A.S.B.A. Guidelines for Tennis Court Construction

Section 2.G. – Reinforced Concrete Tennis Courts

1.0 Slope and Elevation Requirements

All excavating, filling and grading requirements and compacting work of the subbase should be performed so that the finished subgrade is 4″-6″ above the surrounding ground and slopes not less than 0.83% (1:120) and not more than 1%(1:100). Each court must slope in a true plane, preferably from side to side (but from end to end or from corner to corner are also acceptable), or in the shortest direction for good drainage and water runoff. The court should never be sloped from the net line to the baseline, from the baseline to the net line, from the sides to the centerline or from the centerline to the sides.

2.0 Base Preparation

Refer to section 1.C., Site Preparation, Earthwork, Drainage and Subbase Construction.

3.0 Concrete Construction
A. Apron
The overall dimension of an individual court should be 61′ x 121′ to provide a 6” apron around the court or 62’ x 122’ to provide a 1’ apron around the court. This additional footage helps prevent vegetation intrusion, facilitates landscape maintenance and adds to the overall cosmetics. Fencing should remain at 60′ x 120′. Fence posts, net posts, sleeves and center anchor should be installed prior to or during concrete placement. Fencing should be completed prior to surfacing.
B. Moisture/Vapor Barrier
As with all concrete construction, a moisture/vapor barrier, consisting of polyolefin (15 mil. minimum thickness) should be installed prior to installation of any steel and/or cables. Overlap polyolefin sheets at least 6″ and tape joints. Once in place no vehicular traffic should be allowed on the moisture/vapor barrier nor any other object which could puncture the barrier or otherwise compromise the integrity of the surface. All concrete should be pumped, not driven onto the court. Excessive loads at any time are unacceptable.
C. Cement
Cement (Type 1 or 1A) should conform to one of the Standard Specifications for Portland Cement, ASTM C 150 or Specifications for Blending Hydraulic Cements, ASTM C 595, excluding slag cements Types S and SA. Do not use curing compounds.
D. Air Entrainment
Air entrainment by total volume of concrete should be:

4 to 6% for 1 1/2″ maximum size coarse aggregate, 5 to 7% for 3/4″ or 1″ maximum size coarse aggregate, 6 1/2 to 8 1/2% for 3/8″ or 1/2″ maximum size coarse aggregate.

E. Aggregate
Aggregate should conform to Standard Specifications for Concrete Aggregates ASTM C 33. For concrete work that is 5″ thick, the nominal size of the coarse aggregate should not exceed 1 1/2″ and for concrete work that is 4″ thick, the nominal size of the coarse aggregate should not be greater than 1″. Fly ash or other additives are not acceptable.
F. Thickness of Concrete
Concrete work should be 5″ thick if the location of the tennis court is such that it will be subject to more than three freeze/thaw cycles annually. If the location is such that not more than three freeze/thaw cycles occur annually, concrete may be 4″ thick.
G. Reinforcement
Steel reinforcement bars should conform to Standard Specifications for Deformed and Plain Billet-Steel Bars for Concrete Reinforcement ASTM A 615, Grade 60 or 40. For concrete that is 5″ thick, the bars should be No. 5 in both directions at 12″ on center. For concrete that is 4″ thick, the bars should be No. 5 size in both directions at 15″ on center. Bars should be accurately positioned at mid-depth, terminating 2″ away from edges and joints, and should be adequately supported by chairs with sand plates provided to prevent bar supports from sinking into the subbase. Bars should be lapped at 18″ and should also be securely tied or otherwise secured so that there is no possibility of displacement when concrete is placed. At the time of concrete placement, reinforcement should be free of loose, flaky rust and other coatings or films that could interfere with bonding to the concrete.
H. Forms and Screeds
Forms and screeds should be set accurately and secured to prevent settlement or movement during placing of concrete. Forms should remain in place until the concrete has taken its final set.
I. Joints
A non-extruded expansion joint filler material 3/4″ thick should be installed at the net line if the two halves of the court are cast separately, and between courts if there is more than one court. The bottom edge of the filler material should extend to or slightly below the bottom of the slab; the top edge should be held 7/8″ below the surface of the slab by a tack strip of wood, its top flush with the finished slab surface. Edges of joints should be tooled with an edging tool having a radius of 1/4″. After the concrete has cured, the tack strips should be removed and the joints sealed with an elastomeric sealing compound to within 1/8″ of the surface. If the two halves of the court are cast separately, a concrete beam 6″ thick and 18″ wide should be cast in a trench across the center of the court. This beam is for support of the two slabs at the expansion joint under the net. The top of the beam should be at the elevation of the bottom of the court slab. The beam should be cast a day or two in advance of the court concrete. Bonding between the beam and the court concrete should be prevented by painting the top of the beam with an asphaltic or other bond preventing material. This beam is thickened to 12″ at the net posts to provide additional stability for the posts.

CAUTION: All working joints may close and reopen.

J. Concrete Proportioning and Mixing
The concrete should have a compression strength of not less than 3,000 psi at the 28th day after casting. The minimum cement content for finish-ability should be not less than 470 lbs. per cubic yard for 1 1/2″ maximum size coarse aggregate, 520 lbs. for 3/4″, 590 lbs. for 1/2″ and 610 lbs. for 3/8″ maximum size coarse aggregate. In freeze/thaw environments, the minimum cement content should not be less than 560 lbs. per cubic yard. The slump should not be more than 4″. Ready-mixed concrete should be mixed and delivered in accordance with ASTM C 94, Specification for Ready-Mixed Concrete.
K. Placing and Finishing
At least a full half court should be placed in one continuous operation without intervening joints of any kind. Uninterrupted concrete placing operations without intervening joints should be limited to one full court with continuous reinforcement. Concrete should be spread, consolidated, screeded, bull-floated and finished in accordance with Section 7.2 of ACI (American Concrete Institute) Standard 302, Recommended Practice for Concrete Floor and Slab Construction. When concrete is sufficiently set to withstand foot pressure with only about 1/4″ indentation and the water sheen has left the surface, the slab should be uniformly finished by power floating and troweling. The final finish texture should be a medium broom finish unless otherwise specified by the surface manufacturer.
L. Surface Tolerances
The finished surface of the court should not vary more than 1/8″ in 10′ when measured in any direction.
M. Curing
Immediately after finishing, the concrete should be kept continuously moist for 7 days by covering with polyethylene film, waterproof curing paper, sprinkling, ponding or other acceptable coverings. Curing time should be in accordance with surfacing system manufacturer’s recommendations. No curing compounds should be used.
4.0 Disclaimer

The preferred method of concrete court construction is the post-tensioned concrete slab (Section II.H.) This system allows for a much larger single monolithic pour,eliminates the need for expansion joints and minimizes reflective and surface cracking.

Typical Sections Reinforced Concrete Court Pavement

Note: Refer to Guide Specifications:
1.A. General Conditions for Construction
1.B. Site Investigation
1.C. Site Preparation, Earthwork, Drainage and Subbase Construction
1.D. Vegetation Control or Vegetation Regrowth Prevention
1.E. Subsurface and Surface Drainage for Recreational Areas
2.A. Tennis Court Orientation
2.B. Tennis Court Dimensions and Related Measurements
2.L. Net and Net Post Equipment

ASTM specifications are available from
American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM)
100 Barr Harbor Drive
West Conshohocken, PA 19428

NOTICE: These Construction Guidelines are for use by architects, engineers, contractors, tennis court and running track owners. Parties not experienced in tennis court or running track construction are advised to consult a qualified contractor, consultant and/or design professional. Experienced contractors, consultants and/or design professionals can be identified through the U. S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association. Due to changing construction technology and techniques, only the most recent version of these Guidelines should be used. Variances in climate, soil conditions, topography and other factors may make these Guidelines unsuitable for certain projects.

Copyright © 1998 by U.S. Tennis Court and Track Builders Association. All Rights Reserved.