How to Resurface a Bowling Ball

If you have been around bowling alleys long enough, you’ll know that regular bowling ball maintenance and upkeep is vital. 

Modern bowling balls, like all equipment, lose their effectiveness upon frequent use. Only timely maintenance can prolong the lifespan of a bowling ball and ensure its performance at every playing session.


How to Resurface a Bowling Ball – 5 Easy Steps

Step 1

Place the bowling ball on the spinner. Ensure that the finger gripping holes are placed at the top. 

Step 2

Set the spinner speed at its lowest setting. Sanding at a high-speed setting increases your chances of making a mistake. 

Step 3

Before you use a sanding agent on your bowling ball, it is important to understand the grit level of the pad. 

Most sanding pads start at a 180 grit and can go up to 4000! Experts state that the higher the grit number, the smoother the finish you can expect. 

When using a sanding pad with low grit, apply more pressure for a short duration.

Be sure to use less pressure if you’re using a higher grit pad. Higher grit pads must also be used for longer periods than lower grit pads. 

Using a lower grit pad allows your ball to perform better on heavily oiled lanes. Of course, it gives more surface to your ball as well. 

Bowlers who use higher grit pads tend to look for more control on their balls. Higher grit pads also facilitate longer hook periods of the bowling ball. 

Choose a grit pad as per your preferences, and use the same pad for the whole ball to avoid an uneven grit.

Step 4

Now, you can start sanding the exposed surface of your bowling ball. Be sure to pay attention to your ball’s initial sanding pattern to maintain uniformity on the ball’s surface.

Go over the exposed areas of the ball evenly. Once you have covered the first half of the ball, reposition it by placing the finger holes at the bottom and then repeat the sanding process in the opposite direction.

Then, reposition the ball again by placing the finger holes on the side. Continue until you are finished sanding the entire surface. 

Note: Following a particular sanding technique will affect the action of your bowling balls. Going with your ball’s factory-set sanding pattern will ensure greater length, more backend action, and sharp reaction in your ball; swimming against the tide will result in an early roll paired with lower aggression and a less reactive ball towards the backend.

Step 5

After you finish sanding the ball, spritz water to get rid of the dust on the ball and wipe it clean. 

Then, apply the polishing agent. Ensure that your bowling ball spinner is set to its highest speed setting. 

With a towel, evenly spread the polishing agent over the entire ball until it shines. 

Why Resurface a Bowling Ball? 

Each ball features pores that contribute to its hook potential by producing more friction and enhanced bowling ball reaction on the lane. 

As bowling balls are repeatedly released down the bowling lanes, these microscopic pores tend to accumulate dirt and oil. The clogged pores stop serving their purpose and, in turn, negatively affect the ball speed and ball reaction. 

Such an unresponsive bowling ball is aptly called a “dead ball.”  

Bowling ball resurfacing helps breathe new life into your game. It is a process that helps remove oil and debris from the ball. 

When you resurface a bowling ball, you use a sanding technique to remove lane oil and loose particles from the pores and restore their sharp edges. The elevated sharp edges are responsible for generating friction, allowing the ball to grip the lane better and thereby increasing the hook potential of the ball. 

Resurfacing also helps your ball move down the lane much faster than before, increasing your ball’s performance and making you feel like you’re using a brand new bowling ball. 

When to Resurface a Bowling Ball? 

The general rule of thumb dictates that you should resurface your bowling ball after every 60 games. 

You can resurface your ball until the brand logo on it fades away. When you can no longer see the logo because of frequent sanding, it is time for you to invest in another bowling ball. 

Why buy a new ball, you ask? At a certain point resurfacing becomes somewhat of a lost cause and no longer helps bring the dead ball back to life.

Resurfacing a Bowling Ball at Home – What You’ll Need

There are two main ways to go about resurfacing a bowling ball. You can either take it to your local pro shop or resurface it yourself at home. 

Having an expert resurface your bowling ball is the more advantageous option since he will likely have access to more modern tools and equipment, will be able to resurface your balls faster, and may produce a more even ball surface. The risks involved are also minimal compared to attempting resurfacing on your own.  

However, expert resurfacing services can be costly over time.

The alternative is to do it yourself. It is possible to resurface your bowling ball at home if you have the right materials and tools. 

Some of the tools required are:

Bowling Ball Spinner

A bowling ball spinner will make life much easier for you. This useful tool will expedite the resurfacing process and ensure a uniform sanding. 

If you don’t have access to a spinner, you can just use a home resurfacing kit. You can also make your own bowling ball spinner if you have a knack for DIY projects.

Sanding Agent

There is a large variety of sanding agents available on the market. Some of the options include sandpaper, sanding pads and disks, abralon pads, air sanding pads, and more.

Choose a sanding tool that you are comfortable using. You may be able to find a kit that comes with both a palm abralon pad and a cleaning agent. 


There will be a lot of dust during the sanding process, so you will need to keep spritzing water to get rid of the dust on the sanding pad and facilitate a uniform finish. Consider buying a spray bottle to make the water spritzing process easy and stress-free. 

Sanding can generate excess heat because of the friction, so the water also helps the ball remain cool.

Towels, Polishers, Cleaners

To finish off the resurfacing process, polish the ball with a fresh towel. You may also consider using a variety of polishing pads to increase the shine of your ball.

Polishing pads can be purchased from a variety of online retailers, or at your local pro shop.


Resurfacing a bowling ball can be done at home if you have the proper materials. The 5-step guide above is easy enough for even a beginner to follow.

However, resurfacing a ball is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you aren’t confident doing it on your own, don’t hesitate to visit the local pro shops.