Category Archives: Tennis Court Resurfacing

Tennis Court Surfaces | Speed of Play

Tennis court surfaces can be customized to achieve very specific speed of play.  The ITF (International Tennis Federation) has a technical testing program to classify all kinds of tennis court surfaces into court pace ratings (CPR).  Here is the current chart of CPR and pace category:

  • Category: Slow | CPR less than or equal to 29
  • Category: Medium-slow | CPR 30-34
  • Category: Medium | 35-39
  • Category: Medium-fast | 40-44
  • Category: Fast | greater than or equal to 45

Customizing Acrylic Court Surfaces

Most tennis court surfaces can be customized to some extent.  However, acrylic court surfaces have the widest flexibility of options.  Due to the ability of acrylic coatings to suspend different blends of silica sand and specialty aggregates, they can generally achieve all ITF paces with the correct combination of texture.

Angular Silica Sand | 50 Mesh for Acrylic Patch Binder and Resurfacer
Round Silica Sand | 90 Mesh for Colored Tennis Court Surfaces

Professional Tennis Tournament Surfaces

When it comes to professional tennis tournament surfaces, the speed of play is very important.  The court surfaces are usually kept consistent to the other tournaments in the same series.  This enables the players to hone their game on courts that perform similarly, prior to the most prestigious event at the end of the swing.

Tournament Tennis Court Surfaces

College & University Tennis Court Surfaces

College & university tennis court surfaces are also commonly resurfaced to meet specific court speeds, depending on the current strengths and weaknesses of the players.  Many times, the tennis coach will prefer a slower court to help the home team if they lack power serves and pride themselves on volley or returning the serve.  On the other hand, fast court surfaces favor the player with a fast serve.

Recreational Court Surfaces | Safe Texture

Recreational court surfaces normally require a safe texture, and are usually installed at a medium speed of play.  This ensures that the court surfaces have enough grip for common dry or wet conditions.  If players happen to play on the courts during or after rain, or when dew is still present, there will be minimal chances for slipping and falling from slick surfaces.  This surface pace is well suited for all sports from tennis, basketball, and pickleball to recreational play.

Sport Surfacing Systems | Installers

To learn more about speed of play and creating the ideal surface conditions for your sport surfacing systems, contact a SportMaster representative.  They can assist with apples to apples specifications and put you in touch with an experienced contractor to install the coating system to the manufacturer specified pace.

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When Is It Too Cold To Apply Tennis Court Surfaces?

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.

Tennis Court Coating Failure
Tennis court coating failure from improper curing, during cold temperatures.

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.
    Measuring Pavement Temperature
    Infrared Thermometer for measuring surface temperature
  • 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.

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Tennis Court Resurfacing Application Tips & Techniques

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.

Mixing Area

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.

Inside Playing Color
Tennis Court Application Marks

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
  • Use an anti-bleed line primer, like SportMaster Stripe-Rite, for crisp lines
  • 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.

Workmanship | Tennis Court Application

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.

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How Do You Paint A Tennis 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.

 

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How Often Should Tennis Courts Be Resurfaced?

Tennis courts should be resurfaced every 4 to 8 years.  This is a standard range with quite a few variables, as you could imagine. Lets go over some reasons why the same resurfacing process would last 4 years on one court and 8, or double the amount of time, on another.

Tennis Court Construction Methods | Surface Longevity

Tennis courts, and other sport surfaces, should be properly built. There are important differences between a parking lot or driveway, and a tennis court surface.  The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) maintains construction guidelines for tennis courts and even has a certified tennis court builder program.  If tennis courts are not built correctly, they could require more frequent repairs and resurfacing.  Here are just some of the common construction problems influencing the decision of how often tennis courts should be resurfaced:

  • Improper slope = ponding water and premature breakdown of acrylic surfacing system.
  • Insufficient compaction  = susceptible to deforming, moisture damage, cracking, etc.
  • Incorrect or missing drainage system = backup of water and a long list of problems like surface bubbles/blisters, premature surface wear, and more.

Environmental Conditions and Surrounding Issues | Resurfacing Cycle

Acrylic tennis court surfaces require very little maintenance, but here are few important tips in extending the life of color coatings:

  • Surface debris removal – Don’t let leaves, pine needles, or any other organic debris build up on the court surface.  It will hold moisture and rot on the surface.  This is cause faster wear of the tennis court surfaces.
  • Trim edges – Be sure to keep grass, vegetation, and dirt trimmed down around the court edges.  This will help to prevent back-up of water that drains off of the court.  Puddled water will break down the acrylic surface coatings prematurely, and result the need for more frequent resurfacing.
  • Periodic washing –  Light to moderate pressure washing of the surface with mild detergents will help to extend the surface life and keep the court surface looking good.

Acrylic Resurfacer | Money Well Spent When Resurfacing

Many court owners want to skip the Acrylic Resurfacer step and just apply the color coatings.  Acrylic Resurfacer re-textures an old smooth court and helps to ensure the proper application rate of color coatings.  Since tennis court coatings are applied with a soft rubber squeegee, the colored surface coatings tend to “wipe off” when the surface is old, smooth and polished.  This results in thinner surface layers that won’t last as long, and definitely impacts how often the tennis court should be resurfaced.

Active Players and Busy Tennis Courts

Obviously, if there is good tennis programming and lots of players, it can impact the wear of the tennis court surfaces.  Active players and high traffic counts will speed up wear of the surfaces.  If this is known before resurfacing, talk to  a SportMaster representative and they can offer recommendations or prepare a custom scope tailored to your facility.  Extra coats may be recommended to extend the life of your tennis court surfaces.

Is It Time To Resurface Your Tennis Court?

Click on the “Contact Us” button and we can put you in touch with a factory-authorized tennis court contractor.  They can provide free estimates and make sure your tennis court is resurfaced properly. SportMaster Sport Surfaces are stocked and supported world-wide, and are ideal for all climates from extreme heat to frigid cold.

 

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