheet bent back toward you. Roll the sheet away from you across the paddle blade until it's in place. Press the sheet lightly with your thumbs and fingertips as you roll. Rub the top surface of the sheet firmly with the palm of your hand to secure it to the paddle. Don't use a roller.
Flip the paddle over onto the end of a table top with the new rubber surface down. Position the paddle so that the entire blade lies flat on the table and the handle hangs over the edge. Set a heavy book on top of the blade. Press your hands down firmly on the book and hold it in place for two or three minutes to form a strong bond between the blade and the rubber.
Remove the book from the paddle. Trim the excess rubber sheet off the paddle with sharp, sturdy scissors. Keep the scissor blades flush with the edge of the paddle as you trim around it to cut off as much excess rubber as possible.
Repeat the procedure for the reverse side of the ping pong paddle.
Hold the paddle with the handle up. Rest the top edge on the table top. Stick one end of a strip of self-adhesive edge tape to the paddle blade's edge, even with the bottom edge of the rubber. Work the strip all the way around the paddle blade. Press the tape lightly into position with your fingertips as you go. Snip it off even with the blade rubber.
Clean the rubbers on both sides of the paddle with cure water. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations carefully.
You can extend rubber life with regular cleaning.
Ping pong paddle rubber sheets, adhesives and other repair and refurbish supplies can be purchased from online suppliers and some specialty sporting goods stores.
Rubber sheets are typically rated in each of three categories -- speed, control and spin. Ratings range from 20 to more than 100. Sheets rated less than 50 offer very good control. Those from 50 to 70 are best for all-around players. Rating greater than 70 are best for advanced offensive play.
A full-time writer since 2007, Axl J. Amistaadt is a DMS 2013 Outstanding Contributor Award recipient. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. Amistaadt has written book reviews for Work At Home Truth.