Contractors can help you with more the just numbers in a bid. They can give you valuable information. If you decide to do it yourself, you will have gained a lot of knowledge by talking with a contractor first.
It takes years to develop the skills it takes for most trades. I know the “do-it-yourself” person wants to give it a try. We usually end up doing it over, or calling contractors to fix our mess we ended up with.
Now that you have broken ground, had your ceremony, you are now ready to address the base. Excavating can be an easy task of simply scraping ground with a tractor blade.
Other excavation projects can be very involved. When removing solid rock, or building into a mountain hill side, you may find this to be way to difficult without a professional. Courts like these are spectacular, with views, and gorgeous surroundings. They are works of art when done properly, and worth every bit of money spent. Knowledge and equipment contractors use can add years to it’s longevity.
It sure is a little more expensive to put a court in the right way, but worth it. The more involved it looks for excavating the base the more involved you need to get with a contractor.
Now that you have the grade correct, you may begin compaction. The ground needs compacted prior to and gravel base. Time for mathematics again. Cubic yards of product to cover your square footage of area. Order your gravel.
There are many different bases, and recommended depth of base to decide upon. A contractor knows what is most suitable for the job.
I suggest any extra base for one that might think about spending a little extra on the job. Make sure it is crushed gravel and not rounded, such as pea gravel. Crushed rock when compacted makes a locking bond with each parts anglular shapes. the Pea gravel type with slide and never really compact. I would recommend 4 inches minimum of crushed gravel base
I like 6 inches plus for the base. This helps create a non-cracking, locked in base, able to support the tremendous load it will be trying to hold up for years to come. Cracks, unlike most people think, come from a shifting base and not from above surface. If the base goes, the surface all goes. No matter how slight the crack that appears on the surface, it’s the shifting of the base from movement of the earth beneath. Once cracked, un-proper maintenance of the cracks will cause them to grow in width. They will also creep.
Level out the gravel base, at the proper depth, and make sure you go a little past the edges of the layout for your court. No matter the size, you need a little extra on the edges. You can choose the size of aggregate for the base. Contractors
I like to use 3/4 inch crushed granite.Compact the gravel base, using a roller, or a plate compactor if it is a smaller job. You can wet it down a bit to help keep dust, and also help with compaction of the gravel. If you have chosen asphalt for your pad, then you can now call the asphalt company(s) for a bid. If you are going to use concrete, then you may be able to frame the job, since you made it this far already. Either concrete or asphalt is fine, but there are some extra steps you need to know about prior to using concrete.
Asphaltic cement (asphalt) is rock, oil, sand etc. It is heated up, and spread hot, rolled with rollers, and whackers, and left to cure for 14 days minimum. Longer curing may help some jobs. Concrete, or cement as it was, is mixed with round rock, and hardens, encapsulating the entire mix into a very hard, more brittle state.
Contrators control the thickness, and things like re-bar that give it strength. Concrete needs others specialties prior to laying it, and/or surfacing begins. Steps to do so can be found in another area about CONCRETE
Some people think that an asphalt paved basketball or tennis court is softer to play on. They tell me that the pad is more flexible and has more give to it when jumping and such. There is no way to support this except that one can agree that the scientific physical properties under study makes it more flexible. Flexibility does not necessarily mean softer.
While this may be true in the laboratory, it certainly will not be noticed during play on the court. Concrete has properties that make it harder to deal with for bonding and other reasons. Once the concrete has been treated with chemicals to create a bond, the rest of the comparisons are almost exact.
The asphalt will suck up a little bit more material than the concrete pad does. For that matter alone I prefer asphalt. The finished product will end up so similar that only a trained can see any difference. Concrete and asphalt are both good pads for courts.
Make sure you put a VAPOR BARRIER under the concrete prior to pouring it. You should also note that it is not recommended to seal the concrete if you are planning to surface it. Sealing it as concrete men love to do, prior to the 27 days of curing time it needs, will only cause future adhesion problems.
Which ever you go with, feel good about either . You will end up with the same product when complete as long as you adhere to the strict recommendations for either concrete or asphalt. Do it right the first time. If not, it will look good, but only for a while. Do it the right way, and it will last many years to come full of enjoyment!