Repair, Resurface, Or Rebuild

When tennis players begin to complain about court conditions, it’s time to give the courts a check-up. A walk-through can reveal problems such as cracks, weeds, puddles and stains. After some quick research on the Internet, you realize you have more questions than answers. Should you repair and resurface the courts? Reconstruct them? Try something new?

Does your tennis court need a new surface?

Another issue to add to the confusion is that there’s a bottom line to worry about. Work on tennis courts varies widely in cost, depending on what’s being done. So how do you know what to do about the problems?

Get Help

First, get the right decision-making help, says Jerry Gray of Leslie Coatings Inc., in Indianapolis, Ind. A facility may obviously need some level of repair, but determining which level takes a specialist.

“Assessing a tennis court properly should be done by a professional tennis-court contractor, not just a person in the asphalt industry,” Gray notes.

“A complete knowledge of all of the conditions and remedies is required. It is important that you get an individual who has the courage to tell you what you need to know, even if it means there would be no work in it for him. There is nothing more difficult than trying to explain to your board of directors why they spent public money on something that did not work. It is better sometimes to wait until you get the proper funds to do something right rather than putting a Band-Aid on a problem.”

Fred Kolkmann of Fred Kolkmann Tennis & Sport Surfaces LLC, in Grafton, Wis., says a parks director should hire a consultant to do a detailed study of the facility, known as a facility-assessment.

“The information it will give them along with the budgets it should provide will be invaluable information for them and their boards. These assessments should include all the various repair options and the construction costs, as well as expected maintenance costs over the next 20 years. This provides valuable life-cycle costs that should prevent them from purchasing a repair system that will cost them an arm and a leg to maintain.”

Once you have professional assistance on your side and a recommendation in hand, it’s time to learn more about the different terms used in the tennis-court construction world.

The following are the general rules by which contractors classify tennis-court work; they are presented here from what is generally the least to the most expensive; however, keep in mind that what may be suitable for one court may not work on another in the same area, given the installation, use and more.

Repair And Resurfacing

This is the first level of addressing tennis-court problems. Repair, the first phase, targets specific areas, such as cracks.

Tennis-court contractors have various methods of repairing cracks, and use tennis court-specific products, rather than the type of materials used to patch other types of pavement, such as driveways. Others have proprietary systems that may be more involved and, hence, more of an investment.

Note that cracking in a court is a symptom of another problem under the court itself, and that repairing certain types of cracking may be ineffective. Tennis-court contractors can make recommendations as to whether a simple repair is in the park system’s best interest.

“Cracks can be fixed, but not when they are heaved,” says Dan Clapp of Armor Crack Repair System in Farmingdale, N.J.

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