When is it too cold to apply tennis court surfaces? The quick and direct answer is: It must be 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) and rising during application, and for at least 24 hours after. This is very important to ensure curing of the 100% acrylic latex binder.
My tennis court coatings were dry, why is it failing?
As explained in a previous article, there is a difference between drying and curing. The coating must dry first, which means the water in the paint evaporates. This leaves all of the coating molecules, which are unconnected. It looks normal to the naked eye after drying. However, the particles are not melted together or coalesced. If the temperatures fall below the recommended range and the coating gets wet from dew or precipitation, it can be easily damaged.
Application During Marginal Temperatures
You have to be very careful when the temperatures are close to the edge. As a general rule of thumb, don’t even think about applying tennis court coatings when the nighttime lows are forecast to be below 50 Fahrenheit / 10 Celsius. Here are some other important risk factors to consider when temperatures are marginal:
Apply coatings very early in the day, just after dew has dried.
Don’t apply much later than early afternoon.
Sunshine is very important to drying and warmth of the pavement. Shade can prevent drying of coatings for many hours.
Make sure to measure ambient air temperature, as well as pavement temperature. The ground temperature is usually colder than air temperature during spring and fall.
High humidity slows down drying, and coatings must dry before they start to cure.
White lines reflect sunlight and are usually the first coating to fail if not properly cured.
Completing the surfacing process in cold weather
What happens if you start a tennis or sports court resurfacing project, and you run out of good weather part-way through? No worries, you can wait until next spring/summer to finish the job. It’s not worth risking failure and having a major cleanup on your plate. No matter what stage of the coating process you are in, it can wait until the weather is right.
Tennis court resurfacing & repair is best performed by experienced sport surfacing contractors. However, sometimes tricks of the trade are lost in translation or bad habits can form. Most of the time it is not intentional, but a result of limited training sources. This article will point out some important application tips and techniques that are often overlooked. It will also highlight some common pitfalls or things to avoid doing, for a quality tennis court repair and resurfacing result.
Keep A Clean Work Area
Most experienced tennis court contractors know the value of a clean and organized work area. From time to time, we still see work areas that are unprotected and open to spills and splatter. Make sure to use a tarp, old carpet remnants, or layers of masking paper when setting up your staging and mixing. Dried paint spills, bucket rings, and other such mishaps may not be hidden by the new paint job. Plus, if you are setup outside of the court playing area on a sidewalk, you don’t need the extra work of sandblasting and trying to remove dried paint and coating residue.
Application Squeegee & Tool Marks
There are a variety of procedures and options, when it comes to tennis court resurfacing and repair. Many of the industry tools are very specific and make quite a difference in quality and ease of application. The application squeegee should be between 50 and 60 durometer, which is the measure of softness/hardness of the rubber. The lower the number, the softer the rubber squeegee blade. If the blade is too soft, it will bend over in the middle and create problems, as well. An application squeegee blade that is too hard, will cause more visible application rows and “scalp” the color coatings leaving more visible marks. There are different types of resurfacing materials you can use, including an Acrylic Resurfacer, which reduces surface porosity.
Touch-up Paint & Edging | Court Surfaces
Many times, the difference between a court resurfacing that is just OK and one that is great, relies on the details. Conscientious tennis court contractors will go the extra mile with the following items:
Paint old net posts that aren’t ready to replace, but look worn
trim around the outside edge of the court, under & behind fences
Pull off excess material onto masking paper, like rosin and roofing paper, instead of shoveling up on the surface or pulling into the other color area
Remove center strap anchors and net posts that slide out of the sleeve before surfacing. Then, tape over the open hole before surfacing. This prevents filling the holes with paint and keeps squeegee rows straight during application.
Touch up as needed if one color went into the other area, or there were line paint mishaps
If possible, try to start and finish squeegee application away from main entrances into the court. Start on an edge or area that is not in a high visible area, in case there is a line from starting and ending the application.
Try not to blast windscreens with a pressure washer, as they can damage older, sun-baked fabrics and leave pressure washer patterns.
Scrape and sand previous repairs and coats so that they don’t show show through the final coats.
A few more common workmanship issues to mention is squeegee handling and proper pouring of mixed coating materials. Avoid setting a wet squeegee blade down on dry pavement, as it can leave squeegee blade marks that mirror through the final coat. When applying the material, set your squeegee down in the puddle of wet material and then begin squeegeeing as usual. If you set the squeegee down by accident and leave a slash mark, use the bottom of your show to rub out the mark before it dries.
Pour Marks | Tennis Court Resurfacing
Pour Marks are nearly impossible to eliminate when tennis court resurfacing. There are ways to minimize the marking, which include:
After your initial windrow pour, always pour into the existing puddle/windrow and not directly onto the dry surface.
Pour low & gently into the windrow and don’t toss the material.
Avoid extremely hot temperatures when pouring and applying, if possible. This will also minimize squeegee application marks.
Mist the surface a few passes ahead of the squeegee applicator. This brings the surface temperature down and decreases heat shock and marking.
Many experienced tennis court contractors will also try space their material pours so that each pour happens on the area where a line will be. This helps to mask the potential pour mark from the eye, beneath the tennis court striping.
Multipurpose courts are becoming very popular with the growth of booming sports like pickleball. The best use of real estate, when it comes to athletic game courts, is to add blended lines to existing tennis or other court surfaces. This way, the tennis court lines can be white and other sport lines can be another complimentary color. So that poses the frequently asked question of, “How to get blended line paint for a multipurpose sports court.”
First of all, there is no right or wrong shade of color for blended lines, however the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) deems that the tennis court lines must be white. Also note that the USTA tried to set up some standards for 10 & under tennis court line color, and this is what was proposed:
All blended lines for 10 & under tennis courts (kids tennis) shall be of the same color family as the surface, just lighter or darker.
To achieve the “standard” paint color, use one of the following ratios:
75% court surface coating to 25% white line paint for lighter shade or 25% black acrylic resurfacer for darker shade. (80% to 20% was also approved for a slight variance for shade).
In simple measurement terms, you would use 3/4 gallon of the court surface color (let’s say blue) and mix in 1/4 gallon of tennis court white line paint to achieve blended lines in a lighter blue shade. Or, use 3/4 gallon of the court surface color and mix in 1/4 gallon of black acrylic resurfacer to produce the darker line variation if preferred. This enables court resurfacing contractors to easily achieve blended line colors with common coatings and paints that they already have on-hand and use every day in the field.
Applying blended lines will not cost a fortune, by any means. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, we would strongly suggest having a sport surfacing contractor do this for you. Adding blended lines can be done at any time. The best time would be during the initial court resurfacing, to minimize the contractor mobilization costs. However, the cost would still be minimal down the road and you will be able to enjoy multiple sports on your multipurpose sports and game court.
If you ask any professional house painter they will tell you, “In hard times, everyone is a painter.” But if you have ever hired a professional house painter, you will see that they make the job look much easier and better in much less time than the average home owner. Hiring a professional tennis court painter, or sport surfacing contractor, is the smartest move you will ever make!
Just because it looks like paint and kind of smells like paint, doesn’t mean you apply it the same way. Tennis court coatings are heavy-bodied and fortified with specialty sand and aggregate. So, how do you paint a tennis court? The only good way to apply these coatings is with a specialized tennis court application squeegee. Using a paint roller on a hot day, in the full sun, on coatings that hold up to 15 pounds of sand per gallon can make a real mess. Plus, if you’ve never applied coatings with a squeegee, you are in for a not-so-good surprise. Especially, if you are attempting to paint a two-color court. Experienced tennis court resurfacing contractors may paint anywhere from 50 to 400 tennis courts in a season. They have plenty of practice and have the skills to squeegee two different colors that are only separated by a 2″ line, without going over into the other color area. Not to mention, multiple coats within the same day.
Over the years, many do-it-yourselfers have attempted to paint their own courts with a variety of results. The vast majority will never do it again and even needed to hire a professional surfacing company to fix their attempt. Here is just a short list of reasons why it is cheaper and easier to have an experienced tennis court contractor paint or resurface your tennis, basketball, or sports court:
Tennis court contractors buy concentrated coatings in large volumes and have better pricing on materials than DIY.
Sport contractors have all of the necessary tools and experience to do the job right and quickly.
Court contractors also have a specialized line taping machine for layout of straight and curved lines, prior to striping.
Most sport contractors have a variety of methods and systems for crack repair, including installation of patented membrane repair systems which require factory training.
Construction alternatives: If standard acrylic repair materials cannot address the repairs, tennis court construction companies can offer more permanent repair or reconstruction.
If it is time to paint or resurface your tennis, basketball, or pickleball court and you are looking for a qualified sport surfacing contractor, contact us. We can put you in touch with experienced installers that can provide free estimates on a professional and affordable court repair, resurfacing, or construction project.