Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best synthetic turf for my field?
Most synthetic turfs in the industry today are basically the same. Up until 2005, almost all synthetic turf fields were constructed using a polyethylene LSR fibrillating yarn (yarn that splits through use). In 2006, the vast majority of the industry changed to a monofilament non-fibrillating yarn. The reason for the shift to monofilament was because fibrillating yarns (yarns that split) were showing signs of wearing out in 4 to 7 years due to the continued separating of the yarn. The monofilament tests showed that the wear characteristics of that product would last approximately 3 times as long as the LSR yarns. While there are subtle differences in the manufacturing of synthetic turf, a good monofilament turf is suitable for any ball game sport.
What are the differences in synthetic turfs?
Turfs are constructed mainly from monofilament yarn, a primary backing material made from a non-woven polypropylene, and a secondary backing applied to the primary backing. Once the yarn is tufted into the primary backing (the process of looping the strands of yarn through the backing), the turf is coated with the secondary backing material that is usually a urethane material. This process adds dimensional stability, strength, and stretch resistance to the turf.
The subtle differences in athletic field turf manufacturing are in the tufting gauge (the distance between the rows of stitches), the stitch count (number of stitches per 3 inches), yarn denier (a weight per unit length measurement of the yarn), thickness of the yarn material (measured in microns), the actual yarn material (polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon), the secondary backings applied to the turf, and the ply of the yarn (how many yarn fibers are bundled into a tuft).
The overall weight of the material (measured in ounces per square yard) is determined by the above factors. In general, the heavier the material, the better the turf quality and value. A closer gauge will weigh more than a wider gauge; likewise a higher stitch count weighs more, etc.
What is infill?
The infilling of turf is the addition of material into the turf to give it a cushion, add weight, and protect the yarn. This is done after the turf is placed, seamed and tied into the surrounds.
There are two basic materials used for this purpose. The most common material is crumb rubber. This is a material made by grinding up old car and truck tires. The other less frequently used material is silica sand. Some turf installers mix sand and rubber. Some fields that have a sand and rubber mix have seen a premature degradation of the yarn, which could be due to the hardness of the sand wearing against the yarn.
The addition of the infill material gives your field softness and the ability to absorb the shock of someone falling on it, which lessens the chances of injury. The shock absorption ability of the field is measured using a special machine and presented as a G-Max rating. Essentially, the lower the G-max rating, the softer the field.
There are two basic kinds of crumb rubber used in the industry. They are cryogenic (rubber that is frozen before grinding), and ambient (rubber that is not frozen before grinding). The cryogenic rubber tends to be a little more rounded in particle shape than the ambient.
Do I need a shock pad under my field?
The addition of a shock pad (E-Layer) under the turf is optional by most companies. This adds a layer of softness to the field; however, this also increases the price substantially. Most companies have eliminated this layer and rely on the infill to give the field the necessary softness.
What kind of drainage is necessary with synthetic turf fields?
Most sub grades for fields are constructed using aggregate material. Sometimes imbedded in the aggregate are flat drains leading into a perimeter drainage system that surrounds the field. In addition, many fields constructed inside of existing tracks also use a trench drainage system against the track. Most fields we construct today can absorb and evacuate water at a rate of about 16 inches per hour.
There are other drainage systems used today in field construction. There is an airfield drainage system that employs a plastic grating system and a pond liner. There is also another system using a fabricated drainage material inserted under the playing surface. Almost all fields have at least a perimeter drainage system.
What are the maintenance requirements of synthetic turf fields?
There are minor maintenance requirements associated with synthetic turf fields. It was not that long ago that everyone thought there was no maintenance necessary; however, that is not the case. Proper care and maintenance will maximize the life and quality of play of your turf field.
You will experience annual savings in maintenance costs of synthetic turf fields vs. natural grass fields. And yes, you will say goodbye to mowing, watering, weeding, reseeding, aerating, fertilizing, and painting. Although some maintenance will continue to be necessary, the laborious weekly tasks of field maintenance are gone forever.
Synthetic turf fields need to be groomed with a turf grooming brush at intervals of about 10 days to 2 weeks. This process stands up the pile and levels out the infill.
With no brushing, the yarn material lies down on top of the infill and wears against it causing a premature degradation of the field. With sand infill the field could age more quickly than with rubber. There is always ¼ inch to ½ inch of yarn material exposed above the infill. This is the pile that needs to be kept upright and even. Other than that, the maintenance involves only keeping the field free of debris and trash.
AllTurf™ believes so strongly in protecting your investment that we offer the first year of our MaxLife maintenance program for free. Additionally, we will offer hands-on, on-site training during your scheduled maintenance visits, to assist you in transitioning to care for the field yourself. Ask us about the AllTurf™ MaxLife Maintenance Program.
How does the cost of a synthetic turf field compare to a natural grass field over time?
You'll be surprised just how much you can save by using a synthetc turf field.
View this Cost Comparison Report for your answer(PDF 44kb)
Is it better to glue or sew the seams on a synthetic turf field?
The answer to this question is very individualized. Gluing the seams covers a much broader area on the backing than sewing. The wear at the seams is distributed over a larger area than with sewn seams. This is a good argument for gluing. Also keep in mind that when the numbers, hash lines, logos, etc. are inlayed in a field they are all glued, not sewn. The end result being that even on a so-called sewn field there are more glued seams than sewn. This is another good point for gluing seams.
Can I have all the numbers and lines tufted into my field?
No. Only straight lines on a field can come from the manufacturer as part of the field. All other lining and logos must be painted or inlaid.
Inlaid features on synthetic turf fields are done by cutting out the green turf and replacing it with the desired color turf or logo that you want in that area. The logo, hash mark, or number is placed over the green turf as a template and the underlying turf is cut out. Then seaming tape is inserted under the turf, glue applied, and the new feature inlaid in the field.
What are the costs involved in synthetic turf installation? How variable are they?
Costs can include excavation and disposal of topsoil, base re-construction and installation of a drainage system, construction of the curbing system around the field, the synthetic turf and infill, and field markings inclusive of logos and labor.
Major cost variables include the following:
Base work can vary greatly depending upon the condition of the current site. Amount of soil to be removed or moved is a major component as is existing drainage.
Size of field and auxiliary components (i.e., ...lighting, track, bleachers, goal posts, etc...) are very often part of the project and significantly impact cost.
Number and type of desired field markings will impact material and labor costs. A multi-purpose field with markings for a variety of sports (i.e., ...football, soccer, lacrosse, etc...), and team names and logos will add aesthetically to the field but will obviously add cost as well.
How do your prices compare to other companies?
AllTurf™ typically saves our customers thousands of dollars when compared to other turf companies. The savings you'll experience come from much lower overhead, our local (Northeastern U.S.) focus, and our direct from manufacturer buying power.
Will savings result in a sacrifice of quality?
Never at AllTurf™. In fact, with AllTurf™ you still get the highest quality turf on the market and our expert installation crews (including our hands-on company President), who know every detail of the installation process ensuring that your field will be built with the highest level of integrity for lasting customer satisfaction.
What insurance and warranties do you offer?
AllTurf™ extends an 8-year warranty with our turf installations. AllTurf™ also offers one year of maintenance through the AllTurf™ MaxLife Maintenance Program.
Are there any proven health risks associated with rubber infill used on synthetic turf fields?
Many studies have been conducted to determine if there any risks associated with crumb rubber infill. There have also been a number of claims made regarding environmental and health dangers found in the materials of SBR(crumb rubber) infill. These claims have caused a lot of noise and controversy. Making sense of the complex research reports from studies that have been done, and making them available to the general public is not an easy task.
One of the more in-depth research projects was conducted in the Netherlands and led by ISA Sport (Instituut voor Sportaccomodaties) and the research institute INTRON. Below are excerpts from the report's findings:
Because of a discussion on the environmental and health aspects of rubber infill from shredded car tyres a research was conducted, of which the results are reported here. The research was conducted from February till November 2006 and was guided by a committee with all parties concerned involved. The aim of the investigation was to generate independent data and to formulate conclusions on the potential environmental and health risks of the use of rubber infill from shredded car tyres on artificial turf.
The investigation consists of a literature research supplemented with experimental research to fill the gaps in the knowledge and to verify already available data. For the literature research 17research reports and 13 supplementary sources were investigated, In addition to that use was made of Dutch and European legislation and guidelines. Additionally a separate literature research was conducted to allergies caused by skin contact with rubber products. For the experimental investigation samples were taken on 3 production plants of rubber infill and samples were taken on 14 artificial turf pitches according to the FIFA protocol. For the experimental environmental investigation rubber infill samples were analyzed of the composition and also on the leaching of several parameters. In these analyses fresh samples from production plants, samples from 1year old pitches and samples from 3 year old pitches were investigated. Also laboratory weathering tests were used and the leaching of 1 year old and 3 year old infill samples was investigated. The data on the content and the leaching were compared with limit values from Dutch regulations and with ecotoxicological limit values for soil and surface water. The experimental investigation on health aspects was focussed on the uptake of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) due to skin contact with rubber infill. A laboratory model migration test was applied to estimate the migration of PAH's from rubber infill into both massage oil and vaseline. Additionally, a field study was conducted among football players to determine the presence of PAH metabolites in the urine after they had intensive skin contact with rubber crumb on an artificial field pitch. The results from both the laboratory test and the field study were compared with internationally accepted health limit values for PAH's.
"Based on the available literature on exposure to rubber crumb by swallowing, inhalation, and skin contact and our additional experimental and field studies on skin exposure, we conclude, that there is no significant health risk for football players due to the presence of rubber infill from used car tyres on artificial turf pitches."
A full summary of the report can be found at:
Additionally FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, has also commented on the reported concerns regarding SBR infill. In an a letter dated July 12th, 2006 FIFA Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Dr. JiriDvorak, states the following:
"The available body of research does not substantiate the assumption that cancer resulting from exposure to SBR granulate infills in artificial turf could potentially occur."
For a complete copy of FIFA's open letter: View FIFA's open letter (PDF).
PLEASE CONTACT AllTurf™ AT (908)399-6698 WITH ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS.