E.T. Richards has many years of experience dealing with problems associated with the care of your tennis court.
E.T. Richards is a specialists in construction of and replace of drainage pits.in the care of your tennis court
We construct 600mm x 600mm concrete pits with galvanised hinged tilt grate cover for easy care and maintenance.
All pits are constructed with a sump which allows brick dust toppings to be collected in the bottom of the pit and the water to drain away.
Pits can be connected to outfall points if required.
Most original pits were built as 300mm x 300mm pits with non-galvanised grates. With the changing weather patterns over the years we have found these pits are no longer adequate because of the large amount of rain we quite often get.
E.T Richards specialise in detection of tree roots and removal of tree roots and repairing the court surface.
We can install root barriers if required to deter roots entering the court surface and raising areas which can cause a tripping hazard.
HOW WATER CAN DAMAGE YOUR TENNIS COURT.
There are four water sources with which you need to be concerned:
1. WATERSHED COMING OFF THE COURT
The court should drain SIDE to SIDE at either 1% or 1.1% and this water needs to be dealt with or it can soak directly into adjacent soils (and therefore back in under the court) or it can be a source of settlement or erosion. In most cases, a concrete steel reinforced open faced V-ditch drain immediately adjacent to the court can capture this water and then dispose of it a good distance from the court.
It is best to drain a court across the 60' section. It provides the most true playing surface. However, there may be cases where the court slope has to vary.
2. WATERSHED COMING TOWARDS THE COURT FROM UPHILL AREAS
Water flowing towards the court tends to soak into the soils adjacent to the court and then find its way back in under the court and become a source of damage. In some cases, it will make sense to slope the court INTO a hillside so that the drain mentioned in #1 can serve the dual purposes of catching water coming off the court and receiving water from uphill areas. Routing these waters away can best be accomplished by taking them to a downhill location or, if your area is primarily level, by routing them to a rock filled water sump pit that is built thirty or forty feet away from the court.
3. UNDERGROUND WATER FLOWING IN UNDER THE COURT
Underground water flows in strange and unpredictable ways. In some cases it will soak in until it hits a water-impermeable layer of soils (such as clay or adobe), and then travel laterally, perhaps between two such layers and then even uphill. There was a court where we were installing a retaining wall, secured by 18" diameter concrete piers going down into the ground approximately 15' deep. These pier holes were dug 6' apart along one side of the court (21 of them in a row) and every hole was dry except for two, about 24' apart. Both immediately filled up with water, one with about 2' of water and the other with over 6' of water. We had encountered two, entirely separate underground flows of water!!!
If underground water is suspected, one of the best protections is a French drain and a lining of the court side of the trench with a water impermeable fabric liner. This stops lateral flow of water and traps it into a drain system that can then route it to a safer location. This underground drain system should be on the uphill side or, if the area is relatively level, possibly encircle the entire court. Complete encirclement creates a "skirt" around the court to reduce the possibility of additional moisture moving in laterally. Remember, it is neither moisture nor the lack thereof that causes expansive soils to expand and contract. It is the variance between the two, so, the objective is stabilization of moisture levels.
4. LANDSCAPING AND IRRIGATION
Landscaping and irrigation right next to a court or uphill from a court is like handing a loaded gun to the enemy. Water doesn't just soak straight down, it also moves laterally, and it is not unusual to find water damage to a court back in 8' or 10' from an edge, where a water source has allowed water back in under the slab. The tell-tale signs of cracking related to this are cracks parallel to an edge or an end of the court. It is also common to see several rows of these parallel cracks.
Time and money spent wisely on court drainage issues can add greatly to the security of your investment in a tennis court. Surprisingly few tennis court proposals from contractors touch on this issue, a certain sign that they lack experience in court construction.