Gym Basketball Backboards- Sizes and Materials

Dear Coaches, Facilities and Athletic Directors,


Maintaining your gym basketball backboards is a big piece of managing your facility. Fortunately, it's very affordable and easy to do from an installation standpoint.  I've put together a guide on backboards to help you plan for your future and any potential upgrade work you may need to do.  Hopefully this guide will help you with your future backboard maintenance decisions.


One item of note- Although replacing backboards is cost effective and easy from an installation standpoint, occasionally the mounting points don't match and certain boards won't work in certain situations.  For example, if you have a fan-shaped backboard, you will need a conversion 42X72 backboard to replace it.  It's not a big deal, but you would need to know that prior to upgrading.  If you have any questions, feel free to call 1-877-Hoop-101 (877-466-7101).


1. Types of Board Materials:

When you think of gym backboards, most people think of tempered-glass backboards on the main court.  There are, however, quite a few other options listed below.  Both athletically and aesthetically, tempered-glass backboards are the better choice almost every time.  The only reason you would choose one of the other options is due to price.  


Tempered-glass backboards- This is the material of choice.  It looks the best, lasts the best and plays the best.  After all, it's glass.  It's not as if your car windshield gets old and fades.  When it gets dirty, you clean it and it looks brand new.  As for quality of play, this is the choice for high schools, NCAA and NBA.  If it was not the best surface, they wouldn't be using it.  Even better, it costs the least or is on par with the least expansive.  Commodity prices being what they are, glass is less expensive than aluminum and acrylic and the same price as steel.  So you're getting a better product for less money.

Acrylic backboards- Acrylic is predominantly used in a public playground setting.  With the board being outside, there's no way of policing whether or not vandals will get to the board.  I do not advocate acrylic in an indoor gym.  You don't have the same issues indoor.

Wood backboards- You see a great deal of wood on side-court boards.  You would not reinstall or install wood.  This is typically the surface you would upgrade from.  In fact, you will be hard pressed to find a manufacturer who even makes them anymore. 

Steel backboards- Much like acrylic, steel backboards are primarily used in outdoor settings.  However, you do see many of them as side boards inside gyms.

Aluminum backboards-  Again, more of an outdoor playground board but you do see some inside.   


2. Gym Backboard Sizes:

Helpful hint- How do you figure out your backboard size without having to climb a ladder with a measuring tape?  It's easy.  Take a look at the board.  If the rim is on the bottom of the backboard, you will likely have a 42"X72" board.  If there is 6" of space below the rim, you likely have a 48"X72" backboard.  


42X72- This is a regulation-sized backboard.  You will notice the rim attaches to the bottom of the backboard.  These were introduced to take the 6" off the bottom of a 48"X72" board so NCAA and NBA players would no longer hit their heads on the board.    

48X72- When you have old wooden boards you're looking to upgrade from, it is typically a 48"X72" board.  Depending upon where you play, you may want to research the rules on this size.  Some regulating bodies do not approve of this size, much the same as the NBA, due to safety reasons.  They don't want anyone to hit their head on the bottom of the board.

Fan-shaped- You still see a great deal of fan-shaped backboards used on side courts.  These are easy enough to replace by using a conversion backboard.  They do have tempered-glass fan-shaped backboards but, in my opinion, the difference in price to upgrade to a regulation-sized backboard is negligible.


3. Benefits of upgrading to tempered-glass backboards:

Improves appearance-  Having all six boards as tempered glass is a huge aesthetic improvement to four dirty wooden, steel or aluminum boards any day of the week.   
Improves quality of play- For starters, most old boards do not have breakaway rims so this is a huge improvement in itself.  By upgrading to tempered-glass, it's a huge improvement in the quality of playing off the glass.  Many basketball coaches rave about how having four new boards gives them many more practice options to include free throw shooting, Mikan drills etc...
Highly affordable & easy to install- Compared to refinishing floors or replacing bleachers, upgrading backboards is a drop in the bucket.  In addition, replacing them only requires unscrewing the old backboard and reattaching the new one.

Replacing them is a really quick fix. that won't hold up your gym for days. 



The Sports Staff at Home Court Hoops 

1-877-Hoop-101 (877-466-7101).

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