How to Replace Basketball Backboard

Do you have a great basketball court with a nice hoop that you really love but the backboard is old or damaged? No need to worry, this is a very common problem that can be fixed without replacing the whole basketball goal.

This is a great DIY project that you can do with a friend or family member and you should be able to complete it in a weekend or even 1 day if you have some basic “fix it” skills.

Portable Basketball Hoops Are Prone to Have Backboard Issues

Portable basketball hoops are the most common to have backboard issues because their backboards are often made from lighter lower-quality materials in order to keep the weight down.

This makes them more susceptible to sun and weather damage and after lots of use they can begin to crack or even shatter. One of the most common causes of damage for a portable is if it gets tipped over from rough play (hopefully no one was hurt) or from a strong wind.

Since portable hoops most commonly have this issue, I will focus on them for this tutorial but the same concept can be used for in-ground or roof-mounted hoops. You just won’t be able to lay the frame down on its side.

My Personal Story

I have a portable hoop that was knocked over in a bad storm and the very thin acrylic backboard was shattered. It was very flimsy anyway and did not have very good banking action so this was my chance to upgrade my hoop by adding a quality homemade backboard at a very low cost. I also got to paint it a color my wife and daughter chose so that made the project lots of fun. You can see the finished product in the photo below.

My finished product. Photo by Melissa Medina

Anyway, the following are the steps that I used to replace my backboard. Before you start let me say that it is very important to use caution and follow all general safety procedures when working on a project like this, especially when using power tools and with any heavy lifting.

Very Important!

I will say this multiple times throughout this tutorial because it is very important. PLEASE Keep in mind that portable hoops are designed for a specific backboard weight. Adding a heavier backboard will require that you add more weight to the base with sandbags or cinder blocks. If you don’t pay attention to this your hoop is likely to tip over causing damage and possible injury so PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THIS AND USE CAUTION!

Resources You’ll Need

  • At least one helper but the more the merrier.
  • Backboard material – ¼ plywood, acrylic or some strong board type material.
  • Wrenches and/or socket set.
  • Construction adhesive.
  • Power drill.
  • Drill bit.
  • Putty knife.
  • Wood screws (if using plywood)
  • Screwdrivers.
  • Masking Tape (if you want to paint lines on your backboard)
  • Sandbags, cinder blocks or other types of weights to provide extra stability for the base after adding the new backboard.

How to Replace Basketball Backboard: A Step-by-Step Guide

The following steps are general instructions for what you will need to do to replace your backboard. Because there are so many different types of basketball hoops, the design of your specific model may determine exactly what you need to do, but the following will point you in the right direction.

Step 1: Lay the basketball goal on its side.

If the hoop is not already on its’ side from being knocked down, get your helper(s) to help you lay it on the ground so you can work on it.

Step 2: Measure your backboard.

Measure what is left of your existing backboard or the frame where the backboard is attached. This will determine the size of your new backboard material. You want the new backboard material to be the same dimensions ( length and width ) of the original. If you try to make it bigger, it will make the goal top-heavy and it will tip over easily and cause damage or injury.

Step 3: Get your backboard material.

Go to our local hardware store and get a piece of nice plywood or clear acrylic material, whichever you prefer. You can have the folks at the hardware store cut it to your exact specifications. If you own a power saw and are experienced at using it, you can cut this yourself but please use caution. If using plywood, I would suggest using ¼ inch thick or less plywood. Again if you make it too thick, your hoops is likely to tip over due to it being top-heavy.

Step 4: Paint your backboard material.

If your using plywood, you need to put a good coat of paint or sealer to seal the wood and protect it from the elements. If you want to have some fun you can paint any design you want and use any colors on your backboard. If you are using clear acrylic material, you should at least paint a border and a square over the rim area for aiming, This will help you see the backboard better with the clear acrylic.

Prepping with masking tape to paintbox and boarder.

Step 5: Remove the rim.

You will need to remove the rim from the old backboard and frame. There are usually 4 large bolts holding it on. Use your socket set and wrenches to carefully remove. Be sure to save the rim and all the bolts as you will need to attach them to the new backboard.

Step 6: Remove the old backboard material.

If there are screws holding it to the frame, remove the screws using your screwdriver or power drill. Most backboards are also glued to the frame, so you may need to use a putty knife to pry off, scrape and remove all of the old backboard material.

Useful Tip: Keep the old backboard or pieces of it to use as a template to mark the holes for the rim on the new backboard.

Step 7: Drill holes to mount the rim.

If you have pieces of the old backboard left, use this as a stencil to mark the location of the holes for the rim. Once marked, drill the holes using your drill and a bit that is the same size as the mounting bolts.

Mounting holes.

Step 8: Spread adhesive on the backboard frame.

Spread the construction adhesive evenly on the front of the backboard frame where the backboard will come together with the frame.

Step 9: Set the backboard.

Have your helpers help you set the backboard in place on the frame before the adhesive dries. Make sure you line up the rim holes with the holes on the frame.

Backboard set on a frame.

Step 10: Attach the rim.

With your helpers, line up the rim, put the bolts through the holes and tighten them nice and snug.

Attach the rim.

Step 11: Secure with screws.

If you are using acrylic for your backboard you can skip this step. The adhesive and rim bolts will be enough to secure the backboard. If you are using plywood, secure the backboard by using a drill or screwdriver to attach the wood screws through the holes in the back of the backboard frame and into the backboard. Make sure your screws are not too long or they will come through the front of the backboard.

Step 12: Let the adhesive dry.

follow the instructions for your adhesive to let it dry the proper amount of time.

Step 13: Stand up the hoop.

Have your helpers help you stand up the hoop and place it where you want it. Please use caution!

Step 14: STABILIZE THE BASE!

Use the sandbags or whatever else you have for weight to ensure the hoop is stable. There are also kits you can buy on Amazon that can mount it to the ground and give more stability or you can also build a brace that holds it to the ground which is what I did with mine and now I don’t have to ever worry about the wind blowing it over again.

Step 15: Test the stability.

Test the stability by pushing on it from all sides. If it seems like it is still not stable enough add more weight to the base or use a mounting kit to stabilize it better.

Step 16: Have FUN!

Once your hoop is stable and safe, start using it again and be sure to have lots of fun.

Remember the steps above are just generalized steps, you may need to modify some of them to fit your particular equipment. Once you’re done, your hoop and court will be like new and you can start playing again and hopefully with a better backboard!

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