Why do asphalt tennis courts crack?

There isn’t a singular exclusive reason for the cause of cracking on a hard asphalt tennis court, but there are a few significant factors that play a role in the deterioration of the court.

Causes for cracking in asphalt courts vary regionally. The quality and the composition of the asphalt mix can definitely be a factor. In previous years the court contractor would have been able to customize the mix design for a tennis court. Today the contractor is at the mercy of the (asphalt) plant, and what they are running as their day-to-day “mix”. Which most likely is for use in roads and highways. The amount of AC (asphalt cement) in the mix today is much less than in previous decades, and todays base processors that lessen the quality of the AC have compromised asphalt quality. This means asphalt pavement dries out and oxidizes rather quickly becoming brittle over time and makes it more susceptible to damage from weather conditions such as freeze/thaw, temperature shifts, and ground moisture or drought.

A tennis court is only as good as its base, but over enough time all asphalt courts will eventually deteriorate. It really just becomes a questions as to the severity of the damage.

So, preventative action consisting of choosing a good site, quality contractor, and correct surface for your needs, becomes invaluable. Reputable contractors can be found through the ASBA (www.sportsbuilders.org). If cracking does occur and the courts become unplayable, there are alternatives to removing the existing surface, such as overlay systems (www.ngisports.com). Professionals are available there to help with all of your tennis court needs.