You can see it on school and university campuses, as well as in clubs, recreational facilities places and public places: a brick-red plastic surface with colored markings, two goals, basketball nets, barbed wire fences – the all-weather sports field. Its shock-absorbing plastic surface is resilient to protect athletes from injury; the material’s surface is also non-slip, and the permeable material dries out quickly after rain. Depending on their size and characteristics, all-weather sports fields can be used in a variety of sports activities, such as football, tennis, volleyball, hockey, handball, basketball, long jump sports, gymnastics classes and other sports activities.
How to build a quality all-weather sports field? We’ve helped you put together a list of nine important criteria for all-weather sports field construction.
Clarify the use of the site before building a plastic sports pitch
What sporting activity would you like to see played on this all-weather sports field or plastic field? Who will come to the campaign? Will this outdoor playground be open to the public? So are there some protective measures that need to be taken to prevent some vandalism? How often is the site maintained, and who performs the maintenance?
All these issues and other possible problems need to be considered in advance, so that only the optimal flooring material and the best equipment can be chosen. This is because not every type of artificial flooring is suitable for any kind of sporting activity and its strength needs. A team of experts can help you solve these problems, as well as build according to regulations and estimate the cost of building a sports venue. The team includes professional sports facility planners and professional landscape architects who specialize in sports field construction and know the size and marker design of sports fields.
Trunking – standard sizing and marking of a field
In Germany, there are three standard sizes of all-weather sports fields that can be built, including high jumping and long jumping fields.
1. 20×28m is the smallest size playing field, suitable for setting up 2 volleyball courts (each size 18×9m, blue markings) or 1 basketball court (26×14m, yellow markings).
2. a medium sized playing field size 26×44m can be set up with 3 volleyball courts (each size 18×9m, blue markings) or 2 basketball courts (each size 26×14m, yellow markings), and a large handball court (40×20m, orange markings) can also be designed.
3. tennis, handball, basketball, and volleyball courts (23.77 x 10.97m, white markers) can be set up on a large 28 x 44 all-weather sports court, or a large 40 x 26m multi-purpose sports court can be designed.
It should be noted that this is the size of a school basketball court, which is 28 x 15m for professional games, and that basketball stands are usually 2.25m in height.
What you need to know about building a sports court
In Germany, the regulations for the design, construction and use of artificial flooring in sports grounds are laid down in DIN EN 14877:2013-12 “Specification for artificial flooring in outdoor sports grounds” and in DIN 18035-6:2014-12 “Chapter 6 of the Sports Grounds. “There are clear regulations in all of them. Regulations and requirements in other countries may vary.
DIN 18035-6: 2014-12 states that in sports facilities, artificial surfaces need to contain a permanent water permeable system or waterproof structure that includes an artificial surface cover, an asphalt layer, an adhesive-free base layer and a stable subsoil. In TIP6 we’ll cover whether a plastic surface needs to be permeable or waterproof, but first let’s look at how to design an appropriate subsurface structure.
The ideal subsurface drainage system
Underneath the plastic floor is usually a bonded base layer, which is a synthetic layer of aggregate, filler and bitumen. It is usually 65-100 mm thick and is laid in one or two layers. The base layer, which contains natural aggregates and contains no binders, is about 200 mm thick and is also laid in one or two layers. The final layer is a solid subsoil layer. The substructure with a drainage system absorbs the infiltrated water and drains it to the runoff area. The use of an asphalt layer with or without binder depends largely on whether the playing field needs to be permeable or waterproof.
The Right Choice: Seamless Installation on Site
According to DIN EN 14877: 2013-12 and DIN 18035-6: 2014-12 for plastic runways and all-weather sports fields, artificial surfaces can either be laid with pre-constructed slabs and joint materials or on site.
We recommend laying plastic runways and all-weather sports fields on site, as on-site installation guarantees a flat and seamless plastic surface. If you use a joint material, the joints will bulge over the years and athletes will be more prone to injury.
Permeable or Waterproof?
In general, permeable flooring is suitable for recreational and leisure venues, school sports fields and multi-purpose sports fields. Waterproof plastic floors are mainly used in professional sports facilities and in international competitions. In Germany, DIN 18035-6 divides the types of artificial flooring into five categories A-E. Category A, B, C is permeable, D, E is waterproof. But which type of plastic flooring should we choose for a multi-purpose sports ground?
Sports fields need good maintenance to extend their life span
In order to last as long as possible, all-weather sports fields and vinyl runways require regular professional surface maintenance, which, for artificial surfaces, consists of the following four components: regular inspections, base cleaning, in-depth cleaning by specialized equipment, and timely repair or refurbishment.
When properly maintained, a properly constructed vinyl runway with a sprayed surface has a service life of about eight years. In the case of a fully polyurethane or sandwich sprayed construction, the life expectancy can be extended to 30 years.
New surface or new playing field?
Years of direct sunlight, cold and hot weather, and sports wear and tear can all wreak havoc on artificial surfaces. However, if the subfloor is installed correctly, it will resist deterioration better and will last longer. For sports equipment that requires frequent refurbishment, we often recommend re-capping. This involves the use of a new synthetic surface when cleaning the track on the plastic surface. Not only does this quickly restore the all-weather sports pitch to its sporting character, marking it with a new bright colour, but it also makes it look better.
Cinder and hard bitumen – an economical alternative to plastic sports pitches?
Some people consider the cost of laying modern vinyl flooring to be too high, and there are two other options: cinder block flooring and hard asphalt flooring, both of which were common before the advent of vinyl flooring. These floors consist of a mixture of unfused mineral particles that are very strong and prone to dusting in dry conditions. There is an additional risk with this type of surface, as the risk of injury to athletes is greatly increased due to the lack of flexibility of cinder floors. We only recommend the use of cinder blocks or hard courts on surfaces that cannot be maintained for long periods of time. By the way, the aforementioned hard surface does not include hard surface tennis courts, on which top tennis international tournaments are held, such as the US Open.
about the construction of outdoor sports courts
All-weather sports fields with artificial surfaces are an ideal solution for many outdoor recreation areas and school playgrounds, as they are suitable for a wide range of sports activities. Due to their functional properties related to sports, the surfaces support the musculoskeletal system of the athletes and reduce the risk of injury in case of a fall. These artificial surfaces are resistant to ageing and corrosion and maintain good slip resistance even in wet conditions.
The permeable surface dries quickly and the inconvenient effects of summer thunderstorms will only last a short time. Typically, sports fields with plastic flooring can be used in all weather except during snow and ice. Their good performance also depends on the correct maintenance of the sports ground, and professional companies can offer a wide range of services to meet this demand.
If you’re interested in sports stadiums or the construction of sports arenas, check out more of our blog – Sports Arena