Article : 2007 June LSMP Close-Up: Tennis Court Resurfacing

Tennis Court Resurfacing

Concrete Court Maintenance and Repair

By Bill Righter, Nova Sports USA

Tchefuncta Country Club, Covington, LA Completed April 2007 by Nova Sports. Novacrylic Ultracushion tennis coating system.

There are many problems that can occur on concrete and asphalt sports courts that need to be attended to to avoid further damages. Here are some of the common problems that occur on concrete sports courts and ways to address them.


Birdbaths are depressions in the court that hold water after the rest of the court has dried. Birdbaths have to be repaired prior to resurfacing because any standing water on a new coating system will soften the acrylic coating and the surface will fail prematurely. A qualified tennis court contractor should be used. It is important that the contractor consult with the coating manufacturer to make sure that the materials used to repair the birdbath are compatible with the tennis court surfaces. The birdbath is considered repaired when the depression is smaller than a nickel.

Repairing a birdbath on a concrete tennis court.


There are many reasons why blistering or bubbles occur on asphalt and concrete courts. Some common causes are:

  • Moisture from below the court — A problem on concrete tennis courts when no vapor barrier is used during the construction phase or the vapor barrier has failed. The vapor barrier prevents the concrete from wicking water from below the court, which in turn will cause blisters. On warm days the moisture below the court can transmit vapor through the asphalt & coating system—when there is more vapor than the acrylic coating system can handle, bubbles or blisters occur.
  • Improper Installation — Concrete has to cure a minimum of 28 days before the contractor can apply coatings, though it may take longer. If the coatings are applied before the concrete has cured, you will get blisters. If it rains for an extended period of time when the concrete is poured, this can occur. An experienced tennis court builder can do a simple test on the concrete prior to the application of the coating system specified. Improper asphalt mix can also cause blistering* — consult the American Sports Builders Association.
  • Too many coatings — Acrylic coating systems are designed to breathe. When excessive coatings are applied over existing coatings and the new coating system cannot breathe, blistering can occur.
  • Poor drainage — A faulty drainage system can also cause the court surface to bubble or blister.

Smoothing birdbath repair.

Iron Stains

Asphalt in certain areas of the country has a high iron content. Moisture will cause the iron to leave rust spots on your court surface. Over a period of time the asphalt will reject the iron pyrites and the courts will become pitted as well as rusted. There are different remedies to correct this problem depending on the severity. If the court just has a few rust spots the contractor may drill them out of the court and patch the areas. Some of the tennis coating companies manufacture rust inhibiting products to treat areas with this problem. If the court has a lot of rust stains and pitting then the courts should be repaved.


Caused by many factors, most of which are not on the surface of the pavement. It is important that the crack repair method used is compatible with the surfacing system. Many of the repair systems used on parking lots and roads are not compatable with acrylic sport surfaces. That is why it is important for the contractor to consult with the coating manufacturer before making repairs.

Small hairline cracks can usually be repaired with a couple of applications of acrylic tennis court coatings.

Small cracks 1/4’’ or less (Several repair methods)

  1. Acrylic caulks
  2. Acrylic Patch Binders mixed with
    sand & cement.
  3. Fabric repair systems.

Large Cracks over 1/4”

  1. Fabric repair systems.
  2. Acrylic Patch Binders mixed with
    sand & cement.
  3. Asphalt overlay

Types of Tennis Courts

NOVA Sports Manufactures 100% acrylic rubber filled coating tennis court systems applied in multiple layers (the more layers, the greater shock absorbing quality)

There are four main types of courts depending on the materials used for the court surface: clay courts, hard courts, grass courts and indoor courts. Hard courts are usually made of cement or plastic with an acrylic coating, and considered “medium to fast” surfaces. The US Open is played an acrylic hard court.

Synthetic suspended courts are usually made of a polypropylene plastic interlocking tile. They are placed on top of a hard surface such as asphalt or concrete. These courts are softer (more spongy) and considered medium/medium fast. They are slower than acrylic and more similar to a clay court. The Australian Open is played on a synthetic hard court.

VersaCourt Pro’s interlocking tile surfacing are snapped together during installation with six locking points on each 10” tile.

Ultimately the choice should be made based on physical conditions and player preferences.

Sports Court Resurfacing

By Chris Scott, Versa Court

BEFORE AND AFTER: Before laying the new tile surfacing the court had to be prepped. This involved cleaning all the loose material off the court, which consisted of paint, concrete and dirt. The next step was patching the low spots and cleaning and filling the cracks. The last step, which is optional, was the removal of the existing tennis poles and replacing them with multiuse poles.

If there are many severe problems on a sports court, resurfacing might be the only option. Here are some important tips on court resurfacing.

John Charles of Dermco-LaVine Construction, Minneapolis, Minn., says his company has assisted multiple municipalities in rejuvenating older tennis courts. “The most common problem we encounter is cracks in the surface. The snow is vicious on older courts; the thawing and refreezing of the snow continually works at the cracks until they interfere with the use of the court.”

In the selection of surfacing for a multipurpose court, there are a number of things to be considered.

  1. Absorption — One of the first is impact absorption; how well does the surface absorb the energy that can stress the lower back and legs? With acrylic courts one can choose how many layers of coating to achieve the right level of cushioning. Many of the surfacing options developed in the last 30 years are designed to protect the users from stress related injury.
  2. Resistance — Another consideration is the surface’s resistance to heavy moving loads. For example, some of the more poorly designed surfacing tiles available will pop loose if hit with concentrated force, posing a potential hazard. Also, check how resistant the surface is to indentation or gouging.
  3. Longevity — What is the life expectancy of the surface? Surface stability should be considered as well. Will the surfaces develop dark spots over time where dirt has been ground into the material?
  4. Uniformity — Surface uniformity is where the good and the great products separate. “The manufacturing process is the key to insuring that the court will not have dead spots where the ball bounce is deficient,” says Danny Little, CEO of VersaSport International, the manufacturer of VersaCourt surfacing tile. For acrylic courts, this means an even, smooth application from an experienced contractor. For tile courts, this means more injection points in the molding process. Visit installations and compare products; the best products are defined by their design and manufacturing.

Both Nova Sports USA and VersaCourt manufacture tennis court resurfacing.

for more information, visit and, respectively.

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