The final phase of the surfacing or resurfacing of recreational areas is the application of the playing lines. The quality of this important, final step can either complement or detract from the coating system.
Lines that are straight with sharp edges and no brush or roller marks reinforce the quality of the color coatings; however, lines that are not straight or the edges appear fuzzy because of line paint bleeding under the tape or lines that look wavy because of poor surface planarity will detract from the total surfacing effort.
In tennis, the lines are part of the inbounds area and therefore should have the same texture as the playing surface. Textured lines provide the same ball bounce characteristics as all other areas of the court.
A high quality line paint properly applied only requires one coat regardless of the method of application. Brush, roller and spray are the usual means by which line paint is applied. However, the spray application has numerous drawbacks and consequently, is usually restricted to striping tracks where sharp lines are not expected. Spray application often results in fogging beyond the tape and normally restricts the use of textured line paint. It is a fast method and results in very sharp edged lines when tape is used.
The roller is reasonably fast, and when used with an extended handle, it saves bending over. Unfortunately, unless the tape is pre-coated, the action of the roller will force the paint underneath the tape and increase the chances of a “fuzzier” edge. A few uncommon methods are used to apply lines and the results seem to be adequate.
With everything being considered, it seems the majority of applicators feel comfortable applying the line paint with a brush. Utilizing proper brush action, the results will complement the coatings.
Whether the application is by brush or roller, once sufficient line paint has been applied it is important that the final motion of either brush or roller be towards the wet film. This technique virtually eliminates brush or roller marks.
Some contractors are so intent on sharp lines that they will pre-coat the tape with an appropriate material in order to seal the inside edges of the tape. This technique usually results in very sharp edges. It is important to install textured lines that are straight, sharp and streak free.
REMEMBER – Tennis rules require all lines shall not be less than one inch or more than two inches in width, except the base line which may be up to four inches in width. It should also be noted that the rules call for the center mark to be four inches long.