Frequently asked questions
Q: What yarn types are available?
A: Polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyamide (PA) are generally used in the manufacture of synthetic turf.
Q: What kind of yarn styles are being offered in the market and how are these produced ?
A: Fibrillated yarn is yarn extruded from film and cut into tapes. The tapes are then stretched and fibrillated – where small pins cut a lattice structure into the yarn which results in good infill encapsulation. Monotapes are yarns that are extruded from film and simply cut into thin tapes, which are then twisted together. These yarns have a rectangular cross section. Monofilament yarns are individually extruded yarns from a machine called a spinneret. As each yarn is moulded separately, there is the opportunity to produce different cross sections.
Q: What coloured yarns are available?
A: Synthetic grass yarns are available in a range of colours from different shades of green to more vibrant colours suitable for sports clubs’ logos and designs.
Q: Is the synthetic turf UV stabilised?
A: Synthetic grass contains UV additives to ensure a warranted period of colourfastness guaranteed as specified by the yarn manufacturer.
Q: What are the measurements for yarns – dtex, microns?
A: Yarns are typically measured by weight and thickness. The weight measurements are normally tex, dtex or denier. The thickness of the yarn is measured in microns.
Q: Are certain colours more prone to UV degradation than others?
A: The pigmentation in certain colours (typically red and orange) are more prone to attack and degradation by UV. Warranties are offered for individual yarn colours.
Q: Are the yarns flame retardant?
A: Special flame retardant additives can be added to the grass yarns to enhance the flame retardant properties of the yarns however flame retardancy should be considered for the surface as a whole and not individual component parts.
Q: How does the yarn perform under extreme temperatures?
A: Under normal climatic conditions (-10° Celsius to +45° Celsius) yarn will perform under the typical yarn warranty. Polyethylene is far more stable under severe temperatures, for example polypropylene can become brittle below freezing point.
Q: How is turf made?
A: Most turf is tufted using carpet-manufacturing technology in 4 or 5 metre widths.
Q: What does the turf consist of?
A: Artificial yarn is tufted through a secondary backing material typically made from woven polypropylene and additional backing layers can be added to absorb latex and provide improved dimensional stability. This is coated with either latex or polyurethane to ensure tuft lock and add to the stability of the carpet.
Q: How does the turf drain?
A: Most carpets will have drainage holes added to allow free draining through the surface
Q: What is the variation in tufting density?
A: Carpet is generally tufted between 5mm and 70mm pile height depending on application. The tufting gauge can vary between 1/8 gauge (for low cost decorative carpets) up to 3/4 gauges for long pile surfaces.
Q: Are carpets always tufted in straight lines?
A: Most carpets are tufted in straight lines but specialised machines allow zigzag or Lazy-S tufting styles, which create a denser appearance.
Q: Apart from tufting, are there other methods of manufacturing synthetic turf?
A: Yes, weaving and knitting artificial yarns onto a fabric is also possible.
Q: What is synthetic turf made from?
A: Synthetic turf is generally made from polypropylene, polyethylene or polyamide yarn.
Q: What is the guarantee? How long does it last?
A: The length of time the carpet lasts for is dependent on the usage. Synthetic turf manufacturers will offer a standard guarantee depending on the product and what it is being used for.
Q: Does the turf fade?
A: Synthetic turf is U.V. stabilised to minimise any fading and deterioration.
Q: How do I install synthetic turf?
A: Installation guidelines are available from turf manufacturers however it is recommended that the synthetic turf is installed by a team of professional contractors.
Q: What goes underneath the synthetic turf?
A: The turf must be laid on a suitable base, depending on its application. For sport this may include a shock pad. For landscape applications the turf can just be laid on a flat hard base. For child’s play a shock pad is recommended to meet Critical Fall Height legislation. The laid turf can be ‘infilled’ with a combination of sand and/or granular rubber to stabilise and create specific playing characteristics and can be without infill material.
Q: Can I make a sliding tackle on synthetic turf?
A: Yes, you can. With the new generation of synthetic turf, which is soft and skin-friendly, sliding tackles can take place with similar effects to the player like one will have on natural turf.
Q: Can I play on a synthetic turf pitch during winter?
A: In most weather conditions you can play on a synthetic turf pitch 24 / 7 all year round. In the case of extreme cold weather, where moisture in the sand infill may become frozen, common sense should be applied in terms of player safety. Frozen pitches should not be used for hockey, when stick contact may cause damage to the yarn. You may need to remove snow from the surface if there is a heavy fall.
Q: What are the playing characteristics of synthetic turf compared to natural grass?
A: The new generation of synthetic turf pitches produce the same ball-surface, ballplayer and player-surface behaviour as natural grass pitches. Tested to governing body standards the playing characteristics perfectly match those of natural grass.
Q: Can I play with normal soccer boots?
A: Depending on the surface, yes, you can. On all soccer pitches, boots with molded or screw in studs are ideal. Depending upon the advice of the surface supplier blades may also be worn.
Q: How long does the installation of a synthetic turf pitch take?
A: The installation of the surface itself takes –weather permitting – about 2 to 3 weeks. Depending upon ground conditions, base construction, fencing and floodlights can add 8 or more weeks to the length of the contract.
Q: Does a synthetic turf pitch need to be sprinkled with water?
A: Artificial football fields do not need water to meet the rigorous standards imposed by FIFA. In Hockey, international and top club matches are played on systems that do require water, although the FIH (Federation of International Hockey) is intending to move away from a reliance on water.
Q: Can you play rugby on synthetic turf?
A: Yes. Synthetic turf for rugby surfaces must have a long pile height with a minimum length of 65mm and include a sand and rubber infill. A shock pad underneath is necessary to meet the IRB’s (International Rugby Board) critical fall height of over 2 meters. This allows full contact, including lifting at line-outs.
Q: What is the ball behaviour on synthetic turf tennis courts, compared to other kinds of tennis courts?
A: Unlike natural grass or clay, synthetic grass or carpet courts, when laid onto a compacted, level base, will not offer bad bounces. Depending upon the fibre density and height, a synthetic turf court will meet the ITF (International Tennis Federation) court standards normally either to medium or fast rating, taking an acceptable and consistent amount of spin and slice.
Q: What kind of shoes do you wear on a synthetic turf tennis court?
A: Traditional tennis shoes or trainers can be worn, with players opting for smoother soles on certain surfaces, with profiled soles on others.
Q: What happens when it rains on a synthetic turf tennis court?
A: Synthetic turf is designed to be porous, but porosity on court will depend upon the drainage of the base beneath. If an older court stops draining, then the infill has become contaminated due to lack of maintenance. Whilst the surface may remain wet, it should not puddle. Balls will pick up moisture until the fibres dry out. No damage can be caused to the surface when played on when wet.
Q: Why are synthetic turf tennis courts sand dressed?
A: Sand is used to give stability to the carpet and give the right ball bounce characteristics.
Q: Can I slide on synthetic turf?
A: Depending upon the type of surface, but basically when wet, yes.
Q: Can I play on it when it freezes?
A: You can play on the sand-filled pitches until a temperature of minus ten degrees. Below minus ten, the risk of yarn damage occurs.
Q: Is water necessary for hockey pitches?
A: Top players want water on their pitches out of habit. Some surfaces such as polyamide need water to reduce abrasion, whilst others such as polypropylene need water to help protect the yarn from stick damage.
Q: Which sports can be played on synthetic turf?
A: There are a range of synthetic turf products that allow several sports to be played, for example rugby and football, football and hockey, hockey and tennis. Other sports can also be played at community level such as netball and basketball.
Q: Which type of synthetic turf do I need?
A: The choice depends mainly on two factors: Which sports do you want to play? Which sport takes priority through standard or volume of usage? Remember a shock pad may be necessary as well.
Q: What about maintenance?
A: Synthetic turf is truly low-maintenance, you just need to remove debris and leaves to maintain and enjoy a beautiful garden for many years. You never need to water, mow or roll your garden. It just sits there and serves you!
Q: How does water affect the turf?
A: The turf has drainage points in the backing to allow water to drain straight through. Rain water naturally cleans the turf and helps remove any accumulation of dust and dirt.
Q: What are the various landscape and garden applications?
A: Children's play surfaces, dog friendly surfaces, inside and surrounding conservatories, surrounding water features, swimming pools and hot tubs, for pathways, events, filming, stage shows and exhibitions and many, many more applications.
Q: What type of a base?
A: Generally a sand base is laid. If your drainage is poor you require a sand and hardcore base. The turf can also be laid on timber floors or any other hard floor.
Q: Will it not feel too solid on a hard floor like concrete?
A: This depends on the surface you select, if you select a soft bouncy turf it counteracts the hard floor base.
Q: Can you lay the turf directly on top soil?
A: Yes, but the base must be solid, level, weed free and compacted
Q: Can you fit the turf to irregular shapes such as a circle?
Q: Is it dog friendly?
A: Yes. Synthetic turf has drainage, does not stain and any mess can be scooped, brushed or hosed clean easily. Dogs love it!
Q: Can the kids play on it?
A: Yes. The taller the pile the softer the lawn or you may choose a short pile surface for ball games.
Q: Is maintenance of synthetic turf required?
A: A common mistake is to assume that synthetic turf does not require maintenance. It does. However, this is minimal compared to the amount of work required to sustain a natural turf pitch. Weekly maintenance would include brushing the fibre up, clearing the area of leaves and litter. Depending upon the type of surface and the amount of use, more vigorous work is required, normally from specialists in maintenance, to remove contamination and de-compact the infill on a regular basis. Details on maintenance are available from manufacturers.
Q: We have a split seam. What can be done about it?
A: Contact your installer or maintenance company who can carry out a repair. The longer time the seam is split, the harder it will become to make an invisible repair.
Q: We need extra game lines. What are our options?
A: During installation of the surface, additional playing lines can be cut into the surface. For temporary lines, a paint recommended by the surface supplier may be used. However, paints do not stay permanently on polypropylene or polyethylene surfaces.