Finishing a backyard tennis court

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by GarE, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Hello...

    We just bought a house that has the concrete slab for a tennis court in the back yard.

    It has never been surfaced - it's just the concrete slab. It does have the poles for the tennis net, and a practice wall at one end. It's large enough for a regulation-size doubles court.

    I need to get it finished. It wouldn't be full contstruction, because the concrete slab is already there. But it wouldn't be resurfacing, either, I don't think, because it's never been surfaced in the first place. I think it would be something in-between the two - I need to have some type of a finished surface added to the concrete for the first time.

    Any idea what that might cost? I seem to be able to find costs for building a new court, or resurfacing an existing one, but I can't find prices for doing something in-between.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    I got 99 problems and i wish that was one.

    I'd search/ask locally for contractors who build courts.
     
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  3. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Some friends of ours had a court put in a couple of years back. I nearly fell off my chair when I learned the cost was ~$50K. Actually more than putting a swimming pool around these parts (Upstate NY ~$30K).

    Depending on where you are... My guess would be budget at least ~$20K for the project.
     
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  4. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    What type of surface. I heard there was this new surface called "claytech" - they are like tiles you stick them together to build the surface - might be the way to go. Also, I think there are also grass carpet type surfaces as well.
     
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  5. GarE

    GarE New User

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    @jrs, I am open to different surfaces. Probably either acrylic, like on most public courts, or those soft modular tiles. I hadn't heard of claytech, I'll have to research that. I'd ideally like to find something as low-maintenance as possible.
     
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  6. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    We played on those modular tiles while vacationing in the Caribbean. Just say no.... I much rather prefer cracks than ripples and waves.
     
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  7. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Most of the cost was in building the concrete base, which you have already. Then fencing and lighting, which you may or may not need. The surface will still run a few thousand if done for you, but nothing substantial.

    Look at the web site for Novasports - they are a well known and reputed surface provider. They can put you in touch with a local contractor. If you're a do-it yourselfer, you can probably buy just the materials.

    BTW Claytech is a synthetic clay court, which is not normally built on a concrete base.
     
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  8. GarE

    GarE New User

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    That's very interesting, eelhc - I have heard that some people don't like the tiles - that there are dead spots, that you slide around on them - what was your experience like?
     
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  9. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Here is a video of claytech

    Here is a video of claytech:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRUwrgknSI0

    These are based on carpet - not sure if it will ripple or tear.
    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
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  10. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Very inconsistent surface. Any small gap between the tile and base almost stopped the ball dead with no bounce.
     
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  11. lgbalfa

    lgbalfa Professional

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    please post pics of your progress.

    thanks
     
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  12. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    GarE, I don't think you would want either Claytech or a tile surface.

    However you haven't mentioned if you're much of a tennis player or what type of surface you want to play tennis on.

    Claytech will require an irrigation system and regular irrigation prior to each play. I play regularly on one of these every day in the summer but it's not inexpensive to build - probably 3k for irrigation system and 25k for carpeted synthetic clay surface.

    Tiles will surely run more than 10k and as many have said, can cause problems with bounces - plus this is not a sanctioned surface, so it won't help any serious players.

    Your best bet is as I said in my earlier post - unless you are already a clay court specialist and absolutely want a clay court on your concrete base, which you didn't mention, so I doubt this is your case.
     
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  13. GarE

    GarE New User

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    My wife and I are recreationial players. We just play for fun, and play about once a week.

    I wanted to find out about the various surfaces available, and I have. We are leaning towards an acrylic surface, like what you'd see at a public tennis court. It's what we're used to playing on.

    Just curious if anyone has any idea what it might cost to do that on our own, and if the savings warrant doing it? Like I said, we play for fun, so it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect, although we would try to make it to look as nice as possible.
     
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  14. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Google novasports tennis surfaces. On their web site you can see the various surfaces that are available and then purchase the products from them. they have nice explanations of the various coats that can be applied an will give you precise pricing once you review the options. Good luck!
     
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  15. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    if you don't play much you can try just putting that artificial grass they put at some clubs. It looks like the surface on miniature golf courses. Expensive but probably cheap than other alternatives.
     
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  16. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Many of here are jealous thinking what it would be like to have our own court. Do you have a picture of what the slab looks like now?
     
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  17. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Hi Corbind,

    It's a wonderful little blank canvas that we feel very fortunate to have. It just happened to be in the backyard of a house we bought recently. The court is rough right now - it's just the concrete slab - but it should be quite lovely when finished.

    Here are links to a couple of pics:

    http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/wonderbrat31/tenniscourt1.jpg

    http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/wonderbrat31/tenniscourt2.jpg

    The first is a view from the side; there's an old b-ball hoop on the left. We'll probably tear it out so we don't run into it while we're playing tennis. It looks pretty solid. I think the pole would win that collision. :)

    The second is a view of part of the practice wall. There is a b-ball pole behind the wall that we plan to attach a backboard to, to have basketball at that end instead.

    You can see that there's some grass growing between some of the concrete sections; the house was uninhabited for a couple of years and the court was unattended to. But the concrete itself seems to be in good shape; just needs cleaned up and mowed. ;-)
     
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  18. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Thanks! I will look 'em up and give 'em a call!

    My wife is a big do-it-yourselfer. I have a feeling there are squeegees in my future. :)
     
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  19. GarE

    GarE New User

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  20. GarE

    GarE New User

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  21. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    This is a cool project but I'm a little confused about something.

    So, typically, the net poles sit in the doubles alley. See picture below.

    Yet, your net poles are outside of the concrete slab. And your Sportscourt guy drew only a singles court. Is the issue that your concrete slab was not spec width?

    [​IMG]
     
    #21
  22. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    Look at any recreational tennis court, the net poles are outside the doubles alley so that you can play doubles.
     
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  23. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    My bad, you are right. Something in the pictures is throwing me off. Is the slab wide enough to include doubles alleys?
     
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  24. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Good questions, mmk - and nice pic to illustrate!

    The slab itself is about 40 ft. wide, and doubles lines are 36 ft., from what I read online; I remember the Sport Court guy saying there was just enough room for doubles lines, so I'm not sure why his design had singles court lines. I intend to paint doubles lines on it.

    Based on your pic, I would say that the location of the poles on my court is atypical. I'm not too surprised - I think that the person who had the court built intended it mainly as a playspace for his kids, and not for serious tennis.

    I say that mainly because the large basketball hoop with the white backboard is located in a place where, if you were playing tennis, you'd run serious risk of running right into it! And the basketball pole behind the wall was only 9 ft. tall instead of 10; a neighbor told me the owner made it shorter for his kids. When I put the new hoop up behind the wall, I had to buy an extender pole to get it to 10 ft.

    We just started cutting the pole with the white backboard down yesterday, so that we won't run into it while playing tennis.

    My plan this year is to rent a line making machine and just put up the white lines for doubles tennis, and for basketball at the end where the wall is. Next year, I plan to fully paint and finish the court. I figured it would give me practice painting the lines this year, and we could also see where problem areas are on the court (puddles, etc.) before finishing the court next year.
     
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  25. GarE

    GarE New User

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    I tried editing my post, but couldn't figure out a way to do it.

    Sorry - I attributed the reply to mmk, but it was by Fifth Set. My bad there, too. :)

    Yes, mmk, I googled public tennis court and saw that the poles are typically outside the lines. I never noticed that the pros have them inside the lines - interesting!
     
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  26. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    The net posts on the pro courts are not permanent (i.e. Not set into the concrete underlayer), they are set into sleeves embedded in the court so they can be removed completely when cleaning or resurfacing the court. There is a second, wider set of sleeves so that they can be moved outside the lines for doubles. Most clubs/parks have permanent net posts set outside the doubles alleys and you just use singles sticks to prop it up. You will have to dig out an area to install an eye bolt to secure the center strap for the net so it dips down 6" in the center and also provides a visual cue.

    I'd also suggest a wind screen for the fence, not so much for the wind but to provide a smooth contrasting background for the ball. Similarly I'd paint the wall dark green or blue to provide the same (and possibly paint a line or some targets on the wall for practicing alone)
     
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  27. Fifth Set

    Fifth Set Professional

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    Thanks for this explanation! Confusion solved.

    Sort of...

    I, like many people, play singles on club "doubles nets" without singles sticks. We are doing it wrong!
     
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  28. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Interesting - my wife wants to replace the fence with a wind screen too. Partly for aesthetics, and partly because it's softer to run into than a metal fence. :)

    Not sure about painting the wall - it would definitely look better, but it's very thirsty cinder block that would probably require a lot of paint. Not sure we want to spend that much time on it. We definitely plan to at least put a line on it, though.

    What I'd really like to do, but won't because of cost, probably, is put some kind of a cushion on the side walls jutting out from the main wall, for when we inevitably run into them. Although it just occurred to me that we could possibly plant some ivy or growing vines on them - like Wrigley Field! ;-) Gotta be better than running into brick, right? ;-)
     
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  29. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    You don't have to replace the fence; windscreens are just mesh panels that you attach to your existing fence via S-hooks, clip ties, or tied with rope. Not very expensive ($200ish per panel, you will only need one). As for safety, unless you plan on running head on full steam into a fencepost the chain link fence isn't going to hurt.
     
    #29
  30. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Reminds me of a local facility that holds tourneys. *Huge* converted warehouse. They hung those typical heavy blue vinyl curtains as dividers for all courts. On various courts they're hung about 1/4" from a hidden concrete warehouse wall. That's got to surprise many a player when moving back for a good lob.
     
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  31. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    GarE, any updates on your potential court?
     
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  32. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Hi corbind,

    Thanks for asking - yes - we did what we originally planned - we have been sealing gaps in the concrete where puddles were arising, so that we could take care of those before completely finishing the court in the near future. My wife and I then painted doubles lines in white, by hand - since they were just going to be temporary, we decided to forego the cost of the machine. I got the dimensions online and we measured and laid tape by hand and painted. A couple of slightly askew lines here and there, but not bad for a couple of first-timers!

    And I found a stencil kit online (which was really just chalk and strings with metal rings!) but it worked great for making a template for us to paint a key and 3-point line for the basketball court.

    My only complaint so far is that critters have been chewing on our net! We live in a rural area and we see bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels running across the court all the time, but they've chewed 3 holes in the bottom of the net! Doesn't affect play but is highly annoying - I just bought the thing!

    I don't know if we have any pics of the court since painting the lines - when I find or take some, though, I'll post them here.
     
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  33. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Sounds pretty cool! You gotta hook us up with several pictures from different angles. It helps satisfy our secret desires to have our own backyard court!
     
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  34. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    I kinda like the "ghetto" court look.

    Makes for great stories :).

    Cool project, I'm quite jealous. Keep it going!!!
     
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  35. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    OP: spray some critter repellant on the bottom of your net. Will keep pests from nibbling the stuff. They think it is edible.
     
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  36. GarE

    GarE New User

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    New pics are coming soon, I promise!

    In the meantime.... does anyone have any suggestions for outdoor lighting?

    We do not have electricity run out to the court, and likely won't for some time. We do have electrical outlets available within easy reach of the court (maybe 20-30 feet, I'm estimating) with extension cords.

    I have been having a hard time finding corded portable lights that could be used for this purpose. Anyone have any suggestions?
     
    #36
  37. struggle

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    I don't think outdoor tennis lighting comes cheaply but perhaps a few of those halogen work lights may suffice.
     
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  38. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Okay... as promised, here are some updated pics of the court. We hand-painted doubles tennis lines and basketball lines. I also included a pic of some of the local critters' handiwork on our net! Happily, it's at the bottom and is in isolated spots, but still, highly annoying!

    http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/wonderbrat31/bballcourt.jpg

    http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/wonderbrat31/tenniscourt.jpg

    http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/wonderbrat31/tenniscourt2-1.jpg

    http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz134/wonderbrat31/*********chewed.jpg
     
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  39. GarE

    GarE New User

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    I meant to mention, that's all the work we plan to do on the court this year. Our main objective was to put lines down so we could play on it, and to see where puddles arise and such, and make needed repairs, so that in the near future, when we fully finish the court, the repair issues will already be done. The retaining wall might last another year or two, but will also need to be replaced, probably; it's got a good amount of damage to it from water earth pushing on it over the years. But for now, it's a very serviceable (no pun intended!) backyard court!
     
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  40. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Sorry... the link to the chewed section of the net doesn't seem to be working, for whatever reason. Just take my word for it - it's chewed!
     
    #40
  41. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    That is a smart and measured approach. You did a great job making it playable in the meantime. Now all you need is a plan for the critters -- I am having visions of Bill Murray in Caddyshack.
     
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  42. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Thanks - I admit that the budget had as much to do with our decision as sound planning did, but it turned out to be a good thing, because we have really been able to reduce the puddling on the court.

    I think Bill would have a field day on our court! I just shudder to think about what it would look like when he was done with it! ;-)
     
    #42
  43. PGlock

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    Very cool! Awesome project!
     
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  44. GarE

    GarE New User

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    Thank, PGlock!
     
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