ARTIFICIAL TURF TERMINOLOGY

Aggregate Base (or Base Materials)

The aggregate base on which the synthetic turf is installed provides a structurally sound foundation for field construction, and a media for drainage of the field. The base is designed to ensure that once the field is in place, it never moves. A good geotechnical report will provide essential information for a firm and stable base for the synthetic turf.

Antistatic Properties

Resisting the tendency to produce annoying static electric shocks in situations where friction of the foot tread builds up static in low-humidity conditions.

Backing

Materials comprising the back of the turf, as opposed to the turf or face. The adhesive backing refers to the urethane or latex coating. Turf backing refers to the stabilizing fabrics that are used to secure the fiber tufts.

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 26 ounces of back weight (6 ounces of primary backing and 20 ounces of secondary backing). It’s recommended to stay in this range or higher. The only time that you would want to consider a turf product with a lower back weight is if the turf is purely decorative and will not be used very often.

Compaction

The field base materials should be thoroughly compacted to prevent any significant differential settlement across the area of synthetic turf surfacing. The appropriate moisture content must be maintained in the base materials to allow for optimal levels of compaction. Compaction can also mean an unwanted condition of the infill. De-compacting the infill using special maintenance equipment will improve drainage, g-max, safety, and playability.

Density

The amount of pile fiber in the turf and the closeness of the tufts.

Drainage System

An efficient and effective underground drainage system is an integral component of a synthetic turf system, and is designed to carry away the water that percolates through the turf. The system chosen will depend on the use of the field, climate, amount of rainfall and other factors.

Durability

Durability describes the performance characteristic of the field that relates to the resistance of the synthetic turf system to wear and tear, and the environment. This characteristic is established by testing for such things as abrasion resistance, joint strength, tuft bind, and climatic resistance to UV, water, and heat.

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.

Infill

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.

Perforations

For synthetic turf systems designed to be permeable to water, a system with a fully coated secondary backing will typically have holes punched into the backing at regular internals to provide adequate vertical drainage throughout the system.

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 font-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.

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.

Pile Weight

The weight in ounces of the fiber in a square yard of turf.

Primary Backing

The primary backing materials are of a woven or non-woven fabric in one or more layers which are utilized in the tufting process, or of high strength polyester multi-filament fiber utilized in the knitting process. This backing material provides the initial dimensional stability for the system.

Roll Width

Turf is not installed by cutting a large sheet of material to fit the dimensions of your field or field would mostly require a 15 foot roll width for installation, simply because this will minimize the material waste and labor required. A small lawn, on the other hand, may require only a 12.5 inch roll width to minimize cutting and wasted material during the installation.

Sand (Silica) and Coated Silica Sand Infill

Pure silica sand is one of the original infilling materials utilized in synthetic turf. This product is a natural infill that is non-toxic, chemically stable and fracture resistant. Silica sand infills are typically tan, off-tan or white in color and - depending upon plant location – may be round or sub-round in particle shape. As a natural product there is no possibility of heavy metals, and the dust/turbidity rating is less than 100. It can be used in conjunction with many other infills on the market to provide a safe and more realistic playing surface. The round shape plays an integral part in the synthetic turf system. It is important that silica sand have a high purity (greater than 90%) to resist crushing and absorption of bacteria and other field contaminants. Silica sand can either be coated with different materials as a standalone product or can be used to firm up in combination with traditional crumb rubber infill systems.

Coated Silica Sand. This class of infill consists of coated, high-purity silica sand with either a soft or rigid coating specifically engineered for synthetic turf. These coatings are either elastomeric or acrylic in nature (non-toxic) and form a bond with the sand grain sealing it from bacteria to provide superior performance and durability over the life of a field. Coated sand is available in various sizes to meet the application’s needs.

Depending on the amount and type of infill, coated sands can either be used with or without a pad and are available in various colors. All of the coatings are non-toxic and are bonded to the quartz grain for superior performance and durability over the life of your field. These materials are typically used as a homogenous infill which provides both ballast and shock absorbing qualities to a synthetic turf application.

Seam

Synthetic turf materials are manufactured in panels or rolls that are usually 15 feet wide. Each panel or roll should be attached to the next with a seam to form the fabric of the field. Seams should be glued with a supplemental backing material or sewn with high strength sewing thread. The bonding or fastening of all system material components should provide a permanent, tight, secure, and hazard-free athletic playing surface. Seam gaps should be uniform. For tufted infill systems the gap between the fibers should not exceed the gauge of the tufting.

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 28, its total weight becomes 83, which significantly outclasses the first option.

Tuft

A cluster of yarns drawn through a fabric and projecting from the surface in the form of cut yarns.

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.

Yarn Weight

The total weight of the yarn in the turf. Also commonly referred to as face weight and/or pile weight.

Nylon yarn, for example, is an outstanding option for creating a beautiful lawn. However, because nylon is very permeable, it is not a good option for use with pets. Polypropylene, on the other hand, is extremely rugged, but not as aesthetically appealing as nylon. Polyethylene yarn strikes a good balance between aesthetic appearance and toughness.