Tag Archives: drying

Indoor Tennis Court Resurfacing Problems | Common Drying Issues

Resurfacing indoor tennis courts can have a few challenges not common to outdoor tennis court resurfacing.  Indoor tennis courts do not have to contend with outdoor enemies like UV rays and harsh weather, but some indoor conditions can wreak havoc, even for the experienced tennis court surfacing contractor.

Indoor Tennis Court Resurfacing | Drying Problems

Acrylic tennis court surfaces are water-based and dry by evaporation.  Water is the vehicle that allows the heavy coating solids to be squeegee applied.  Once the coating is applied, the water begins to evaporate.  If there is not adequate ventilation in the facility, the water can be trapped in the airspace above the courts and slow down the drying of the surfaces.  This can cause a “marbled” look on the coating, resulting in light and dark or patchy areas.

Marbled Tennis Court Surface
Marbled Tennis Court Surface

Poor ventilation and cooler outside temperatures can also create problems by causing condensation to “rain” down onto the tennis court surfaces.  If the inside temperatures are warmer and the ceiling is cool from colder outside temperatures, the moisture can drip onto the partially cured surface, creating blemishes.  To prevent both of these issues, make sure to turn on heating or air conditioning systems to draw humidity out of the air. Open any available vents, doors, and windows to allow an escape route for moisture.  Large industrial fans can also be rented and help to circulate the air, as well as push moisture out when placed at exterior doors.

Tennis Court Squeegee Application Issues | Smooth Indoor Court Surfaces

Another common problem with surfacing indoor tennis courts is application of coatings on a very smooth surface.  Indoor courts do not benefit from the wind and rains, which actually help to move debris off the surface.  Dirt and sand particles, that come out of the surface, become abrasive to color coatings under the scuffing of tennis courts.  Long-term, this can create a very smooth surface which makes it difficult for application of color coatings.  The application squeegee can wipe the coatings off of a smooth surface, and leave a very thin coating.  This can sometimes cause irregular color patches or inconsistent textures on the surface.  To prevent this, apply the first coat of Acrylic Resurfacer (properly mixed with sand and water) with a squeegee, but follow directly behind with a soft, horse hair-type broom or brush.  This puts a fine grooved text in the coating.  Once the first coat of Resurfacer is dry, squeegee apply another coat of resurfacer, going the cross-direction.  This allows the second coat of resurfacer to “grab” onto the groove finish and deposit a complete textured coat.  At this point, the surface is ready to accept the tennis court color coating surface layers.

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Drying Vs Curing | Tennis Court Surfaces & Paint

One of the most understood topics and frequently asked questions are,  “what is the difference between drying and curing”  when it comes to tennis court paint and coatings.

Acrylic sport coatings are water-based, and latex is the binder or “glue” that adheres to the pavement or existing acrylic surface.  The binder also locks in all of the components of the coating system, like pigments, sand, and other proprietary ingredients. Water is the vehicle that thins the coating solids so that application by squeegee can be achieved.  Once the coating is applied, the water evaporates leaving the solids of the coating in a consistent film.  This evaporation is “drying“.

At this point, the film solids are dry.  They can even be walked on without a problem. However, all of the components of the coating are not entirely connected and bonded in a strong film.  In order for the coating components to properly coalesce, or “melt”  together,  it is important that the film remain mostly dry and in temperatures above 50° Fahrenheit.  This is especially important within the first 24 hours.  This is “curing“.

If the coating is not allowed to achieve this initial cure, the components like sand and pigment can wash or roll out the film can fall apart to varying degrees.  The level of damage or failure depends on how marginal the cure.

Tennis Court Curing Failure
Tennis Court Curing Failure

Many coating and paint specifications include the statement “product shall be applied when temperatures are 50° and rising”.  This means start coating in the morning when the temperatures are at least 50° and getting warmer, not late afternoon or evening when temps are dropping.

Remember, the coating must dry before it can begin to cure.  Starting application late in the day puts the film at risk of dew and cooler nighttime temperatures. A good rule of thumb is to avoid acrylic paint and coating application on days when the nighttime lows are forecasted to drop below 50°.  If the daytime highs are not very warm and it is cloudy, or the courts are heavily shaded, you also need to take that into consideration.  The shade will increase the drying time and affect the temperature of the court surface.  These factors affect drying and curing.

If you are forced to push the application on marginal days, you may want to use an infrared thermometer to check the surface temperature.  Pavement absorbs and holds cold for longer than most people think. In Spring and Fall, the sun is further away and not as intense. The pavement surface isn’t able to warm up as quickly as it does in the summer.

If you are a contractor and your customer is pushing you to apply when the temperature and weather is not within acceptable range, make sure to provide them with a copy of the coating manufacturer’s specifications and ask to reschedule application when conditions allow.

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