“Everyone said to Vincent van Gogh, “You can’t be a great painter, you only have one ear.”
And you know what he said?
“I can’t hear you.”– Steve Carell
I’ve never seen a tennis court being painted, but I’m curious how they get it so accurate with the finish, and in particular how the court lines are so straight.
My local hard courts are red with a surrounding green colour, which is fairly common in the UK, but watching some matches in TV, I’ve noticed the striking blue colour, particularly at the US and Australian Open.
For this blog post, let’s take a look at how to paint a tennis court and the process that’s involved to produce a professional result.
What type of paint is used for tennis courts?
Acrylic is one of the most common choices for tennis court paint, partly because it’s durable, dries quickly and can withstand different types of weather from hot sunny days, to heavy downpours. This is also particularly a popular choice for the tennis court lines.
However, you need to do your research first, and ideally get some expert advice, because a lot depends on what tennis court surface you have.
Some tennis court paints work very well with porous macadam with a blend of acrylic and water based paint. Whereas for asphalt and tarmac, just a water based paint is a better choice.
How do you paint a tennis court?
Here is a thorough process to ensure you produce an immaculate looking tennis court after a fresh coat of paint.
Remove debris and dirt
Take a stiff broom and remove all the bits of moss, dirt and debris. You’ll likely need a pressure wash to get rid of all the bits in the little grooves and cracks on the court.
Apply a fungicidal wash
Your paint will adhere to the court surface a lot better if your use a fungicidal wash first. Apply this all over the court and leave for a few days to kill off any algae and other contaminants.
Add some tape for the lines
To ensure a nice neat finish between the white lines and the court, you’ll need to apply some 50mm tape to the white lines.
An airless sprayer is the quickest way to apply paint to the court. However, you can also use a double roller.
IMPORTANT – Don’t pour the paint directly onto the court surface. If you do this, it will leave areas which have thicker coats of paint than others, which can increase the chances of players slipping and falling over. Make you sure you decant the paint properly.
When you start painting, make sure you don’t use too much paint. You don’t need to fill in every groove in the surface so it’s swimming in paint. It’s excessive and again it can pose a risk to the players who may slip in one of these areas.
What’s a good tennis court paint calculator?
One of the main things to consider is how much paint you need. It’s far better to place the tins of paint around the court so you can roughly guess how much you need beforehand.
For a more exact figure, here’s a good calculator you can use to work out how much you need. You just enter the overall width and length, and in the calculation you’re told how much paint is required for the main court area, the white lines, and the surrounding area.
How do you paint tennis court lines?
If you’re creating a new tennis court from scratch then the guys over at SportMaster have created a great video (see below) to show how you can create the perfect looking court lines.
You can use a special taping machine which will place tape either side of the line which you want to paint, so there’s no bleed over onto the main court. You’ll need a primer first and then add the white paint afterwards. Then remove the tape. However, it’s best not to leave the tape on overnight as it can leave a mark the next day when you peel it off.
How much does it cost?
If you want to do a DIY job and buy some rollers, primer and paint, it could save you quite a bit of cash. However, if you want to get some professional guys in, it’ll probably set you back between $500-$1000.
How often do you need to paint a tennis court?
Providing the surface was in a good and clean condition before the paint was applied, you shouldn’t need to paint the tennis court again for several years. Also, how often you clean the court is a big factor in how often you’ll need to apply a new coat of paint.
Why do you need to paint tennis courts?
A thorough paint job does more than just make the court more visually appealing. Tennis court paint is specially designed to help in other areas such as:
- Improving the grip for the tennis players (reduce chances of falling over and picking up injuries)
- Protecting the court surface from the elements, such as the sun, rain and ice, as well as animal and bird droppings
- Reducing glare.