What is Artificial Turf?
The latest generation of synthetic turf is a low-maintenance, fairly realistic grass-like ground cover. However, before changing to artificial turf, it is important to be aware of some concerns so you can make the best choice for your family.
Concerns with Artificial Turf
- Artificial turf can become significantly hotter, and remain hotter longer than natural grass lawns. This is due to the rubber and plastic compounds it’s made of. For example, on hot summer days artificial turf can reach temperatures of 160 degrees.
- Runoff from ‘turf’ during heavy rains can contain pollutants like heavy metals and chemicals that can contaminate surface and groundwater sources. The rubber in some artificial turfs have been found to contain other toxic materials like carcinogens, latex and other rubbers that can cause allergic reactions, and phthalates.
- Artificial turf does not support a healthy soil which is important in filtering pollutants, increasing water quality and moisture holding ability, and supporting healthy microbes and insects. Please refer to our ‘Pervious Surfaces’ page for more information.
- Artificial turf kills all living organisms in the soil. Therefore, natural plants and grasses won’t be able to survive in that area again without extensive remediation.
- It is expensive to dispose of artificial turf at landfills.
- Though less than a traditional lawn, it still uses water. Water and chemicals are occasionally required to clean the turf. Water is also sometimes necessary to cool the area before it can be used.
Tips to Buying Artificial Turf
- Do your homework! There are many types/grades of Artificial Turf out there.
- The denser the turf, the better. Denser turf is typically more realistic in appearance, and feel.
- Avoid recycled rubber, or infill (there have been reports of health risks).
- Ask about what materials it contains, and how it’s made.
- Ask about how well the turf drains.
- Always request for a sample, or examples of previous work.
- Get an estimate of the lifespan and the total weight so you can factor in the replacement cycle and disposal costs into your analysis.
- Consult with a real estate agent about the effect on resale values if there is a possibility that you might sell the property.
For additional tips, please refer to this Buying Guide.