Can Pickleball Be Played On Concrete? | Paddle2Racket

Can pickleball be played on concrete - is a question often discussed within beginner pickleball circles as novices seek to set up their own courts. So, can it?

While pickleball has become widely popular, many of its aspects remain a bit unclear, like can it be played on specific surfaces? Or does one have to stick to exclusive pickleball courts to play the game?

Concrete offers a firm base for playing pickleball; therefore, it is one of the best options to construct a pickleball court surface, but only if used with a top coat of polyurethane or acrylic. Raw concrete is not the safest surface choice as it can break and greatly impact players' bodies.

As someone not too well-versed in pickleball play, figuring out the right flooring for a court out of so many options can be confusing. And in all of the material choices available, concrete is often presented as a top choice, but is it really?

With that in mind, I did some research to find out if the concrete is best-suited for building a pickleball court surface. If so, why is that, and are there any pitfalls of using concrete to play pickleball on?

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Can Pickleball Be Played On Concrete?

Yes, according to the data I gathered, pickleball can be played on concrete. However, some considerations are needed to ensure that said material remains well-suited for a pickleball court.

While concrete is a firm and durable layer of product that offers sufficient traction to pickleball players, it can become a little unstable on impact, especially if not well-made and left unprotected.

Most pickleball courts have a layer of concrete under the padded field on which players go against one another, slapping the wiffleball back and forth. The presence of concrete under a pickleball court makes the surface much steadier for playing pickleball.

However, as I mentioned above, concrete alone is not the right surface choice and requires a topcoat of softer padding, which is typically constructed using polyurethane or acrylic.

Why Is Raw Concrete Not A Suitable Flooring Option For Pickleball Courts?

Raw concrete is laid down without the covering of any cushioning material. Playing on such a surface can be hard on a player’s body, especially their knees.

If you run across or jump on a field of concrete flooring, you will feel a noticeable impact on your soul, lower legs, and back. But if you do the same actions on a cushioned surface like the one found on tennis courts or, at times, in gyms, you will not feel the same level of impact on your body.

Similarly, if a pickleball player strides across a court with force (which they need to do in order to perform well) on a raw concrete surface, they will damage their knees or even sustain severe injuries.

To avoid such an incident, contractors lay acrylic or polyurethane over a concrete base in pickleball courts.

Besides being damaging to players, a bare concrete surface is bad for the ball used in this racket sport. While the ball will bounce much better on concrete, it will suffer wear and tear much faster and become unusable sooner rather than later.

Therefore, it’s safe to say, opting for just a concrete floor for a pickleball court is not advisable.

Another thing to know about raw concrete flooring is that sometimes it is polished to provide pickleball players with a smoother field.

Raw concrete slabs can be a little scaly or pebbly without a polish. This means varnishing concrete is essential to smooth it out. But doing so has a flipside.

When a concrete surface is covered in polish, it loses its ability to absorb moisture. So, whenever it gets wet, the floor becomes slippery, spiking the chances of slipping and dropping drastically. And it goes without saying that falling while playing something as fast-paced as pickleball can be incredibly dangerous.

A polished concrete floor is not suitable for pickleball, especially in outdoor courts where rainwater can drench the surface.

In sum, concrete flooring without the protective layer of polyurethane or acrylic is not a safe choice for pickleball courts.

Laying Concrete in Pickleball Courts

Putting down the concrete with or without a top layer is a tricky job and must be done correctly. Otherwise, it will become unstable over time and spall.

Concrete, by nature, is a moisture-absorbing material. This means if the slabs are not well-built and lined perfectly, water vapors will make their way into the spaces and cause fracturing. As a result, pieces will break away, increasing the risk of accidents during matches.

Naturally, when the surface beneath you is not stable and will move/shake the moment you place your feet, you will lose your balance and trip. Such an occurrence can be catastrophic during a pickleball game because players are in high momentum, which means their fall will be much more impactful and result in more severe injuries.

Therefore, preparing a concrete floor properly is crucial. And that holds even when there is a polyurethane or acrylic covering on top.

People who aren’t acquainted with the construction and nature of concrete may assume that once you cover the slab with a topcoat, it shouldn’t pose a danger for players on a pickleball court. But that’s not true.

Sure, a layer of padding over concrete may take a while to manifest the effects of poorly laid concrete, but it will suffer damage.

When concrete absorbs water vapors, they move towards the top, coming in between the coating and concrete flooring. This could lead to gaps, forcing the topcoat to swell in places. As a result, a player may lose their footing if they step on the ballooned part.

Simply put, improper placement of concrete in a pickleball court is dangerous whether you cover it with a softer layer or not.

Covering Concrete in Pickleball Courts

As I have already established, pickleball surfaces need to be protected with a top layer of polyurethane or acrylic to offer players greater stability and shock absorption. Without these two features, pickleball players can suffer injuries and develop long-lasting soreness after a play.

Therefore, contractors lay a topcoat over concrete pickleball flooring.

With all that said, it must be noted that polyurethane and acrylic covering are more likely to cause slipping accidents if the floor gets wet.

That’s right! While the two protective materials are excellent for shock absorption, they don’t offer the best traction and grip when soaked in water. The chances of which are considerably higher if a pickleball court is in the open.

That’s where applying an anti-slip resistance sealant saves the day and provides pickleball players with superior traction even on rainy days.

Most experienced court contractors finish off a concrete floor with a silica-containing formula to ensure nobody falls down while playing this high-energy racket game.

Moreover, a sealant makes a concrete surface (layered with a protective coat on top) much firmer, providing better conditions for ball bouncing.

One of the most important rules of playing pickleball is getting the ball to bounce once on each side of the court before it hits the racket. For this reason, having a steady surface in pickleball courts is crucial; otherwise, the wiffleball will not spring up, making the game needlessly challenging.

In fact, players may have to stop their pickleball match if the ball doesn’t bounce enough on the court surface.

Simply put, a pickleball court should have a concrete base, covered with a polyurethane or acrylic coat and concealed by a sealant for better grip.

With everything said, you can play pickleball on just a concrete floor (because nobody can actually stop you). However, you shouldn't do so as it will likely damage your feet, ankles, and lower legs, not to mention it will make your game much less fun.

Therefore, when you decide to get a pickleball court built, be sure to get safe and comfortable flooring installed.


Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens

Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.

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