Once you understand what goes into making artificial grass, you can be better equipped to tell the difference between the products being sold to you. You will know what characteristics are associated with what components and how to choose the turf that will best meet your
needs at the lowest costs. Below is a brief explanation of each of these components:
Pile Height: this is the length of the longest blades. Average for landscape grass is 1.5″ to 2.0″ with 1.75″ being the most common. Average for athletic field turf is 2.0″ up to 3″ with 2.25-2.5″ being the most common. Putting green turfs have a wide range from 0.375″ to
1.25″ depending on the type and planned use.Consumers should be aware that blade height and matting are only somewhat connected. Matting or the effect when the blades get pushed down is impacted by the density of the turf as well as the blade height.
Face Weight: this is how many ounces of yarn are used per square yard. If you ever shopped for carpeting you know that the more yarn used per yard, the more dense it is – and the more expensive it is. Well it is the same for synthetic turf. However, with artificial grass, the combination of face weight, pile height and yarn type all combine to determine the product’s density. The more dense the product, the softer it will feel under foot.
Backing Type: There are two types of backing. An educated consumer must understand these to make the best buying decision. The Primary Backing is the layer(s) of material that the yarn is punched through in the process of making the artificial turf. Most artificial grass uses two layers of 13 pic Polybac primary backing,although some use a layer of 18 pic Polybac instead of one of the 13 pic layers and some turf will use a mesh or “stability layer” of material in between the layers of Polybac for added tuft bind or to help the blades stand up better. Easy rule: the more layers, the better.
The Secondary Backing is the coating on the back of the turf. This coating gives synthetic turf its all-weather durability and most of its tuft bind. Without the secondary backing most synthetic turf would not last very long under normal usage. The exception is knitted turf which has no secondary backing but attains its longevity and durability by wrapping the blades of yarn around a single layer of mesh backing used in the knitting process. In the US most artificial turf is coated with polyurethane. In Europe and Asia latex coating is more popular. The polyurethane coating is a little stronger and more durable. The latex coating is a little more environmentally friendly. The more ounces of secondary coating, the better. Standard is 20 ounces per square yard, although some turf will have 26 ounces for more tuft bind and durability.
Backing Weight: this is simply the total weight of the layers of Primary backing and the ounces of Secondary coating used per square yard. The average turf has 6-8 ounces of Primary backing and about 20 ounces of Secondary backing for a total of 26-28 ounces per square yard. If someone were to try to sell you a turf with only 14 ounces of total backing weight – you need to ask them why. If there is only 8 ounces of Secondary backing as opposed to the average of 20 ounces, you are buying a product with much less durability and tuft bind for most applications. If the turf is purely decorative and never to be walked on, it might be okay, but if it is going to be used, you would want more secondary backing for greater durability.
Total Weight: this is the total of the Face Weight and Backing Weight measurements. Some companies try to fool people into thinking that their “74 ounce product” is of higher quality than another company’s 54 ounce product. However, when you learn that the first company is advertising their product’s total weight and the 54 ounce product is just the Face Weight and that the 54 ounce product’s total weight is 80 ounces, you get a more fair comparison. So it is always a good idea to ask a sales rep what the product’s face weight, backing weight and total weight are to make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples.
Yarn Type: there are only three types of yarn used in artificial grass: Polyethylene, Polypropylene and Nylon. Each yarn has its own characteristics. Polyethylene has become the most commonly used for its greatest versatility and excellent balance between durability, aesthetics and softness. Polypropylene yarn is typically used for sand-filled putting greens and as a thatch layer on landscape grasses. Nylon is also used as a thatch layer as well as nylon putting green turf. Some companies use nylon for their long blades of their landscape grasses. Nylon is the most porous of the three yarn types, so using it for dog applications may not be the best idea.
Roll Width: synthetic turf is made in two common widths, 15 foot and 12.5 feet. Most USmade turf is 15 foot wide and most foreign-made turf is 12.5 foot wide. In some cases, a 15 foot wide good may make the installation easier or create less waste, in other cases the 12.5 foot wide good is the smarter choice based on the dimensions of the job and a desire to minimize waste. When considering which vendor to purchase your turf from, ask them to provide a cutting and seaming diagram based on your measurements and the diagram of your area to be covered with fake grass. A good synthetic turf vendor should be happy to provide this service and help you decide which width of synthetic turf would make the most sense for your specific job.