Tag Archives: blisters

Are Acrylic Sport Surfaces Breathable And Permeable?

Question:  Are acrylic sport surfaces breathable and permeable?

Answer: Yes, SportMaster 100% acrylic sport surfaces are breathable and classified as semi-permeable.

Acrylic Sport Surfaces for Athletic Surfacing

SportMaster Sport Surfacing systems are produced using high-quality, 100% acrylic resins.  This is the industry-standard for sport surfacing on asphalt and concrete tennis, basketball, pickleball, and many other athletic and recreational court surfaces.  One of the main reasons for this is the fact that 100% acrylic resins are semi-permeable and allow a small to moderate amount of vapor transmission.

It is important to know that this does not mean you can have poor drainage and slope on a court surface and expect the acrylic coatings to “fix the problem”.  As a leading producer of acrylic sport surfaces, we strongly recommend following the construction guidelines of the American Sports Builders Assocation (ASBA).  The ASBA maintains an updated library of publications that demonstrate the right way to build tennis, pickleball, and athletic courts, along with running tracks and other recreational surfaces.  If athletic surfaces are not properly engineered, drained, and constructed, our (and any other) sport surfacing systems may exhibit bubbles, blisters, or failure.

Multi-sport acrylic surfaces

 

Asphalt & Concrete Athletic Court Construction

The recommended slope, for asphalt & concrete athletic court construction, is 1%.  This should be 1″ fall per every 10 feet of surface, in one direction.  This is enough pitch to allow runoff of water, without creating issues for the players.  Courts will be able to drain quickly and re-open for play.  Plus, acrylic coatings do not like to be constantly submerged, or the coatings will start to breakdown and wear at a quicker rate.

It is very important to have a professional drainage plan and make sure that water coming off of the court doesn’t accumulate beneath the slab.  Perimeter drains or other drainage plans, to take the water away from the courts and into the drainage system, is necessary.  Concrete courts should also be built with a vapor barrier to prevent hydrostatic pressure, in the form of water vapor, beneath the slab.  When the sun heats up the court surface, sub-surface water turns to vapor and creates vapor pressure to escape.  If enough water builds up beneath the slab and pushes upwards, it can create bubbles and blisters in the coatings and lead to peeling.

Important Factors For Sport Surfacing Success

    • Consult an experienced sport architect/engineer
    • Hire a qualified sport construction & surfacing contractor
    • Stick with 100% acrylic primers and coating systems throughout the entire sport surfacing system.
    • Follow the manufacturers specifications and recommendations
    • Don’t cut corners on proper construction and drainage.  It will only cost you more down the road

SportMaster Tennis Court Surfaces

What causes bubbles or blisters on a tennis court surface?

Bubbles and blisters on a tennis court surface, or other coated sport surface, are fairly common.  This is usually a result of improper tennis court construction or malfunction of the drainage system.  When sub-surface water becomes excessive and is not properly drained away from the court, it can breathe through the slab in a vapor form and create hydrostatic pressure under the coatings.  This pressure builds more in weaker surface areas and creates a blister or bubble.

How Do I Get Rid of Bubbles and Blisters on a Tennis Court Surface?

In order to take care of the bubbles and blisters, long term, you will need to do some investigating.  Start by making sure any and all drains around the tennis court are free of debris or anything that would prevent proper flow of drainage water.  You may want to enlist the help of an architect or excavation professional in order to evaluate the current drainage system and see if it was installed properly, or at all.  If the court substrate is concrete, you must ensure the following:

  • Was a vapor barrier installed beneath the court when poured?
  • Are there perimeter drains that can take the water away from the court when it runs off after a rain?
  • Was the concrete allowed to cure for 28 days, prior to coating?
  • Was the concrete surface acid etched to neutralize the alkalinity and balance the PH?
  • Were any curing compounds used on the concrete?
Tennis Court Blisters
Tennis Court Blisters

The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) maintains construction guidelines for asphalt and concrete tennis court and sport surfaces.  Ensure that the construction of the court meets their guidelines and find out from the tennis court builder if they followed the ASBA recommendations.  This may help you figure out why the blisters are occurring.  If you are still not sure what to do, feel free to fill out the contact form on this page and we can put you in touch with a SportMaster recommended, tennis court builder.  They can perform a free site visit with you and provide feedback and estimates for repair, resurfacing, or re-construction. You can view our Engineering Specification for Athletic and Recreational Surfacing on our Sportmaster site.