How to Build a Bowling Lane

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

    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 percent more wood than the area to be covered.

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

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

    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.

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

    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 $2,000.


  • 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 $33,000 can get you pins, pin-setting equipment, a computer scoring system and shoes.

Things Needed

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

About the Author

Daniel Walker is a Texas editor, writer and rancher. Beginning in 1992, he worked as a daily newspaper reporter and editor. He's received awards from the Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas Press, APME and Oklahoma Heritage Foundation. He was editor of "Coffeyville Journal," "Herald-Banner" and "Nowata Star." Walker has a bachelor's degree with graduate work in communications at Northeastern State University.