These guidelines are based on feedback from fellow players who have made these suggestions based on their own experience. Your needs and situation might be similar and these guidelines might work for you. They are passed along in case you find them useful but they are only guidelines. You may find a better method that works for you. If you are considering permanent pickleball courts, you are encouraged to consider purchasing a copy of the ASBA/USA Pickleball Construction Manual.
Frequently, you may find yourself in the situation where you have to set up an impromptu court in the street or parking lot, or mark a court on a tennis court, or tape a gym floor. You may find yourself wondering, “where do I start?”.
All outdoor courts should be oriented north-south. See "Suggestions For Outdoor Courts" on the Court Dimensions page for all the reasons why you do not want an east-west court.
Choices for Marking Lines
- Sidewalk chalk works well and can last several weeks without heavy rain.
- Big/thick “toddler” crayons work well and will last longer than chalk.
- Contractor's blue #1 chalk dust available at home improvement stores can be used and installed with a striping/line tool. Don't use red because it has more dye and might not wash away as easily. You can buy a tool to stripe the lines with the dust (see photo below).
- Frog green tape works well if the surface is first cleaned thoroughly and not too rough.
- Some paint stores sell an orange masking tape that provides high contrast because of the orange color.
- SportMaster Sports Surfaces Textured White Line Paint, and Strip-Rite tape sealer offer a professional installation.
- Vinyl 'EZ' court lines work for a demo game. These lines might move with heavy
use so not a practical choice for longer term use. They are thin and non-skid. The ball doesn't bounce that well on them (see photo below).
click photos to view larger
- Generally, tape will be your best option for do it yourselfers. See Marking Indoor Court Lines below for your tape choices.
- If you use tape, you'll need 198 feet per court. Tape generally comes in 180 feet rolls (60 yards). So you'll need more than one roll per court.
- If you use big sidewalk chalk, you'll need two chalk sticks per court.
- If you use vinyl court lines, you should use two sets per court for easier visibility.
- If you paint a full court (30' x 60'), you'll generally need 50 gallons of PickleMaster RTU acrylic surface coating for 2 coats, and 1 gallon of SportMaster Sports Surfaces textured line paint. PickleMaster RTU's spread-rate is about 75 sq. ft per gallon (per coat) using a soft rubber sport coating squeegee on a textured asphalt surface. Both surfacing products, and application tools, can be purchased from SportMaster (locations nationwide, and delivery available).
Recommended Tools & Equipment for Surfacing a Pickleball Court:
- Power drill for mixing coatings. Mud-type mixer drill with spade handle.
- Long paddle mixer for drill. Make sure it is long enough to reach the bottom of the container that you are mixing.
- Push brooms, wide floor scrapers on a handle, & a blower for cleaning debris off of the surface and for scraping and blowing between coats.
- Weed wacker or edging tools for edging around court.
- Scoop shovel for removing extra coatings from the surface.
- Clean, empty buckets:
- For transporting mixed coatings to the court and/or making mixes
- To collect extra materials at the end of a coat
- For cleaning tools & to collect and measure dilution water
- Gloves and rags for clean-up. Tarp: to lay out for mixing area.
- Chalk lines, string lines, and tape measures for laying out lines
- Roll of tar paper or thick construction paper for masking around the court, between different colored areas, and for picking up excess materials.
- Chalk or soap stones for markings/layout.
- Water source & hose with spray nozzle (pressure washer & cleaning chemicals). Electric source and cord for drill.
- Trowels, putty knives, box cutter, wire brush (for cleaning vegetation out of cracks or for cleaning dried coatings off tools with water.
- Caution tape or something to secure the wet paint, when complete.
- 3” paint rollers & long threaded handle or paint brush for painting lines.
- 4 rolls of good quality, yellow masking tape (2” wide or metric equivalent)
- Line taping machine is handy for rolling out tape, but can also tape by hand
Measuring the Court
CLICK HERE for the court diagram. It shows you the complete dimensions for the court lines.
100% acrylic paint works best on outdoor court surfaces. Here are some material estimates for using PickleMaster by SportMaster Sport Surfaces:
Painting Outdoor Pickleball Court Boundaries
If you need to paint the court lines, you can use tape, paint, and a taping machine. Tape should be 2 inches wide so any line paint will not make it to the court surface. A good quality, exterior-grade, yellow masking tape is ideal. Start early in the morning and let the tape stay down a couple hours after the paint is applied so the paint doesn’t run. Wear disposable gloves so you can save cleanup time later. Have a large trash bag handy to put the balled up tape into. It might take two people to keep the bag open so you can toss the tape into the bottom and not stick to the sides. If you’re painting pickleball court lines on a tennis court to make it a multi-use or multipurpose court, don’t forget to tape over the tennis lines so they remain the predominant line. You should leave a gap of 2 or 3 inches where any lines intersect between the two courts.
Read the instructions that come with the paint on how to prepare and paint the court surface. Place all your painting supplies and equipment on a tarp or large piece of cardboard so you don’t get any extraneous paint on the court surface.
Here are some preparation and surface cleaning tips:
- Trim around the perimeter of the court to prevent vegetation from hanging over the edge and getting into the coatings.
- If court is visibly dark and dirty, and in constant shade, it would be a good idea to treat the surface with a solution of water, bleach, and detergent.
- A mixture of water & bleach (4 parts water to 1 part bleach) is good for killing organic growth, like mold, moss, and mildew. Add a small amount of detergent, like TSP (Tri-sodium phosphate) or a PH neutral cleaner, to provide extra cleaning power.
- Pressure wash the entire surface and allow to dry completely before application of coatings
- A rotary pressure washer is quicker and more consistent than a hand-held wand. Check with local equipment rental stores for pricing and availability.
If a taping machine will be used, you must measure differently than you might think. Do NOT lay out the snap line based on the outside dimensions (20x44 ft.) of the court and then use a tape machine centered on those lines. If you do, your court will not have the sidelines and Non-Volley Zone line in the right location. Instead, lay out the string based on a 19’10” width and 43’10” length. Lay out the string for the Non-Volley Zone line using 6’11” from the net centerline.
Adjust your measurements so the outside edge of the painted line conforms to the final court dimensions. Remeasure the entire court before putting the paint on the court surface. Use a pencil mark, not chalk, to mark the locations for all end points. Use 2, 100’ metal tapes to measure the outside dimensions and the diagonals for squareness. A cloth tape can stretch and not be accurate enough. For the outside dimensions, the baseline to baseline diagonal distance and half court (net to baseline corner) distances differ from those based on the tape machine distances. Use the table below to pick the appropriate lengths.
Court size Baseline/Baseline Net/Baseline
20x44 48 ft. 3 1/16 in 29 ft. 8 1/16 in
19-10 x 43-10 48 ft. 1 in 29 ft. 6 1/16 in
The tape machine comes with a centered rod that runs over and uses the snap line as a guide. Use extra tape to hold the snap line in place. Extend the snap line about 2 feet beyond the actual court lines to start and keep the tape machine lined up.
It takes approximately 6 rolls of tape for 2 courts. It may take another 3 to 4 rolls to tape the playing surface and kitchen so the colors don’t go onto the out of bounds area if a different color is used on those areas. Some rough square foot measurements per pickleball court are: Non-Volley Zone (kitchen) 280 square feet, service courts 600 square feet, and 2” lines 33 square feet.
Optionally, you can apply a tape sealer before the paint goes down. It dries fairly quickly. The tape sealer will make the lines very sharp by sealing the space left between the tape and the court surface to keep the paint from wicking into that space. After taping the lines, use the sealer and let it dry before applying the line paint.
After your preparation work, you are ready to paint the lines. To aid in painting the two inch boundary lines, use a quart squeeze bottle with a tip. It’s very easy for one person to squeeze the paint out and a second to go over it with either a 3” brush or small roller attached to a pole. Save your back so you can play pickleball later! Using a squeeze bottle prevents dropping paint on the court surface. Also, it you use a portable net on your pickleball court, place 3 inch “tick” marks inside the side lines so you know where to put the net. Another tick mark in the center of the court will help you locate the center post. You don’t need to paint a center line across the entire court for the net.
Let the paint dry for a full 24 hours before use. Then, have fun!
Three people measuring, remeasuring, taping, and painting lines for 2 courts take about 6 hours. An alternative to doing everything in one day would be to measure and tape the evening before. Measure again the next morning and double check with a clear head. If desired, seal the tape and let it dry. Paint the lines and let them dry for a couple of hours then pull up the tape and give everything a full day to dry and cure. Don’t forget to take pictures of the before and after along with shots or video clips of the work being done.
Other Lining Options
An alternate method is to use a striping machine from a local hardware store. Another option is to make a “masking board” to use instead of tape. Here's how:
Chalk the lines. Then assemble two 12 feet 1X4 boards. Use 2 small cleets to space them 2 inches apart. This assembly will be your "masking board". Purchase striping paint in a can and spray it between the boards, moving the masking board down as you proceed. Note: This method can be tricky since it may be difficult to locate 12 foot boards that are perfectly straight.
For painting a full court, including the lines, you don't need to rent/buy a taping machine. Instead, put down 2" tape first where the lines would normally go. Then paint the court surface on either side of the tape. When fully dry, put 1" or 2" tape on either side of the existing tape. Pull up this first laid tape and paint the court lines.
Marking Indoor Court Lines
- Frog green tape works well on a variety of surfaces and lasts a long time.
- 3M Scotch Blue painter's tape works well but it can start looking worn out after a few weeks wear.
- Some floors have successfully used vinyl floor tape. But you need to test it against the varnish. If used on a wooden floor, it might remove the varnish. Vinyl tape can last a very long time. It comes in a variety of good contrast colors: orange, blue, red, etc.
- Tape can be either 2 inch or 1 inch wide or a mix depending on your budget. Baseline should be 2 inches and probably also the Non-Volley Zone line.
- Electric black tape works and leaves no residue. It is only a 1/2 inch thick. It's main advantage is that it is cheap if you are in a facility where you have to replace the tape frequently.
- Vinyl court lines such as those from Wilson or Gamma work for a demo game (see photo at top of page). They are thin and non-skid but can move with heavy use.
- For stained/varnished wooden floors, you can stain the floor a different color to mark out the lines of the pickleball courts. Some facilities allow nothing laid on the floor and no paint. So staining is the only option. But it'd require professional installation. But if the floor is being refinished, you could add it in.
- Painting is not usually an option for do-it-yourselfers.
- A 2 inch border tile to mark the lines might be an option if a tile floor is being freshly installed or redone. It'd require professional installation.
Choices for Barriers (Ball Containment)
If you are playing in a street, parking lot, or other open space that is not fenced in, you will spend a lot of time chasing balls. To contain your balls, you might want to put up some temporary fencing.
- Orange plastic construction fencing works well. It is about $30 for 100 feet from home improvement stores.
- Green plastic garden fencing also works well. You can zip-tie the sections together.
- PVC pipe with elbows and pipes might work.