A Guide for Installing a Tennis Court
What to consider when selecting a site for a tennis court
The site for your tennis court is the single most important decision in the overall construction of your court(s)! There are good sites, bad sites, expensive sites, and sites with little to no access. The best site is one that is flat. The less dirt you move the better as it will be less expensive to build and could even take less time to construct. Think about the expense in hauling dirt off site, building a retaining wall, or having to build the site up.
In order for you to get the maximum life from your court, you need a strong foundation. That means good, dry, stable soils. If the ground moves, or water is present, your courts will have a lot of issues down the road. It is a good idea to hire a qualified geotechnical engineer to perform a soil analysis.
Sloping and Drainage
Proper slope of the subgrade is critical to allow water drainage away from the court. The ground should be reasonably level, preferably on the same plane or higher than adjacent land. The finished subgrade should be 4 to 6 inches above the surrounding ground. If your site has a high water table, you may need to install underdrains or construct a drainage system to address the water issues.
The American Sports Builders Association (ASBA), recommends tennis courts be built in a north-south orientation, which prevents players from having to stare into the sun during the morning or afternoon. This detail can account for better and more enjoyable play for the athletes.
Trees and Vegetation
Trees and vegetation can create additional maintenance challenges. If tree roots migrate, they can damage the surface. It is best to keep them as far away as possible to prevent these issues and save you money down the road.
Tennis court construction is a highly specialized project. For that reason, it is important to select a contractor who has extensive experience with tennis court construction. One general tip we recommend is hiring a contractor who is an active member of the American Sports Builders Association. Be sure to ask the contractor for references from past clients and visit completed projects before signing them on.
Check out this completed project of an 8 court installation!
What are the dimensions of a tennis court?
Regulation tennis courts for doubles play is 60 x 120 feet. You must allow additional space around the perimeter for construction and maintenance access.
What are the different types of court surfaces?
There are four main types of court surfaces: clay, hard, carpet/synthetic, and grass. Each offers a different style of playing as the bounce is affected by the surface.
Clay: Clay courts are composed of crushed shale, stone, or brick. This surface is known for allowing a slower and higher bounce as this surface helps to slow down the ball. Baseline players who enjoy a topspin and longer rallies typically prefer playing on clay courts as this can help a player focus on developing their skills. Some players also enjoy clay courts more as this softer surface can reduce the impact on one’s joints. However, clay courts require more maintenance in order to keep the surface right for the bounce of the tennis ball.
Hard: Hard courts are typically made out of concrete or asphalt with an acrylic surface layer. This type of surface allows for the ball to bounce fast and high and is most common because the bounce of the ball is more predictable. Asphalt courts can last 12-18 years and offer a softer surface compared to concrete. Concrete courts are found to be less susceptible to cracking.
Carpet/Synthetic: These courts consist of a removable court covering. Carpet courts allow the ball to bounce fast and low. While less expensive to build and less maintenance required, this court can be difficult on the knees as the ball tends to bounce lower.
Grass: Grass courts allow for a quick play as the ball bounces lower. This court surface requires the most maintenance out of the four as it can be expensive to build and maintain. However, it can be softer on the joints.
What is the cost of building a tennis court?
Each tennis court installation is dependent on the amount of work that goes into preparing the site. Each court will also vary depending on what options are selected such as fence type, lighting, retaining walls, water runoff management, permits, and local requirements, which can raise or lower the price. The different court surface types will also vary in range. However, a basic asphalt court will start at $50,000.
Ready to play? Check out these tennis terms.
Now that you know the details of what goes into building a tennis court, you will be better prepared. Ready to start building a tennis court? We got you covered! At Byrne & Jones, we are a 7-time ASBA Excellence Award Winners including 12 ASBA Certified Builders. Trust the experts, and give us a call at (314) 254-9766.