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What Is The Best Surface For A Pickleball Court?

Best Surface For A Pickleball Court

Today there are a few types of surfaces you can use for a pickleball court. From converted gym floors and painted tennis courts, to brand new pickleball-only courts, the choices for surfaces can be extensive.

When we were building Pickleland (an indoor pickleball facility with outdoor hard surfaces), we did extensive research on all types of surfaces and manufacturers. We played at 100s of pickleball courts to test out the different surfaces and how they played. We thought we should share our insights so that others can benefit from them.

For the best pickleball experience, it’s important to choose the right court surface. A court’s type, the weather, the budget, and the number of players are all things to think about. 

Polyurethane surfaces last a long time and can be used for play both inside and outside. You can also choose asphalt, plexiform, acrylates, each with its own pros and cons.

This article goes into detail about the different types of pickleball court surfaces so that you can make smart choices that will make the game more fun and competitive.

Comparing the different types of pickleball court surfaces

Indoor Pickleball Court Construction and Surfaces

1. Polyurethane

Polyurethane sports surfaces are often used by builders to build indoor pickleball courts and can also be used for outdoor courts. These grounds also have a strong rubber mat on top of a flat or concrete base that provides cushioning, making it easier on players’ joints and bodies.

Best Surface For A Pickleball Court
Image Source: www.hcasports.com

Different surfaces have different levels of padding, with some being able to absorb up to 32% of shock. So, your builder will tell you about the depth of the best pickleball surface and whether a single-layer shock-absorbing surface or a more cushioned one is better.

These surfaces are a big hit with all types of players, but specially with the senior population.

2. Pro-Cushion Surface

The pro-cushion is one of the best pickleball surfaces because it provides a level playing field, steady bounce, and great comfort for players due to its shock-absorbing layers. This long-lasting surface is very resilient, so you can play games with ease and enjoyment.

The pro-cushion surface is made up of an acrylic coating system that has built-in padding. It has flexible acrylic binders or granules that give it a padded feel. 

The only con with this cushioned surface in our experience is that if not laid out correctly, you will experience zones of dead-bounces.

Designing Outdoor Pickleball Courts

For better outdoor performance, choose asphalt or concrete with a polyurethane sports overlay. This best outdoor pickleball surface should be a durable one that can handle a wide range of weather situations.

Best Surface For A Pickleball Court
Image Source: www.hrcaonline.org

Pick a surface based on what the court will be used for, like a personal court or a court for the community to use in a school, club, or rec center. To get the best play, have a professional install a custom polyurethane sports surface that can include padding for extra comfort.

1. Plexiflor

Plexiflor is a high-quality acrylic paint that can be used on concrete or asphalt. It’s great for all kinds of weather because it’s smooth and doesn’t scratch.

Using an acrylic surface like Plexiflor has these benefits:

  • Reducing Surface Glare: Plexiflor reduces glare on the court, enhancing visibility and gameplay.
  • Preserving Concrete: Plexiflor preserves concrete, prolonging the court’s life.
  • Ensuring Consistent Bounce and Gameplay: Plexiflor delivers a consistent bounce, ensuring fairness in gameplay.
  • Providing a Safe Grip with Custom-Designed Textures: Plexiflor’s textures, with silica sand, ensure a safe grip for players.
  • Being Environmentally Friendly: Plexiflor has low VOC emissions, promoting eco-friendly court construction.

2. Acrylotex

Acrylotex is a court surface that can be put down on top of concrete or asphalt and can be used indoors or outdoors. Different types have different surface textures to suit different grip tastes. This makes it a great choice for pickleball, where a good grip is very important.

What surface did we use at Pickleland?

At Pickleland we decided to use an acrylic surface on top of concrete to combine the best elements of a hard court (true ball bounce, real game speed and durability). We also liked the fact that we could tweak the grip of the ball to the court to dial in the perfect pickleball experience.

Lastly, but also important, we painted our court with 3 colors as being able to distinguish the kitchen from the NVZ from the outer part was very important to us.

Converting a Tennis Court for Pickleball Use

If your school, club, or community center has tennis courts that aren’t being used, it’s easy to turn them into pickleball courts.

The easiest way to convert a tennis court into a pickleball court is to draw temporary lines. You can use the same net though it won’t be the exact height but close enough.

Best Surface For A Pickleball Court
Image Source: www.flooringinc.com

You can also fit up to 4 pickleball courts inside a tennis court but you will now need temporary nets.

Sport Court Pickleball Surfaces

Specifically engineered for pickleball enthusiasts, it combines polyurethane and rubber to create a surface that offers a blend of durability, player comfort, and ball response.

Sports court surfaces excel in two key areas. Firstly, they are highly durable and capable of withstanding heavy use and varying weather conditions, making them suitable for outdoor settings with proper maintenance. 

They are also designed to resist fading and chalking, ensuring the court maintains a fresh appearance for an extended period. Additionally, the sports court is more resistant to cracks than asphalt or concrete, and replacing a single tile is easier than renovating the entire court if damage occurs.

The sports court floor makes players safer and more comfortable by making them less likely to get hurt and putting more stress on their joints. It also has good grip and ball response, which makes it easier to play and more accurate. 

But because it needs a concrete or asphalt floor, it costs more and is only a good choice for people who can afford it.

Asphalt Pickleball Courts

Asphalt is a highly favored choice for outdoor pickleball courts due to its durability and cost-effectiveness. It is created by combining aggregate with a binder-like bitumen and compacting it, resulting in a robust surface capable of enduring heavy use and varying weather conditions. 

Asphalt’s resilience makes it resistant to cracking, and, with proper upkeep, it can last for many years. The uniform color and texture of asphalt make it simple to paint court lines accurately, ensuring correct dimensions and boundaries.

However, asphalt does have its drawbacks. Its hardness compared to surfaces like sports courts or concrete can be taxing on players’ joints, potentially causing increased stress and strain.

Wooden Pickleball Courts

Pickleball courts made of wood are a great choice because they look natural and have a softer surface. They are usually made from maple or other hardwood over a concrete or other type of subfloor. 

On the other hand, these games can only be used inside. The best thing about a wooden pickleball court is that its surface is softer than harder ones like concrete or asphalt, so it’s easier on players’ knees.

Best Surface For A Pickleball Court
Image Source: www.thepicklewire.com

This soft surface makes it less likely that someone will get hurt while playing. Besides looking nice, wood courts blend in well with natural elements in a building, giving it more warmth and personality. 

Even with these pros, wood boards have a big problem: when they get wet, they become very slippery, which makes accidents more likely. Proper sealing can stop wetness from getting in, which lowers the risk of warping or rotting.

If you are playing on a wooden court, you will need a different ball and indoor pickleball shoes.

Concrete Pickleball Courts

Pickleball courts made of concrete are often used outside because they have similar benefits to asphalt courts. Mixing cement, water, and aggregate together makes concrete. The concrete is then put into a mold and left to harden. This makes a strong surface that won’t break down in bad weather.

Like asphalt, concrete is cheap and simple to mark with game lines. On the other hand, both are bad because they are hard on players’ joints. Concrete is also hard to fix when it cracks and can’t be restored like other materials can. 


If you live in Austin, instead of building your own court, become a member at Pickleland! We have indoor, air-conditioned, professional court surfaces and some of the best players in town. Learn more about our memberships here.

Indoor pickleball

What Should a Standard Pickleball Court Look Like?

A typical pickleball court is divided equally by a net that spans the entire 20-foot width and splits the 44-foot length into two 22-foot halves. The net stands 36 inches tall at the posts, dropping to 34 inches at its midpoint.

We recommend adding at least 8 ft at the backsides and 5ft to the sides to make the court 60×30 sqft, so that you have ample playing area for deeper or angled shots.

Also, the standard dimensions and line details for a pickleball court are outlined in section 2 of USA Pickleball’s Equipment Standards Manual.

All court lines should be 2 inches wide and included within the court’s overall dimensions. They should also contrast significantly with the court’s color; hence, most lines are white against the dark green of the court surface.

Parts of a Pickleball Court

The Markings on a Pickleball Court

Baseline

The baseline is at the back of each half of the court. It runs straight to the net and is 44 feet long, marks the serving area, and makes a line that players who are serving can’t cross.

Non-Volley Line

This line is 7 feet away from the net on both sides of the court and runs parallel to it. It marks the edge of the kitchen/non-volley zone that is closest to the sideline.

Sidelines

The court’s edges are marked by the walls, which run perpendicular to the net and run along the 20-foot width of both sides of the court.

Centerline

The midline runs from the baseline to the non-volley line on both halves, perpendicular to the net. It separates the odd and even courts.

Sections of a Pickleball Court

Non-Volley Zone

People often call this area “the kitchen.” It’s the width of the court and the first seven feet on both sides of the net. Because it is surrounded by the non-volley line and sides, volleys are not allowed and serves must stay outside of its lines.

Choosing the Right Pickleball Court Surface

What kind of pickleball court surface you choose will depend on your budget and where you live. Even though concrete and asphalt are less expensive choices, a sports court surface is the best for playing pickleball. 

If you’re building a court at home, you might want to work with your neighbors to get a better floor. For the best pickleball experience, you should think about it. 

Do you want to learn more about pickleball? You might also be interested in these other articles:

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