Potential Problems with Artificial Grass and How to Care for it

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Originally posted on April 24, 2020 @ 8:12 pm

Artificial turf is incredibly durable and low maintenance, but it does have its limits. If you’ve installed some nice, new artificial turf recently, you’re likely wanting to protect your investment. This guide will walk you through some of the potential issues that can occur with artificial turf, and different ways you can solve them and better care for your synthetic grass. 

Potential Problems

It’ll likely make you feel better to realize that most problems with artificial turf start with improper installation, which then become more aggravated by neglect and mistreatment. So, if you properly installed your turf, you’re off to the races. 

1) Slumps, Wrinkles, & Lifting

If your artificial turf is slumping, wrinkling, or lifting, it’s likely due to problems with what’s underneath the turf. If the surface or the base beneath your artificial turf is not level, that can cause all sorts of problems that will eventually lead to more damage. 

Additionally, poor securing of the seams and perimeter of the turf can cause the turf to slump or lift due to it shifting around. If this is the case, it’s a relatively easy fix. Re-secure the loose area with some adhesive and/or turf staples or stakes. 

2) Bubbles & Blisters

Water bubbles and other blistering problems with turf are likely due to poor drainage. Water can build up underneath the surface of the turf, making it shift and also making it more likely to tear.

What are the causes of improper drainage?

  • If the base is too compacted or unevenly compacted
  • The turf is improperly edged if it’s on or near concrete
  • The gravel layer underneath was not evenly distributed
  • The incorrect base was used for the turf, usually the wrong type of gravel for the soil underneath or lack of tiles on concrete. 

The key to preventing a soggy lawn is proper installation. Before you start the installation, the surface should be leveled and evened out to prevent divots where water can collect. Additionally, installing drains throughout the turf will be helpful too. A base of gravel or other aggregate will allow water to continue draining down and away from the turf into the soil.

If the turf is installed on concrete, the water should be draining around the edges, so ensuring that you leave space around the perimeter and use pads or tiles to separate turf from the concrete will go a long way. Bender boards of a plastic or wood variety, or rocks at the edge will allow water to escape with no fuss, and they make an attractive accent. 

3) Soggy Lawn

If you’ve got a soggy lawn, likely the worst has already happened. Making repairs can be costly and difficult, but there are a few things that you can do before a complete reinstall. 

If it’s just a single spot, you might be able to drain it, or cut and partially lift the turf, level the base beneath, and reinstall the section. If the surface is concrete, try increasing drainage around the perimeter, and cutting away turf that is flush against a barrier to create a gap. 

4) Rips & Tears

Here are some common issues that result in tears. 

  • Uneven surface
  • Water buildup
  • Improper selection of turf, base, or infill. 
  • Improper use and extra abuse.
  • Neglect or poor maintenance.
  • Frequent foot traffic, wheels, or dragging objects across the turf.
  • Poor installment of seams and perimeter. 

Improper installment dramatically increases the likelihood of rips and tears. If the surface was not leveled well, there may be dips and bumps that make it easy for things to snag, and water to collect. If the seams and perimeter were not properly secured, the turf may lift or shift and become more likely to snag and tear. Extreme climates and changes in temperature can also increase the likelihood of turf tears as turf expands and contracts in response to the changes in temperature.

Turf is durable, but some varieties are more so than others. If you install a turf meant for landscaping with light traffic, but it gets used for pets, sports, and heavy foot traffic, it is more likely to sustain a lot of extra wear and tear that can result in damage that requires repair or replacement. Small to medium-sized tears can be easily fixed with adhesives or patches. Larger rips may require attention from professionals, and in some cases might even require replacement. Make sure you pick the right kind of turf for your needs.

5) Weeds

If you’ve got artificial turf, one of the reasons you did was probably to avoid obnoxious lawn tasks like weeding. The good news is that the process of preparing the surface and installing the turf is usually enough to eliminate weeds, and artificial turf makes it difficult for weeds to grow in the first place. 

However, every once in a while, a tough weed makes it through and finds a way to spread. This can be prevented with the addition of a geotextile or weed barrier when you install the turf, but if you didn’t do that, you can use herbicides and pull the weeds. Weedkiller is generally enough to keep further growth from being a problem, and it usually doesn’t need to be done as often as with a natural grass lawn. 

6) Odors & Stains

Odors and stains are the easiest problems to prevent and fix. An easy first step is to avoid sand as an infill if you have pets, and selecting one that won’t clump and will stay odor-free. Implementing a cleaning routine where you remove debris and pet waste will go a long way to keeping your artificial turf clean and fresh. Regularly spraying with a hose, raking, or using a deodorizer will also help keep it nice and clean. 

Do It Right, Do It Once!

Installing and maintaining an artificial turf lawn is not difficult, and if you do it right in the initial installation, you can expect a beautiful and crisp looking lawn for years to come. Turf Factory Direct has got you covered with a 5 year warranty, but most have found that turf lasts at least 8 years. If you have more questions about installation, check out our other blogs on the subject, or get in touch with one of our turf experts. If you’re ready to get started, check out our stock of different types of turf, and choose the one that’s going to work best for you!