Do It Right The Second Time
Reconstruction The Right Way
are, if you are reading this, you are considering the restoration
of your tennis court. And,
if your court is like the vast majority of courts we restore each year,
it was probably not built very well.
In our industry, as much as I hate to admit it, quality and value
have taken a back seat to “The Cheapest Price” mentality.
It is the goal of this article to
illustrate exactly how a sturdy, high quality, low-maintenance tennis
court is made, and our hope that, armed with this knowledge you will, “Do
It Right The Second Time”.
condition of the existing court, and the ground beneath it are the key
variables that will determine the cost and complexity of the entire
project. With few
exceptions it is, therefore, extremely important to enlist the services
of a Geotechnical Engineer. He
will take core samples of the designated area and perform tests to
determine exactly why your court is failing, and will prepare a
report detailing exactly what needs to be done to insure the structural
integrity of the new court. From
his report you will be able to obtain bids for the restoration, with all
contractors using a single specification.
Consistent Rock Base
would be amazed to know just how many courts have been built in the
Atlanta area with little or no rock base.
The rock base acts as a barrier between the expansive earth and
the fairly rigid asphalt surface of your court.
The base allows the soils beneath your
court to expand and contract without causing cracks in the asphalt.
If you prepare your site and sub-grade according to your
engineer’s specifications a consistent (well compacted) 4" of
D.O.T. approved crusher-run stone is adequate.
If you do not prepare the site properly, no amount of stone can
guarantee a sound court.
(1 + 1 is greater than 2)
typical asphalt specification for tennis court construction in the
Atlanta area calls for a compacted thickness of 2 inches.
The secret to great asphalt is to be sure that it is placed in
two separate (1") layers. The
first layer is called a leveling course, consisting of a fairly large
aggregate giving the court strength.
It should be evenly placed and properly compacted prior to the
application of the second and final layer of asphalt (the finish
course). The finish course
is made up of a much finer aggregate, providing a smooth tight surface
with which to apply the color system. It is, however, the method by which these two separate layers of
asphalt are laid that causes their whole to be greater than the sum of
the second layer (the finish course) is applied, the paving joints
should be staggered or offset from the joints of the leveling course.
This allows each layer to support the seams of its counterpart,
preventing or at least minimizing joint cracking as the court ages.
The paving seams (or joints as they are called in the industry)
are the weakest points in an asphalt pad and a very common cause of
cracking tennis courts in our area.
Fencing (MORE IS MORE)
You must consider the following
four key areas to determine the true quality of the fence.
A good fence must have post
foundations measuring not less than 9" in diameter, with terminal
posts set three feet deep and line posts buried at least two feet.
spacing between the posts must not be greater than 8 feet.
The Fence Industry standard of 10 feet between posts is
good enough for tennis courts. The added load windscreens place on
tennis court fence cause this standard to be inferior and costly to the
Good fence framework will be a
thick wall SS20 to SS40 weight pipe.
Inferior fence will have only thin wall tubing for framework.
A sturdy fence will also have top,
middle, and bottom rail. Unfortunately,
most tennis courts are built without middle or bottom rail, a casualty
of the low-price mentality that has affected the quality of so many
Don't skimp on the
chain-link part of the fence
(we call it fence fabric in the industry).
The wire thickness should be at least 11 gauge. In order
to get this wire thickness you must ask for a full 8-gauge vinyl coated
Inferior Fence A Well Built Fence
The difference between an 8-gauge
vinyl coated fence fabric and a light 9 gauge is substantial, and will
make all the difference in the world in the durability of your fence.
you play ALTA I'll bet you have seen more than one facility with the
fence curling so badly at the bottom that balls actually rolled under
the fence. Now you know
what causes it.
Acrylic Surface Makes The Court
most noticeable feature of a new court is the freshly coated surface and
bright white playing lines. At
first glance almost all new court surfaces look good.
However, to truly judge the quality of the acrylic surface you
must first look beneath this eye-catching façade, down into the
patchwork that was done prior to coloring.
No matter how good the paving, a tennis court will always need
to be patched.
eliminates standing water that will degrade the surface and slow drying
after a rain. It also
eliminates surface irregularities that can cause injury, as well as bad
ball bounces. A properly
patched court must meet two standards:
standing water, one hour after flooding, which can cover a nickel
surface irregularities which vary more than ¼” along a ten foot
straightedge placed in any direction on the playing surface of the
court is patched properly, the surface coatings are applied.
The function of these coatings (besides the obvious aesthetic
value) is to fill the porous asphalt, hide the patchwork, and provide an
evenly textured playing surface for a consistent ball bounce.
A total of four coats is typical, but not always adequate.
Your court contractor should agree to
apply as many coats as is necessary to accomplish these goals.
court contractor should be willing to give you a five
(5) year warranty on restoration work which has been approved by a
have experienced, first hand, the problems of a poorly constructed
court. Be assured, you’ll
never regret doing it right the second time.