Can You Resurface A Plastic Bowling Ball?

As a passionate bowler, you know the importance of maintaining your equipment in top condition. One key aspect of that maintenance is resurfacing plastic bowling balls to ensure optimal performance and extend their lifespan.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the best techniques to restore your ball’s surface without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned pro, follow along as we unveil invaluable tips and tricks to keep your favorite bowling companion rolling smoothly for years to come.

Let’s take a look.

Can You Resurface A Plastic Bowling Ball?

Yes, you can resurface your plastic bowling balls. Doing so is important to restore ball performance and save money on purchasing a new one.

And here are some of the biggest benefits you must know about.

Restores Ball Performance

Resurfacing plastic bowling balls is a crucial maintenance step that effectively restores the ball’s performance capabilities. Over time, as we consistently use our favorite bowling balls, they tend to accumulate scratches, dents, and oil build-up on their surfaces.

By resurfacing your plastic bowling ball with the right sanding grits and polishing techniques, you’ll essentially give it a new lease on life, restoring the original surface characteristics that make it so great for straight shots or picking up spares.

In my own experience, I’ve noticed an impressive improvement in my control over the ball after resurfacing it myself! Not only do you get a better grip due to restored texture but also improved consistency during play.

Saves Money On Purchasing A New Ball

Resurfacing your plastic bowling ball is a great way to save money without sacrificing performance. Buying a new ball can be expensive, but proper maintenance and resurfacing can extend the lifespan of your current equipment.

By keeping your ball’s surface clean and smooth, you’ll maintain better control and grip on the lanes, which translates to more strikes and spares. Plus, resurfacing allows you to customize your ball’s surface for different conditions or lane patterns, giving you added versatility in competition.

The Dos And Don’ts

Do Use The Proper Grit Sandpaper Or Resurfacing Machine

When resurfacing a plastic bowling ball, it is crucial to use the appropriate grit sandpaper or resurfacing machine. Using the wrong grit level can cause irreparable damage and negatively affect the ball’s performance.

Generally, a lower grit size should be used for balls with deep scratches or other surface damage that needs more aggressive sanding.

It’s also essential to note that some bowlers prefer using a resurfacing machine instead of doing it manually. A resurfacing machine ensures precision and consistency in removing any imperfections on the ball’s surface while maintaining its original shape and weight block position.

Do Clean The Ball Thoroughly Before Resurfacing

Before resurfacing a plastic bowling ball, it is essential to clean the surface thoroughly. This step ensures that any dirt or debris on the ball’s surface does not interfere with the resurfacing process.

To do this, use a microfiber cloth or towel and some cleaning solution to wipe down the ball’s entire surface gently.

Additionally, if your plastic bowling ball has scratches or other damage on its surface, you must remove them before beginning the resurfacing process. Doing so will allow for smoother sanding and polishing, which will lead to better results in restoring your ball’s performance.

Remember always to avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning your plastic bowling balls as they can cause further damage.

Don’t Overdo It With The Sanding

When resurfacing a plastic bowling ball, it’s important to remember not to overdo it with the sanding. Using too much pressure or using overly coarse grit sandpaper can damage the surface of the ball and affect its performance.

It’s recommended to start with a coarse grit and gradually work your way down to a finer grit until you achieve the desired smoothness. Remember, you can always do more sanding later if needed, but once you’ve taken off too much material, there’s no going back.

Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals

Using harsh chemicals to clean and maintain your plastic bowling ball can cause irreparable damage. Avoid using bleach, acetone, or any other strong cleaning agents as they may strip the outer layer of the ball and weaken it over time.

Instead, use a mild soap and water solution to wipe down the surface of your ball after each use.

In addition to avoiding harsh chemicals, it’s important to properly store your bowling ball when not in use. Keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

How To Resurface A Bowling Ball

Gather Materials

To resurface a plastic bowling ball, you will need a few materials: sandpaper or abrasive pads, water, polisher or rubbing compound, and polishing pads.

It’s important to note that the grit level of the sandpaper can vary depending on the condition of your ball’s surface. Typically, starting with 500-grit sandpaper for rough surfaces and gradually moving up to 2000-grit for finer polishing is recommended.

Additionally, it may be helpful to have some gloves on hand while working on your ball since sweat or other oils from your hands could affect its surface.

Clean The Ball

To ensure the longevity and performance of your plastic bowling ball, it is crucial to clean it appropriately. Before resurfacing, make sure to clean the ball thoroughly with a gentle cleaner or rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth.

Be sure to get into all the finger holes as well, as dirt buildup can affect your grip on the ball.

Choose The Appropriate Grit Level

Choosing the appropriate grit level is essential when resurfacing a plastic bowling ball. The grit level determines how much material will be removed from the surface of the ball, affecting its performance.

Typically, lower grit levels between 80 and 120 are used for initial sanding to remove deep scratches or scuff marks on the surface of the ball. Higher grit levels between 500 and 2000 are then used to smooth out and polish the surface of the ball.

Using too low or high a grit level can lead to unsatisfactory results like an unevenly polished surface or significant loss in weight of your bowling ball.

Resurface The Ball By Hand Or With A Machine

Resurfacing a plastic bowling ball can be done either by hand or with the use of a machine. Resurfacing by hand involves using sandpaper and doing it manually, which requires more effort and time but gives you more control over the process.

On the other hand, resurfacing with a machine is faster, easier, and requires less physical effort, making it ideal for those who need to do multiple balls in one sitting.

When using a machine for resurfacing, make sure to follow instructions carefully to avoid damaging your ball.

It is important to note that excessive sanding can ruin your ball’s coverstock quickly. A good rule of thumb when resurfacing with sandpaper is not to exceed three full strokes in each direction before checking if enough material has been removed while maintaining an even pattern across all sides of the bowling ball evenly.

Apply Polish For A Finished Look

After resurfacing your plastic bowling ball, the final step is to apply polish for a smooth and shiny finish. There are several types of polishes available in the market that cater to different types of bowling balls.

Polishing not only gives your ball an improved appearance but also adds protection against scratches and other damage. It also increases the grip on dry lanes by smoothing out any roughness left by sanding.

When using polish, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and avoid over-application as it can cause build-up and negatively impact performance.

Benefits And Maintenance Of Resurfaced Plastic Bowling Balls

Can You Resurface A Plastic Bowling Ball

Improved Performance And Control

Resurfacing your plastic bowling ball can lead to improved performance and control on the lanes. When a bowling ball’s surface is scratched or dull, it may not grip the lane properly resulting in less hook potential and accuracy.

A well-maintained surface increases friction between the ball and the lane, which leads to more precisely targeted shots, increased revolutions on hooks, and greater stopping power on spares.

Increased Lifespan

By resurfacing your plastic bowling ball, you can increase its lifespan and save money in the long term. Over time, even well-maintained bowling balls will develop scratches on the surface which can affect their performance.

A properly maintained and resurfaced plastic bowling ball will also have better grip and control, reducing the likelihood of slips or other mishaps during gameplay.

Better Grip And Appearance

Maintaining the surface of your plastic bowling ball can result in better grip and appearance. A smoother surface provides more friction between the ball and lane, which allows for improved control during release and increased accuracy of shots.

Additionally, a polished ball will have an overall better appearance, making it appear well-maintained and professional. It is important to note that certain types of oil patterns may require specific surfaces on the bowling balls, so it is always best to consult with a professional or do research before resurfacing your bowling ball.

Clean And Store Properly

To get the most out of your resurfaced plastic bowling ball, it’s important to clean and store it properly. After each use, wipe down the surface with a microfiber cloth or towel to remove any dirt, oil, or debris that could impact its performance.

When not in use, store your bowling ball in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Consider investing in a specially designed bowling bag that provides adequate protection during transportation and proper airflow for storage.

Consider Professional Resurfacing After A Certain Period

After a certain period of time and usage, it may be necessary to seek professional resurfacing for your plastic bowling ball. This is especially true if you are experiencing decreased performance or noticeable damage to the surface of the ball.

Professional resurfacing can help restore the ball’s original performance and prolong its lifespan. It is also important to note that professional resurfacing involves specialized equipment and techniques that may not be available for DIY at-home maintenance.

Many bowling alleys offer this service, so it’s worth considering as part of your regular bowling ball maintenance routine.


In conclusion, resurfacing plastic bowling balls can help restore their performance and save you money. However, it’s important to follow the dos and don’ts, including using the proper grit sandpaper or machine and not over-sanding.

Cleaning the ball thoroughly before resurfacing is also key. With a few simple steps, you can successfully resurface your own bowling ball at home for improved performance and control.

Just remember to properly maintain it afterward with regular cleaning and storage practices. And if in doubt, consider professional resurfacing services from experienced technicians to ensure optimal results.

Last updated on June 11, 2023