The Synthetic Turf Council and Synthetic Turf International offer suggestions to Homeowners and Home Owner’s Associations when considering synthetic turf.
With warmer weather on the way across much of the country, now is the time for homeowners and Home Owner’s Associations to consider synthetic turf as a viable application in many residential communities. The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates that for every square foot of natural grass replaced with less water dependant alternatives saves 55 gallons of water each year.
Since there are a wide range of products available in the marketplace, some of which are of uncertain quality and durability, the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) and STI helped develop guidelines for to help buyers of residential, commercial and municipal landscape synthetic turf to make an informed decision.
The STC recommends purchasing products with a minimum face weight (yarn weight) of 40 ounces per square yard and a minimum total weight of 67 oz./ sq. yd. The pile height, which refers to the length of an individual blade of turf, should be at least 1 ½ inches in length. Anything longer may look more natural, but could increase yarn weight and cost.
The STC advises purchasing turf products with a tuft bind of 6.8 pounds or more. The greater the tuft bind, the better the product. Additionally, the water permeability rate, which determines how well the application drains, should be no less than 25 inches per hour. It’s important that the turf system with infill and base materials should drain to accommodate local weather and rainfall patterns.
The infill system helps keep the turf from moving as it provides an even weight distribution. The infill system also minimizing the expansion or contraction of the turf when temperature changes.
The infill material should consist of silica sands that are round, sub-round or sub-round to sub-angular. Acrylic silica sand or Envirofill are also options for infill material.
When selecting a contractor for installation, the STC suggests only hiring contractors who are well-established businesses, complying with all federal, state and local contractor laws. They should also be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), and the licensing board in your state. The Contractor Licensing Office in every state is available at www.clsi.com/state_contractor_license_board.htm.
The contractor you select should provide references of recent completed projects in your area. They should also provide you with samples of infill and turf, identifying where it was manufactured.
They should also provide you with shipping labels and bills of lading, to verify the location of manufacturing.
Finally, the contractor should provide you with a contract that specifies base preparation details, warranty information with contact information should a warranty claim be filed and a certificate of insurance, showing Worker’s Comp and General Liability Insurance.