Does Artificial Grass Need Infill?
A new trend has emerged in the synthetic turf industry – artificial grass that claims to not require infill for installation. It’s easy to see the appeal of an infill-less system. First, it reduces the overall cost. No infill means less materials and less labor. Also, it makes artificial turf even more low maintenance than it already is (adding infill every eighteen months or so is part of the suggested maintenance of an artificial lawn). However, these benefits are merely superficial and not necessarily worth the trade-off. Infill is not something that needs to be or should be avoided. It is an important part to the functionality of the overall synthetic turf system.
In recent years, infill has developed a negative connotation, largely due to the use of crumb rubber in athletic fields, but don’t let media hype influence your opinion. There are a lot of different types of infill, and crumb rubber is not used for landscape applications. Instead, our turf systems use coated round sand for infill. The product ProGreen recommends, SpectraQuartz, is antimicrobial and chemical resistant, completely safe for kids, pets and everyone else. As a homeowner or business owner interested in ProGreen artificial grass, you do not need to be weary of using infill.
What is the purpose of infill?
Infill is added to synthetic turf for a variety of reasons:
- Serves as a Ballast – The infill provides extra weight on the turf to improve stability in more ways than one. Most obviously, the added weight helps keep the turf in place and secured to the ground. A less obvious function, but maybe even more important, is preventing wrinkles that may occur from the changing temperatures. Artificial turf, like most synthetic surfaces, can expand and shrink in extreme heat or cold. Without the use of infill to provide added stability, these slight changes in the turf can result in wrinkles or other abnormalities that diminish the natural aesthetic.
- Fiber Support – With repeated foot and/or paw traffic, artificial grass has a tendency to fall flat. ProGreen, as well as every other turf manufacturer worldwide, has devoted countless hours in research and development to producing a resilient fiber that will stay erect longer. This goal is what prompted the evolution of thatch in synthetic turf. Yet, even with thatch and the most durable fiber, synthetic grass will inevitably fall flat rather quickly without added support. Infill provides this added support to keep the grass blades upright.
- Protection Barrier – Most applicable for pet installations, the layer of infill serves as a barrier protecting the backing and turf fibers from sharp claws and other potentially detrimental objects. Yes, the likelihood that something would damage the turf backing is pretty small, but it never hurts to have an extra layer of protection just in case.
Technically speaking, all of these purposes are optional, which is why some turf companies are marketing their products as a no-infill system. Yet, just because turf can be installed without infill does not mean that it should. Without infill, the turf is susceptible to many preventable problems.