Installation Techniques: Artificial Turf for Playgrounds
Schools and early childhood education centers all over the country are turning to artificial grass for use as their playground surfacing material. Synthetic turf provides a plethora of benefits and advantages, some of which include increased outdoor play time, reduced risk of injuries, low maintenance and more. Yet, it is important to note that most of these benefits are contingent upon proper installation techniques. For example, in order to meet the required fall-height requirement of the play structures, the turf system must include a shock pad underneath the turf. Yes, the shock pad is paramount in ensuring the playground adheres to safety standards, but other techniques of the installation process are also vital to the overall safety.
In landscape and pet applications, it is common practice to secure the turf with border stakes (7 inch metal nails pictured right). For playgrounds, the use of these nails should be avoided completely. Why is this so important? Well, the artificial grass is a permanent fixture in the playground. As such, it will endure many years, many seasons and many climate changes. As the ground beneath the turf freezes, it can push the stakes out of the ground, making them easy to grab by little hands. A bunch of young children running around with 7-inch metal nails would be catastrophic.
How do you secure the turf without the use of border stakes?
To avoid border stakes, the installer should use a nailer board to line the perimeter of the playground. A nailer board is a piece of wood that is secured to the concrete curb or border (pictured left). Once the turf is laid, it is then nailed into the nailer board as opposed to the ground. The result is a flawless design in which the turf runs all the way to the concrete border without the risk of any nails/stakes coming up.
When it comes to installing playground turf, you cannot take a chance on an inexperienced crew that does not know all of the necessary safety precautions. Thus, it is imperative to thoroughly vet any contractor or company you hire to complete your playground project. Know their history, and ask them for references. Do not let price be the deciding factor for your decision. With children’s safety on the line, you’ll want to go with the best crew, not the cheapest. If you have any questions about the playground turf installation process, please do not hesitate to contact us.