Can You Lay Artificial Grass on Slabs?

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Ah, the perennial question: Can you lay artificial grass on concrete slabs? The answer is a resounding yes. But how might you do that? In this article we’ll take you through the determinative steps for making the decision to lay artificial grass on a concrete slab. 

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Why put turf on slabs?

Want to transform your old cracked, gray, hard, concrete slab surface into an attractive and usable area for entertaining, activities, and kids or pets? Some people might consider removing the slabs and planting grass. But it takes a lot of time and effort to excavate concrete slabs and make the soil suitable for grass. Then you have to wait weeks for grass to grow before you can even think of walking on it!  And now that you have a grass lawn, you have to spend hundreds of hours and dollars to maintain it by watering, mowing, weeding, raking, fertilizing, and the list goes on.

Instead, you could spend a single day laying artificial grass over the slabs without excavation, and walk on it the very next day.

Turf is Attractive

Slabs are not the most attractive form of landscaping. Gray, flat, and they can become weathered and damaged over time. Want a soft, verdant yard all year-round? No problem with artificial grass. Correctly installed and well maintained artificial grass looks beautiful all year long. On top of all that, turf can increase curb appeal which can increase property value and help sell a home fast.

Turf is Versatile 

A concrete slab surface can be used for a lot of activities— skating, chalk drawing, basketball, or a backyard barbecue. But it provides limited options for landscaping, and it’s not the most kid-friendly surface. A grass lawn is a popular option for many properties for their attractive appearance and versatility for sports and entertainment, but it requires more maintenance and can die as a result of excessive foot traffic. 

Artificial grass is the best of both worlds. Artificial turf can not only replace natural grass, it can be used for a number of applications that natural grass can’t, such as roofs, concrete, wood decks, and around pools! You can explore landscaping inspiration and discover how versatile turf can be in our guide to Inspiring Artificial Turf Ideas.

Turf is Safe 

Concrete slabs are slippery when wet, and abrasive to land on after a fall. Natural grass is softer than concrete slabs, but it requires a lot of maintenance to keep it that way, and it gets muddy and slippery when wet. Artificial turf is shock-absorbent, non-abrasive, and provides traction when wet so it makes for a safe surface for athletes, kids, pets, and seniors. 

Turf is Low-Maintenance

Slabs don’t require much care other than the occasional cleaning, but they can crack, crumble, and stain over time and become an eyesore. Artificial grass is easy to maintain, and it discourages the growth of weeds and grass insects like chiggers, fleas, and mosquitoes. No watering, mowing, fertilizing, or reseeding required. All you need to do is make sure that it properly drains, and is regularly cleaned. 

Turf is Budget-Friendly

Removing slabs and replacing them with natural grass can be time-consuming and expensive. Keeping a lawn green in drought prone neighborhoods can be challenging and a waste of money spent on a precious commodity — water. Turf lawns save water, money, and time that would be spent making your lawn attractive, without having to give up the lush greenery. Some cities offer homeowners a rebate to encourage more conversion to artificial turf to conserve water. 

Turf is Environmentally-Friendly

Slab surfaces can retain heat and contribute to urban heat island effects. Natural grass can create the opposite effect, but it requires water and chemicals to remain green and lush. Artificial grass helps you reduce and prevent use of harmful chemicals like fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that contaminate the ecosystem. You can learn more about The Water Saving Benefits of Artificial Turf and why it matters from The Importance of Water Conservation.

How to Lay Artificial Grass on Slabs

Securing turf to concrete slabs is easy if you follow these steps:

Step 1. Assemble your Tools and Materials

Gather these materials:

  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Trowel
  • 40-75 lbs. Roller
  • Gloves
  • Artificial turf
  • Turf seaming tape and adhesive
  • Stiff broom or rake 
  • Tamper 
  • Shovel 

Optional materials for additional drainage or padding depending on the size and intended use:

Step 2. Prepare the Slab Surface

First, you’re going to thoroughly clean the floor of any debris, chemicals, dirt, grime, mold, or buildup. Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, or powerwashing are essential to the short and long term success of your artificial turf. 

Step 3. Install Drainage or Padding (if necessary)

Artificial grass adds traction and some padding to tread on, but it’s worth considering adding a little extra cushion with textiles or athletic panels for comfort. It will affect the cost, installation time, and the result. 

Turf has excellent drainage, but there are some instances when it needs a little help. While this is not a huge concern for indoor turf because it’s usually not exposed to liquids, it can be a concern for:

  • Large surface areas
  • Unlevel surface areas
  • Large concrete patios
  • If the slab has a wall, lip, or barrier that prevents liquid from draining off the edge
  • If pets will be regularly peeing on the turf

Indoor turf typically does not require drainage because it typically does not come in contact with enough liquid to require drainage. However, indoor facilities intended for pets should have a drainage system in place specifically for pet urine, such as PDS tiles, and leave a 6 inch gap around the perimeter to provide a place for urine to go where it can be easily cleaned. 

Step 4. Prepare the Turf

First , before you start cutting, unroll the turf and allow it to relax on a flat surface for at least an hour before installation. Some professionals will even say to let it rest for two to six hours, or even a full 24 hours. Ideal installation temperature is 55 to 95 degrees fahrenheit. This is an important step because the panels of turf will be compacted and prone to curling up from being packaged. 

Make sure that you measure and cut the turf so that it’ll fit properly in the space, and ensure that you allow enough extra space for the panel for trimming and edging the turf. Lay out all the panels in the space and trim to size where needed. 

Turf can be applied directly on a concrete floor. Some people like the extra cushion of padding. It’s a matter of personal preference, and is not required. It has an effect on cost, installment time, and the result.  If installing an additional layer of padding or drainage, follow those instructions and then proceed with turf.

Step 5. Turf Bonding & Seaming on Slabs

Make sure that the area that you spread it over is one half the size of the strip of turf being glued. Use a v-notched trowel for smooth-backed carpet or a square-notched trowel rough-backed carpet. Start at the far end of the surface and spread a layer of turf adhesive. Use a notched trowel held at 45 degrees to lay the correct amount of adhesive. Lay the first section of turf on top of the adhesive and firmly press it into place.

Apply adhesive for the next section. Place the second section and butt it against the first. Apply a bead of turf seam sealer along the entire seam. Continue laying adhesive, installing turf sections and applying seam sealer to all joints until the entire surface is covered.

Continue this process until you’ve completed the installation, and then allow 24 hours for adhesives to set. 

Step 6. Turf Infill 

Turf lawns require infill but indoor turf on concrete doesn’t need infill, though it can benefit from it for padding. Outdoor turf on slabs may need infill. You’re going to need to provide infill for your artificial turf so it stands up properly and looks like a natural field of grass. Indoor pet turf doesn’t require infill but could benefit from it depending on surface area. 

5 Things to Consider Before Installing Turf On Slabs

There are a few questions to ask yourself before laying artificial grass on slabs.

What is your space? 

Indoor or outdoor? Exposure to sun, ice, animals, liquids, traffic makes a difference in the type of turf and how you apply it. Conversely, a warehouse, barn, or a structure specifically for an indoor field will not have the same requirements and drawbacks. Ventilation is important for indoor sports spaces, both for players, and when preparing the area for use. 

1) How do you want to use it? 

When you’re trying to figure out your next turf project you need to figure out if it’s for personal use or will many other people want to use it as well? Are you entertaining at home, or building a soccer stadium? The answers to these questions will decide the type of turf and how you’ll use it.  If you’re not sure what type of turf you need, Turf Factory Direct can help you choose the best one for the job at the best price.

2) Will you need drainage?

How you want to use your artificial grass will help you determine if you need drainage. When installed with a properly prepared base, synthetic lawns drain at about the same rate (or better) than natural lawns. Drainage can be a concern for turf on concrete on large surface areas, outdoor areas, and areas with pets.

On a large surface, water from rain, melting snow or nearby irrigation systems will not be able to drain into the base below the grass and may sit between your concrete and the backing material of the grass. This can cause mold or mildew issues under your grass, which could come up through the backing if left unchecked. It may also lead to standing water and large puddles on your artificial grass.

You can fix this by installing PDS tiles and leaving a 6 inch gap around the perimeter to leave room for liquids to drain. On smaller surface areas, water will run along the concrete under the backing and off the edge and into the soil.

3) What are the dimensions? 

Measure twice, cut once. Measure the dimensions of the surface with a tape measure. Add 2 inches to allow for some extra wiggle room. You don’t want to order too much turf or supplies and have it go to waste, nor do you want to run out in the middle of the project and have to get more. It’s a good idea to overestimate a little bit in case of miscalculations and replacements for mistakes. This affects your budget and time-frame, the bigger the space, the more turf needed and the more time spent on installing it. 

4) What is your budget? 

The time and money it takes to excavate and remove slabs, and grow and maintain grass amounts to hundreds or even thousands. Laying artificial grass over slabs can save you money and only takes a day or two to complete. A budget will help determine how much and what kind work can be done. It narrows down your selection of turfs, adhesive, and tools.

Turf Factory Direct Has You Covered

If you need artificial turf for a project, large or small, we’re the experts to call. We have dozens of different types of turf in stock for you to choose from whenever you need. Start browsing today, or get in touch with our expert staff for more information.