How to Install a Home Bowling Alley
If you’re an enthusiast of this sport, what better way is there to equip the recreation area in your home than by installing a fully functional bowling alley? While years ago this was a luxury reserved for the very rich, nowadays there are affordable options available for passionate players.
While it may be tempting to embark upon a DIY project thinking you’ll end up with a decent-enough bowling alley, if you’re an avid player then the result may not be fully satisfying for your standards.
Truth be told, this is no easy job. Therefore, you may want to consider sacrificing some of your savings for the sake of a professionally made bowling lane and contract a specialized constructor.
Whether you decide to hire a professional or feel like you’re up for a massive DIY project, there are a few aspects you need to keep in mind for a quality result. Our team put together a comprehensive guide for you to find out how to install a home bowling alley for maximum convenience.
Prerequisites for an indoor bowling lane
Owning a game room sounds like great fun and will definitely impress whoever comes over to visit, but in order for such a project to be feasible, you need to dispose of enough space to install the facilities.
The ideal situation would be to have a spare room in your home or a spacious basement where the lane would fit properly and the building process can unfurl without disturbing your everyday activities.
In addition to finding a suitable location to build the lane or lanes, your contractor will ask you to have an electrician check that a number of electrical specifications are satisfied before being able to start the project.
Different locations will be compatible with different solutions, which is why it’s extremely important to have a specialized constructor advise you on the most suitable model, taking into account the amount of available space, the infrastructure of your location, as well as your budget.
For example, the most basic models come in the shape of arcade games which don’t require any professional installation and are made of two pieces which can be assembled by yourself without any hassle.
A somewhat intermediary option transitioning from basic models to more professional installations are the mini-bowling lanes, which lend themselves particularly well to spacious houses which can’t, however, accommodate professional alleys.
Once all the organizational and design issues have been agreed upon with the contractor, they will start preparing the location for the construction of the lane. Depending on the preferences you expressed during the design phase, the construction may be more or less invasive.
If you chose a mini-lane or a larger model, the first major step toward the installation of your home bowling facility will be to dig a pit for the wooden “foundation” which the bowling alley rests upon.
This pit will accommodate the device which returns and lifts the ball, so that you automatically receive it back after the release, pretty much the same like in a public bowling alley.
In the case of smaller lane models, the preparations before the actual construction may not require as much time and work as in the case of larger lanes.
The standard procedure for installing a professional lane is rather invasive and consists in building a concrete slab on top of which the rest of the construction, including the wooden frame and the alley, will be set.
It is also at this phase that the necessary electrical cables have to be inserted into the concrete construction so that they can afterward power the entire equipment fitted under the lane.
However, you’re much more likely to choose a model for your home which won’t require such intricate construction work. In the case of more basic bowling alleys for home use, the work will start with the building of the wooden foundation, followed by the installation of the lanes enabling the ball to return, as well as the mechanism which lifts the ball.
All these steps precede the construction of the surface elements of the bowling alley, including the approach, the pin deck, and the lanes. This is the part where your particular preferences in terms of design, number of lanes and amenities come into play, which can influence both the duration and the cost of the project.
After the infrastructure has been properly put into place, it’s time for the machinery to be installed. More precisely, the pinsetter machines need to be placed at the far end of the lane, where they will lift the pins back up after each round.
One of the most popular models features strings which are attached to the pins in such a way that they can be easily reset while sporting a design which prevents tangling. Each pinsetter needs to be connected to a power outlet, which is another reason why you need to make sure to consult a good electrician before initiating this project.
Since the tunnels had already been built under the lane through which the ball would return after each round, this is the phase of the construction when the ball racks need to be installed. These are nothing but some spaces where the ball will stop after returning through the canals, ready to be thrown again.
If you’re only interested in the basic infrastructure which will allow you to play alone or with your friends every now and then, then the construction can stop once the machines have been installed and are ready to use.
However, for the experience to measure up to a game in a public bowling house, you’ll need some additional features. The last thing you want is to interrupt a fun bowling game with your friends in order to argue about whose turn it is to deliver the ball or suspect each other of foul play.
In order for you not to worry about keeping the score manually or counting the number of pins, you’ll need to install amenities such as TV displays and automatic scoring boards.