How to Resurface a Bowling Ball

If you have been bowling long enough, you’ll know that bowling balls need regular care and upkeep. 

A bowling ball, like all equipment, loses its effectiveness upon frequent use. Only timely maintenance can prolong the lifespan of a bowling ball and ensure its performance. 

Why resurface a bowling ball? 

A bowling ball features pores that contribute to its hook potential by producing friction on the lane. 

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

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

Resurfacing helps breathe new life into a bowling ball. It is a process that helps remove the oil and debris from the pores thoroughly. 

When you resurface a bowling ball, you sand out the pores and restore their sharp edges. The elevated sharp edges are responsible for generating friction, allowing the ball to grip the lane better, thereby increasing the hook potential of the ball. 

Resurfacing also helps your ball move down the lane much faster than before. 

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 of the bowling ball 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? Resurfacing will be a lost cause then and it won’t help bring the dead ball back to life anymore. 

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

There are mainly two ways of resurfacing a bowling ball. You can either take it to your local pro shop or manually resurface it 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 and will be able to resurface your balls faster. The risks involved are also minimal compared to when you attempt resurfacing on your own.  

However, expert resurfacing services could be costly over time.

The alternative then 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 you require are:

Bowling Ball Spinner

A bowling ball spinner can make life much easier for you. This useful equipment can 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 the knack for DIY projects.

Sanding Agent

There isn’t a dearth of sanding agents available on the market. Some of the options include sandpaper, sanding pads and disks, etc. 

Choose a sanding agent you are comfortable using.


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. The water also helps the ball remain cool; the sanding process can generate excess heat because of the friction. 

Towels, Polishers, Cleaners

To finish off the resurfacing process, polish the ball with a fresh towel.

How to Resurface a Bowling Ball – 5 Easy Steps

Step 1

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

Step 2

Set the spinner speed at its lowest setting. Sanding at a high-speed setting can increase 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 lower grit sanding pad, apply excessive pressure for a short duration.

Lower your application of 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 oily 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 period of the bowling ball. 

Choose a grit pad as per your requirement. 

Step 4

Now, you can start sanding your bowling ball. 

Go over the exposed areas of the ball evenly. Once you have covered the first half of the ball, reposition the ball and place the finger holes at the bottom now, then repeat the sanding process. 

Then, reposition the ball and place the finger holes on the side. Continue sanding until you get the entire surface. 

Note: Following your ball’s factory-set sanding pattern will ensure greater length and more backend action in your ball. Swimming against the tide will lower the aggression of your ball towards the backend and result in an early roll.

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 throughout the ball until it shines. 


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

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