Patching Tennis Court Cracks, How It Is Done And The Results You Can Expect

There are a number of crack repair methods, all relatively simple to execute. The method used is is largely determined by the type of crack you are patching and, in some cases, the desired longevity of the repair and your budget.

Before we start the instructional part of this step I would like to take a moment to add a word of caution to your expectations about crack repair. While the crack repair products we sell are among the finest in the industry, they will not prevent cracks from re-occurring. Crack repair done in moderate, tropical climates will have the best chance of long-term success. Excessive moisture, expansive soils, and freezing temperatures will almost guarantee the return of the cracks repaired. In most cases the cracks will begin to re-open slowly and will progress until they are as large as they were before you patched them within 3 to 5 years. The only long-term solutions are to install a membrane system such as CrackSpan over the cracks or to correct the cause of the cracking which is usually found well beneath the surface.

The first step of any crack repair project is to clean out the crack. Most of the clean out may have been accomplished if you pressure-washed the court before beginning this phase. If not, pressure washing is the best method for clean out of dirt and other loose debris in the cracks. You should also remove any organic matter and apply a vegetation sterilant if any live grass or weeds were removed. You would like to clean the crack to its full depth (of the asphalt or concrete) if possible. If you can’t determine the depth, make sure you clean the crack to a depth of at least 1" (1/2" if crack is less than one-quarter inch wide). If the crack is not at least 1/8” wide, try to widen it a little by dragging the corner of a putty knife or floor scraper through it until you have cleaned out a groove wide enough to force some of the crack filler into the crack.

Now that we have covered crack clean-out, let's discuss the different types of cracks and methods of repair. We'll start with the easiest first, the small non-structural crack. This crack is usually between 1/8" and 1/4" wide. If you are not planning to re-paint your tennis court and you don't have a lot of cracks, CrackLastic elastomeric crack filler is the best product to use. CrackLastic comes in all 10 of our standard colors and neutral.  If your tennis court is green and/or red the color choice is obvious. CrackLastic neutral is a great choice if your court is a different color because you can add pigment tint to it to achieve a fairly close match to your existing court colors. This product comes in a convenient 1 gallon pail and is best applied with a three or four inch wide putty knife. After applying a 2 to 3 foot strip, clean of the putty knife, and use it in a scraping motion along the wet patching compound to remove any excess material. It is handy to keep a small pail of water on hand to occasionally clean the knife. If some of the patches shrink, apply and second or even third patch until flush with the surrounding court surface.

Cracks Wider Than 1/4": For cracks wider than 1/4" use our TruPatch latex cement patching compound. Mix TruPatch according to instructions on the pail. Place the bucket of TruPatch at one end of the crack to be repaired. Using a one-gallon bucket or a large stiff cup with a handle, dip into the patch mix and pour a small bead of material along the crack. After placing the cup or bucket back into the patch mix, place your trowel or crack-filling squeegee at the start of the crack. Press down until the blade is firmly against the court surface. Push the trowel or squeegee along the crack, forcing the patch material into it. Keep pushing the trowel or squeegee back and forth along the crack until it is completely full of patch mix. Using a garden hose with a spray nozzle, spray a fine, light, mist over the patch and make one more pass with your trowel or squeegee. This will help feather the edges of your patch so that they blend with the surrounding court surface. If you want to save yourself a lot of scraping and sanding, every five to ten minutes you should stop patching and scrape the patches you just finished with a floor scraper. They are much easier to scrape before they dry. You can leave the scrapings on the court to remove later. When the patches are dry, blow off the entire surface scraping the patches and the waste product as you go. If your patches are raised up above the surrounding surface they will probably not hide well after the color-coatings are applies. In this case your best bet is to rent a floor sander to hone them down a little. Read our article on sanding patches before you decide which sanding method is best for your needs and skill level. As with any patching, it is a good idea to apply a coat of tennis court paint (the color planned for that area) over all of the crack patches before coating the court. This will help better hide the patches.