How To Build a Tennis Court (Detailed Step-by-Step Construction Method)
Sketch Drawings – Concrete / Acrylic Tennis Court
Cost of Building a Tennis Court – Concrete / Acrylic Surface
Tennis Court Drainage
Tennis Court Fencing Installation
Tennis Court Lighting Installation
Tennis Court Net Installation
Cost To Build a Tennis Court
The cost of building a tennis court depends on its substructure materials and site conditions such as drainage requirements, terrain and soil type. Also, whether your tennis court will be a residential or commercial facility has a bearing on the overall cost. Commercial courts built for ITF tournaments, and those where a large crowd of spectators is expected are usually bigger than residential tennis courts. More space is required for spectator stands, parking and access. Lighting requirements are going to be much more extensive and powerful than a simple private tennis court. The overall site will be much bigger, you will need separate gates for the audience and players.
A concrete / acrylic surface court is also known as a hard surface tennis court. The advantage of using an acrylic coating layer on a hard court is that you can achieve all types of ball speed play modes desired by changing the amount of constituents in the coating. Thus, you can build a surface for slow, medium or fast tennis as classified by ITF (International Tennis Federation). This allows you to avoid building an all-clay or grass court if you need a slow or fast tennis court. A well maintained natural grass court offers the fastest play and clay offers the slowest play. With an acrylic coat, it’s not only possible to achieve all 3 modes of play, but you can also adjust the components further to a fine ratio that allows intermediate modes between slow and medium or medium and fast.
In choosing the type of court you want to build, you also have to consider the cost of maintenance. Clay and grass courts need a lot of maintenance, and thus they are more costly to maintain than concrete courts.
Scope of Contract
The work comprises of : A) Doubles Tennis Court with a concrete/acrylic cushion surface, coarse aggregate sub-base, geotextile filter fabric and underground drain trenches hosting perforated HDPE drain pipes. The works also include a 3,300mm high vinyl coated chain-link fence fixed on steel tube framework consisting of posts, top and bottom rails. A court lighting system with 6 poles and 6 light fixtures will also be installed. Building Area – 38,306 x 20,006mm = 766.20m2
Construction of New Tennis Court
Bill No. SUMMARY
1 PRELIMINARIES $600.00
2 EARTHWORKS $10,026.66
3 CONCRETE, FORMWORK AND REINFORCEMENT $22,973.28
4 PLASTERING $6,889.53
5 PLUMBING AND DRAINAGE $8,616.77
6 PAINTWORK $371.01
7 EXTERNAL WORKS $21,111.05
8 PROVISIONAL SUMS $8,912.50
Total Construction Cost – $79,500.80
Carried to Tender $ 79,500.80. Thus, the cost of building a tennis court is USD$79,500.80
How To Build Tennis Court Made of Concrete/Acrylic Surface
Detailed Step-by-Step Construction Method
A tennis court is not a complicated structure if you are familiar with building roads, pavements and floors. However, the site conditions can call for complicated construction methods, and the surface needs to be finished well to meet ITF standards. The weather and climate conditions in your area also play a bigger role in the choice of materials that you are going to use, as well as the type of drainage systems required.
If you live in a region that is dry throughout the year, there is little to be worried about adequate drainage. This is in contrast to wet and humid climates where you to have to put a lot of planning and design in your drainage systems. A tennis court should be built at a suitable slope (1.5 degrees minimum) to allow for quick surface drainage. The runoff water is collected by drainage channels or trench drains on the other side of the court or around the perimeter.
In addition to the slope, drainage solutions for wet climates include installing a permeable surface that allows rainwater to sink to the bottom and be drained away by sub-surface, underground drainage pipes. In this case, a permeable acrylic coating and porous concrete slab can be used. Subsurface underground drain pipes (at least 75mm diameter) laid under the coarse aggregate sub-base (gravel, stone etc.) are also used when the water table is high.
To build a residential tennis court, you will need a spacious plot. Make sure that the court is built on land that you own. It shouldn’t encroach other properties or adjacent Lots. Find out if you need a building permit to build a tennis playground because some local municipalities may have zoning laws regarding sports fields and facilities. If you need to build a court on your residential Lot, you will have to abide with certain building codes. It’s much better to get the help of a Plan Approval agent if you are not familiar with building codes in your city or town. Just like building a house, you will be required to apply for and pay planning permission fees for a tennis court.
Before you begin construction activity, you have to carry out preliminary investigations on the site:
Find out if there are any underground services for water supply, drainage, electricity or telecommunications. Locate the pipes, cables, conduits etc, then decide if you want to reposition them or move to another site free of underground services. You have to obtain permission from the local city council / municipality to reposition the services. It’s illegal to move underground services without the city’s permission.
A tennis court should have a perimeter fence (backstop and sidescreen). The fence should be at least 3,100mm and not more than 3,660mm high. Make sure that there are no overhead service lines running over the court, for example electricity and telecom lines.
Once you have a suitable lot or plot to build a tennis court, you should clear the site of all vegetation, cutting down bushes, trees, shrubs, grass including grubbing up roots, and removing any rubbish and debris on the site.
Tennis Court Dimensions:
Doubles court – 23.77 x 10.97m
Singles court – 23.77 x 8.23m
Fence perimeter – 36.58 x 18.29m
Clear site – 3000mm to perimeter. [42,500×21,290mm]
After clearing the site, proceed to excavate or scarify the topsoil, levelling and compacting the ground to a suitable density. The objective is to achieve level formations that provide a reference from which to start further excavations, deeper into the ground.
Topsoil excavation – 150mm deep.
Excavate To Subgrade Level:
The overall depth of the tennis court substructure is 260mm from floor level. Therefore, the subgrade level is situated at 260mm under the floor. The depth to be excavated is 260 – 150 = 110mm.
Excavation area – 37,906 x 19,616mm (Perimeter to edge of precast concrete channels)
After the excavations, compact the subgrade level with a vibrator or compactor machine, to a minimum of 95 % Mod AASHTO density, breaking down oversize material, and adding suitable material where necessary.
Excavated material has to be carted away to a nearby dump site.
Dig Trenches for Underground Pipes:
If underground drain pipes have been specified by the engineer, you have to dig trenches for them from the subgrade level. The drain pipes for this project will be laid in herringbone pattern under the court.
Drain trench dimensions – 400mm wide x 650mm deep.
Diagonal drain pipes at 25 degrees to main pipe (75mm dia).
Diagonal pipes – 8945mm
Centre pipe – 36,580mm
Pipes laid on 32 mm sand bed.
Lay Down Geofabric Membrane:
A Geofabric membrane or textile is laid over the compacted subgrade formations. It will also run under the trench drain. A 32mm layer of sand is placed over the geosynthetic membrane. Perforated drain pipes (at least 75mm diameter, 100mm is recommended) are then laid over the sand bed at a suitable slope, and covered with 8mm stone aggregate (sub-base filling).
Geotextile area (Perimeter to edge of court) – 36,580 x 18,290mm
3D Details – Acrylic Tennis Court, prefabricated drain channels and concrete encasement.
Sub-base filling is composed of stone aggregate (gravel, 7 to 9.5mm stones etc.). This material is usually imported by the contractor to the site. Add a layer of Sub-base course (G5) spread, levelled and compacted to 98% Mod AASHTO density at OMC, stabilised to attain UCS > 1,0 Mpa after seven days and compacted in a single layer 150mm Thick.
Filling area (Perimeter to edge of court) – 36,580 x 18,290mm
Reinforced Concrete Slab:
A reinforced concrete slab at least 100mm thick is installed on top of the sub-base course. Lay down the reinforcement bars, then pour in wet concrete, allowing a bottom cover of at least 35 to 50mm to conceal the reinforcement. Leave the concrete to set and cure for at least 21 days.
Area of concrete slab – 36,580 x 18,290mm (Perimeter to edge of court)
Required concrete strength: At least 20MPa.
If the tennis court is situated in a wet and humid environment, it is a good idea to use porous concrete to allow for quick surface drainage of rainwater into the ground below. Otherwise, the concrete slab should be built at a minimum slope of 1.5 degrees, to ensure that rainwater is drained away as quickly as possible to the perimeter of the court where precast-concrete channels or sand-covered trench drains are situated.
Acrylic Surface Coating:
The top layer of a concrete tennis court is made of a special Acrylic Coating. Acrylic coating is available in different manufacturer’s brand names. In the USA, the Pro Deco Turf acrylic specification is used. In Australia, the PlexiPave product is used. The Deco Turf and PlexiCushion are both cushioned specifications for acrylic installations. Other manufacturers supplying acrylic surfacing coats are EBACO (Durabolt SBR range), Krylon Industrial (K0500 series) and SportMaster (Neutral Concentrate). All these Acrylic brands are suitable for an outdoor tennis court.
When choosing a suitable acrylic coat, you have to decide what type of performance you want from ball play, the bounce and speed. Do you want a slow, medium or fast tennis court? Acrylic surfacing mixtures can be adjusted to suit a specific court performance.
The standard tennis court makes use of 2 layers of acrylic applications, excluding the white paint lines. The cross section layout starts at the bottom with the resurfacer, which is applied on top of the concrete slab. This is followed by the colour coat, which gives the court its overall colour.
A cushioned tennis court has two layers of cushion coats, in addition to the standard acrylic compounds described above.
The thickness of an acrylic coating system for sports field can be anywhere from 2mm to 6mm. You can have 2 up to 8 layers, depending on the specifications.
White paint lines are used for a tennis court. An acrylic based paint is used to mark the sidelines, centre line, baselines, service lines, net line and centre mark. Titanium based paint is another alternative for court lines. The overall background colour of the court should be darker than white. Dark or medium blue, green, red, purple, brown, orange are all suitable colours, including black.
In continuation of Earthworks Part 1 outlined in the beginning, the contractor working on the site has to dig holes for net posts, fence posts and outdoor light poles.
Dig Holes for Net Posts:
The concrete foundation bases for net posts will be of size – 760x760x1300mm deep (1300mm deep from floor level)
Since the depth from the floor level to the subgrade is 470mm, the labourers have to dig a hole that is (1300 – 470) = 830mm deep. The excavation volume will be 760x760x830mm deep.
Compact the bottoms of excavations to 95% Mod AASHTO density, spread a layer of 50mm sand blinding. Set up the posts vertically inside the hole in centred positions. You may need steel braces to hold the posts in position.
The overall length of the post including the depth will be twice the height above floor level. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) specifies a height of 1.07m, not less or more. Therefore, the overall length will be (1.07 x 2) =2.14m
Pour wet concrete inside the hole, around the post. Using a compacting tool, tamp or vibrate the concrete around the post to eliminate air bubbles. Leave the concrete to set for at least 24 hours.
Concrete strength – 20MPa.
Net Post Details
Steel posts shall be used for this project.
Net post height from floor level – 1.07m high, 80mm square posts.
Minimum post depth – 1.07m deep
Concrete base for post (minimum size) – 450x450x750mm deep.
Concrete base for post (recommended size) – 760x760x1300mm deep.
Net Post Diameter: According to ITF requirements, the diameter or square width of a net post shall not exceed 150mm (6 inches).
Dig Trenches for PC Drain Channels:
The prefabricated concrete drain channels will run around the perimeter of the court. The recommended PC drain channels recommended for this project are those similar to the BGU-Z SVV System, external width 363mm, internal width 300mm and 340mm high.
The PC channels are encased in a concrete surround (protection cover) known as a concrete encasement. Therefore, you have to dig trenches for this encasement.
Concrete Encasement Size: Base – 663mm wide, Height – 470mm, Wall Thickness – 150mm, Base Thickness – 100mm
From the subgrade level excavated previously in Part I, you have to start digging trenches 220mm deep and 663mm wide. Compact the bottoms to 95% Mod AASHTO density, and add a 50mm layer of sand blinding.
Like brickwork, lay the precast concrete units on a 100mm thick wet concrete bed, and join them together at the ends. Each unit has male and female ends (e.g. tongue and groove) to allow for proper fitting and connection. Cement mortar can be applied on joints where necessary. Lay the precast units along the centre line of the trench to allow room for side walls. Formwork can be erected to both sides of the trench if the soil is weak. After laying down the units on the concrete bed, pour in concrete to the sides, tamping and vibrating appropriately to eliminate air bubbles. If the encasement is in contact with a concrete slab, you have to insert an expansion joint. Styrofoam, bitumen softboard and fibreboard are types of materials used for expansion joints. Allow the concrete to sides to set for at least 24 hours.
When the concrete has hardened, backfill the exposed side of the encasement to floor level with excavated material stored on the site.
The top of precast concrete channels should be at least 3mm lower than the tennis court surface to prevent backflow and collection of water around the perimeter.
Dig Holes for Fence Posts:
When you have finished building the tennis court floor including installing perimeter drain channels, you have to dig holes for fence posts.
The concrete foundation bases for this project will be 400x400x800mm deep. Excavate holes size 400x400x800mm deep. Compact the bottoms to 95% Mod AASHTO density. Add 50mm sand blinding to the bottoms. Set up the posts vertically in the centre and brace them with temporary diagonal steel braces to stay in position. The overall length of the posts will be [floor-to-sky height] plus [foundation height – 76mm]. That is (3300 + 720)mm = 4020mm. You should allow about 3 inches (76mm) for bottom cover (concrete bed).
Mix and pour wet concrete inside and around the post. Tamp (vibrate) the concrete until there are no air bubbles. Leave the concrete to set for not less than 24 hours.
Fence Post Details
Round steel tube – 3,300mm high.
The ITF post height specification is 3,100 to 3,660mm.
Corner/End Posts – 60mm internal diameter, 70mm outer diameter, 5mm thick, 8.02kg/m. Available in 3 or 6 meter lengths.
Top/Bottom Rails – 40mm internal diameter, 50mm outer diameter, 5mm thick, 5.55kg/m.
Gates – The section diameter for steel tube framework for the gate will be either of these two options:
- 27mm outer, 20mm internal diameters, 3.5mm thick, 2.028kg/m.
- 32mm outer, 25mm internal diameters, 3,5mm thick, 2.46kg/m.
Dig Holes for Light Poles:
Light poles can be installed along the same perimeter line with fence posts. Foundations for outdoor light poles are going to be deeper than fence posts. In this project, the required concrete foundation base for a 6700mm high light pole will be 400x400x1000mm deep.
The overall length of the pole is the [floor-to-sky height] plus [foundation height – 76mm]. Thus, the total length is 6700mm + (1000-76mm) = 7624mm.
Excavate holes 400x400x1000mm deep. Compact the bottoms to 95% Mod AASHTO density. Add a layer of sand blinding, 50mm thick. Lift the poles and set them up inside the centre of the holes. Since these are long, heavy poles, you might need the help of a machine to lift and erect them. Machines like hydraulic pole erectors, cranes and mini-digger derricks are suitable for this purpose.
Pour ready-mixed concrete inside the holes, around the post. Using a vibrating tool, tamp the concrete until there are no air bubbles. Leave the concrete to set for a minimum period of 24 hours.
Tennis Light Posts
Round Steel Light Posts – 80mm internal, 100mm outer diameters, 10mm thick, 22.2kg/m.
Height – 6700mm (minimum)
Spacing – 12,769mm centres.
Required Posts – 6 No.
Foundation – 400x400x1000mm deep.
Install Chain Link Fence
Once you have the steel framework set up (the posts and rails etc.), you should proceed to install the fabric also known as a chain link or diamond mesh. This type of mesh consists of thin steel wires that are inter-woven together to form a flexible steel wire fabric. Steel wire fabric is sold in rolls of various lengths and heights. For example, you might find a material supplier selling it in 50 feet (15m) rolls and heights of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 feet, which translates to 1.52m, 1.83m, 2.13m, 2.44m, 2.74m, 3.05m, 3.35m and 3.66m.
Suppliers of chain link fence include Walcoom, ChainLinkFence.com, HomeDepot and YardGard.
Fence fabric comes in different materials and specifications such as galvanized steel, vinyl coated steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
Wire thicknesses/diameters range in size from 0.155 inch (4mm) to 0.0173 inch (0.44mm). Wire thicknesses for fencing are usually expressed in gauges (the number of times that the wire has been drawn in the manufacturing process). Thus, you will have mesh wire in 8.5, 9, 10.5, 11, 12.5 and up to 27 gauges. A higher gauge represents a thinner wire. A lower gauge represents a thicker wire.
For a tennis court and commercial/residential projects, the 9 gauge is widely used.
The chain link fence wire mesh must have apertures which are smaller than the diameter of a tennis ball to prevent the ball from slipping through the fence. A diamond mesh with apertures of size 38mm x 38mm or less is suitable.
To avoid the need for painting, you should choose the vinyl coated wire mesh. Vinyl coating is rustproof so your fence will last longer.
Install the Tennis Net
Installing the tennis net is an easy task once you have everything in place. Prior to installing the net, you install a centre anchor that pulls the centre of the net closer to the ground. The steel eyebolt with 19mm screw anchor is embedded in a concrete cube base, of sides 305mm, beneath the court surface. To fix the net to the centre anchor, one has to buy a J-shaped metal hook that straps the net to the eyebolt.
Examples of eyebolts with screw anchor:
- Grainger 35mm M16 x 2.00 eyebolt with shoulder.
- JBL 35mm M10 forged shouldered steel eyebolt kit, Model 229-00009-01
- RS PRO M20 x 27mm eyebolt.
- Zenith M19 x 7.8 x 113mm long stainless steel eyebolt.
- Zenith M19 x 7.8 x 150mm long steel eyebolt – AU$5.26
- Zenith M20 x 10 x 120mm long steel eyebolt – AU$6.29
- Zenith M19 x 7.8 x 133mm long steel eyebolt – AU$2.10
Examples of net centre straps:
- Net World Sports (NWS) Premium grade tennis centre strap, with Chrome plated aluminium snap buckle, brass eyelet, heavy duty polyester banding and premium grade nylon centre strap – $9.99
- Mid West Sports (MWS) polyester strap with swivel type metal snap hook.
- Markwort Tennis Net Center Strap – $16.89
Types of tennis nets:
There are different types of nets for schools, community clubs, home and professional tennis. You can get any type of net for your private tennis court based on your budget. However, for professional tennis, you have to choose a net that meets ITF standards or requirements of the Professional Tennis Association in your country. The following are professional standard nets:
- Edwards 30LS Wimbledon Net – A standard net for Wimbledon. It’s very popular and approved for major tournaments. Price $174
- Six Star II Net – Approved by USPTA. Price $199
- Streamliner Net – Innovative net for hard courts and clay. Price $225
- Edwards 40LS Net – High quality grade. Price $215
- 10-S Prestige Net – High quality grade. Price $189
Install Court Lights
If you play tennis at night, you have to install appropriate lighting. You have two options – getting a package that includes steel poles and light fixtures or installing a custom solution where you buy poles and light fixtures separately. A total package is much better because you don’t have to look for parts that fit the specification, so you are able to install the equipment much faster and easily.
The following are some of the Pole and Light Fixture packages that are available:
- The LightDisty outdoor tennis LED lighting range.
- The AccessFixtures outdoor tennis LED lighting range.
LightDisty has more than 12 tennis court lighting packages and configurations, so this is the best place to find what you need. The lowest priced system is the 6-pole and 6-light system at $7,028.00, featuring LED XLCM HO 278w lights. Prices go as high as $55,500.00 for advanced systems.