Racquetball was invented in 1950 to utilize American handball courts. American handball at the time was a very popular sport at YMCAs and Jewish community centers. Both games are designed to be played adjacent to basketball courts, and thus, they utilize hardwood floors. American Handball has diminished in popularity but its court is still used for racquetball. From time to time, high schools, YMCAs, churches and other establishments will remove their racquetball courts. When they do, they need something to do with all of the hardwood. You can often find this hardwood for very low cost or even for free.
A racquetball court is 40 feet by 20 feet. That means that every racquetball court has 800 square feet of hardwood flooring. The hardwood flooring is typically the same hardwood flooring that is used for basketball courts. Sometimes, if the court is a standalone court, it might use something different. The court is typically made of maple planks. The planks are usually 25/32 inch thick and three inches wide. They’re made of unfinished maple that is sealed with polyurethane. They’re also painted with markings that are important to the game.
Maple is a fairly hard wood that is made harder by the thick layer of polyurethane over the top. It’s designed to withstand running and jumping for decades. It’s the same type of floor that is used for basketball courts. That amount of solid maple would easily cost you $4,000 if you were to buy it new. Buying an old racquetball court floor could save you thousands.
If you are buying a racquetball court, you might be asked to buy all of it. If you need more than 800 square feet, you’ll need to buy the floors from multiple courts. That will actually give you many options for installation. The biggest question is whether you should sand and refinish it or leave it as is.
The hardwood is obviously designed to take a pounding, so leaving it as is will likely give you the best longevity. It will also reduce the amount of work you need to do. However, it will have the painted lines for playing racquetball. Some homeowners choose to mix random pieces together so that their floor just has random places that are painted. Others sand away the polyurethane and the paint. Others simply reassemble the floor as is. You could also have the floor installed upside down to create a waterproof layer on the bottom. All of these are excellent options for a repurposed racquetball court.
Looking to utilize an old sports floor in your home? Call Peninsula Hardwood Floors. We are experts in San Mateo hardwood floor installation and will get your project done right, the first time!