Is Artificial Grass Permeable?

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Turf Factory Direct Can Water Permeate Artificial Grass? Is Turf Water Permeable?

Originally posted on September 23, 2021 @ 6:52 pm

We know synthetic turf is the grass lawn alternative that can conserve water , deter dogs and other burrowers from digging up your lawn, help keep bugs off your patio, and survive drought and Arizona heat, but how does it handle water and getting wet?

Turf Factory Direct is here to help answer your questions about turf permeability and drainage. 

One of the most common questions surrounding artificial turf is whether it’s water permeable. The simplest answer to this question: yes, turf is water permeable. Or at least, artificial turf is permeable in the way that matters to a lawn. Keep reading for answers to the most frequently asked questions about turf permeability and drainage. 

Turf Factory Direct Artificial Turf has Better Drainage than Natural Grass

FAQs About Turf 

There’s plenty of frequently asked questions about turf and water permeability, and we answer them here. 

Does artificial grass let water through?

Yes, artificial grass is water permeable, meaning water, or other liquids, can pass through the material. Turf is made to be permeable. When turf is made, many small holes are punctured through the backing to allow drainage. 

Does artificial turf drain well?

Absolutely, when turf is correctly installed, it has excellent drainage, especially when compared with natural grass. Turf is designed to be durable and versatile as well as attractive. It is also designed to allow water to permeate the backing and let it disperse into the surrounding soil. Some kinds of artificial turf, such as landscaping turf and pet turf are designed to accommodate the flow of water, such as that from heavy rainfall or pet urine.

Some varieties of artificial turf are for indoor use. These are designed to provide traction and cushioning underfoot for athletic and recreational purposes in a dry indoor setting. Thus, some varieties of turf may not have the same level of drainage as that of landscaping turf and pet turf. While the thickness of turf varies amongst varieties depending on their use, the turf’s thickness does not affect its permeability. 

Does turf drain better than grass?

Yes, in addition to the many advantages synthetic turf has over natural grass, it is often the case that properly installed artificial grass lawns have significantly better drainage than natural lawns. In fact, the artificial turf installation process can even address and prevent drainage problems in lawns

Natural grass can develop drainage problems as a result of a number of circumstances:

  • Excessive thatching
  • Compacted or clay soil
  • Roots clogging drains

The problems associated with poor lawn drainage can lead to further problems on your property. Turf can mitigate or even eliminate some of the variables that cause drainage issues, and prevent problems in the future.

Does artificial grass drain like natural grass?

While not quite the same, the way in which artificial grass drains is similar to natural grass. The synthetic nature of artificial grass means that it is designed to allow water to drain better than natural grass.

Do you need drainage for turf?

The answer to this question depends on the setting in which you’re installing turf, as well as how you plan to use it. As a general rule, outdoor turf that is exposed to the elements, or turf coming into contact with pet waste and liquids, requires a base which provides a stable surface as well as drainage. 

Turf on soil requires a base of gravel or crushed rock. Turf on decks or concrete usually don’t require additional drainage such as PDS tiles, unless they are particularly large or have an uneven or unlevel surface.  When it comes to installing roof turf, an additional layer might be required to keep water from collecting on the roof. Water piling up on a roof is a recipe for disaster. PDS tiles are easy to install and allow for excellent drainage so your artificial turf roof will remain clean and in good condition.

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. 

What do you put under turf for drainage?

The type of drainage turf requires depends on its setting and the intended use. For lawns and landscaping, a base of graded and compacted crushed rock or gravel helps siphon water into the soil and away. For concrete, roofs, and indoor turf that needs drainage, PDS tiles siphon water to the perimeter. 

Does synthetic turf have more runoff?

When properly installed with drainage, synthetic turf will not have more runoff than natural grass. The ground should be evenly leveled and graded with a permeable base so water can absorb and disperse into the surrounding soil. 

Will my artificial grass get puddles after rain?

After heavy rain, it’s possible for water to collect on the surface as it pervades the turf and its base. If the turf is installed with the right drainage, there shouldn’t be problems. In general, turf lawns will have fewer puddles than natural grass lawns because turf’s installation includes making sure there is adequate drainage, and no divots or unlevel areas on the surface for water to collect in. 

What happens to the water when I spray down my artificial grass to clean it?

When you spray artificial grass with water, it will drain between the synthetic grass fibers and turf infill, then through the permeable backing. From there, water then either drains onto the surface or into the drainage system you’ve set up (the base of gravel or crushed rock, or PDS tiles) then into the soil underneath, and beyond the perimeter of the turf into the surrounding area. 

Can dogs pee and poop on artificial grass?

Yes, pets can do their business on artificial grass. When pet turf is properly installed, dogs can pee and poop on it. Of course, it’s recommended to regularly clean pet turf and artificial grass that has pet waste on it in order to prevent odors and microbial growth. 

One of the many benefits of artificial turf is that it’s stain resistant and easy to clean. If your pet is regularly heading out to do their business on the artificial lawn, make sure you’re cleaning weekly. 

What happens to dog urine on manufactured lawns?

Like water, dog urine will drain through artificial turf fibers, infill, backing, base, and onto the surface it is installed upon. For outdoor turf like a deck, balcony, or lawn, urine will be absorbed and drained away with rain. For indoor pet turf, it will drain below the turf and to the perimeter. Indoor facilities intended for pets should have a drainage system in place specifically for pet urine, such as PDS tiles. Additionally, leave a 6 inch gap around the perimeter to provide a place for urine to go and be cleaned.

What are the disadvantages of artificial grass?

While there are very few disadvantages to synthetic turf, nothing is perfect. Turf can have a higher upfront cost than a grass lawn, but turf can save you a lot of time and money compared to a natural grass lawn in the long run. Any of the potential problems that may arise with turf stem from improper installation, so as long as you install turf the right way, the lifespan of turf can last for years with some routine maintenance. 

Can you put turf over concrete?

Absolutely, there are few surfaces that turf can’t cover. Turf and concrete can make for a safe, versatile, and attractive surface for activities, recreation, and entertaining. 

Introduction to Turf’s Layers of Permeability

For the top layer of drainage, artificial grass fibers and the infill work together to ensure that fluids drain properly. Synthetic turf has a permeable backing that lets liquids penetrate and flow through. 

The base layer is particularly important for permeability and drainage when excessive liquid is introduced to a manufactured lawn. These compacted inches of material, such as crushed rock or gravel, are what provide the solid, yet permeable base for the water to filter down through and into the surrounding soil.

Installing Turf Lawns with Proper Drainage 

When installing a turf lawn, there are a few steps that need to happen. 

  1. The excavation of existing vegetation and soil
  2. Compacting and grading the soil surface
  3. Two to three inches of aggregate rock base material, such as decomposed granite
  4. The leveling and compaction of that base material

Once you’ve got that permeable layer, rain, overspray from irrigation, urine, and other liquids can flow through easily and avoid puddles. If you install turf on concrete or other hard surfaces, leaving 6 inch gaps around the outer edges will ensure that it drains properly. 

Possible Drainage Issues

Turf has excellent drainage, but there are some instances when it needs a little help. When it comes to installing roof turf, an additional layer might be required to keep water from collecting on the roof. Water piling up on a roof is a recipe for disaster. PDS tiles are easy to install and allow for excellent drainage so your artificial turf roof will remain clean and in good condition.

While drainage is not a huge concern for wood and composite decks because they offer enough drainage, it can be a concern for large surface areas, unlevel decks, concrete patios, or areas where pets will regularly be peeing. 

Causes of Improper Drainage

The most common causes of improper drainage in turf lawns are as follows:

  • The wrong variety of turf
  • The surface soil is too compacted or unevenly compacted
  • The turf is improperly edged
  • The gravel base was not evenly distributed or compacted
  • The incorrect base was used for the turf. Usually the wrong type of gravel for the soil underneath or lack of tiles on concrete.

Curious about installing artificial turf? At Turf Factory Direct, we offer the highest quality turf at the best prices. Start browsing our turf inventory, or get in touch with us today.