AtlantaTennis Home
Do It Yourself Court Repair Home
Products And Pricing
Tools You'll Need

Color Chart

9 Beautiful Colors

Court Resurfacing
Court Restoration
Court Construction
Court Supplies
Do It Yourself Court Repair And Surfacing
Environmental Sport Surfaces
The Tennis Court Store
Online Resurfacing Proposals

Contact Us

ess@atlantatennis.com

 

Call Any Time: 404.915.8352

 

Do It Right The Second Time

Tennis Court Reconstruction The Right Way

 

Chances 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”.

 

 Investigate First

The 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.

   

A Consistent Rock Base

You 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.

 

Asphalt  (1 + 1 is greater than 2)

The 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 their parts.

As 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.

The 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 court owner. 

 

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 American products.

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 fabric.

 

An 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.

 

 If 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.  

 

The Acrylic Surface Makes The Court

The 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. 

Patching 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:

No standing water, one hour after flooding, which can cover a nickel

No surface irregularities which vary more than ¼” along a ten foot straightedge placed in any direction on the playing surface of the court.

 

Once 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.

 

The Warranty

Your tennis court contractor should be willing to give you a five (5) year warranty on restoration work which has been approved by a Geotechnical Engineer.

 

You have experienced, first hand, the problems of a poorly constructed court.  Be assured, you’ll never regret doing it right the second time.