7 Terms You Need To Know When Buying Artificial Turf

Artificial turf provides all of the benefits of grass without excessive maintenance. Whether you’re building the perfect lawn, sports field, batting cage, or putting green, in order to find the best turf for your project, you need to understand a little bit about it.

As you start browsing the different types of artificial turf available, you will begin to notice terms that you may not be familiar with. From face weight to back weight, every technical specification has a distinct meaning and its variance changes the features of the turf.

Let’s break down seven key terms that you should know when shopping around for artificial turf.

Front/Face Weight

This measurement refers to how many ounces of yarn are used per square yard of turf. The higher the face weight, the longer and denser the turf’s artificial grass will be. This creates a lusher, more well-grown appearance, and also causes the turf to feel softer as you walk on it. Front/face weight is seen as a key indicator of overall turf quality based on density.

Turf Multi-001

Back Weight

Back weight is the total weight of the primary backing and secondary coating per square yard of turf. The backing of your artificial turf is what holds everything together, so it’s critical that this component of the turf is durable. The higher the back weight, the more durable your backing will be. As such, heavily used turf benefits from the highest back weight possible.

Average turf has around 23 ounces of Polyurethane with a 6 oz primary backing.

Total Weight

This indicates the combined face weight and backing weight. It is critical that you understand this term, because each turf product is marketed differently. For example, one type of turf may have a listed weight of 70, whereas another has a listed weight of 55. The first option initially seems better, but the two brands are listing the turf weight in different ways. The turf listed with a weight of 70 includes the total weight, whereas the turf listed with a weight of 55 includes the front weight only. When you add the second turf’s back weight of 23, its total weight becomes 78, which significantly outclasses the first option.

Detail of the cover of artificial sports turf with markings


Blades of grass on artificial turf don’t stand up on their own! It’s the infill that keeps the blades upright and protects the grass backing from damage that would be caused by UV rays. Infill also helps the turf retain its “springy” feeling over many years.

There are three main

types of infill: round silica granules, crumbled rubber, and subangular silica. Round silica granules help turf retain its spring and structure due to their rounded shape. Crumbled rubber normally comes from recycled car tires and makes a nice, long-lasting infill option. Subangular silica is one of the least expensive options, but its edges slowly break down from friction and lose their shape. It’s possible to combine this material with other infills to protect against wear.

Be careful not to use non-infill materials like sand, which can cause weeds to germinate and grow within the turf. Weeds can damage the turf and spoil the aesthetic of an otherwise beautiful landscape.

Pile Height

You want your grass to be lush and beautiful. The pile height, which is the length of the longest blades in the turf, plays a key role in this. A good pile height will make your turf look like a perfectly grown bed of grass.

Pile height also affects the utility of the turf. For example, a football player’s body will undergo a lot of stress on the field, so it’s important to have a turf that provides a slight cushion against impact. To this end, most athletic turf fields have a pile height of 2 to 3 inches. A dog, on the other hand, does not need this length of grass to run around comfortably. A pile height of 1 to 1.25 inches is usually best for dogs, which also makes cleanup easier. Typical landscape material is 1 3/4″ on average.

When considering which pile height is best for your needs, also think about matting. This is a reduction in pile height caused by continuous impact on the turf (walking, running, etc). If you want your turf’s pile height to be at least 1 inch for its lifespan, then you may want to consider a 1.25 inch option to compensate for matting.

Roll Width

Turf is not installed by cutting a large sheet of material to fit the dimensions of your field or lawn. Instead, it is supplied in rolls. The roll width measures the width of a single roll of turf. In most cases, the roll width will either be 15 feet.  In rare cases, indoor turf may be available in 12′ width.

For example, a wide field would mostly require a 15 foot roll width for installation, simply because this will minimize the material waste and labor required. A indoor facility, on the other hand, may require only a 12′ roll width to minimize cutting and wasted material during the installation.

Yarn Type

All artificial turf is not composed of the same material. The material that the artificial grass is composed of is identified by the yarn type. Each yarn type has unique properties that make it best suited for specific functions.

There are three main yarns artificial turf is constructed of.   For most landscape artificial turf it is a mixture of polyethylene product.   A secondary yarn typically used is nylon.   Nylon is very durable however in the last few years has been limited more to putting greens as well as indoor products.   There are several nylon products available for landscape however they do absorb moisture more than a typical polyethylene product.

What is the best artificial turf product for your needs?

Knowledge is key when choosing your turf. Armed with information on turf terminology, you should be more prepared to make the right decision for your needs. If you have any other questions about turf specifications or you would like assistance in selecting the right turf for your project, contact the experts at Turf Factory Direct today.