Trying Something New: Outdoor Pickleball Court
My son, Jason, received a call from one of our general contractors last month, asking if we could do a pickleball court for one of his clients. I’ve heard of all the major sports out there—football, baseball, soccer, tennis; the list goes on. But pickleball I’d never heard of until Jason mentioned it to me.
After looking the sport up, I found out it is one of the fastest growing sports in America. Go figure! Apparently three men in Bainbridge Island, Wash., invented the game in 1965, and it’s a mix of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Our company has done indoor basketball courts but never an outdoor pickleball court, but hey, why not, right?
So, what’s involved? A lot of prep work. We started out with an outdoor area that was originally set up as a basketball court for the homeowner and that’s where they decided to see if we could incorporate a pickleball court along with the basketball court. First, we power washed the concrete slab and let it dry for a few days. Next, we did an acid etch followed by a rinse/neutralize. Fortunately, we have a local distributor that carries all of the coating products for a pickleball court, so getting product was not an issue.
All control joints were filled with a trowel grade 100% acrylic crack filler (Pic 1). Two coats of acrylic primer (Pic 2) were rolled on and when dry, caulk lines were placed to mark where the different colors would meet, which on this project, the colors were blue for the field and green for the perimeter. For the base coat, an acrylic paint was used with 30-grit sand and water added and two base coats were applied with a squeegee. Once this dried, we went with the same paint color with a finer 70-grit sand and applied another two coats with a squeegee (Pic 3). Once that dried, the game lines were taped with a court line taping machine and radius attachment for the 3-point line for the basketball portion of the court (Pic 4). We painted the game lines with a white color (Pic 5) and the final result is a basketball, pickleball court (Pic 6).
One potential challenge when working outdoors is always weather, and for this project, we had to juggle around rain for a few days. In our area of the country, Utah, we have low relative humidity, so dry time for coats was usually under an hour and we were able to apply second coats fairly quickly.
One thing I learned many years ago is never say never to anything. During my career, that mindset has given me the opportunity to do some interesting jobs and I always learn from them. One thing to keep in mind when doing something new is do your homework.