Without an insider’s view, buying turf could cost you thousands more than it should. Or create years of headaches.
At SYNLawn, we not only follow the industry’s top standards, we innovate and lead the way for how turf should be produced, and installed.
Here’s a quick look at the 5 most common mistakes we’ve encountered during our 15+ years of installing turf.
1) Selecting turf based on price.
Do. Not. Make this mistake. Turf is not an item to find in the bargain basket. It’s a major investment in your property, and needs to last 15-25 years to be worthwhile and improve your home’s resale value, not detract.
Turf that seems cheaper up-front will cost you dearly down the road. There is a flood of imported cheap turf in the market, which may look identical on the surface but lacks substance in quality.
The result is a turf that fades, falls apart and/or flattens after light traffic. This often requires a total tear-out and re-install, or risk your home assessment value plummeting. In the end, buying cheap up-front is always more expensive. Not to mention the 15 year migraine you will experience.
2) Selecting based on look & feel, from a sample.
Soft is nice and feels great under your feet – but isn’t always best for long-term durability and looks.
The best artificial grass for medium-high foot traffic is a hybrid of soft / stiff fibers. Additionally, a small 1×1 or even 2×2 sample does NOT give a true representation of how it will look installed over a large area. Turf always looks more plush and longer in a smaller sample; after installation turf appears shorter and more cropped.
Consider this when reviewing samples – if you prefer a longer more lush look, select a sample that appears a bit too long in a sample – knowing it will feel shorter after installed.
The reason is two-fold. 1) Most freshly cut grass is longer than most all artificial grass. Your eyes are used to a longer blade, so artificial grass will instantly feel shorter than you are accustomed. 2) After installed, there will likely be plants, flowers and taller landscaping surrounding the turf. This creates the illusion of a shorter turf height.
3) DIY Installation / using the wrong hardware.
Installation can make or break your turf experience. And DIY mostly = break. This is not a weekend warrior project, and MANY steps beyond interior carpet. There are endless youtube videos on “how-to install artificial grass” – some of which are accurate, many which are not – or incorrect for your region. For example, areas that experience freezing temperatures in the winter should NOT use nails, where this is perfectly acceptable in warm climates. Colder climates should use perimeter anchor boards, and wrap / staple the turf.
In areas with extreme sun or reflection from windows, this can melt turf, and there may be mitigating steps required to reduce window reflection such as window film. The direction of the turf blades and roll orientation are also important based on the perspective of the primary user.
There are many factors only a seasoned installer will consider.
4) The wrong sub-base depth & materials.
Meghan Trainor was clearly talking about turf in her song “All about that bass.” Without a proper base, you will get wrinkles, and bad drainage. Bad news for a happy human life-span, let alone in the world of turf!
Turf requires precise excavation and forming of sub-base materials, producing a compact yet porous substrate for drainage. The wrong balance can result in turf shifting / wrinkling / pot holes and/or poor drainage creating standing water or sub-base wash-out. Yes, it’s as terrible as it sounds!
Even a mistake such as using the wrong crushed rock type, and the wrong depth for your region can cause major issues down the road.
In colder climates, we recommend using 1/4″ minus crushed rock, and building a 4-6″ deep sub-base, compacted medium-firm. This should be surrounded with perimeter boards and the turf should be wrapped & stapled to the boards, eliminating edges for a more attractive & safer environment.
5) Not using pet deodorant, and the wrong infill type or amount.
Making this mistake, stinks.
If you have pets, or ever expect to have a random friend’s dog or stray cat in your yard – you NEED a proper pet deodorant infill, such as Zeofill. The proper amount depends on the turf selected, as the tightness and fiber density affects how much infill a turf will accept. Typically this ranges from 1.25 lbs – 3 lbs per square foot.
For non-pet areas, using an infill such as Envirofill is a good decision. We recommend avoiding using pure silica sand, which can harden over time, and does not have anti-microbial properties like Envirofill. Additionally, Envirofill is coated with a colored (available in green) acrylic resin which blends into the green turf better than sand, creating a better looking finished product.
Bonus Mistake #6) Accepting all turf warranties as equal.
Most synthetic turf warranties are pro-rated on day 1 after purchase. This means if a turf has a warranty of 10 years, and you file a claim in year 9, the most you could possibly recover is 10% of the turf value. Look for warranties with a slow proration period, such as SYNLawn’s 15 year warranty with the first 8 years non pro-rated (on most products).
We hope this guide helps you avoid costly mistakes, and makes your life easier during your turf purchasing experience and the life-span of your artificial grass.
Certified SYNLawn installers are available regionally throughout the US. Contact us anytime for a free estimate and more free tips!