The Court Surface Greatly Affects the Game
In addition to providing the look of the basketball court, the choice of surfacing can also greatly affect the quality of play and safety for basketball games. Basketball is a game of quick and agile movements
so having a surface that provides adequate traction is imperative in order to prevent injuries.
Some types of court surfaces naturally provide this traction on their own and other types need to have a sealant applied. In other instances (such as a makeshift outdoor court) where a budget may be an issue, traction may not be as high of a concern as it should be.
The choices for court surfacing are usually determined by whether the court will be indoors or outdoors. Outdoor court surfaces have more durable weather resistant qualities and sometimes have moisture wicking properties. Indoor basketball surfaces are generally made from more traditional materials since weather is not a concern.
Indoor Basketball Court Surfaces
The choices for indoor basketball surfaces can be dictated by the level of basketball that is played there. High level basketball such as college and professional leagues dictate that the court surface has to be finished hardwood. Finished hardwood is the best surface for:
These leagues use finished hardwood in an attempt to give every court a universal feel and similar characteristics. This helps to negate any competitive disadvantages that can result from different surfaces. The problem with hardwood is that it can require a lot of maintenance, get dusty, and is expensive. Maple is the most popular type of hardwood used.
Technology has led to other surfaces being available for indoor courts. There are types of rubberized and synthetic flooring that requires less maintenance and provide a good level of traction. Rubberized flooring is popular because it can be implemented permanently or as tiles that can be placed or removed quickly. These types of non-permanent flooring options are popular if the space is used for other things besides basketball. The tiles are popular for outdoor court use as well.
Outdoor Basketball Court Surfaces
Outdoor courts are generally less strict in the types of materials that can be used for surfacing. The most frequently used outdoor court surfacing materials are:
The budget is usually a determining factor when choosing the type of surface for outdoor courts. From a purely cost-effective standpoint, asphalt is a very adequate choice. It is reasonably good for traction, durability, weather resistance and crews can lay it down quickly. A sealant may or may not be used in order to enhance durability and traction characteristics.
Concrete is also a very cost-effective choice. It offers many of the same benefits of asphalt, but concrete almost always needs to be sealed in order to keep it from cracking. Concrete also takes more time to level and cure after it is poured than asphalt.
There are new and high tech outdoor court surfaces that are developed to be moisture resistant and reduce stress on knees and joints than these traditional materials but they are more expensive as a result.