What Does Resurfacing a Bowling Ball Do? – Benefits & 3 Methods

Are you wondering what resurfacing a bowling ball actually does?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of bowling ball resurfacing and explore why it’s important for your game.

You’ll learn the 3 methods used to resurface a bowling ball and when you should consider doing it.

Plus, we’ll discuss the benefits of professional resurfacing.

So, get ready to uncover the secrets of resurfacing a bowling ball!

Important Takeaways

– Bowling ball resurfacing restores the ball’s original texture and improves traction.

Resurfacing removes oil and dirt buildup, ensuring optimal performance.

Sanding the ball with different grits of sandpaper achieves optimal performance and can adjust the ball’s hook potential.

Polishing the ball creates a smooth and shiny finish, enhances performance, and removes minor imperfections.

What is Bowling Ball Resurfacing?

It’s the process of restoring the outer surface of your ball to its original condition – exposing the fresh material underneath.

This helps to restore the ball’s original texture, providing better traction on the lane.

Why Should you Resurface Your Bowling Ball? – 2 Main Benefits

Well, there are 2 good reasons.

What Does Resurfacing a Bowling Ball Do - Benefits

First, by restoring the ball’s original surface, you can ensure that it performs at its best.

Second, resurfacing helps to remove oil and dirt buildup, which can affect the ball’s grip and trajectory.

1. Restoring the Ball’s Original Surface

Over time, the surface of your bowling ball can become worn down and lose its original texture. This can result in a decrease in hook potential and overall ball reaction.

By restoring the ball’s original surface, you can regain the optimal performance of your bowling ball.

Additionally, resurfacing can help to revive the ball’s backend reaction and improve its overall predictability on the lanes.

2. Removing Oil and Dirt Buildup

Resurfacing your bowling ball removes the oil and dirt buildup that can affect its performance.

Over time, as you bowl, the ball absorbs oil from the lane, causing it to become slick and less responsive. 

This oil buildup can alter the ball’s reaction, making it harder to control and decreasing its overall effectiveness.

Additionally, dirt and debris can accumulate on the surface of the ball, further hindering its performance. By resurfacing the ball, you remove this buildup and restore the smoothness and tackiness of the coverstock.

This allows the ball to grip the lane better, resulting in increased hook potential and improved pin carry.

Regularly removing oil and dirt buildup through resurfacing helps maintain the ball’s optimal performance and extends its lifespan.

My Case Study about The Impact of Bowling Ball Resurfacing

I made 2 groups.

Group A, consisting of skilled bowlers, decided to resurface their bowling balls regularly, while Group B, made up of equally skilled bowlers, skipped this maintenance task (to see impact after some time).

Over time, Group A noticed a significant improvement in ball performance, with enhanced hook potential and increased control. Their resurfaced balls glided smoothly through the lanes, resulting in consistently higher scores.

Meanwhile, Group B struggled with decreased hook potential and inconsistent ball reaction. Their neglected balls often skidded or hooked unpredictably, leading to frustratingly lower scores.

This case study demonstrates the undeniable importance of bowling ball resurfacing.

By investing in regular maintenance, bowlers can optimize their ball’s performance, ensuring a more enjoyable and successful bowling experience.

But remember, 

Unnecessary bowling ball resurfacing can have several negative consequences. It can decrease the lifespan of the ball, alter its reaction on the lane, increase expenses, affect the original grip, and waste time and effort. Bowlers should only opt for resurfacing when it is truly necessary.

Now let’s talk about the 3 methods you can use to resurface your bowling ball.

What Are Pro Bowlers Saying About Resurfacing a Bowling Ball?

On different bowling forums, pro bowlers discussing about resurfacing. I have summarized their discussion for you.

“Resurfacing a bowling ball offers various benefits, including extending its lifespan, restoring its original performance, improving reaction and hook potential, and maintaining consistency in ball motion.

It also enhances pin carry, provides better control and accuracy, adjusts to changing lane conditions, and saves money compared to buying a new ball.”

3 Methods to Resurface Bowling Ball

What Does Resurfacing a Bowling Ball Do? - 3 methods

Sanding the ball is a common technique that involves using abrasive pads to remove the outer layer and restore the ball’s original surface.

Another method is polishing, which uses special compounds to create a smooth and shiny finish.

Lastly, you can combine sanding and polishing for a more customized resurfacing approach.

1. Sanding the Ball – Step by Step Method

Here is how you can do it by yourself.

Materials You’ll Need for Sanding the Bowling Ball:

  1. Bowling ball
  2. Sandpaper or Abralon or Siaair pads (available in various grits)
  3. A bowling ball spinner or a ball cup
  4. Towel or cloth
  5. Water
  6. A marker
  7. Measuring tape
  8. Bowling ball cleaner


  1. Prepare Your Work Area: Find a clean and well-ventilated space to work. Lay down a towel or cloth to catch dust and debris.

  2. Select the Grit: Determine the level of surface adjustment needed. Coarser grit sandpaper (lower number) will remove more material, while finer grit sandpaper (higher number) will create a smoother finish.

    Start with a higher grit if you’re unsure or need minor adjustments.

    If you’re looking to increase the ball’s hook potential, you should choose a lower grit, such as 500 or 1000. This will create more friction between the ball and the lane, resulting in a stronger hook.

    On the other hand, if you want to reduce the hook potential and create a smoother motion, a higher grit, like 2000 or 4000, is recommended. 

  3. Mark the Ball: Use a marker to draw a line around the circumference of the ball, about an inch from the finger holes. This line will serve as a reference point to ensure even sanding.

  4. Secure the Ball: If you have a bowling ball spinner, place the ball on it and secure it. If you don’t have a spinner, you can use a ball cup to hold the ball in place.

  5. Wet the Sandpaper: If you’re using traditional sandpaper, wet it with water to reduce friction and prevent overheating of the ball’s surface. If you’re using Abralon or Siaair pads, they are designed to be used wet.

  6. Start Sanding: With the ball spinning, apply the sandpaper or pad to the ball’s surface. Keep it moving evenly across the ball and avoid staying in one spot for too long. Use a back-and-forth or side-to-side motion. Follow the reference line you drew earlier to ensure even sanding. Pay attention to the entire surface of the ball, including the finger holes.

  7. Check Progress: Periodically stop the spinner and wipe the ball with a towel to assess the surface. Ensure the reference line remains visible, indicating consistent sanding. Continue sanding as needed to achieve your desired surface texture.

  8. Clean the Ball: Once you’ve achieved the desired surface texture, use a bowling ball cleaner to remove any residue from the sanding process. This will also help restore the ball’s original finish.


It’s important to note that different bowling ball manufacturers may recommend specific grit levels for their balls, so it’s always a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines when resurfacing your ball.

In Sanding the most crucial part is choosing the right grit, so do it carefully.

After Sanding the bowling ball depending on your bowling style and lane conditions, you may want to apply a polish or lane oil to the ball’s surface to achieve the desired ball reaction. So here is how you can do the polishing after sanding.

Or, depending upon your resurfacing goal you can start with the polishing alone.

2. Polishing the Ball – 3 Methods

To polish your bowling ball, you can use different methods to achieve a smoother surface.

One common technique is using a ball polisher machine

This machine spins the ball while applying a polishing compound, resulting in a shiny and smooth surface.

Another method is using a ball polishing compound by hand

You can apply the compound to a cloth or pad and rub it onto the ball in a circular motion. This helps to remove any minor scratches or imperfections and gives the ball a polished finish.

Additionally, some bowlers prefer using a ball spinner machine. This machine allows you to apply the polishing compound evenly and consistently, resulting in a professional-looking finish.

Whichever method you choose, polishing your bowling ball can help enhance its performance and improve its overall appearance.

3. Sanding + Polishing

To resurface your bowling ball, you can sand and polish it using various methods.

Sanding helps remove any scratches, oil, and dirt from the ball’s surface, ensuring a smoother and more consistent roll. 

Start with a lower grit to eliminate deep scratches, and gradually work your way up to a higher grit for a finer finish.

After sanding, you can polish the ball to restore its shine and enhance its performance. 

How Often to Resurface Bowling Ball?

When it comes to resurfacing your bowling ball, there are a few signs that you should look out for. 

If you notice a decrease in performance, such as less hook or less pin carry, it may be time to consider resurfacing.

Additionally, it’s recommended to follow a regular maintenance schedule to keep your ball in optimal condition.

Signs of Decreased Performance

If you notice signs of decreased performance, such as excessive or insufficient hooking and reduced pin carry, it may be time to consider resurfacing your bowling ball. 

These signs can indicate that the surface of your ball has become worn out or damaged, affecting its overall performance on the lane.

Excessive hooking, where the ball hooks too much or too early, can result in missed spares and inconsistent shot making. 

On the other hand, insufficient hooking, where the ball fails to hook enough, can lead to a lack of pin carry and lower scores.

Resurfacing your bowling ball can help restore its original surface texture, giving it the grip and reaction it needs to perform optimally. 

So, if you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s worth considering resurfacing your bowling ball to improve your game.

Regular Maintenance Schedule

Yet, if you wanna know the exact timeframe. Here’s a rough guideline to decide the frequency of resurfacing a bowling ball in terms of days or months.

  1. Monthly to Quarterly: For many recreational bowlers who bowl once a week or less, resurfacing your bowling ball every 1 to 3 months may be sufficient to maintain its performance. This is a general recommendation and should be adjusted based on how the ball is performing.
  2. Bi-Monthly to Monthly: For more frequent bowlers who hit the lanes multiple times a week, or for those who play in competitive leagues, you might want to consider resurfacing every 2 to 4 weeks. This more frequent maintenance helps ensure peak performance.
  3. Proactive Maintenance: Some bowlers choose to resurface their bowling ball every 30 to 50 games, regardless of the time frame. This approach ensures consistency in the ball’s performance and is independent of a specific time interval.

Beside this, being a bowling expert, my general guideline is:

Consider resurfacing your bowling ball whenever you start to notice a decline in its performance. Additionally, it’s important to clean your bowling ball after each use to remove any lane oil or debris that can affect its performance. 

By following a regular maintenance schedule, you can ensure that your bowling ball performs at its best every time you step onto the lane.

Importance of Professional Resurfacing

To fully maximize your bowling ball’s performance, rely on professional resurfacing for optimal results.

While regular maintenance, such as cleaning and polishing, is important, professional resurfacing takes it a step further.

When you bowl consistently, your ball’s coverstock can wear down, causing it to lose its original performance characteristics.

By entrusting your ball to a professional, they can carefully remove the old surface and apply a new one, restoring the ball’s hook potential and overall performance.

Professional resurfacing ensures that the surface is consistent and free from imperfections, allowing the ball to react as intended on the lane.

Additionally, professionals have the knowledge and expertise to choose the right grit and finish for your specific bowling style, enhancing your overall game.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Resurface My Bowling Ball?

You should resurface your bowling ball every 60 games or so. Surface maintenance is crucial for optimal performance. Regular resurfacing will keep your ball in top shape, improving its hook potential and overall effectiveness on the lanes.

Can I Resurface My Bowling Ball at Home?

You can definitely resurface your bowling ball at home. It’s a great way to restore the ball’s performance and improve your game. Just make sure you have the right tools and know what you’re doing.

Will Resurfacing My Bowling Ball Affect Its Overall Performance?

Resurfacing your bowling ball can have a significant impact on its overall performance. It helps to restore the ball’s original surface and allows for better grip on the lane, resulting in improved control and increased hook potential.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Bowling Ball Professionally Resurfaced?

Getting a bowling ball professionally resurfaced can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. It’s a worthwhile investment as it improves the ball’s overall performance, including its grip, hook potential, and overall consistency on the lane.

Are There Any Risks or Downsides to Resurfacing a Bowling Ball?

There are some risks and downsides to resurfacing a bowling ball. It can alter the ball’s reaction on the lane and potentially reduce its overall performance. Additionally, improper surfacing techniques may damage the ball.

Wrapping Up – What Does Resurfacing a Bowling Ball Do?

So, the next time you step onto the bowling alley, think of your bowling ball as a ship sailing through the turbulent sea of pins.

Just like how a ship needs its hull cleaned and polished to glide smoothly through the water, your bowling ball needs to be resurfaced to roll effortlessly down the lane.

Don’t underestimate the power of professional resurfacing – it’s the secret weapon that will help you conquer the bowling ocean and achieve those strikes you’ve always dreamed of.

Resources Used for Research:

The Relationship between Goal Proximity and Specificity in Bowling: A Field Experiment

Examining the accuracy and in-game performance effects between pre- and post-performance routines: A mixed methods study

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