It doesn’t take too many holes in the wall to realize you need some kind of protection around your dartboard. It might be when you’re concentrating on trying to hit a double, or it might be because you’ve had one drink too many, but no matter how good you think you are, every once in a while you are going to miss that big target. So to preserve your walls, you need some kind of protection.
If you’ve played darts in a pub, you will have probably noticed that the dartboards are mounted to a dartboard backboard. This functional surround not only protects the wall around the dartboard, but if hit, the dart will stick into it. This gives you peace of mind that you will have fewer bounce-outs that can damage your floors, the darts, or someone else. A dart backboard is an essential item if you are mounting your dartboard against a stone or concrete wall—your darts really do not like hitting these surfaces.
One of the easiest ways to make a backboard is to mount a large piece of scrap plywood or drywall on your wall. This works fine if you don’t care about aesthetics, but will be unsightly in your beautifully finished game room.
Commercially available dart board backboards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common backboards you will find feature a wood or composite board covered in a felt material that helps to hide the holes. The felt covers are generally available in a number of colors to help to match your décor. Generally, round and octagonal backboards are available in sizes that will cover a larger surface area. For a more attractive backboard, look for framed ones, or one with chalk scoreboards attached. Themed backboards are also available, emblazoned with logos of your favorite beer or sports team.
An alternative to the backboard is the dartboard surround. Rather than mounting directly to the wall, a surround is a circular ring that fits snugly around your dartboard. These are what you will see around dartboards at major tournaments. These are lightweight devices that come in either a single piece or four pieces you attach around the board. Generally, surrounds are packed full of a dense EVA foam that can stand up to the abuse of darts hitting it.
Sure, you could cut out a large piece of foam or polystyrene you have lying around and just put it around the board, but most these are too lightweight. The dart can pass through the foam and damage the wall, the foam will develop holes quickly, and the weight of the dart can cause it to drop to the floor, damaging the dart. Stick with a good quality surround.
Having a backboard or surround for your dartboard is going to save you a lot of DIY headaches. They may not be quite as attractive as a dartboard cabinet, but they are functional without being too ugly. Although we highly recommend some kind of protection around your dartboard, we would like to remind you that bounce-out will occur, so we suggest you invest in a heavy floor mat to protect your floors as well as prevent damage to your darts.