What Makes Synthetic Turf Drain So Well?

Posted by Sunburst Landscaping on October 6, 2016
Artificial Turf
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One of the primary questions those considering synthetic turf for their lawn is about drainage. Since artificial grass is made primarily from nylon and polyurethane, both which resists water, many wonder how it drains effectively. That is an excellent question that involves understanding how complete synthetic grass systems are constructed.

Importance of Drainage

Drainage is key in creating a synthetic turf system because one thing you don’t want is water pooling. Stagnant water will not only hasten the breakdown of your artificial lawn but also causes health problems. Standing water can lead to mold and mildew growing and is also a primary spot for mosquitos to breed. When you are debating about different synthetic grass products and deciding between artificial turf installation companies, always research their drainage systems and make sure it is up to standards. It is paramount in selecting a product you will be happy with for years to come.
In looking at drainage, there are basically two systems to choose from:
• The Finger System
• Channel Drainage

Installing the Finger System

The Finger System gets its name because this method leaves tiny trails that water uses to travel into the dirt or to a specific pooling area like a detention pond.
To understand the Finger System, you must understand how synthetic turf is put together. There are four parts to this system:
• The ground cover
• The filler
• The backing
• The blades
When preparing for artificial grass installation, workers will level the ground and cover it with a material to keep it level and keep the dirt from eroding. Sometimes it is sand and sometimes it is a geotextile liner. Then a filler material is used and it is usually a crushed drain rock like crushed stone, breeze rock or decomposed granite. That is topped with a fine rock dust.
Artificial grass has a backing that is attached to the blades. The backing is typically made of a mesh plastic and the blades are covered with a coating to prevent them from moving after being attached to the backing. This would usually not allow for drainage because plastic isn’t permeable, leading to water pooling on top of your synthetic turf. To resolve this issue, the coating is either produced to be porous or holes are created in the backing’s fabric to allow for drainage.
Water then passes through to the filler, which disperses it to the ground cover. It then drains into the soil. By the time it reaches the soil, it is dispersed to the point that it trickles rather than flows. The trickle effect is what produces the tiny trails that gives this system its name.

Considering Channel Drainage

Those with a sloped yard might want to consider Channel Drainage for their synthetic turf. In this method, the installation crew creates small runs for water to travel out of the yard. The channels are created for water to run down its natural slope to a designated area at the lowest point of the yard. The best places to drain the water is to a drainage ditch, the street or perhaps a local creek bed.
First, the crew will level the yard and remove any dips and valleys that would obstruct water flow. Then they create the channels to flow water. These channels, although intricate, are not noticeable once the artificial grass is in place.
The Channel System can be done in two ways:
• Grooves created in the cover material over the soil allowing for a natural flow.
• Installing plastic tubing that resembles gutters placed throughout the yard.
The difference in the two methods are based on how much water flow you expect. The tubing is highly effective in managing heavy and constant water flow, while the groove method works well for drier areas with normal or less than normal amounts of rain. With both channel systems, gravity does the work in helping water flow down the slope to a spot where it can continue as run off.
Either system provides good drainage, but you need to pick the one that meets your specific needs for your property. That is an individualized decision that should be discussed thoroughly with anyone bidding on your synthetic turf installation.

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