On The Surface


When is it time to resurface a court? Various ranges are given by industry leaders, but 3 to 7 years are the average, and those are based largely on regional differences in climate, its direct effect on asphalt, exposure of asphalt to the elements and the surface’s use. There are several factors in ascertaining when it is time to resurface a court:

· Low areas/depressions (bird baths) that hold more than 1/16-inch of water

· Cracks interfering with game play and/or making conditions unsafe for users

· Surface paint that is faded, cracked and/or showing the sub-base

· Exposed tree roots or other surface upheavals that can create tripping hazards

· Discoloration and rust spots on the court surface

· Small bumps or “bubbles” on the surface that sound dead or hollow when bouncing a ball.

While all of these maintenance issues need to be addressed, cracks, upheavals and depressions are the most costly, and can lead to further problems if not taken care of promptly. Left unattended, they can destroy the sub-base.

There are various techniques available to restore and combat the effects of time and skateboards. Patching and filling can take care of minor cracks, divots and birdbaths. Many times, this work can be performed quickly with minimal downtime to court users. For larger cracks and depressions with depths up to a ¼ inch, a fabric overlay and resurfacing may be necessary. Courts that have numerous cracks, depressions and upheavals may need a completely new asphalt overlay, or may have to use some of the newer prefabricated overlay products. These techniques are expensive, but will add another 6 to 12 years to the court’s lifespan.

Minding Maintenance

The best way to avoid or reduce repairs is with a quality maintenance program. Since weather, local sediment conditions and asphalt-mix vary from region to region, local contractors are able to evaluate these variables. Other components of a maintenance program include:

· Blowing or sweeping courts weekly

· Pressure-washing every 1 to 2 years to remove mildew

· Avoiding planting and keeping all larger trees at least 10 feet from the perimeter

· Repairing cracks as they appear (before they are beyond patching and before a freeze)

· Having courts professionally inspected every 2 years.

Keeping play surfaces safe for the public is fundamental to what we do. Retaining and prolonging their value is being a good steward of public and private funds. These two principles are at the core of every parks and recreation professional and, oddly, never illustrated better than by asphalt!

Steve Yeskulsky is a CPRP currently working in the parks and recreation industry in Sarasota, Fla. He can be reached via e-mail at syeskulsky@verizon.net


Some Interesting Facts About Asphalt:

· Asphalt is America’s number-one recycled product–seven times more than plastic bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers and glass bottles combined!

· One of the oldest major sporting events to make use of asphalt is the Tour de France (1903 – present). In 1824, the French started paving their roads with asphalt blocks.

· Don’t stop running or walking during the summer, especially in Death Valley in California. It is an urban legend that shoes can melt on a hot day, and make the runner stick to the asphalt.

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Related posts:

  1. From The Ground Up
  2. Keeping Up With The Seasons
  3. Repair, Resurface, Or Rebuild
  4. Beauty Is More Than Just Skin Deep
  5. A Living Legend

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