Artificial turf is a fantastic material for lawns and outdoors sports venues alike. With this type of turf, you can have a lush, green grass without worrying about maintenance. Once you install artificial turf, you won’t have to deal with watering, weeding, mowing, and other hassles. They key is to install it properly once so you can enjoy the benefits for years to come.
Materials You Need
Before you begin installing artificial turf, make sure you have all the supplies you need:
- Artificial turf
- Utility knife
- Rake or shovel
- Tape measure
- Stiff-bristled push broom
- Sand infill with a minimum of 30 grit
- Seaming tape and adhesive
Preparing the Area for Artificial Turf
The key to smooth and even turf is a solid foundation. By taking steps to prepare the area before installation, you help create the best environment for your turf.
Remove Top Layer Soil
Remove 3 to 4 inches of soil from the top layer. Make sure all vegetation growing within this layer is gone. This helps ensure that your artificial turf has an even surface.
Eliminate potential drainage issues
Artificial turf is designed to allow water through, so you shouldn’t have issues if your soil has good drainage. When you are putting turf on soil with poor drainage or over concrete, leave gaps about every 6 inches around the outer edges to allow water to drain. If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, you might need to install a drainage system before installing artificial turf
Install a waterproof border
Insert a plastic bender board or other waterproof border along the outer edges to protect your lawn. It should not be higher than grass level to ensure proper drainage.
Install a weed barrier
If you are concerned about weeds growing, you can prevent this by installing a geotextile barrier around the outer edges. Alternatively, this weed barrier can be installed at the base. You can also place rodent wire here if your area is prone to mice or rats.
Installing the Base
There are many different options to choose from for an artificial turf base. No matter what you choose, be sure to prepare the base properlyto prevent slumping and improve drainage.
Pour the base material
Add material such as crushed rock, gravel, or decomposed granite to the turf base area. Make sure the particles are under ⅜ inch for best results. Pour 3 to 4 inches of this material into the base area. If the turf is going on concrete, you can place a rubber shock pad into the area instead of crushed gravel or rock.
Level the base material
Smooth this material with a rake until it has an even appearance. For flat surfaces, create a 2 to 3 percent slope using a ruler, bubble level, and string. The slope should lead to the curb or a drainage system if you have one installed.
Compact the base material
Dampen the base material with a hose, then compact it with a roller compactor, vibratory plate compactor, or hand tamp. This will require several sweeps of the area. The base is ready when it has dropped about 0.3 inches from its original depth.
Prepare the artificial turf
While waiting for the base material to be fully dried, roll out the artificial turf next to the area. Compact the base material again if it is still not smooth after drying. Add another layer of base material if the base ends up being too low.
Installing Artificial Turf
It’s finally time to install your artificial turf! Be sure to lay it out ahead of time to work out any misshapen spots.
Take measurements of the area where the turf will be installed, along with measurements of each turf strip. Have another person help you stretch each piece of turf, lift it up, and place it on the base. Do not drag the turf onto the base, since doing so can make the surface uneven.
Cut pieces of turf on the underside with a utility knife if needed. When you need to make longer cuts, make a series of shorter cuts along the length.
Fold the edges of adjoining pieces back, then use artificial lawn seaming material on the base. Apply adhesive to the seaming material, then put the edges back in place. Since there are several methods for attaching turf pieces, be sure to check with Turf Factory Direct about which method is best for your specific turf product.
Fasten the turf around the outer edges by placing landscaping anchor pins or galvanized stakes about 6 inches apart. Flatten them with a hammer.
Place ballast or infill. This helps weigh the turf down while allowing the bristles to remain upright. It also adds cushioning on athletic surfaces. Materials that are commonly used include black crumb rubber and washed silica sand.
Brush the turf with a power broom in between each application of ballast or infill material.
Watering the turf after installation helps the ballast or infill work properly.
Post-Installation Tips for Success
While your artificial turf does not need as much maintenance as a regular lawn, it’s still important to keep it in good shape. If your turf ends up with odors from pet waste, clean it with a product that is safe to use on it. Also, apply a protective coating on windows with a high reflection that face the south or west side. The sunlight reflected from these can melt your turf.
By following these steps and top tips for success, you can ensure you install your turf correctly the first time. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the experts at Turf Factory Direct.