FAQs

Tennis FAQ

What are the correct dimensions of a court?
What is the correct slope of a tennis court?
What is the correct color for a tennis court?
How close should courts be to one another?
How much overhead clearance is needed to play tennis?
What is the proper height of a tennis net?
How much space is needed to construct an individual tennis court?
How much does it cost to build a tennis court?
How many courts should be built for a given population?
Statistically speaking, what is the percentage of different kinds of tennis courts (hard, soft, grass, etc.) in the U.S.?

Track FAQ

How long is a standard track?
How wide is a standard track? How many lanes?
How wide should the lanes be on a track?
What is the recommended inclination for a track?
What are the radius requirements?
How close should the fence be to the track? How high should it be?
What is the proper way to measure a track?
Information Resources Regarding 200M Tracks

Track FAQ Note
Often, questions regarding standards and measurements vary from governing body to governing body. Please make sure you know which organization governs the group competing on your track: IAAF: International Athletic Federation — governs international competition; USAT&F: USA Track & Field — governs open competition in the United States; NCAA: National Collegiate Athletic Association — governs college competition; NFSHSA: National Federation of State High School Associations — governs high school competition.

Fields FAQ

How much does a field facility cost?
What are common reasons for a natural grass field to fail?
What kind of grass is best for my athletic field?
What is a rootzone?
How do you measure the height of football goal posts?
What is the distance from home plate to the pitcher’s rubber for high school softball?
What should I look for in a contractor?
How do you find a qualified contractor?
What is the base for a synthetic turf field?
What makes up base preparation?
How much of this stone is needed and where do you get it?
What is the direct effect of the “wrong stone?”
What is a typical construction timeline for a synthetic turf field?

Indoor FAQ

Can I add, reapply, or remove, court marking or logos to my existing synthetic floor; if so, how?
Can we use a concrete curing agent/hardener/sealer on the slab?
Can my synthetic floor be repaired; if so, how?
What precautions, if any, are necessary for using tables and chairs?
Can bleachers be used on my synthetic floor?
What are the moisture requirements of the concrete slab before installation?
Can we use in-line skates?
Can we get custom colors?


Tennis FAQ

What are the correct dimensions of a court?
60' x 120' is the playing area (the court size, plus the area outside the playing lines). The court size (the area bordered by the playing lines) is 36' x 78' for doubles tennis.

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What is the correct slope of a tennis court?
It depends upon the type of court. Please look for the type of court you have (or wish to build) on the list below. Proper slopes are shown below each court type. Slopes are expressed in inches per feet, percentage and ratio.

  • Minimum slope of a clay or fast-dry court: Inches per Feet Percentage Ratio 1" in 30' 0.28% 1:360
  • Maximum slope of a clay or fast-dry court: 1" in 24' 0.35% 1:288
  • Min. slope of a hard court:* 1" in 15' 0.56% 1:180
    * Minimum slope of sanctioned tournament facilities. Not recommended for other types of construction due to cost and expertise required. Requires laser grading.
  • Recommended slope of a hard court: 1" in 10' 0.83% 1:120
  • Max. slope of a hard court; minimum slope of a non-court pavement: 1" in 8.33' 1% 1:100

Note that a tennis court should be sloped as one true plane; in other words, water should drain in one direction only. The preferred directions of slope on a court are from side to side (that is, from net post to net post); from end to end (that is, from baseline to baseline); or from corner to corner, draining diagonally across the court. The court should never be crowned like a road, nor should it drain to or from the net line, or to or from the sidelines.

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What is the correct color for a tennis court?
There is no "correct" color, per se; however, there are colors that perform better under certain conditions. Ideally, a player wants to have the best possible visibility for his or her game, and this is achieved by having the best possible contrast between the ball and the surface. A dark green court surface, for example, provides a good contrast to yellow or white tennis balls. Why? Because tennis balls reflect more light (or, technically speaking, they have a higher reflectance), and darker colors reflect less (or have lower reflectance). Two-tone color schemes are often selected to more clearly define court boundaries. When such color combinations are chosen, the color with the lowest reflectance (generally, the darker color) should be used within the court boundaries. However, for areas in which tennis is played during the day, lighter colors are often chosen for surfacing because they absorb less light and therefore, minimize the surface temperature buildup. For night play, or for indoor courts, surfaces with low reflectances will require more lighting to illuminate them. Designers and owners will need to balance visibility, aesthetics, energy use and surface temperature in choosing surface colors and backgrounds.

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How close should courts be to one another?
Of all the questions ASBA gets, this is by far one of the most commonly asked — and one of the most important, because of the safety issues involved. At a minimum, outdoor courts should have 12' between each sideline, although an 18' separation is preferred. For a battery of courts within a common enclosure, a 24' separation between courts is recommended. This permits sufficient space for a shade structure, player seating/storage between courts, as well as a safe overrun area for players. It also permits the installation of separator fences to prevent balls from rolling into the next court. For indoor courts where movable netting is used between courts, a minimum of 18' between courts is recommended. (Divider netting is not considered a fixed obstruction.) 18' is the minimum recommended distance between indoor courts.

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How much overhead clearance is needed to play tennis?
For outdoor play, the space over the court should be clear overhanging limbs or other obstructions, and should be not less than 18' at the fence, 21' over the baseline, and 35' over the net, although 38' is recommended. For indoor play, the space overhead should be not less than 18' at the eaves, 21' over the baseline, and 35' at the net, although 38' is recommended. (Note: The above distances for indoor courts reflect the measurement from the court surface to the interior finished ceiling of the building).

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What is the proper height of a tennis net?
The net should be 3' (36") at the center strap, and 3'6" (42") at the post. This is the standard for both singles and doubles courts.

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How much space is needed to construct an individual tennis court?
The overall court size is 60' x 120'. However, because vegetation must be removed for a minimum of 5' around the site and since drainage must be installed and the contractor must have room to work, the actual working area must be larger. Therefore, a minimum site size of 70' x 130' is recommended; a site of 80 x 140' is preferred.

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How much does it cost to build a tennis court?
The cost of a tennis court is dependant upon a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, the proposed location of the court, and the condition and accessibility of the site, the type of court to be built (i.e., what type of surface is desired), accessories and amenities, and so forth. Also important is the complexity of the facility itself — is it a tennis court only, or does it include options such as extensive landscaping, fencing, a spectator area, shade shelter, lighting for night play, etc. All these things, plus others, will factor into the final cost.

A qualified tennis court contractor who can visit your site, assess your needs and discuss your options, can give you the best idea of how much a court will cost. You can use the ASBA website's searchable database to find professionals in your area, or you can contact the ASBA and request a hard copy of the directory to be sent to via the U.S. Postal Service.

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How many courts should be built for a given population?
The following information is printed in the ASBA publication, "Tennis Courts: A Construction and Maintenance Manual." This publication can be ordered using the online publications order form.

In planning tennis facilities, the question of how many courts to build is important. Studies indicate that facilities should be planned based on the number of players within 6 miles or 15-20 minutes driving time from the site. Consider the population within that radius.

According to the United States Tennis Association*, the following number of public and private courts is needed for markets of various sizes:

POPULATION NUMBER OF COURTS
15,000 20
25,000 30
50,000 50
100,000 80
250,000 130
500,000 210
750,000 270
1,000,000 320
1,250,000 360
1,500,000 400
More than 1,500,000 1 per 4000
 

In planning indoor tennis facilities, again consider the number of players within 15 to 20 minutes driving time from the facility. A good "rule of thumb" is that most markets can support one indoor tennis court for every 10,000 people. Depending on programming, each indoor court can support from 20 to 150 players.

When determining the number of courts to build, consider also how many of the existing courts in the community are public and how many are private, how many are indoor and how many are outdoor, how many outdoor courts are lighted and how many of the existing courts are of various surfaces. The popularity of tennis in the community, the average age and the average income of the population will increase or decrease the number of courts needed as well.

The number of courts needed depends not only on the number of players, but also on the number of times per week they play and whether they play singles or doubles. A serious player may play 3-4 hours or more per week, as much as or more than four occasional players. Similarly, singles players use twice as much court time as doubles players. For private tennis clubs frequented by serious players, one court will support 20 to 40 tennis players. For school courts, one court for 200 to 300 students may be adequate. For community tennis, the number of courts needed varies widely.

The degree of commitment to tennis programming may increase or decrease the number of courts needed. The more leagues, lessons, tournaments, etc. to be scheduled, the more courts will be needed. In fact, intended use of courts (league play, tournaments, instruction, recreation) affects the number of courts needed, the number of courts in each surface and the layout of courts.

Another factor which affects the number of courts needed is climate, which determines the length of the playing season for outdoor courts and the need for indoor courts. For outdoor courts, the length of the playing day is important; lighting will extend the playing day. To make the most of every available hour, whether outdoors or indoors, time reservations for courts will increase efficiency of scheduling play.

For a large project or for community tennis planning, a feasibility study conducted by a tennis consultant may help to identify, quantify and analyze demographic factors to determine the appropriate number of courts.

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Statistically speaking, what is the percentage of different kinds of tennis courts (hard, soft, grass, etc.) in the U.S.?
ASBA does not have statistics on the number of tennis courts overall, nor on the breakdown of various types of tennis courts by surface. However, the following article was located in a magazine, and is, to ASBA's knowledge, the only information on such a subject. Kudos to Tennis Industry for allowing us to reprint it.

The Industry's First Court-Surface Type Analysis
by John Sprague

(Reprinted with permission from the April 1991 issue of Tennis Industry Magazine, the "Construction Quarterly" supplement.)

The question sounded so simple: "How many hard courts and how many soft courts are there in this country?" The questioner was a Baltimore journalist writing a feature article on one of our industry leaders. It seems he assumed that there was, somewhere, and accurate count of all the courts in America. Not an illogical assumption - unless you're in the industry. Despite their best individual efforts, the United States Tennis Association, the United States Professional Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Court & Track Builders Association have been unable to come up with even the roughest of figures on the number of courts in this country. Given this, it would seem well-nigh impossible to calculate the breakdown of courts between the two most popular American surfaces — or any other surfaces, for that matter.

Well, it's not impossible. Tennis Industry conducted a poll of leading surface manufacturers and court contractors to come up with just such a surface-type breakdown. The basis for these percentages is not raw numbers but rather a comparative analysis of the ratio of one surface to another.

The experts polled agreed that the combination of hard and soft courts adds up to about 80 percent of all courts in the United States. They also settled on the existing ration of hard courts, favored almost exclusively in the public sector, to soft synthetic-clay courts, the darlings of the private sector: The ratio is seven hard courts for every soft court. The front end of this consensus equation, then, was established as 70 percent hard, 10 percent soft and 10 percent everything else.

Natural Surfaces
Going from the most numerous of these miscellaneous surfaces to the least could have been difficult, so the experts (by this time organized into an ad hoc research panel) decided to start with the least prevalent and build from there. The scarcest surface certainly is natural grass. Because it is the founding surface of the sport, and since it has enjoyed a 10-percent growth during the past decade, the panel set the percentage of grass courts at 1 percent. Now this is certainly an exaggeration; most of us can count on our thumbs the number of grass courts we've actually seen. But, for the sake of simplifying the rest of their task by eliminating fractions (and probably for sentimental reasons as well), the experts agreed to assign a simple, dignified "1" to the percentage of grass courts.

Their method for determining the number of natural red-clay courts, then, was based on an agreed-upon ration of natural clay to grass courts. That ration was four to one, leading to the figure of 4 percent for the proportion of American courts that are red and dusty.

Exotics
With hard and soft surfaces, grass and clay all neatly pigeonholed (a little too neatly, perhaps, but nobody's ever tried this before. Give them a break.), the intrepid assemblage now faced the task of breaking down the exotic synthetics into manageable subcategories. But categorizing synthetics can be tricky. If one major category is plant-manufactured surfaces, one is confronted with rolled goods, needle-punched, welded products, cast goods and blankets. This would leave a field-applied category, which would include water-diluted and sand-fortified liquid acrylics, seamed, adhered or tacked and sand-filled turfs...and so on. The committee settled on breaking down the synthetics by their chemical composition. All synthetics are made of either polyester, polypropylene, polyurethane and polyvinylchloride (PVC); these provided suitable subcategories for these surfaces.

What's Left?
The committee used the remaining 5 percent as a catchall category for such things as modular blocks, troweled-on neoprene and anything else they may have overlooked. Now, after this quasi-statistical analysis, the panel has released the first-ever industry breakdown of tennis court surface composition in the United States. The margin for error is +/- 4 percent.

Hard Courts 70%
Soft Courts 10%
Exotics 10%
Miscellaneous 5%
Natural Clay 4%
Natural Grass 1%

Once again, this is not based on a count of courts but on the experts pooling their knowledge of the general prevalence of each type of court. This breakdown is not meant to be the final word of the subject; hopefully it will serve to galvanize the industry to make a more thorough examination of the subject and eventually lead to an accurate count of the number of American courts. Until them, these percentages should at least partially satisfy the curiosity of journalists and tennis business-people.

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Track FAQ

How long is a standard track?
IAAF: Not less than 400m USAT&F: No specified length NCAA: No specified length NFSHSA: 400m is standard

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How wide is a standard track? How many lanes?
IAAF: 7.32m (6 lanes) minimum. Recommended 8 lanes of 1.22m. USAT&F: No specified length NCAA: 6.40m (6 minimum width lanes) minimum NFSHSA: No minimum width.

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How wide should the lanes be on a track?
IAAF: Minimum width of 1.22m (48 in.); maximum width of 1.25m (49.25 in.). The 5 cm wide right hand lane line is included in the width of the lane. USAT&F: Same as IAAF, but without will permit lanes of at least 91.4 cm (3 ft.) if track is not wide enough to accommodate at least eight wider lanes. NCAA: Width of 1.07m (42 in.) is recommended. The 5 cm wide right lane line is included in the width of the lane. NFSHSA: Width of 1.07m (42 in.) is recommended. The 5 cm wide right hand lane line is included in the width of the lane.

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What is the recommended inclination for a track?
IAAF: Maximum lateral inclination is 1:100; maximum downward inclination in the running direction is 1:1000. USAT&F: Same as IAAF NCAA: Same as IAAF NFSHSA: Maximum lateral inclination is 2:100; maximum inclination in the running direction is 1:1000.

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What are the radius requirements?
IAAF: World records cannot be set on a track which has an outside lane with a curve radius greater than 60m. (See IAAF's Rule 148 for two radii curve regulations). USAT&F: Same as IAAF NCAA: No regulation NFSHSA: No regulation.

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How close should the fence be to the track? How high should it be?
There are two kinds of fencing used in a track — one surrounding just the track, and one surrounding the entire facility. As the purposes are different, the heights vary. A fence approximately 4' high should surround the track for the purposes of keeping spectators and competitors separated, and protecting the track surface. For safety reasons, allow a clearance of 2' between the fence and the outermost lane of the track on the straightaways, and 3' on the turns. The IAAF recommends that there be no obstruction along both the interior and the exterior edges of the track surface for a distance of 1m. Normally, it is not desirable to have any fencing inside the running track itself. The fence which surrounds the entire facility (the site fencing) is normally 6'-8' high, and is designed to protect the entire facility against unauthorized use, vandalism, etc.

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What is the proper way to measure a track?
IAAF: Measure lane one 30 cm out from inner border of track with curb; 20 cm out from inner border of track with no curb. Other lanes to be measured 20 cm out from the outer edges of the left hand lane lines. All race distances are measured from the edge of the 5 cm wide starting line farther from the finish line to the edge of the 5 cm wide finish line nearer the start. Race courses must be the prescribed distance or longer. No minus tolerance is allowed. USAT&F: Same as IAAF NCAA: Same as IAAF NFSHSA: Same as IAAF.

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Information Resources Regarding 200M Tracks
While we offer a great deal of information on track construction, much of this information pertains to outdoor 400M tracks. However, some information specific to 200m indoor tracks is available. The book, Running Tracks: A Construction & Maintenance Manual, contains a chapter on indoor facilities. That chapter includes information on straight tracks and on 200M oval tracks. It also contains sections on banking, lanes, bends, marking and measurement, as well as field event construction and, briefly, on the building itself. This book can be purchased through our website, at www.sportsbuilders.org. Also on the website, you will find a Buyer’s Guide for Multi-Purpose Indoor Synthetic Surfaces, as well as guidelines for indoor athletic and sports surfacing. These are available for download at no charge. A searchable database of members also is available at the website.

Tracks must be constructed for the level of competition for which they will be used. Many indoor tracks are constructed for college competition. The NCAA rules book, Track & Field/Cross Country 2005 Men’s and Women’s Rules, in its Rule 10, addresses the indoor track facility. This rules book is available from the NCAA at www.ncaa.org, either in printed form or as a download. Much of this information also would be appropriate for an indoor track to be used at the high school or middle school level.

Finally, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the international governing body of track and field, publishes a track facilities manual. While this book is generally aimed at competition at the highest level and is costly at $100.00, it contains comprehensive information on construction of indoor track facilities. The IAAF track facilities manual can be ordered on the IAAf website at www.iaaf.org.

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Fields FAQ

How much does a field facility cost?
The cost of a field can vary based on several factors. Is this an existing site being upgraded or is this new construction on virgin ground? What type of field would be installed (native soil, sand cap, sand-based rootzone or synthetic turf)? What is the size of the field and what sports will be played? Site amenities such as lighting, fencing, irrigation, concession/restroom facilities, etc. can greatly influence the overall cost of a field. The ASBA suggests contacting a CFB or Design Professional to help assist you in defining your particular need based upon your field type and budget.

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What are common reasons for a natural grass field to fail?
There are three common factors that cause a natural grass field to fail: compaction of the field, poor grading and drainage and a lack of a good annual maintenance program. A field that is compacted does not allow water to get into the soil to produce a healthy root system for the grass. Additionally, a field can have a very heavy thatch (organic) layer build up. When it rains, water has nowhere to go and the top 2-4 inches of the turf becomes extremely soggy, which if a game is played, could render severe damage to the field. Improper grading will prevent water from draining off of the field, a problem that is compounded when there is a poor or no drainage system installed. A good annual maintenance program will greatly assist in keeping a field in good playing condition, but not necessarily keep a field from failing. The ASBA suggests consulting a CFB in your area for site specific information.

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What kind of grass is best for my athletic field?
Ultimately, the region of the country where the facility is being constructed will determine the type of grass best suited for your field. A field constructed in a southern region would best be suited with a variety of Bermuda grass. A field constructed in the northern region would best be suited with a variety of Kentucky Bluegrass. These two types of grasses are very different and are not interchangeable. The variety of grass chosen is also very important. The variety should be one specifically bred for athletic fields, so it will withstand the wear and use the field will receive. These choices are very important, in that they will determine the maintenance cost, playability and overall field safety for the facility.

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What is a rootzone?
The rootzone is the soils in which the roots of grass find their nutrients and water for vigorous growth. It is generally a combination of topsoil, subsurface soil, sand, lime and fertilizer lightly blended into homogenous mixture.

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How do you measure the height of football goal posts?
In accordance with the National Federation of State High School Association and NCAA rules, the football goal post's crossbar is 10 feet above the ground, measured from the base of each upright to the top of the crossbar at the intersection, or at the end of the crossbar perpendicular to the ground when a single pedestal is used.

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What is the distance from home plate to the pitcher’s rubber for high school softball?
2010 NFSHS rules changed the pitching distance from 40' to 43' for female fast pitch. This is measured from the rear top of home plate to the front edge of the pitcher's rubber.

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What should I look for in a contractor?
Experience! Experience! Experience!
The ASBA recommends using a qualified builder who has at least five years of experience in the construction of sports fields, both in natural grass fields and/or synthetic turf fields depending upon the type of field being considered. If you are considering bidding a project or taking proposals, we recommend pre-qualifying the sports field contractor. This will ensure only qualified and experienced sports field contractors complete the construction of your field.

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How do you find a qualified contractor?
One way is to contact the ASBA. As the trade association for sports field builders, the ASBA can provide a directory of its member contractors. In addition, the ASBA conducts a Certified Builder Program. Experienced contractors earn the Certified Field Builder (CFB) designation by completing a number of projects and by passing a certification examination. CFB's must recertify every three years.

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What is the base for a synthetic turf field?
The base is the foundation of a synthetic turf field and is critical for the field to facilitate drainage. It must provide a stable platform so the synthetic turf can be a uniform, predictable surface for play. There are various options for the base of a synthetic turf field depending on the synthetic turf manufacturer's requirements. We suggest consulting with various synthetic turf manufacturers for specific base construction requirements.

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What makes up base preparation?
A typical synthetic turf base is comprised of the following:

  1. Excavation of existing soils.
  2. Compaction and grading of existing material (called subgrade)
  3. Installation of perimeter collector drains, liners or geotextiles (if required), flat drains, specifically designed wash stoned or synthetic base, E layers, cooling systems and perimeter curbs with anchoring system to hold the synthetic turf in place.

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How much of this stone is needed and where do you get it?
It depends on the existing soil conditions, but the majority of synthetic fields have 6" of washed stone. The stone is a special design containing fractured pieces with very little fines. These angular pieces fit together to create the stable platform we need. There is also stone size analysis (sieve size) in the base guidelines. Most states have a Department of Transportation (DOT) specification that closely matches the particular synthetic turf guidelines.

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What is the direct effect of the "wrong stone" for a synthetic turf base?
The use of recycled concrete or standard "road base" material will not work. The use of this type of material will prevent the drainage system from working properly.

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What is a typical construction timeline for a synthetic turf field?
The ASBA recommends at least a ten to twelve week construction period for a typical field. Most synthetic turf manufacturers require four weeks for the turf installation. Keep in mind that as more amenities are added to the site, the timeline should be adjusted to allow for additional time.

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Indoor FAQ

Can I add, reapply, or remove, court marking or logos to my existing synthetic floor; if so, how?
Lines typically can be added or reapplied to synthetic surfaces; however, removal or relocation of lines may be challenging, and most manufacturers will recommend against it. Consult the manufacturer for specific guidelines.

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Can we use a concrete curing agent/hardener/sealer on the slab?
Most manufacturers will not allow use of such products when the synthetic floor system will be adhered to the concrete substrate. If such products are used, the manufacturer will typically require mechanical abatement prior to installation of the synthetic floor system.

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Can my synthetic floor be repaired; if so, how?
In most cases, synthetic floors can be repaired. However, depending on the product type and the type of repair, aesthetic consequences should be considered. Consult with the manufacturer for information and guidelines.

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What precautions, if any, are necessary for using tables and chairs?
Tables and chairs generally can be used on synthetic floors, provided the legs of the tables and chairs are properly fitted with suitable protective devices, (e.g., leg caps, glides, etc.), and the protective devices are properly maintained. Consult with the flooring manufacturer for information and guidelines.

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Can bleachers be used on my synthetic floor?
Generally synthetic floors are designed to accommodate typical bleacher loading. Depending on the floor system type, limitations may apply on the weight and point-load of the bleacher equipment. Consult with the manufacturers for information and guidelines.

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What are the moisture requirements of the concrete slab before installation?
For synthetic floor systems that are directly applied/adhered to the concrete slab, the criteria for moisture content will be determined by the flooring type and adhesive used, if applicable. Floating floor systems may have lessor requirements. Consult with the manufacturer for additional information and guidelines.

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Can we use in-line skates?
Generally, in-line skating can be used on most indoor synthetic floors provided the skates are properly fitted with indoor wheels that are kept clean and well functioning. Consult with the manufacturer for additional information and guidelines.

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Can we get custom colors?
In most cases, synthetic floors can be manufactured in custom colors. Minimum quantities, price adjustment, and increased lead-time may apply. Consult with the manufacturer for additional information.

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Copyright American Sports Builders Association 2014
8480 Baltimore National Pike, #307, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Phone: 866-501-ASBA (2722)  –  410-730-9595
Fax: 410-730-8833
Email: info@sportsbuilders.org