When you're trying to maintain asphalt tennis courts, it's important that you understand some of the most common types of damage and what can cause them. It's easy to think that you can just cover over the damage with resurfacing, but if you don't deal with the underlying problem, it's just going to reappear later, and it may even cause more extensive damage beneath the new surface. Here's a look at a few of the things you need to know to keep your tennis courts in good condition.
Unfortunately, asphalt tennis courts are vulnerable to cracking for many different reasons. The type of crack is an important factor in identifying the cause. For example, hairline cracks are usually very thin and fairly short. They aren't typically deep either, because they are surface cracks created by the evaporation of the binding material in the asphalt mixture when it cures.
These cracks don't shift at all with temperature changes, and they can easily be repaired by filling them with an asphalt emulsion made for filler. You can minimize the risk of hairline cracks by keeping your surface coating updated every year or two and ensuring that the coating is sealed around the edges.
Vertical and upheaval cracks are a bigger concern. They run very deep, usually to the base of the court. Because they actually change the elevation of the surface, they pose a serious hazard to players on the court. Tripping becomes a concern, so you need to address these right away. They are usually caused by the shifting of soil beneath the surface or the growth of tree roots underneath the court that push the surface upward. You'll have to have the tree root removed and the foundation filled to fix these.
Even if it doesn't result in cracking, heaves in the tennis court can be highly problematic. When left untreated, a worsening condition under the court can ultimately lead to cracking. Usually, heaves in the court are caused by expansion in the soil beneath the court. That's why it can ultimately lead to cracking, because any continued expansion will put extra pressure on the surface above. Talk with a tennis court installation and maintenance technician about how to level out the foundation to prevent this from getting worse.
These are some of the most important considerations when it comes to damage control and tennis court maintenance. Understanding the cause and resolution of this type of damage is important for maintaining the integrity of the playing surface.