June, 2002

Tennis Court Squeegee

Perhaps the most underrated piece of equipment in the surfacing profession is the squeegee. Granted, such items as the mixer, choice of sand, time of day, application skills, etc., all have some bearing on the quality of the finished surface. Even the skilled applicator will experience substandard results if a poorly maintained squeegee is used to apply the surface coatings. A good squeegee is to a tennis court applicator what a good paint brush is to the house painter.

The applicator must first select a squeegee that fits his particular style and is comfortable to manipulate. Some squeegees have very little angle between blade and the handle. This style requires the applicator to carry his hands high and forces him to walk very close to the windrow. Other squeegees have excessive angle between blade and the handle, and therefore, are more suited for pushing than pulling.

The applicator should also consider the weight of the squeegee. A heavy squeegee can cause fatigue if numerous coats are being applied in one day. A very light squeegee has a tendency to float or be lifted by the windrow and very well may result in excessive ridges or “fat” spots. Whether to choose a wooden handle or a metal handle is also an important consideration. In addition, the applicator has the choice of a squeegee head that is either 24″, 30″ or 36″ wide. The wide squeegee permits a substantial overlap on passes and eliminates or at least reduces the amount of small pinholes from forming in the coating when the surface is quite warm.

A good squeegee blade is paramount to quality work. The rubber blade should be flexible so that it will bend with the contour of the surface and will not bridge small depressions to leave “fat” spots that will mud crack and shine upon drying. Plexipave recommends the rubber blade used for color coating be in the 50 durometer range and about 3″ wide. As the blade wears and/or the applicator permits dry films to accumulate on the blade, it will lose considerable flexibility and affect the quality of performance.

When through using, the applicator should immediately wash the squeegee to prevent unnecessary build-up of the coatings. A wire brush is a handy tool to help remove the coatings as the blade is being washed.

In summary, be very selective about the size, weight, and style of the squeegee. Select a soft, flexible blade for all applications of acrylic coatings. Frequent blade replacement is worth the cost