ADDvantage magazineby Jeff Gearheart, Director of SportMaster Sport Surfaces
How To Extend The Life Of Your Tennis Courts
Acrylic hard courts, or cushioned hard courts, require very low maintenance. However, here are some tips to help extend the life of your courts and to keep them in top playing condition throughout the season.
A properly built tennis court should be sloped to prevent accumulation of water on the surface, and drain in one direction. Once water flows off of the court surface, it should be directed to a drain system of some kind to prevent accumulation beneath the court. It’s a good idea to check around the court and drain system to make sure the water can be properly drained. Ensure that the drains are not plugged with debris to keep water from back flowing onto the court. In the spring, and also throughout the season, try to keep the grass trimmed around the edge of the courts so that the water can continue to flow off.
Another item to check is the condition of the surface and cracking. Over the winter, new cracks may have formed or existing cracks may have reopened. During the tennis court resurfacing process, cracks are filled with acrylic crack filling compounds to minimize intrusion of water and for aesthetic reasons. Freeze-thaw cycles can wreak havoc on pavement and cause the cracks to expand and contract, open and close. Crack filling repairs are only temporary fixes, and will need to be performed when the cracks reopen. Once the temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) at night, the time is right to apply crack sealants. Tennis court coating manufacturers produce some easy-to-use crack filling products, or you could have an experienced tennis court contractor perform the work. This will help to keep water from flowing into the base and speeding up the demise of your playing surfaces.
If your courts are surrounded by trees or are situated next to a shade bearing structure, you may want to give them a good cleaning. Outdoor courts usually stay pretty clean, as long as they are not littered with debris from pine needles and leaves. However, organic growth can occur when these items are left on the court for periods of time. Shady, wet areas are also good targets for moss, mold, or mildew to appear. To treat these areas, mix a solution of four parts water to one part household bleach and pour out on the surface. Use a soft broom and work the solution around the affected areas. Rinse well with clean water after about 20 minutes, and retreat as needed. If you want to clean the entire court surface, a mixture of two parts TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) to 1 part water can be used as a mild detergent. Just be careful not to over scrub the surface or use stiff bristles. Finally, if using a pressure washer, keep the psi below 2500 and don’t put the wand too close to the surface.
The average resurfacing cycle of acrylics should be every four to eight years, depending on many usage factors. If your court texture has become smooth and is playing fast, it may be time to resurface your court. This is normally a three to four coat process, which begins with proper cleaning and surface repairs. Hiring a professional tennis court contractor is the way to go, but make sure they are following the manufacturer’s specifications and not skipping important steps or coats. For more information and advice, please visit www.SportMaster.net
An endorsee with USPTA, SportMaster is the industry leader in court resurfacing. SportMaster tennis court surfaces are technically advanced, 100 percent acrylic sports surfaces. Many people refer to tennis court surfaces as “tennis court paint”, but SportMaster systems are designed to provide consistent speed of play, texture, and vibrant color to any indoor or outdoor facility.