The game is tied. You’re nervously watching the last attempt of your favorite soccer team go for the “W”. It’s happening! A quick pass to the right forward and it’s a breakaway to the goal. Just one person standing in the way of the game-winning kick. WHAT? The player stumbles! While it looks like they may have just tripped over themselves, the fact is, the trip was caused by uneven artificial turf, and while the goalie slowly comes and scoops up the ball, you are left to scoop up your crushed dreams of a victory for your favorite team (not to mention, bragging rights).
Okay, so this is very unlikely to happen. But, the point is, there is an art to installing artificial turf. Not only is artificial turf used for indoor and outdoor athletic areas such as soccer, baseball and football, it is also used for landscaping projects and residential areas. No matter the application usage, the last thing you want is for your artificial turf to be uprooted by environmental elements or heavy usage.
That being said, there are many ways to install artificial turf, but the most common installation methods use paste or glue, spikes, wooden nailer boards or combinations of these.
Installation Options for Artificial Turf
- Paste – This option is common and used only when laying artificial turf over concrete, typically seen in indoor applications. Instead of tearing up concrete and starting from the ground up, literally, glue or paste is laid in strips or directly on the existing concrete.
- Spikes – Turf spikes are used around the edges of the artificial turf installation. These spikes are inserted into dirt or crushed rock as a way to keep the turf in place.
- Wooden Nailer Boards – Another installation method is to use wooden nailer boards. Nailer boards can be used under the turf and also along the edges to create a finished look. They are typically used over crushed rock, gravel and dirt.
What’s Behind Door Number 3?
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the uses of wooden nailer boards in the installation of artificial turf. Depending on the end-use of your artificial turf application, wooden nailer boards may be the preferred installation option because it offers a more structural installation that typically lasts longer than paste or spikes alone. Oftentimes, wooden nailer boards are inlaid in crushed rock or gravel and act as a foundation for the nails to secure the artificial turf. This adds structural integrity and prevents the grass from sinking in certain areas. Nailer boards are also installed around the perimeter of the artificial turf installation area so the turf won’t lift at the edges and become a tripping hazard.
Challenges can occur when using traditional wood for nailer boards, which can cost time and money. For example, the wood can break down due to extreme weather conditions (rain, heat, cold), this can cause the turf to shift and move over time. When this happens, oftentimes the substructure needs to be replaced, which costs extra money and time.
So, What Do I Do?
One option is to factor in additional cost for repair and replacement at the time of initial installation. Another option is to use a less secure method, like paste, glue or spikes and hope that it lasts. A third option is to consider using an alternative to traditional wood to ensure that the substructure lasts as long as your artificial turf.
An Alternative to Traditional Wood
Recycled plastic lumber is a great alternative to traditional wood. Engineered and manufactured in the United States using recycled household items (like milk jugs), this environmentally-friendly product provides all of the benefits of traditional wood without all of the challenges.
Building a solid foundation for the artificial turf installation is important so that once the turf is in place, you won’t have to tear it up to replace the substructure components. Structural recycled plastic lumber by Bedford Technology is a perfect alternative to wooden nailer boards because it is resistant to moisture, insects and mold. It also comes in custom shapes and colors to create a beautiful finished look for the edging.
Whether you’re using artificial turf for athletics or landscaping, consider using recycled plastic lumber to increase ROI and decrease maintenance cost over time.
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