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4 Commercial K9 Synthetic Pet Turf Systems for Rooftops & Concrete

This article is helpful for condominium builders and designers, or those who are looking to create highly-trafficked pet turf on top of a concrete surface. Review 4 types of commercial k9 pet turf installation methods, and learn our professional opinion on the maintenance needs of each type of commercial pet system.

4 Commercial pet turf systems over concrete

Pet turf is becoming more common in commercial settings such as hotels, condos, pet care facilities, and more. Often these systems are installed over a concrete surface and require superior drainage to be successful long term. Learn about the different systems along with their pros and cons below to make the best decision for your business. 

Importance of Drainage & Air Ventilation in Pet Turf

Without adequate drainage, ventilation, and water flow, pet urine will get stuck under the surface of synthetic grass and allow bacteria growth. On top of the obvious odor issues this causes, when liquids are trapped on hard surfaces mold and mildew growth may occur as well. For this reason, manufacturers recommend ensuring there is a drainage layer for ventilation in both pet turf and turf installed on hard surfaces. Without accelerated drainage and consistent sanitizing, a pet turf system will not last. 

1. Air Drain Pet System 

The air drain pet turf system is basic and proven when it comes to pet use. Air Drain is a rigid 1-inch tall material made of 100% post-industrial recycled content. Air Drain's purpose is to lift the synthetic grass to create an air void below the surface. This allows urine to flow through artificial grass into the air void to exit the area. It provides ventilation and quick runoff. Air Drain expands moderately in the heat but doesn't show waves, wrinkles, or inconsistencies. 

Benefits of Air Drain:

  • Provides Ability to Flush Area
  • 92% Air Void Space For Waste Removal 
  • Replaces More Costly Methods (Gravel Drainage and Trench Pipe)
  • Minimal Site Disturbance
  • Quick & Easy Installation

air drain drainage layer for ventilation in pet friendly turf installation

Our Thoughts: 

This method is what we see used most often in pet turf systems. It's cost-effective, basic, and proven. The turf used on top of the drainage layer should be permeable with small drainage holes throughout the backing to ensure liquids are draining from the surface. 

In comparison to other methods that may require more excavation and site disturbance, Air Drain tends to drain slightly slower. As you can see, the gaps in the membrane are large which sometimes makes it tricky to fully flush out. Liquids can get caught in the gaps and drain at a slower rate. Also, because the grid has larger openings there is a risk for puncturing the surface when wearing shoes with a significant heel.

While this is proven successful in assisting with drainage and ventilation, it's important to note that this pet turf system requires consistent flushing and sanitizing to remain in good condition.  It is a common misconception that once pet turf systems are installed there are no maintenance requirements. While the added air void allows for simpler cleaning, the space must be rinsed with water and a sanitizing agent often to completely flush the area. 

In conclusion, this method is excellent in residential and suitable for commercial applications. It provides the ventilation needed to keep the surface odor and bacteria-free with consistent cleaning. However, for heavily trafficked pet-friendly commercial spaces we often see more success with systems that provide automated cleaning and quicker drainage. 

2. Artificial Turf-Trays for Rooftops and Decks

Turf-Tray™ is an engineered tray system made to help you build elevated and level decks. It pairs with adjustable pedestals and artificial turf to offer a natural-looking lawn space in unconventional areas. Because the pedestals create a raised surface, air ventilation and water flow are more attainable than if the grass was just laying directly on the concrete. 

Turf Trays are separate grid-like pieces that join together, so this allows for a lot of customization in regards to the size. Tile Tech also specializes in pavers and wooden tiles, so you're able to design and install a multi-use space with ease. 

Artificial Turf-Tray Components: 

  • Synthetic Pet-Friendly Turf
  • Turf Trays
  • Adjustable Pedestals
  • Hex-Lock Disks
  • 1-1/4th screws

Turf Trays for rooftop and deck artificial grass applications by TileTech

Artificial Turf-Trays Are: 

  • Load Bearing: Designed for use in conjunction with raised pedestals as well as other dry installation and traditional fixing methods allowing total flexibility in design applications
  • Light Weight: Lightweight characteristics make these materials easy to transport and install. Especially ideal in high-rise buildings where they can easily be transported in elevators. 
  • Wear Resistant: Extremely high slip resistance in all finishings, ensuring safe floor area. 
  • Adjustable: The hybrid petal system allows you to build a level natural-looking lawn on rooftops. Provides the ability to self-level and adjust screws.

Our Thoughts: 

This system allows creating a flat surface over the utilities and sloped area. This is perfect when converting a rooftop into an entertaining common space of a new or renovated building.

Perhaps one of the most beneficial factors that this option provides is the ease of installation. The process is only a few steps and requires little heavy lifting or the use of professional tools. Because this is a buildable surface the hauling process is simplified as well. 

Because rooftops are by code designed with drainage in mind, there is usually enough of a natural slope on the surface to get rid of rainwater. However, flushing with large amounts of liquid and sanitizers will require a steeper angle to drain quickly. Also, when cleaning and flushing out pet urine you can't simply allow these liquids to flow down gutters and onto the street.  There must be a drain leading the waste into a sewer to make this method even plausible. For this reason, we don't often recommend this option for areas that are specific to pet use. 

Artificial Grass Recycling

While Turf Trays do offer superior ventilation, the space between the trays and the roof's surface will be highly shaded. Pairing that with moisture and high temperatures makes bacteria growth and odor very likely. It is virtually impossible to clean the entire space underneath.

In conclusion, this turf installation method can quickly transform your rooftop or deck and create a green space for all to enjoy. It can be customized to fit your needs and the ease of installation is a major perk. We think this is a great idea for casual recreational use and entertaining. This may even be a great place to allow your pets to occasionally play, but we don't recommend Turf-Trays when installing turf for a pet-specific area. 

3. Installing Pet Turf on Concrete

Pet turf installation over concrete is a little tricky. It is impossible to completely insulate turf. Therefore, simply laying turf over concrete is not a long-lasting option. Over time, urine and bacteria will get trapped under the turf and begin to smell pretty bad. A five mm plastic tile with a completely permeable artificial turf, weighted by antimicrobial sand infill proved to be the best for pet turf installation over concrete.

A more appropriate way would be to lay a permeable membrane. This plastic podium shall provide access to air and drain in both directions, horizontally and vertically. However, note that the space under the turf, could be considered a great home for cockroaches. Therefore, this system would only work when rinsed with sanitizers.

There are many pads that could be used for pet-friendly turf installation over concrete. Air drain is a great alternative, however it is pretty tall and could be punctured with high heels. Drain core is 5 mm, but it traps bacteria underneath and could be smashed with heavy weight over time. 5 mm tile pads are best in our perspective as they hold lots of weight and provide incredible ventilation. A completely permeable backing of pet turf would help sanitize the system at every given point. 

For best performance, ensure that concrete has a two-degree angle for water runoff. To prevent pools of water, you may consider drilling concrete at low spots. This will help send water into the ground over time and keep the system dry. 

When considering a dog park turf installation, make sure you budget maintenance and sanitization. Sprinklers alone will not help. Without sanitizers, water would only hurt your dog park.

4. Automatic Flushing System

One manufacturer developed a proprietary flushing system. The system keeps water and/or cleaning solutions flowing across the sloped floor beneath the turf. It dilutes, rinses, and directs urine to the drain. The system allows the area to be flushed periodically without wetting the surface of the artificial grass.

As an example, ForeverLawn's patented K9Grass Flushing System. This system was specifically made for pet facilities, both indoors and out. The invention provides a comfortable and natural-looking surface for dogs while including a hidden cleaning and drying system that makes it perfect for boarding facilities, pet resorts, dog parks, kennels, vet clinics, and more. The flushing system provides effective drainage and adequate cleaning opportunities.

Flushing System Components: 

  • Pet-Friendly Artificial Turf
  • Raised Drainage Grid (Air Grid)
  • Flushing System

    - Manual: Hose and flushing port manually connected and run through each zone
    - Semi-Automated: Charged water line with pipes in each zone controlled by a valve
    - Fully-Automated: Charged water line connected directly to each zone, programmed
      into a sprinkler system
  • Smooth, Sloped, Impermeable Floor Surface 
  • Trench Drain for Receiving Liquid Waste 
  • Pipe With Holes for Water Flow
  • Adjacent Walking Surface

K9 grass flushing system for pet turf installation

Our Thoughts: 
This system seems to provide the best results on a large scale. With the options for automation,  the entire space can be flushed and drained consistently ensuring that there is no bacteria and odor build-up over time. This method is most often used in pet-specific facilities due to its complexity but can be an excellent amenity in any commercial space.
To make the Turf-Tray method attainable for pet turf, builders can combine the two systems.

5. Gravel Filter K9 Pet Turf System

In the gravel filtration system, the space underneath the pet turf is backfilled with gravel to help filter liquids traveling through the surface and remove bacteria as it drains. This system is not as heavily practiced as the other drainage systems we've reviewed. This method will still require some type of drainage layer such as drain core, but may offer a solution for commercial businesses. Like we discussed above, you can't allow pet urine and other waste to drain out on the street from rooftops and decks. With this natural filtration system, the bacteria will be removed from the liquid before it's flushed from the area. 

How Gravel Filtration Works:

Underneath the pet turf will be a layer of drain core to help with ventilation and accelerate drainage. Then there will be two layers of gravel. Larger pieces of rock at the very bottom and smaller more compact pieces of gravel on the top layer. These two layers of gravel are separated by a layer of cloth. The top layer is typically mixed with some type of chlorine-infilled turf deodorizer for the best results. The finer gravel and loose sediment from the top layer can act as a natural filter to purify the urine. The gravel and cloth will trap bacteria allowing the more purified liquids to continue draining through. The bottom layer of larger rock will collect the clean liquid and send it to the street either from the natural slope of the rooftop or by being flushed out. 

Gravel filter K9 Pet turf system

Our Thoughts: 

In our opinion, this may be the only viable option if you're looking to install pet turf on a rooftop or deck. It can filter out waste from urine to ensure that there's no bacteria being flushed down to the ground below. However, because there's not enough research on the long-term effects and maintenance needs it's tricky to know what this system entails. 

Key Points

  • Consider a Complete Path of Waste Starting From the Surface and Ending in Sewage.
  • Isolate the Pet Relief Area to Improve Quality and Save on Maintenance.
  • Combine These Approaches to Build a Safer and Efficient Rooftop System for Pets.

We hope you found this article helpful when designing and building a pet-friendly space. While we work with some of these systems daily, these summaries are from our experience only and may vary depending on numerous factors. To partner with InstallArtificial, request a custom estimate below. We'll be waiting to discuss your project in more detail!  

* While many commercial facility elements may be similar, every facility is unique. Factors include size, ceiling height, HVAC components, airflow patterns, windows, and use. A certified professional should always be consulted before any customizations are made. Consult with a professional that is specifically familiar with these requirements. We are not responsible for any liability for these pet systems. *