Tennis Court Resurfacing

How To Find The Best Tennis Court Resurfacing Value

Save Money And  Determine Exactly What Your Court Resurfacing Project Will Need

This article will explain, in detail, how to find the best tennis court resurfacing value, whether you plan to do the work yourself or hire a tennis court resurfacing contractor.  We help you understand exactly what your tennis court resurfacing project needs, and will show you how to gather the pertinent information that will allow tennis court resurfacing contractors or material material suppliers to give you accurate quotes, at the lowest pricing.  You don’t want to pay too much for things you don’t need, and you don’t want under-pay and wind up with an inferior job or run short of materials.  The instructions below will prevent both.

Note: This article will refer to tennis court resurfacing specifically for the sake of brevity, but the process is essentially the same for other sport surfaces such as: Pickleball, Basketball, Paddleball, Volleyball, Badminton, play areas, tracks, walking areas, etc.…  If questions arise as you read, don’t hesitate to call us at: (404) 915-8352.  We, at The Court Store, Inc., love to talk tennis courts. 

SHOULD YOU HIRE A CONTRACTOR TO RESURFACE YOUR COURT OR DO IT YOURSELF? Price is the primary reason many decide to tackle their own tennis court resurfacing projects, but there are others.  Some want to take on the work because they love the challenge of “Do-it-yourself” projects.  Others are very meticulous and feel they can do a better job. Still others cannot find a court resurfacing contractor in their area.   Do-it-yourselfers are a very special breed.  We have found they do a very good job and not one of them has ever called to tell us they couldn't handle their project.  Many tennis court owners choose to hire a contractor to handle their court resurfacing projects “turn-key”. While they spend quite a bit more to have it done, they don't have to sacrifice the time it takes to do the work.  Contractor pricing for tennis court resurfacing varies widely from one region of the U.S to another.  As the graphic below illustrates, in most Atlantic and Pacific coastal areas you can realize substantial savings by buying the materials and resurfacing your own court.  while more modest saviings can be had in certain areas of the South.  Below is a table of approximate turn-key tennis court resurfacing prices around the Country, as well as DIY materials, tools, and shipping costs to do it yourself. 

Number of Courts

DIY Materials, Tools & Shipping

Northeast U.S.  & California

Southeast & Midwest U.S.

Southwest & Northwest U.S.

1 Court

$1,500.00 to $3,000.00

$8,000.00 to $16,000.00

$4,000.00 to $8,000.00

$6,000.00 to $10,000.00

2 Court Battery

$3,400.00 to $4,900.00

$12,000.00 to $24,000.00

$6,000.00 to $12,000.00

$9,000.00 to $15,000.00

3 Court Battery

$4,900.00 to $6,400.00

$17,400.00 to $34,000.00

$8,500.00 to $17,000.00

$13,000.00 to $22,800.00

4 Court Battery

$6,400.00 to $8,600.00

$23,800 to $45,500.00

$11,500.00 to $23,200.00

$17,000.00 to $28,400.00

HOW LONG SHOULD A TENNIS COURT RESURFACINGS LAST?  Tennis court resurfacing, the process of patching and repainting an existing tennis court, is usually done every 4 to 7 years.  Some do it more often.  Some wait 10 to 15 years to resurface their court.  Courts getting heavy play are generally resurfaced more often. Courts that are very old and/or are structurally deficiant, will also require more frequent attention to issues such as large cracks and settlement to keep them playable.  The average time between resurfacings is approximately 5 years.  The general reasons for waiting longer than 7 years are a lack of funds or inattention due to lack of use.  After 7 years the court may begin to become an eyesore on the property, due to substantial fading of the tennis court surface color.

CAN YOU FIND THE TIME TO RESURFACE YOUR COURT YOURSELF?  A tennis court is a much larger area, so it is somewhat physically challenging.  The saying, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.”, applies here.  You can take multiple bites of your tennis court resurfacing elephant each day or you can take one small bite when you have a couple of hours on a sunny morning.  Your court resurfacing project does not have to overwhelm you.  This article will help you understand how to fit it into your schedule.

DO YOU NEED SPECIAL SKILLS TO RESURFACE AND REPAIR YOUR COURT?  First, let’s dispel the notion that this work requires a high level of training or skill.  Tennis court resurfacing is not any more technically challenging than many common do-it-yourself projects.  If you have laid tile in your kitchen or patched and painted a wall you already have many of the technical skills needed to resurface a tennis court.  Even if you have never done these related projects, with a little guidance from us and a few trade secrets we reveal, your tennis court resurfacing project will look like it was done by a pro.

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT FROM A TENNIS COURT RESURFACING CONTRACTOR?  At the very first contact with a tennis court resurfacing contractor you should let him (or her) know you have inspected the court and have a diagram and pictures of the areas you believe need attentionr.  Of course, acknowledge that he is the professional and you are receptive to any recommendations he has to offer.  The contractor will very likely be able to give you a verbal quote and send one in writing, based on the inspection diagram and pictures you have sent.  Most contractors will still want to come out to look at the court and meet you, but some who are extremely busy may offer a proposal without a visit. A good contractor will explain the repair issues he finds, the proposed cures, and the expected results and limitations.  He (or she) will give you a written proposal with these details clearly stated, along with the price and warranty.

Some of our customers tell us of contractors who tell them theiir tennis courts cannot be resurfaced, and should be torn out and rebuilt.  If this happens to you, listen intently to their reasoning, use you common-sense, and then call us.  We will be glad to give you an ubiased opinion on the topic.  As a court ages it will require more maintenance, but only in extreme cases require complete reconstruction. Most courts (99.9%) can be improved dramatically by resurfacing, giving you many more years of play, avoiding the high cost of reconstruction.  Some tennis court resurfacing contractors tend to push reconstruction because they are heavily invested in expensive equipment needed for tennis court construction and/or reconstruction.

 INSPECTION, RECORDING, PLANNING AND PRICING ARE YOUR FIRST STEPS

THE PROFESSIONAL WAY TO INSPECT A TENNIS COURT FOR RESURFACING

The first step of your tennis court resurfacing project is “Inspection”, whether you plan to hire a tennis court contractor to do the work or do it yourself.  Just as you stand a better chance of a reasonable price by speaking knowledgeably to a mechanic about a problem with your car, you will be assured of the best value for your tennis court resurfacing if you know exactly what your court needs.  It’s not always possible to know specifically what car repairs are needed due to their complexity.  But, once you have followed the inspection steps below, you will know exactly what your tennis court will need and be able to communicate intelligently with tennis court resurfacing experts.  A thorough inspection and recording will allow you to proceed on to planning and pricing your tennis court resurfacing as a do-it-yourself project, or to provide local court contractors with the information needed for them to easily give you their best pricing for a turn-key job.

WAIT FOR A GOOD RAIN OR FLOOD YOUR COURT WITH A HOSE

Tennis court resurfacing pros know the best way to inspect a court is within an hour of a heavy rain.  The gloss from the water reveals highs, lows and other imperfections that are more difficult to see when the court is dry.  Slight humps created by roots intruding onto the court are a good example of identifying high spots.  Standing water can best be identified one hour after flooding.  Therefore, the obvious first step to a thorough inspection of your court is to wait for a good soaking rain or flood it with a garden hose.  Immediately after the court has been flooded, walk over every square foot of it looking for any imperfections (except standing water).  You should have a big yellow crayon in hand to mark each area you think needs repair.  Don’t hesitate to write on the court where you want to be reminded of details of the problems. 

You should wait one hour after a good flooding to find and mark areas where water is standing.  The U.S.T.A. (United States Tennis Association) regulations state: any area holding water deep enough to cover a nickel (1/8” or greater), one hour after flooding, should be patched to eliminate or at least reduce the standing water.  In our industry these areas are called, “Bird-Baths”, oddly enough.  The U.S.T.A. is primarily interested in eliminating these Bird-Baths because they slow the drying of the surface after a rain, delaying the resumption of play.  As a court owner, you should eliminate them because water standing on the surface for too long will allow mildew to flourish, creating a slip hazard when damp and eventually degrading the paint.  So, one hour after flooding, use your yellow crayon to mark around the outer edge of any Bird-Baths you find. 

Typical crayon markings will look similar the graphic below (black lines represent cracks).  Don’t be alarmed if your court has many more marks than show here. 

NOTE:  If you plan to resurface the court relatively soon, you should consider cleaning your court (including pressure washing if needed) before you perform the inspection steps above.  Cleaning with water will remove many of the markings.  Rain will erode them away after a month or so.

Once you have inspected the tennis court and marked the areas needing work, it’s a good practice to document these areas with a diagram and electronic pictures.  These will be invaluable to anyone you contact to either supply materials for your tennis court resurfacing or for contractors to give you turn-key pricing.  If you would like a blank tennis court diagram for your notes, click on one of these links for one of ours: SINGLE COURT DIAGRAM, TWO COURT BATTERY DIAGRAM.  They are free.  Your pictures should include close-ups of the problem areas and a few half-court and full-court overview shots.  It helps to drop a coin in the close-ups for perspective.  When finished your diagram will look something like the one below.

WHAT REPAIRS ARE OFTEN NEEDED ON TENNIS COURT RESURFACING PROJECTS?

Root Intrusion is usually found around the first 15 feet of the court perimeter, all though I have seen roots reach well into the playing area.  The telltale sign of root intrusion is a long, relatively narrow hump (4” to 12” wide) emanating onto the court from its edge.  A crack is often, though not always, present running along the top of the hump.  With your crayon, mark the lowest point of both sides of the hump.  Root intrusion is not as hard to repair as most believe.  Mark the root intrusion on the court with the yellow crayon and record it on your diagram.

Most root intrusion will occur on asphalt courts, where even small roots can grow between the base rock and the asphalt.  Only very large roots will distort concrete.  Where it occurs on concrete, the distortion is pronounced and can only be fixed by cutting out the concrete and replacing it.  Repairing root intrusion on an asphalt court is much simpler.  Many people think they should cut out the hump in the court down to the root.  Not only is this unnecessary, it is unwise.  Every cut in a court will create a future crack. 

Standing Water.  As previously described, standing water (birdbath) is any area holding water deeper than 1/8” one hour after flooding.  Mark these areas with your yellow crayon.  It is useful for future reference to make a note inside each birdbath such as: D for deep, S for shallow, 1/8”, ¼”, ½”, etc. After the surface is dry, sketch the birdbaths on the diagram including the same notations on the court.  Measure the dimension of each patch you have marked on the court and record them on your diagram. These measurements will help you and your coatings supplier determine the length and number of straightedges you will need for patching, if you decide to tackle the tennis court resurfacing project yourself.  Your detailed diagram and pictures will also be instructive to prospective contractors should you decide to solicit quotes.  You will see much more interest from contractors if you have these materials ready to email or text to them.

Court Cracking – Cracking is the most common repair item which must be addressed before tennis court resurfacing (repainting) can begin.  Unless you are one of the lucky few who have a post-tensioned concrete tennis court you will very likely have some cracks to repair.  In the inspection phase you should sketch in all the cracks on a scaled diagram of your court or courts.  Note the width of each crack. Once the cracks are mapped out on the court diagram you or prospective tennis court contractors can estimate the total lineal feet and average width of the cracks to be repaired.  Now it’s time to decide whether you want to invest in repairing the cracks permanently or just fill them and continue to treat them as a maintenance item.  All crack fillers will re-crack, usually starting the first cold days of Fall or Winter.  Our patented permanent crack repair system, CrackSpan, costs around $6.00 per lineal foot.  Contractors typical charge between $15.00 and $25.00 per foot for turn-key installation of similar systems.

Humps or Dips That Could Affect Play - These areas are best seen right after flooding when the surface is still glossy.  Mark them with the crayon and sketch them on your diagram.

Rough Areas – Rough areas can be seen whether the court is wet or dry.  If they are prominent you won’t need to mark them with the crayon, but you should draw them on your court diagram and note their dimensions.

Surface Delamination Or Cracking Around Net Post or Fence Post Foundations - This also a common repair issue for most tennis court resurfacing projects.  Note them on your diagram.

Delaminating Patches and Surface Coatings – Sometimes, due to defective products or improper surface cleaning, you will find areas on the court peeling or delaminating.  You should make a note, and take pictures, of these areas, but you will not know their true size until you blast their edges with a pressure-washer.  Your new tennis court surface will only be as sound as the old surface beneath it.  You will have to follow the weak surface where ever the pressure washing leads.  While the area may not be much larger after pressure washing, you must get rid of the weak surface areas.

Foreign Substances on the Court That Could Affect Adhesion – The most common foreign substances that will affect adhesion of the new patches and court resurfacing coatings are: mold, mildew, algae, and mud.  These are all easily removed by a combination of cleaning chemicals, and a good strong pressure washing.  Record these areas needing cleaning on your diagram and take a few pictures.

COLOR COATINGS - THE ICING ON THE CAKE

The repairs described above are the foundation of most tennis court resurfacing projects.  The color-coatings and lines are the icing on the cake.  On rare occasions a customer will call who has a perfect court, needing only to brighten up a faded finish. The other 99.9 percent of you will have one or more repair issues to address before you should apply the color and lines.  The number of coats needed to acheive an attractive, evenly textured finished surface are determined by the texture of your existing surface and the extent of patching required to repair the problem areas on your court.  If your court has only a few cracks or other areas needing patching, two coats of color and lines should provide a fine looking job.  If your court has some areas where the asphalt or concrete is exposed and rough, at least one coat of acrylic resurfacer will be needed to smooth these areas out before applying the two coats of color.  Extensive patching or a rough overall surface texture may necessitate applying one or more coats of acrylic resurfacer prior to the color-coating.  Your tennis court resurfacing diagram and pictures will be invaluable to material suppliers and contractors for determining exactly how many coats and which coatings your court needs.

Whether you hire a tennis court resurfacing contractor or do the work yourself, inspecting and recording these repair issues will arm you with the information court contractors and material specialist will need to provide accurate pricing and the best values.  If you have any questions or if your court has a repair issue we haven't covered, please call us.  We would be happy to discuss them with you.  Our phone number is: (800) 983-1357.