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There are many factors involved in the installation process, such as the type of binding or which infill is used. In this article, we will cover installations from A to Z, listing the steps taken to ensure a successful installation. You will be able to calculate the price for your artificial turf project online and request a customized estimate
Typical Steps of Artificial Grass Installation
Whether it’s for a home, playground, or putting green, the average artificial grass installation takes anywhere from 1-5 days, depending on the scope of work, space, the difficulty of access, and therefore the time needed. There are eight basic steps involved in your typical artificial grass installation. Keep reading to learn how to install artificial grass on soil!
A successful installation requires a clean, ready-to-use sub-base. This process involves rough grading the land, and the removal of irrigation, existing pipes, or electric wires. Any sprinklers will be capped at the pipe, and bender boards are installed to keep the plants separated from the artificial grass.
Synthetic Grass Base Prep
Installing a smooth base is key here, and doing so means it’ll be about 2-3 inches deep into the ground. This step is important as it plays a big role in the evenness of the synthetic lawn. To level the area better and avoid road base stones jumping out of the base, we add a thin layer of decomposed granite. It makes a huge difference in terms of smoothness, level, and safety.
Area and base preparation are the more costly parts of artificial grass installation. When not done correctly, the base will show gaps and ponds. Unethical installers tend to cut costs here, where the quality of work is hidden. Defects will begin to appear after a few rain showers and at this point, the installer is long gone. When budgeting and searching for the cheapest way to lay artificial grass, cutting corners during turf base preparation is not recommended!
Compacting the Turf Base
To fully compact the base, turf installation requires vibrating and packing the road base with a heavy-duty roller or professional compactor. Double compaction is often recommended for playground areas. We don’t want any nails to loosen and come up later. Compacting the base, when done correctly, prevents nail removal from occurring.
Applying Weed Barrier Cloth
This step is completely optional and involves the placing of cloth on top of the base in order to prevent weeds from poking through the artificial grass. The cloth is nailed into the base to keep it secure.
Why is this step optional? We do not recommend this layer if you have pets as it traps bacteria above the soil. Even if you get occasional weeds, those will be weak and can be removed easily. And only very rare weeds can grow through 3 inches of a properly compacted base. As an alternative, we recommend laying a generous amount of weed killer on the surface before and after soil removal.
Laying Down Artificial Turf
Artificial turf has a direction. Blades fall to one side only. The most appealing look is generally when looking at turf against the blade fall. We always try to position the blade's direction towards the area that provides more traffic. If you're seaming together multiple pieces of turf for installation, you must make sure the blades are facing the same direction before combining the pieces.
Trimming Turf to Fit the Area
It’s typically necessary to cut the turf larger than the actual space as you can always return and cut more later. A seaming tool is used to seam the edges together in a zipper or S effect for a smooth look and to avoid the turf buckling in the future. Seaming is a very important step, and most installers use a tool called the “Super Seamer.”
Be careful! Check for procedures with your turf installation crew that regulate razor replacement, and full project clean-up. Otherwise, used razors and nails may find their way into the turf and become a huge safety hazard.
Securing the Artificial Grass
Every installation contains thousands of nails. It is very important to get the nail just right - not too deep, but secure. Make sure that every person on site follows procedures and checks nails for full contact. Otherwise, you may discover nails later on that are protruding from the surface.
Applying Synthetic Turf Infill
The purpose of sand infill is to help keep the blades held upright and to add more weight to the grass. This greatly improves the look and gives the grass a full, healthy appearance. A power brush is used to force the blades up in order for the infill to be applied.
Final Brush and Groom for Perfection
The final step requires one last final brush of the grass to remove any debris and to push the infill granules down to the base. To learn more about maintenance best practices, check out our other publications!
Pet turf Installations
Pet turf installations are essentially the same as your classic turf installation. There is an extra step taken to help minimize the smell of urine on the grass. A deodorizer is applied on top of the base layer. Most pet installations use a rounded type of silica infill with antibacterial properties. It allows for the base to dry quicker and prevents bacteria growth. A drainage layer is optional depending on the usage and should be installed before the grass is laid.
Playground turf Installation
The turnaround time for a playground turf installation takes longer. Do not rush this job, as tiredness increases the risks of lost knife blades and unsecured nails. Playground installations require playground padding to be laid on top of the base layer. This is great for kids as it provides comfort and can even absorb the impact of horseplay and heavy falls. The pads should be about ¼ inch separated in order to allow for expansion and contraction. A non-abrasive infill is used. Playground installations also usually use seaming tape and glue rather than nails (unless needed) to prevent any injury to the children.
Installing Around Hardscape and Concrete Slabs
Synthetic grass follows a grain direction. It is important to keep this pattern going in the same direction to ensure a smooth, uninterrupted look, especially when held up against a hardscape. Using a turf with a higher face weight will look more pleasing against hardscape, and it will allow for extra “wear and tear.” Through all of this wear and tear, turf with a higher face weight will have a much quicker recovery time.
Putting Green Installations
There are different types of putting green installations and they also take 1-3 days more depending on the type. When building a putting green, the base needs to be 1-2 inches thicker than your standard base. 1/8 inch of decomposed granite is then installed on top of the compacted base layer. The setting of the cup also depends on the type of turf installed and could range from a grade-level setting to 5/8 inches above grade level. Once the putting green is cut and shaped and the fringes are attached, a compactor is used to distribute the sand infill into the putting green materials.
More Than Just a Landscape!
Artificial grass is much more than just a pretty front lawn. It can completely elevate your space! Its fame is being spread all around the nation and it’s being put to uses most people never really imagined. Here are some non-conventional (yet really interesting) ways that synthetic grass is being put to use: outdoor wall scapes, patios, bedroom headboards, puppy pads, porch rugs, green eco-friendly sandals, furniture, rooftop gardens, and more!
Lifetime, Warranty, & Disposing of Artificial Grass
Depending of course on the wear and tear, most artificial grasses can last between 8 to 15 years. The warranty that comes with your purchase depends on the manufacturer, where some offer 8-year warranties. The standard industry warranty, however, is a 15-year warranty and this covers manufacturing issues. Once the grass needs to be replaced, you can simply dump it in a landfill. In the future, we will see a more sustainable, recyclable material that is currently being developed in the industry. We are always improving!
Why You Can Trust InstallArtificial
You can trust us to install your artificial grass and to deliver the best results possible. Here in Los Angeles, California, there are requirements upheld in order to keep consumers at ease knowing they are hiring professionals who have been trained properly to do their installation. We hold the B-general contractor license, and a C-27 license, which is a landscaper’s license. We hold ourselves to the highest standards and take pride in our knowledge of proper artificial grass installation.