After thinking about it for a while, you’ve decided to replace your lawn with natural-looking, beautiful artificial grass.
You can’t wait to have grass that stays green all year long and never needs mowing, edging, or weeding!
You like knowing that artificial turf is pet-friendly and that any pet messes can be cleaned up easily.
You appreciate that it’s allergen-free, environmentally safe, and guaranteed not to fade.
The next decision you have to make is just as important.
Which artificial grass company will you choose to install your new turf?
In addition to the product’s durability, how well it holds up over time depends in large part on the skill of the installation crew.
Below we’ll explore how to choose an artificial turf installer for your home or business.
Follow these tips to make sure you get the quality product and service that you want and expect.
Research the Company
The artificial grass industry has been growing quickly, and some people have tried to take business away from experienced, legitimate installers by undercutting prices and promising faster project timetables.
In reality, these people often have little to no experience, use lower-quality materials, and wind up breaking their proposed installation schedule.
Be sure to research several artificial grass companies before getting quotes.
Get answers to the following questions.
- How long have they been in business?
- What is their experience with installing artificial grass on properties like yours?
- Are they a recognized dealer for the grass manufacturer?
- If not a recognized dealer, are they an authorized installer for the grass manufacturer?
Before deciding which companies you are going to ask to provide an estimate on your project, these are essential facts to know.
Customer reviews are consistently among the best ways to find out about a company’s service, reliability, and quality of work.
Testimonials that a company posts on its website are nearly always favorable.
Online customer reviews for the company usually will give a more balanced picture.
Referrals based on an installation you have admired are often the most influential.
Quality Turf Products
As the saying goes, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Or, more to the point, an excellent turf installer can’t make up for a poor-quality product.
High-quality synthetic turf looks like natural grass, unlike the matted, spikey plastic of a few decades ago.
Ensure that your installer specifies the manufacturer in their estimate and provides product samples.
In addition to the samples, look up the manufacturer online to assess product quality and reputation.
Ask your installer about the differences between the products being quoted and other products on the market.
They should be able to explain the specific benefits of each product and why it’s being proposed for your installation.
Price estimates on just about any type of home renovation project can vary widely.
Be sure to get several estimates from companies you’ve found to have good reputations, warranties, and quality products.
Once you’ve received the estimates, review them to ensure they are all quoting essentially the same work and product quality.
Then calculate the average price.
Any quote that is significantly higher or significantly lower than the average price should be viewed with at least some skepticism.
High quotes rarely result in above-average installation quality.
Conversely, low quotes often translate to poor-quality installation.
To learn more about the cost of artificial grass installation, we have cost calculators that you can play around with the get a sense of pricing.
Turf installation should come with two separate warranties – one from the artificial grass company covering their installation services, and one from the manufacturer covering the product.
Your installer should provide a one-year warranty.
Manufacturer warranties range between 5-20 years, depending on the type and quality of artificial grass installed — the more durable the material and the higher the production quality, the longer the warranty.
Beware of unrealistic promises such as a “lifetime warranty.”
The expected lifespan for artificial turf Is 20-25 years for the best products on the market.
Businesses offering warranties that extend beyond the product’s expected lifespan are not likely to stay in business long enough for you to make a claim.
Ask each company you have chosen as a “finalist” to explain their process for installing artificial grass.
Ask about the size of their crews and the experience that the crew members have in turf installation.
Find out how many installations like the one you are undertaking that the company has completed.
Each company’s process may vary somewhat.
Still, there are steps typical to each type of artificial grass installation: when replacing natural grass with artificial grass, and when installing over concrete.
Turf Installation: Replacing Natural Grass With Artificial Grass
Preparing the Area
All of the natural grass and weeds are removed.
To make room for the base, the top layer of soil is removed to a depth of 3-4 inches.
Pressure is applied to the entire area to compact the remaining soil.
Laying the Base
The installer will spread an even layer of 3/8” or smaller rock or gravel over the soil as a base.
Then, a layer of sand about ½” thick is laid over the stone.
The whole area is then thoroughly watered to compact the sand and gravel.
Installing the Weed Barrier
Specialized landscape fabric is placed over the compacted base layer to stop weeds from growing up through the turf.
Compacting and Leveling
The entire area is gone over with a plate compactor or hand compactor.
If any high or low spots remain, it will be flattened again to ensure that the entire area is evenly flat and level.
Placing the Underlayment [Optional]
This is mostly applicable for turf applications involving children, like on playgrounds and backyard play areas.
An underlayment or padding layer will help prevent injuries by helping absorb the impact of trips and falls.
If included, this is now rolled out to cover every square inch of area.
Placing the Artificial Grass
Experienced installers will unroll the artificial grass and lay it in the sun, usually while working on the sub-base.
The sun’s warmth makes the turf more pliable and easier to work with.
Depending on the size and shape of an installation the installers may have to join separate strips of turf with seam glue.
With experienced crews, you can’t even tell where the seams are when they are finished.
Trimming the Edges
Any excess turf around the area perimeter will be trimmed away using a utility knife or carpet cutter.
These pieces of turf are what’s known as “Wastage,” and are usually incorporated into the project’s pricing.
Pinning Down the Turf
Next, the installer will use 4” to 6” landscaping anchor pins or galvanized stakes to secure the turf.
These will be placed around the perimeter and along any seams at 6” to 8” intervals.
A layer of infill material will be spread evenly over the artificial turf using a drop spreader.
Infill comes in different forms, but is essentially sand-like particles that settle between the individual blades of grass and ensure that the blades stand as straight and natural as possible.
The infill also acts as a ballast, weighing down the turf and preventing it from shifting.
Brushing Out the Grass
As a final step, the grass will be fluffed using a power brush.
The brush agitates the turf fibers and helps the infill material to settle between the grass blades.
This can be done with a stiff bristle push broom, but will be much less efficient.
This is the same process you will want to use occasionally after the grass has been installed as part of ongoing turf maintenance, which will keep your turf looking fresh and natural.
Turf Installation: Installing Artificial Grass Over Concrete
Preparing the Area
The existing concrete is thoroughly cleaned, including removing all debris, stuck-on dirt, and other substances.
Placing a Drainage Membrane
After applying about 1/10” of outdoor glue over the entire surface on which the artificial grass is being installed, a shock-absorbing, drainage membrane will be placed over it.
Placing the Artificial Grass
The artificial grass is placed and allowed to settle for several hours to prevent creasing and wrinkling.
The edges may be taped or glued (same as with turf being laid over existing grass).
Trimming the Edges, Applying Infill, Brushing Out
Again, as with turf being laid over existing grass, the installer will trim the perimeter edges, apply an appropriate infill, and brush out the blades.
Quality artificial grass companies know that the best customer is an educated customer.
You should look for turf installers that make the effort to keep customers informed through such activities as regularly publishing informative blog articles (like the one you’re now reading!)
Here at Ideal Turf we recognized the importance of helping potential clients understand the different aspects of artificial grass.
As a relatively new industry, there is an abundance of misinformation about faux grass and we strive to correct that imbalance through high-quality and informative content.
The content we publish is meant to empower users with the information needed to make the most informed decision possible when considering artificial grass for their home or business.
Final Thoughts on How to Choose an Artificial Turf Installer
Interested in artificial turf installation in Texas?
Ideal Turf offers a full 1-year installation warranty on artificial grass, and most turf products we offer have a 20-year manufacturer warranty.
We encourage you to read our customer reviews!
Convenient financing is available, too.
Contact Ideal Turf today for a free design and installation estimate.
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