Hot Mix Asphalt Tennis Courts

Hot mix asphalt can be used for tennis courts in order to provide a durable, flat surface with good traction for players, clear defined boundary lines and consistent ball movement. Asphalt surfaces are not susceptible to rain unlike other types of courts and will not require much maintenance. Asphalt can be placed and compacted to develop one level surface without joints and will also allow for specialized coatings to be placed on the surface.

Before placing asphalt for a new tennis court, some important factors should be considered to ensure a long lasting playing surface.

1. What is the condition of the underlying soil on which the court is to be placed.
An engineer should evaluate the soil to determine its ability to support the asphalt surface without a pavement failure of some type.
2. Will the subgrade or court surface be subjected to water runoff or a high water table.
Water, either from the surface or from underneath the pavement can cause failures in the court if not properly routed away from the pavement. Surface drains to remove water runoff from rain or sprinklers, etc. may be needed. Subsurface drains can be constructed to move water away from the bottom of the pavement layers so as not to degrade the base layer or subgrade. The type and design of the drain system should be developed by a qualified individual.
3. Will there be vehicle or equipment loads on the court.
Occasionally, vehicles or heavy equipment may have to use the tennis court for servicing the facility or during sporting or other entertainment events. This type of traffic will require an appropriate pavement design.
4. Will there be a coating applied over the asphalt surface.
Some tennis courts may require a colored coating or other type of material that will be applied over the surface. Check with the coating manufacturer and hot mix asphalt supplier to determine if there are any special considerations for compatibility.

The subgrade should be leveled and compacted with a finish elevation 4–6″ above the surrounding ground. This will allow for water runoff and vegetation control around the perimeter. Set the slope to no more than 1%. Slope the court from side to side or end to end. Do not break the slope of the court between ends or sides. The size of a tennis court should be 61 feet by 121 feet. These dimensions include a 6″ apron around all four sides, which also helps with vegetation intrusion. Prepare a base course of crushed aggregate or asphalt concrete. The thickness will depend upon the in place soil conditions, however a minimum thickness equivalent to 4″ of crushed aggregate should be used. The material used in the base course should meet applicable State or ASTM specifications. The base course should be compacted to a minimum of 95%. An intermediate or leveling course of asphalt can be placed at a minimum thickness of 1.5″. The asphalt surface and leveling courses should consist of 3⁄8″ nominal asphalt mixture. Graniterock’s Track, Trail and Court Asphalt Mix meets both Caltrans and the United States Tennis Court and Track Builders Association specifications for asphalt. The compacted thickness of the surface course should not be less than 1.5″. The aggregate used in the asphalt should be a crushed and well graded material. The surface lift should be compacted to 96% relative density. Consult the manufacture for the recommended cure time before applying the playing surface treatment.