How to Build a Bowling Lane

Written by daniel walker
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How to Build a Bowling Lane
Go bowling in your basement. (vintage bowling image by de_martin from

Building your own personal bowling lane is not as crazy as it sounds. Presidents, billionaires and movie stars have enjoyed this luxury, and you can too. A well-built lane can add value to your home and provide loads of family entertainment.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Maple wood flooring
  • Level
  • Vapour barrier
  • Polyurethane glossy varnish

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  1. 1

    Determine if you have the space. A bowling lane requires about 90 feet of space.

  2. 2

    Buy the wood. Bowling lanes are made of a tongue and groove wood, usually maple, which can be bought at a home improvement store. Buy a cheap one, because it's going to get a lot of wear. Measure out how long you want the lane to be, and buy 5 per cent more wood than the area to be covered.

  3. 3

    Make sure the surface where you are putting the floor is level. Fill in any uneven sections with a flooring patch.

  4. 4

    Lay a vapour barrier underlayment where you are going to place the floor. This will keep moisture from seeping up and warping your wood.

  5. 5

    Lay the wood, one row at a time, along the length of the lane. Stagger the joints so they do not align; this helps preserve the strength of the structure.

  6. 6

    Sand down any rough spots on your floor. Coat the wood with a high-gloss polyurethane varnish.

  7. 7

    Put up a ball catch at the end of your lane. The lane is ready for manual bowling. The pins will have to be set up by hand, and the ball return will also be manual. Total cost should be under £1,300.

Tips and warnings

  • You can add a pin-setter and a ball-return system to your lane. Several companies online offer new and used residential equipment. For example, United Bowling has a Web page providing price quotes to perspective residential customers. About £21,450 can get you pins, pin-setting equipment, a computer scoring system and shoes.

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