Applying The Inbounds Tennis Court Color Coating

The first step is to place tacks in the center of the intersections of all of your playing lines. The tacks should be no longer than 1/2 of an inch with a head no more than 1/8 inch in diameter. Tap them down with a hammer leaving them protruding approximately 1/8" above the surface. These tacks will preserve your existing line measurements, saving a lot of time later. The tack system assumes that your existing lines are accurately located. You can check them for accuracy by measuring them with a 100 foot tape measure. Please refer to our page titled court dimensions, and check them, if you have any doubt. Use the illustration below as a guide to the placement of the tacks.


You should always coat the in-bounds area first. Tape 8" wide masking paper around the perimeter outside of the inbounds area, using the center of the lines as your taped edge. It is advisable to use 24" paper behind the baseline where you will finish each coat. The extra paper will be much appreciated as you squeegee off the court. See illustration below.

 

 

Open six to seven - 5 gallon pails of EnviroCoat Ready-To-Use, or four - 5 gallon pails of EnviroCoat Concentrate With Sand for your first in-bounds color coat. Add the specified amount of water for the product you are using, and stir each pail until homogeneous using a mixing paddle attached to a 1/2" drill. It is very important that you mix each pail of coating thoroughly. Over time, the ingredients begin to separate slightly. The sand settles to the bottom and the lighter materials migrate to the top. We cannot stress enough: read and follow the directions on the EnviroCoat label to the letter. 

The inbounds coats should be applied parallel to the baselines. Place two pails at the end of the inbounds where you want to start the coat, one pail at the service line (approximately 20' from the last), one pail in the center (at the net line), one pail at the other service line (approximately 20' from the last), one pail at the other end of the in-bounds. Make sure to leave the lids on (loosely). A typical, previously painted, inbounds should only use 5 to 6 pails of mix (25 to 30 gals.). I recommend preparing 7 pails so you don't have to stop to mix more coating if you run short. Once you start squeegeeing, you should not stop until the coat is finished.

          

          

Start the coating application at the end of the inbounds where you placed the first 2 pails. Remove the lids and pour each pail onto the court as illustrated above.

You now simply use your squeegee to apply the coating parallel to the baseline, starting at the edge of the paper on the baseline and walking back and forth (sideline to sideline) with your squeegee, moving the row of paint approximately 6" each pass. Make sure that you squeegee the coating onto the edge of the masking paper.

You will notice in the illustration that the person applying the coating turns the corner and pulls the paint approximately 2 to 4 feet parallel to the sideline.  He is professional and does not need masking paper, but the paper makes the job easy for novices.

 

 

The coating should go down very thin. Imagine a layer of fine sand spread out on the court only one grain thick and you have a good idea of just how thin the coat of paint should be. If you see a puddle of paint or an unusually thick area, pass over it again with your squeegee. If the edge of your squeegee is cutting into the previous pass, leaving a ridge, make another pass over it with your blade out well beyond it. If you are consistently getting these ridges, you are probably trying to take too much paint at one time. Never let the paint pass beyond the middle of your squeegee blade as you pull the row.

If, when the first coat dries, you notice slick spots with little or no sand on the surface of the coat, you may need to touch them up with a paint roller before applying the second coat.  Slick spots will often not allow sand to stick when the coating is applied with the squeegee, even after multiple coats.  Coating applied with a roller will leave sand over these spots, providing texture for succeeding squeegee coats to grab on to.  It is not advisable to use a paint roller after the final squeegee coat.  The rolled on area will likely be very noticeable.  

As you squeegee, always try to keep your row of paint as straight as possible. You will always see what we in the industry call, "lap marks", after the coating dries. Lap marks are actually the pattern you create with every pass of the squeegee. They look best when they are relatively straight.  Lap marks will be less noticeable over time and are not so pronounced after the bright white lines have been painted.

Never just drop the blade of your squeegee down onto an area you have just painted, you will leave an edge of paint called a "tool mark". Always start each pass on the masking paper.

As you get near each of the areas where you have placed pails, your row of paint will begin to run out. Don't let it run down to nothing. Pour out another pail well before you run out. In the trade, we call this keeping a wet edge. Remember, this is very important: DON'T LET THE PAINT IN THE ROW RUN DOWN TO NOTHING BEFORE YOU ADD MORE!!!!!!

     

As you get close to the end of the inbounds, try to estimate the amount of paint you will need to finish. Try not to pour an excessive amount onto the court, you will just have to shovel it up later. When your paint row is about 1 foot from the back paper, put down your squeegee and scoop (using a flat shovel) most of the paint into a clean 5 gallon pail.

           

Squeegee the remaining small amount of paint onto the masking paper and leave for at least one hour. If you have been careful to shovel up as much paint as possible you will have very little paint on the paper. If you have more than you can spread out on the paper with your squeegee, carefully scoop it up and put it in a pail. If this leftover paint is contaminated with a lot of debris (leaves, scrapings, etc...), do not put it in a pail of unused coating. Put in an empty pail and either screen it through a piece of steel hardware fabric with 1/8" grid, or dispose of it.  These coatings will not harm grass or other plants.

If the weather is pleasant, the court is not getting warm, and you are not too tired, you can apply the second coat as soon as the first one is dry. This will take approximately one hour in good drying conditions. Otherwise let it sit overnight and apply the second coat in the morning. Don't forget to scrape and blow the surface before applying the next coat.

Most courts will only need two coats. However, if you can still see some of your patch work or other imperfections through the second coat, a third coat might be in order.

When you have finished coating the in-bounds, remove the masking paper and throw it away.