by Tom Walker, SAPCA
As temperatures across the UK are expected to hit 40C this week, the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) is reminding owners and operators of asphalt sports courts – also referred to as macadam or hard courts – that the playing surfaces may soften in hot weather, especially in the first season after construction or resurfacing.
If the surface shows signs of softening, play should be stopped immediately, as serious damage can result if play is continued. The first sign of the problem is usually when black marks begin to appear as a result of the paint being rubbed or scuffed off. It is sometimes possible to cool a hot surface by hosing it down with cold water, to allow evening play to take place. In these prolonged high temperatures, however, it is probably best to suspend use.
Softening is a phenomenon usually confined to the first season of a new court, but, even thereafter for a year or two, the surface should be checked in very hot weather. The general rule is that if the surface can be depressed by pushing your thumb into it, then play should stop. For new courts that have been laid in hot weather, it is important for purchasers to be fully informed as to when the court may be first used – and of any precautions that may be necessary until the surface has fully “settled down”.
For further details, always contact the company that carried out the court surfacing works.