This is one of the most frequently asked questions from prospective surfacing customers every year. Having come from the world of professional tennis court surfacing and construction we have always been partial to applying all coats with a squeegee. This is because squeegee application is the most productive use of every man-hour. For instance, it takes a trained surfacing technician less than thirty minutes to apply one coat over an entire inbounds, and most 2 or 3 man crews utilize two applicators. One man will typically apply two or three coats over an entire tennis court every day. If they are not producing this much work they are not making much money. We finally realized this is not the paradigm of most do-it-yourselfers.
While efficiency is often an important factor for the do-it-yourselfer, it’s not necessarily the primary objective. Labor is usually cheap or free and often his own. The ultimate goal of all do-it-yourselfers is a finished project that looks like it was done by a professional. This can be accomplished by either application method. It is the unique set of court conditions, available labor, and time blocks you can commit to the project that will determine which method is best for you.
EXISTING COURT CONDITIONS
Most of our customer’s have previously painted courts that just need a little patching and some fresh coats of color to spruce them up. If this describes your needs you can either roll or squeegee the color on your court. However, if you have to apply a surface on new asphalt or an existing court that needs a lot of patching, you should plan to use a squeegee. This is because the squeegee performs another important role, in addition to being more productive (saving time). As it passes over the surface the rubber blade allows the coating to drop into any voids, or other small low areas such as the edges of a patch or voids in new asphalt. With each coat you are filling and smoothing the surface. Rough existing courts or new asphalt will often require you squeegee 3 or 4 coats to obtain a smooth, evenly textured surface. When more than two coats are needed EnviroFill Acrylic Resurfacer is usually applied for the first coat or coats, as it has superior filling qualities. A roller applies the same amount of coating in high and low areas making it a poor option for filing and smoothing rough areas. Since new concrete courts are fairly smooth a roller can also be used to surface them.
AVAILABLE LABOR AND TIME BLOCKS
Assuming you don’t have a new asphalt or otherwise rough court to surface, the next considerations are available labor and time blocks you can commit to your project. If you are a homeowners association, youth camp or other organization that can round up a large number of unskilled volunteers, roller application might be a very attractive option. Almost everyone has used a paint roller before. so you can designate specific sections of the court for each volunteer to paint, i.e. a service box, no-man’s land, the area between the singles and doubles lines, etc… At the other end of the labor/time spectrum, if it is just you and you have limited time blocks to devote to your surfacing project, roller application might also be ideal. You can pick one or more sections of the court to surface for the time you have available. If you want to take all summer, or longer, to resurface your court that’s fine.
While the squeegee is much faster, you will have to commit to a pretty large area (i.e. an entire inbounds) each time you surface. If you try to squeegee a portion of an area the texture and color of the coat may not be even. Following are some examples of time and labor estimates for various scenarios. It will take two men (or women) approximately 3 hours to prepare for and apply one coat of EnviroCoat over one inbounds with a squeegee. Two people rolling the same area would expend approximately 6 hours of labor per coat. Ten people, taking one section of the inbounds each, could roll a coat over the entire inbounds in a little over an hour. One person, spending two hours each weekend, rolling coating on one section each hour, will complete a coat on an inbounds in a little over five weekends.
EnviroCoat will provide a beautiful finished surface whether applied with a squeegee or roller. It’s up to you to choose the method that best fits your available time, labor and surface conditions.