Patching Tennis Court Low Areas

 

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PATCHING LOW AREAS AND OTHER IMPERFECTIONS

Low areas, holding water, on a tennis court can allow algae to grow, creating an eventual slip hazzard and will also cause the surface coatings to degrade over time. Patching them prior to resurfacing a tennis court or surfacing it for the first time is an important and easy step in the process. 

Using a tape measure, measure the width of each patch you have marked on the court and record the measurement on your diagram. These measurements will help you determine the length and number of straightedges you will need for patching.

Find the widest point of each patch, in the direction you plan to strike-off the patch, and add one foot to each of these measurements. In other words, if you have three patches measuring 3', 5', and 6' at their widest points, you will need three straightedges: a 4' straightedge, a 6' straightedge, and a 7' straightedge. Refer to the drawing below:

 

A straightedge can be made from almost anything, as long as it is very straight and rigid. Wood 2-by-4s, steel angle iron (1"), or aluminum rectangular tubing (2" x 4"), make excellent straightedges. All can be purchased at your local builders supply. Remember, whatever you use it must be perfectly straight.
Below is a list of other items you will need for patching low areas and other imperfections. Most can be purchased locally. The applicator squeegee is a specialty tool that can be purchased from us.

Flat Trowel

Masons Rubbing Stone with Handle

Tape Measure (at least 25’)

Blower (hand, backpack or push)

5 Gallon Buckets (2)

Floor Scraper

1 Gallon Bucket

Flat Shovel

Putty Knife (3” wide)

Drill with Paint Mixing Paddle

Push Broom

36” Applicator Squeegee

Flower Watering Can (2 gallon)

Razor Knife

Garden Hose with Spray nozzle

Extension Cord

Silica Sand (30/60 mesh)

Portland Cement

It’s now time to start patching. Place the desired amount of TruPatch you estimate will be needed, in a five gallon bucket, add the specified amount of sifted portland cement (1 part portland to 4 parts TruPatch) and stir with a drill-powered mud paddle until homogenous. The patch mix should have the consistency of a medium-thick milkshake. Warning: Never try to add more water as the mix begins to set. If it is too thick to use, dump it out and make a fresh batch. You may also use SuperPatch Kit interchangealbly with any TruPatch application. The kit is similar to TruPatch but it includes all of the components: the latex, sand and portland cement. You will have to purchase portland cement to use in TruPatch.
 
Place the appropriate straightedge on the court about 1 foot in front from where you plan to start your patch. Pour theTruPatch or SuperPatch mixture in a pattern as wide as the patch at the edge of the straightedge. Preferably with a helper at the other end of the straightedge, pull the patch mix across the area to be patched. Add more patch mix as needed. If the patch is not fairly smooth, mist the patch and surrounding are with a garden hose spray nozzle, pull the straightedge back and forth over the patch until smooth. Make sure the edges of your patch completely cover the area you marked. 
 

Feather the edges of your patch using a square trowel or hand squeegee. Try to blend the patch edges with the court surface. This is the secret to blending the patch into the court so that is invisible once the resurfacing is complete.

This video will help you visualize how this patching process works.

After the patches have dried overnight, take a masons rubbing stone and rub any rough or high spots smooth. Blow off loose particles created by the stone. After each patching and coating application you should always walk the entire court with your floor scraper, scraping up any drips or smears left on the surface. It is very important to scrape these areas well. Once you have finished this step, blow all of the scrapings and other debris off of the court before starting the next step.  

If this is your first experience with patching, you will likely nee to rent a floor sander from Home Depot.  This will hone down all blemishes and rough edges. At a cost of around $70.00, the sander is well worth it when you consider the wear and tear on your back and knees when scraping and rubbing by hand.

It is always a good practice to flood the court again, after the patching is completely dry. Patch any areas which are still holding water.  

Most professionals apply a coat of EnviroFill Resurfacer or EnviroCoat Color Coating over all of their patches prior to the application of the color over the entire court. This extra coat over the patches, called a “feather-coat” or “skim-coat”, helps hide the patching. This technique is worth the little bit of extra time and materials it takes. It is truly one of the tricks of the trade.