Repair, Resurface, Or Rebuild

Some tennis surfaces can be repaired.

“When there is too much cracking, though — such as over 500 linear feet per court — it’s not efficient to do crack repair. If the court has improper slope — being too flat or too severely sloped, or if there’s uneven planarity, with an extremely wavy surface — you’re looking at reconstruction.”

Resurfacing, the next phase, replaces the entire court surface, but without significantly reconstructing the base of the court. In short, it makes the court look new again without actually rebuilding it from the ground up.

“My definition of repair and resurfacing would apply to tennis courts that are within what the industry would consider a typical maintenance cycle,” says Gray.

“This would include cleaning of an existing surface, a reapplication of color material because the old surface was worn, filling and repairing of minor cracks to retard water penetration to the subsurface, leveling minor low spots where water stands, replacing tennis equipment and posts, and perhaps retying loose segments of fence. This type of work usually takes place between the 5th and 15th year in the life of a tennis court.”


This becomes necessary when the tennis court is failing and is unsafe, or well on its way to becoming unsafe. This may include heaving of the surface, and severe cracking that endangers players and affects the outcome of the game.

Other signs to look for include net or post foundations lifting out of the ground and loose stones appearing on the surface. These are far from the only signs, but are some to watch for.

Reconstruction of a court can vary between complete demolition, redesign and rebuilding, or it may require another solution on the market, such as an overlaying pavement design or other forms of adding a new surface. There is a wide range of membranes, overlay products and other designs on the market; many may be suitable for rec-and-park installations.

Those who are wavering between resurfacing and reconstruction should be aware that resurfacing — while a good option — may be only a temporary fix, depending upon the problems that are present in the surface.

“When considering resurfacing an existing court, I make the owners aware that when an existing court has cracks, the cracks will always reflect through the new pavement within a few years,” says Mike Vinton of Vasco Sports Contractors in Massillon, Ohio.

“The owner needs to know that these cracks always reappear. If the owner has a major concern or disappointment about surface cracking, a resurface job should never be considered. The only construction remedy to eliminate cracks is to remove the existing pavement and rebuild the site. Also, when a court is resurfaced, the slope and planarity cannot be corrected by much more than one inch. If the court is not at a correct grade, resurfacing can’t do much to help it.”

Keep Up With Upkeep

Something too often overlooked, according to contractors, is regular maintenance. Even hard courts need to be kept clean and free of debris, which can stain or be ground into the surface.

“Maintenance to be considered is removal of leaves from the court and any other work needed to ensure that there is positive drainage away from the court,” says Herb Osburn of Tennis Courts Inc. in Aylett, Va.

Regular maintenance — anything as simple as using a leaf blower to remove debris from the court, or making sure gates don’t drag across the surface of the court — help the surface last longer.

Evaluation Of Resources

Maybe you’re still not sure how to commit to tennis-court fixes. In that case, says Alex Levitsky of Global Sports & Tennis Design LLC in Fair Haven, N.J., it’s time to do the math.

“The short answer of when to do one or the other form of work is to use a cost/benefit analysis,” says Levitsky. “When is it more affordable to do reconstruction than repair or resurfacing? When the cost of repair and resurfacing exceeds the cost of reconstruction, it is probably time to rebuild.”

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