Hubbard says all material is pre-mixed so the contractor only has to add water and sand. Loud's crews used an 80-mesh sand (standard sealcoating uses a 50 mesh sand) loaded at 4 to 6 pounds per gallon. He says sand is not added to the cushion layers because the sand makes the surface harder, defeating the cushioning aspect.
Hubbard says his tennis court crews squeegee all coats, which might come as a surprise to contractors frustrated by squeegee lines and the difficulty of moving material with sand. "But using a squeegee is just something you learn after doing it a little bit. We always squeegee tennis courts and it's nothing for us to squeegee small parking lots," Hubbard says.
He says that while it can take a lot of pressure and a lot of squeegee angle to move heavy material or material with a lot of sand, the key is to let the material "float" over the pavement, especially on the first coat. "Once you get that first coat down, whether sealing a tennis court or a parking lot, the second coat is easier because the surface is smoother but the material just grabs onto the first coat."
Striping the lines
Layout of the Australian Open tennis courts followed standard practices used by both contractors, with measurements starting from the center anchor in the center of the court. However, where McConnell measures to the outside of each line, Treiber measures to the center of each line.
"The outside measurements of the white lines are 36 feet across by 78 feet long," Treiber says. "When we lay out a court we measure 35 feet, 10 inch to the center of each line." Either approach to measurement will work provided the approach remains consistent throughout the job.
McConnell generally snaps chalk lines to mark layout, but Loud's crews used string stretched tight attached to bricks. Treiber uses one person on each end of a stringline to pull it taught then tapes around the string.
"It seemed to work fine with the bricks but generally I don't think you can get it as tight as I'd like. When the wind blows the stringline can bow," Treiber says.
All three operations - Loud's, McConnell's, and Trieber's - use a tape dispenser to mark both sides of each line. Treiber's tool has two rolls of tape and can put down both sides of a stripe the length of the court in less than a minute. "There are different types of tape machines out there, and it doesn't matter which type you use as long as you use one of them," Treiber says. "They're essential to doing tennis court work right."
Once the lines were taped off crews double-checked measurements and then stepped back to see how the court looked before applying a textured paint so the ball doesn't skid when it hits the line.
"We brushed the first coat by hand because we think it adheres better," Hubbard says. "We applied the second coat using a 3-inch roller. Once it was dry we pulled the tape up, and we had nice crisp lines."
Treiber also uses a roller for the striping lines, though his is "rigged" so it won't splatter.
He says they don't use striping machines for striping tennis courts or other sports courts because while the line edges are sharp enough for a parking lot they are not sharp enough for a tennis court.