Maintenance Guidelines for Repurposed Artificial Turf
Repurposed artificial turf can be an excellent choice for property owners who want to buy high-quality synthetic grass for a fraction of the new turf's price. Since it has already faced some mechanical wear, you need to pay special attention to the maintenance schedule.
By implementing regular maintenance tactics, you don't just keep your used turf looking new for years. You also prevent degradation and save money on possible repairs.
Here is a closer look at three factors that lead to early turf degradation and five maintenance methods that can counter them.
What degrades artificial turf?
While high-quality artificial turf is durable and wear-resistant, several factors can affect its integrity. Knowing what they are can help you develop a practical maintenance schedule.
Foreign detritus is non-living organic matter that accumulates on your artificial turf naturally. Some common examples are:
- Decomposing plants
While foreign detritus may not be visible at first, it degrades the turf over time. This material can block drainage holes and cause the water to pool on the backing. This, in turn, can create a favorable environment for bacteria and mold formation. Additionally, detritus can cause the surface to harden due to infill consolidation.
Infill consolidation is the process of the infill compressing and clumping together. Consolidated infill becomes less permeable and stops contributing to the grass's natural appearance.
When people walk, run, or play ball on synthetic grass consistently, the turf starts wearing down. This can lead to:
- Reduced shock absorption
- Infill consolidation
- Infill loss
- Fiber fracture
This effect eventually causes the synthetic grass to lose its properties and appearance. Without regular maintenance, mechanical wear can make the surface impossible to repair. Replacement might be the only option.
Weathering includes rain, snow, UV rays, and extreme temperatures. All of these factors can affect used artificial turf. The consequences can include:
- Fiber bending and fracture
- Reduced shock absorption
- Infill consolidation
With proper drainage and UV protection, used synthetic grass can withstand all types of weather. However, special maintenance is integral to the turf’s appearance and longevity.
How can synthetic turf maintenance prevent degradation?
Synthetic turf maintenance can prevent degradation by providing much-needed support to artificial grass fibers, backing, and infill. You would need to design a comprehensive maintenance schedule and stick to it. Otherwise, even the top-notch used turf can start showing signs of wear and tear quickly.
Contrary to a common misconception, natural lawns aren't the only ones that need watering. Artificial grass does too.
Washing your artificial lawn doesn't just make it look clean and fresh. It can prevent degradation by rinsing away detritus and pet waste. Most pollutants, dust, leaves, and small debris go away after thorough rinsing.
You can rinse your artificial lawn with a garden hose. While thoroughness is the key to effective rinsing, don't go too hard on the lawn. Go from one end of the synthetic turf and walk toward another end while making circular motions with the hose.
How often should you water a turf lawn?
You should spray water on your turf lawn once a week. If you have pets, you may need to do it on an "as needed" basis. Removing pet waste as soon as possible is key to preventing pet-related turf degradation.
From trash and pet fur to twigs and dead leaves, drag brushing removes dirt and debris that you can't rinse away with a hose. It pushes up flattened grass fibers to make them appear fresh and lively. Brushing also redistributes infill across the surface.
For sports turf, you can attach a static brush on a tractor and drive through artificial turf in one direction. If you are brushing a small lawn, you can use a rake with synthetic bristles. Avoid metal or wire bristles since they can damage the artificial grass fibers.
When brushing your artificial turf, use the cross-brushing method. It means brushing the lawn in the opposite pile direction (the direction in which the blades are slightly leaning).
How often should you drag brush?
According to a study published in The Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology, you should drag brush sports turf two to three times a week if it receives a lot of foot traffic and usage. If you are brushing your private lawn that doesn't get much traffic, once a week can be sufficient.
While regular rinsing and brushing can keep the artificial turf clean and well-maintained, every once in a while, it requires a more thorough cleaning. Deep cleaning separates the fibers while lifting and loosening the infill.
For deep cleaning, you use a power brush with stiff bristles to arrange intensity brushing energy. During the process, you can easily remove dirt and debris. It's also possible to lift the infill and remove the dirt and contamination before redistributing it between the blades.
How often does turf need a deep cleaning?
You need to arrange deep cleaning of your turf once every one or two years.
Infill Top Up
As time passes, infill can compact in between the fibers or be moved away by heavy traffic or adverse weather. When this happens, your synthetic grass becomes less resistant to wear and tear. Hardened infill or its absence causes fibers to bend, weaken, and look unnatural. Meanwhile, more infill in one section of the grass and less infill in another area could create a tripping hazard.
That's why infill top-up is an essential part of synthetic grass maintenance. During the process, you should restore the infill to the recommended levels and use a spreading machine to distribute it across the artificial grass surface.
Before topping up, you may need to perform a slight decompaction to loosen the existing infill.
How often do you need to top up the infill?
You need to top up the infill every one or two years. The top-up frequency depends on how heavily you use your artificial turf.
When routine drag brushing and deep cleaning no longer manage to loosen the compacted infill, you need to perform a deep decompaction. You need special tools to penetrate the performance infill layer, loosen it, and increase porosity.
After decompaction, the infill becomes lighter and offers better support for the fibers. It also becomes easier to walk or play on.
How often do you need to perform deep decompaction?
You would have to perform deep decompaction once every 3 to 4 years when the infill stops responding to regular deep cleaning and drag brushing maintenance.
How many hours of turf maintenance are required each week?
You need to perform one hour of maintenance for every ten hours of intense artificial turf usage according to the The Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology. This study focuses on sports fields where "usage" means soccer and football players running on the field while wearing heavy footwear.
If the traffic on your synthetic grass isn't that intense, the amount of time you spend on maintenance can be much shorter. Overall, the duration of maintenance depends on the traffic intensity. The frequency may be higher if you have pets or face extreme weather conditions.
How do you clean repurposed synthetic grass?
The cleaning process for repurposed artificial grass is the same as for new synthetic turf. It consists of the following steps:
- Clean stains, spills, and waste as soon as they appear. The longer you wait, the harder it is to remove.
- Remove solid pet waste and large pieces of debris by hand.
- Rinse the grass to remove the stains or spills.
- If rinsing doesn't remove the stain, use a knife or scraper to lift the dirt out.
- Use a sponge dampened with a mild cleaner to remove the stain and then rinse the fibers with a hose.
The key to used artificial turf maintenance is consistency. A regular cleaning schedule can keep your synthetic grass in top shape.