Pickleball is a sport that can be played year round, and on a variety of surfaces. It can also be played both outdoors and indoors. However, water can put an end to your game, or prevent you from beginning one.
The good news is that you can get your court dry, typically within minutes. Then, you can continue with your game. This is typically a problem that occurs on outdoor courts.
However, water leaks will rarely cause indoor surfaces to get wet as well. We’ll take a look at how to dry pickleball courts, no matter the surface you are playing on.
Drying Hard Pickleball Courts
Pickleball courts are most commonly made from asphalt or concrete. A specialized acrylic layer can provide greater traction and grip. Some coatings even provide some cushioning.
When it comes to drying the court, all hard surface pickleball courts can be dried using the same methods.
Drying a Court with a Roller
First, we’ll take a look at a roller, also known as a squeegee roller. This device is t-shaped. It has a roller, a frame, and a handle. If you’ve never seen one, picture an oversized paint roller for a general idea.
These rollers are typically made with blue PVA foam. It must be wet to work. So, before you use it to dry your court, you’ll need to wet the roller.
It’s similar to the material kitchen sponges are made of. If you allow a sponge to dry, you’ll notice it’s much smaller than when wet. You may also notice it takes some time for the sponge to soak up water, particularly if it’s completely dry.
A PVA foam roller works in the same way. So, the first step to drying a court with a roller is to wet it. You can soak it in a puddle of water, but a bathtub or trough of water is the best method.
Once it’s wet, you’ll push the roller across the court one section at a time. Start with one side, and go all the way to the other end of the court. Then, move the roller over, so it’s in line with the wet area of the court, and make another pass.
Using a Squeegee for Pickleball Courts
The most common type of squeegee is the blade type. However, there are roller versions as well. The blade type has a long slim blade, similar to a windshield wiper blade.
The foam version has a long roller with a small circumference. Both function in the same way. They essentially hold the water in front of them, allowing you to push it off the court.
When using a squeegee, you’ll start with one edge of the court, as you do with a foam roller. You’ll want to start with 1/3 to 1/2 off the court boundary. With the next pass, place the squeegee so 1/3 to 1/3 is on the dry portion of the court, and the rest is on the wet area.
This prevents water from spilling over the squeegee, leaving wet areas behind.
Homemade Carpet Drying Roller
You can purchase a squeegee or a foam roller, but there’s another option as well. If you happen to have some plush carpet around the house, you can easily make your own carpet drying roller for your court. You’ll need carpet with a long pile, like shag.
You’ll also need rope and a piece of wood. A 1 x 2 works great, but you can really use any size you have on hand. Drill a hole in each side of the wood, so you can attach the rope.
The carpet should be an inch or two smaller in width than the wood. Fold the carpet over the wood, so half is on either side of the board. Add your rope by threading it through one hole, and tying a knot to keep it in place.
Then, do the same with the other side, leaving plenty of rope for a handle. Now, you’ll simply pull the carpet across the court, as you would a foam roller. The carpet easily soaks up the water.
Once you are finished, hang the carpet to allow it to dry so you can use it again.
Drying Clay Courts
There’s some controversy about playing pickleball on clay courts. Clay courts are softer than hard courts. This changes the way the game is played a bit, because the ball bounces differently.
When playing on a clay court, you’ll need to use outdoor pickleballs. Some pickleball leagues won’t allow matches to be played on clay courts, because they fear it will give those used to playing on clay an advantage. Clay courts can have some benefits and challenges.
However, it’s often practicality that leads people to play on them. Clay tennis courts can be used to play pickleball, which is much more convenient than building a new pickleball court. Tennis courts are also much larger, so two pickleball courts can easily fit into one tennis court.
Drying a Clay Court
Clay courts can be played on if the rain is light. If the rain is heavy, you’ll need to wait for it to dry. Clay actually needs some water. If it gets too dry, it becomes dusty and unpleasant to play on.
However, too much water makes the surface muddy, which isn’t enjoyable either. Most sources state that you can’t dry a clay court, and simply have to wait it out. Clay courts are usually dry enough to play on in an hour, but it can take 2 hours.
Keep in mind that the court isn’t completely dry at this time, but it’s certainly playable. In Morroco, they have an interesting way to dry courts. They set them on fire.
Gasoline is poured on the court. The gas is lit, and catches fire. The heat from the fire helps to dry the court.
The best way to dry a clay court is to not allow it to get wet. If you cover it when it first begins to rain, the court won’t get very wet. Once the rain is over, pull the cover off, and you are ready to go.
Drying Indoor Pickleball Courts
Indoor pickleball courts are often made from wood, but they can be made from concrete as well. These courts may be basketball courts, or multi-use courts. Indoor courts don’t get wet very often, but it can happen if a leak occurs.
If your indoor court gets wet, playing pickleball is likely not your top concern. However, if you have a wooden court, it’s important to know how to dry it to avoid damaging the wood.
Remove Visible Water
The first step to drying any indoor court is to remove any visible water. There are a few ways to do this. You can use a foam roller, because it soaks up the water.
You can also use a shop vacuum to remove the water from the floor. A mop or towel can also work, but these can be more time consuming.
Next, you’ll need to increase the airflow. This helps to dry any water underneath the floor. It can take a few days or longer, depending on how much water gets onto the floor, and how quickly visible water was removed.
You can create airflow with fans. Most gyms have some industrial fans or a fan system, so you can use these options to dry the floor. You can also use a dehumidifier to help remove the moisture from the air.
Do You Need to Dry Your Pickleball Court?
Do you need to dry the pickleball court, or can you play when it’s wet. Pickleball balls work fine in the rain, unlike tennis balls. However, playing on a hard court while wet is risky.
Concrete or asphalt surfaces become very slick when wet. You may be injured because you can’t get traction while playing. Clay can be played on if its slightly wet, but it shouldn’t be played on if its very wet.
Grass is sometimes used for pickleball courts, particularly backyard games. The only way to dry grass is to allow it to dry out. Playing in wet grass will ruin the grass.
You are also at risk of injury from slipping or falling.
Drying Pickleball Court FAQs
How long do courts take to dry?
This depends on the material the court is made of, and how much rain occurred. Without taking steps to dry the court, hard courts typically dry in about an hour. Clay courts take 1 to 2 hours.
Wood courts can take several days to dry completely.
Can you play pickleball in the rain?
Again, it really depends on the court. If the court is clay, you can play in the rain. However, do your best to keep your paddle dry.
Too much water can ruin the paddle. Hard courts shouldn’t be played on when wet, because it’s not safe to do so.
What is a fast dry court?
A fast dry court is typically a hard court that has a specialized surface that allows it to dry faster. Green clay, or Har tu clay courts, are also referred to as quick dry because of their short drying time.