What to Avoid When Installing Artificial Turf

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Artificial turf is popular because of its low maintenance requirements. While it’s common to see this replacement for grass on sports fields, many people are opting to get rid of their lawns for this artificial form instead. Artificial turf is a form of synthetic grass, made from various synthetic fibers. It's designed to resemble real turf. If you're considering installing artificial turf yourself, however, there's a few things you should avoid.

Improper Planning

One of the costliest mistakes you can make when installing artificial turf is not planning for installation. You will need a variety of tools such as bristle brooms, a rake, a shovel, a pipe cutter, sand, quick dry adhesive and a crushed aggregate. When you purchase your artificial turf, the manufacturer will have a list of materials that will be needed for each brand. Be sure you take the time to read through this so you can avoid missing a material. This can not only cost you valuable time in the installation process, but it can lead to bigger headaches if a step needs to be repeated, or the wrong materials were purchased.

Imprecise Measurements

A landscaped pool deck with artificial turf.

Most people assume that you should measure and order just slightly above the measurements you get. You should always order more turf than you originally measured for, but first and foremost, you need to make sure you are measuring accurately. Don’t try to save a few bucks by measuring short. This will lead to an inaccurate amount of turf and your yard will look strange if there isn’t enough turf to cover it. Measure multiple times to ensure you have accurate numbers.

Poor Drainage

Depending on the climate and the amount of rain you get in your area, the drainage requirements will be different for everyone. Not utilizing a proper draining method for your artificial turf will lead to soggy turf, and can cause more than just aesthetic problems. If water can’t escape from the turf, you can face mold, rot, and slimy-feeling turf. You will want to make sure you research what aggregates are best to use as a base in your area, and make sure you are keeping moisture in mind when you purchase your base material.

Multiple Purchases

Layers of different artificial turf.

Many people will install their turf in sections instead of doing it all at once. Even if you choose to go this route, it’s important to go ahead and order all the turf you will need at one time. The reason for this is the color variance that can happen between batches. Just as with paint or wallpaper, the color can be slightly different, even in the exact same product, when it comes from different batches. While you may not notice the color variation at first, when you install all the artificial turf it will be noticeable on a larger scale.

Safety Considerations

Artificial turf has its own unique set of safety considerations. To ensure safety,you need to know what you plan on using the turf for. While injuries won’t happen as often as they do on real grass while playing sports on artificial turf, the temperature of the field or yard can be drastically different than you would expect to see with a natural grass field. The surface temperature of artificial turf can be as much as 60 degrees higher than the outdoor temperature. This means that a 90-degree day with the sun blazing, the temperature of your yard can be as high as 150 degrees. (And that's pretty hot!)

Modern artificial turf is safe as far as the product itself goes. If you're using an old turf, you need to know what it was made of. In its earliest production, artificial turf was made with old tires. On a hot day, the chemicals from these materials can be released and cause health problems. The best way to avoid this is to ensure you are purchasing the latest technology in artificial turf.