Some consumers may not be aware that most synthetic turf installations recommend including infill also. Is this really necessary? What is infill, exactly? Can you get by without it?
An artificial lawn has many benefits over a natural lawn. However, it is not entirely maintenance-free. Although keeping fake grass looking nice takes different kinds of work than keeping real grass green and pretty, it still does take work. Infill is one of the many factors that can contribute to keeping your artificial lawn looking its best.
What Does Infill Do?
Real grass is always growing and changing, while artificial grass remains static. This means that high-traffic areas can show unsightly signs of wear and tear over time, as the synthetic ground cover gets gradually worn down. The use of infill helps to minimize traffic damage and improve the appearance of your artificial lawn.
How Does Infill Work?
Infill complements your synthetic grass in multiple ways. First, the filler settles among the base of the grass blades to help them stand upright. Additionally, it helps give a more natural feel to the walking surface, because it absorbs impact similarly to the way natural soil does. Infill also adds some extra weight to your artificial grass, which helps prevent shifting, settling, or wrinkles.
There are several different kinds of infill available. One of the most common is rubber granules, or ground rubber. Silica sand or synthetic sand is another option, or a combination of sand and rubber. There are pros and cons to each type of filler.
Originally, the filler used for synthetic turf was made from recycled tires and bulked up with additional fillers to increase cushioning and stability. Proponents in favor of rubber suggest that this is one way to keep tires out of landfills. Rubber infill also adds generous cushioning and protection to the surface. Those opposed to using rubber suggest that the old tires leach toxins into the environment whether in a landfill or a lawn, and that the rubber absorbs the heat from the sun and can overheat the surface area. As the rubber degrades, it can become brittle and dusty.
Sand is a very inexpensive and easily obtained filler which is also simple to install. However, since sand has angled edges, not rounded, it can chew away at the fake grass blades. Sand can also become rigid with weather exposure and hold pet odors. Synthetic sand fillers can be manufactured to have softer edges to minimize damage to turf fibers, and also imbued with anti-microbial properties. Synthetic sand is resistant to holding either odors or liquids. Unfortunately, it is often more expensive than natural sand, and may require an additional pad for cushioning.
Is Infill Necessary?
Choosing whether to have infill with your lawn is a personal decision. It may also depend quite a bit on which kind of synthetic lawn you purchase, its thickness, and where the lawn will be located. It’s also very important to factor in the typical use for your synthetic turf. For example, a synthetic lawn which is used for playing sports such as soccer or baseball will really need the extra cushioning and protection granted by quality infill. However, a small patch of synthetic grass in the back yard which sees virtually no foot traffic may be able to get by without little to no extra filler.