Macadam & synthetic tennis courts
It is a misconception that artificial grass tennis courts are maintenance free. Lack of maintenance can drastically reduce the lifespan of artificial grass tennis court surfaces.
Many clubs have problems of contamination and poor drainage through lack of routine preventive maintenance, routine drag brushing post-match can be compared to washing your car, it does make it look good but doesn’t qualify as a service.
Regular drag brushing helps keep infill evenly distributed, otherwise it tends to migrate from the middle (high wear areas) to the edges and mounds at the net.
A synthetic surface acts like a filter, trapping dust and debris as the water drains through. Over time contaminants such as algae and other bacteria begin to clog the natural process of drainage. This filtering at the surface allows the contaminants to get locked in the top half of the court surface, if you were to lift a corner and fold back the carpet, you’ll find the debris in the top half of the infill, the bottom part will be clean. (I don’t recommend doing this BTW)
Warning signs are usually silt-like deposits frequently to the outer edges of the courts. At this point specialist brushing will help to decontaminate. If left - and usually evidenced by pooling water after heavy rainfall, which is slow to drain away.
Tarmacadam tennis courts are easier and much lower in maintenance requirements, they usually have an “open” texture to allow good drainage – but, again, not maintenance free. Properly managed power washing to remove growths is a good idea but be warned, too much pressure on an aged surface may result in damage – always seek the advice of a professional to ascertain the condition of your court, contractors will often provide this service free of charge.
Combine this treatment with with a sanitising biocide wash to kill off germinated bacterial spores of algae and other biofilms - which are not visible or killed by washing alone, will ensure the courts are free of bacteria and dangerous slip hazards. Tarmacadam courts also provide an excellent base for future conversion to artificial grass or artificial clay.
Assessing the condition of a tennis court properly should be done by a professional tennis-court contractor. It is important you get an individual who has the courage to tell you what you need to know, even if it means there would be no work in it for him. There is nothing more difficult than trying to explain why you spent money on something that did not work. Better to wait until you get the proper funds to do something right rather than putting an Elastoplast on the problem.
Any assessments should include all the various repair options and ballpark costs, as well as expected maintenance costs over the life of your surfaces.
Once you have professional assistance on your side and a recommendation in hand you can now make informed decisions.
My recommendations for a routine/cyclical maintenance plan:
Daily: After the day's play is completed, pick up rubbish, leaves and other debris. Inspect and repair any excess court damage (i.e. foot dragging)
Weekly: Perimeter areas, club hut areas and net lines should be cleaned
Monthly: Lines should be painted as needed. Check areas of heavy play (baselines and service boxes) for wear
Quarterly: Low end of the court should be cleaned, and excess material removed as needed
Yearly: A professional tennis court maintenance company should conduct a complete maintenance surface checkout (biofilm removal & treatment, colour treatments, structural crack repair, etc.)