Installing a Basketball Hoop

Written by dad - 4 Comments

On Thanksgiving Day, I decided that I wanted to install a basketball hoop for the boys. We had thought about doing it as a Christmas present, but we decided to go ahead and do it now instead. So instead of avoiding the crowds on Black Friday, we ventured out to the sporting goods store and came home with a shiny new basketball hoop. I’ve never been a fan of portable basketball hoops, so we ended up going with an in-ground hoop instead. Unfortunately, this meant that the installation process would be considerably longer and more difficult.

As it turns out, the rate limiting step is waiting for the concrete to cure, and the particular model that we bought had two such steps… One for sinking a ‘sleeve’ into the ground, and the other for filling the post with concrete to ‘deaden’ it. The purpose of the sleeve is to make it easier to slip the pole into the ground, and to also make the post removable. In retrospect, this was a really bad idea, and I wish I had skipped it entirely and just stuck the post directly into a big block of concrete (more on this below).

Here’s a quick rundown on the process so far:

Day 1: Haul hoop home, pick up concrete, etc. at Home Depot. Dig hole. Put sleeve and lower section of the post in the ground, square it up, and fill hole with concrete.

Day 2: Slip lower section of post out of the ground, assemble the three sections of the post, slip a piece of rebar into the post, cap the bottom, and then fill with concrete.

Day 3: Slide post back into the sleeve, clamp it into place, and hang the backboard/hoop. Or at least that’s how it was supposed to go…

The problem was that when we slipped the post back into the sleeve and clamped it in place, it was a bit too wobbly. After a bit of hand wringing (and hair-pulling) as well as a quick consultation with out neighbor, I decided to try shimming the sleeve and then buttressing the whole thing with additional concrete. After driving in shims on all sides, the post was nice and solid. Thus, I decided to press on…

I excavated a trench around the concrete base and coated the top of the base with concrete adhesive. I then mixed up a batch of Quikrete sand mix (which can be poured in thinner layers than a gravel-based concrete), filled the trench, and then came over the top to buttress the base of the post.

We then finished up by imprinting each of our kids’ hands in the concrete around the base of the post and carving in the date along with their initials.

We’re now waiting for the concrete to moist-cure under plastic (for additional strength). Once the concrete has cured, I’m going to move ahead with assembling and hanging the backboard/hoop… Hmmm… By that time, we might as well make it a Christmas present!

Oh well, it’ll be worth it in the end, as the kids will have blast shooting hoops (and so will I).

Unfortunately, what started out as a three day project has turned into a multi-day (week?) saga. Oh well, once it’s done the kids will have a blast (and so will I).

Published on November 27th, 2006 - 4 Comments
Filed under: Daily Life
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Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. I had a hoop growing up; it was great. It got my brother and I active quite often on our own, and meant that there was always a crowd in the driveway whenever we had friends over.

    I will probably never install one at my current house, though; our driveway is too close to the street and to the pond in the back to make it safe. We will probably have moved by the time we have kids old enough to want a hoop, though, and until then we are only a few miles from the high school’s hoops.

    Comment by Blaine Moore — Nov 27th 2006 @ 11:44 am
  2. What ever happened to a simple hoop over the garage? I am trying to get one for my girls for Christmas and it seems almost impossible to find anything on either installation services or do it yourself instructions????

    Comment by Jon Pershke — Dec 2nd 2007 @ 8:12 am
  3. Installing a basketball goal isnt easy.It requires a minimum of 2-3 people.You must also have the strength to dig a large deep hole,muscle up a heavy backboard and wrench large nuts and bolts.
    It is a 2 day process for an inground goal.The first day consists of digging the hole,mixing the concrete and setting the j-bolts or pole.J-bolts are the base of most high end or heavy duty backboard systems.Then you must let the concrete cure for at least 48 hours depending on the weather.Colder climates requires more curing time.
    The next step is to assemble the unit.This consits of laying out the parts on the court.Doing so on the box provided as not to scratch the arms and parts.Following the manufacturers directions is critical.Each step is designed after the other for safety and ease of installation.This second phase of the install is where the extra hands come in.The theory is the more the merrier.Some glass backboards weigh over 100lbs.Its nice to have 2 people holding the board in place and another 1-2 people inserting the bolts and reading the directions.
    One important note.On some of the less expensive systems like a $200-$400 round pole system from a sporting goods store I highly recomend filling the pole completely with concrete.This should be the last step.This will ensure that water and moisture does not get into the pole which will freeze and cause the pole to burst during the cold season.
    If this sounds like a pain.Well it is.
    Removal of an existing pole can be very easy or extremly difficult.Depending on the install it may fall over easily or have a telephone pole like concrete base.You can call your local rental place and have a hydraulic compresser and jack hammer delivered to your driveway.I dont recomend the electric hammers though they will work expect to be there a while.A few tricks of the trade will ease this problem.One of them is if your new system can be moved to the right,left or behind the old base you may be ok.You can rent a hand grinder and cut off the old pole and not have to deal with that huge block of concrete.Another trick is to cut the pole and chip 2-3 inches of the old concrete and put dirt and sod over the old base.Presto!You just saved a ton of labor.Make sure that when you cut the old pole off you dont leave jagged metal sitting there.You can pound the edges down with a big hammer.Now we may be getting into some unchartered water for the average homeowner but its just a trade tip.If you you dont think you can handle it dont.Find a handyman.But beware this may be the most important tip of all.Not all handymen know anything about these new basketball systems on the market today.You can have a guy thats been a handyman for 20 years and watch him sit in the driveway scratching his head with the directions in his hand.Find a trained basketball goal installer.He will do it in a flash with no hesitation.Think of it as a hoop mechanic.Theyre out there.Good luck!

    Comment by Kevin Johnson — Jul 19th 2009 @ 5:39 pm
  4. One extremly important aspect of installing a residential basketball goal is locating any under ground utilitys.Gas,phone,electric,fiberoptic,cable,sprinkler systems all pose potential installation hazzards.Call your local municipality or gas company for the general utility locating service.It is free.You can also contact Homecourtadvantage.com a national goal installation company for alternative ways to install a goal if you feel theres a problem with your particular installation.

    Comment by Kevin Johnson — Jul 19th 2009 @ 6:42 pm

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