It would appear at a cursory glance that synthetic grass is a very expensive replacement for natural grass, but the high cost is only up front. When measured over the life of the grass you will find that synthetic grass is actually a cheaper alternative to the real stuff and the savings may not simply be the cost of maintaining the grass.
So, that higher upfront cost of a synthetic grass surface is pretty quickly recouped by the lower maintenance requirements. Time, energy and the possibility of greater usage gives you a surface that will pay for itself over its lifetime.
Studies on Synthetic Grass Safety
There has been much controversy about artificial turf surfaces and its relation to heat, the sun, and hotter temperatures. There have been claims that artificial turf and its lack of watering makes it that much more susceptible to heat and heat absorbency. Studies have shown that there are evident possibilities of artificial grass surfaces rising in temperature during hot seasons. However, evidence of these studies do not completely rule this heat as an imminent danger to people or animals that come in contact with it, as there are ways of cooling turf and making it safe and hazard-free for all.
Synthetic grass fields and surfaces only rose to high numbers when under direct sunlight during studies. Thus, common sunny areas that have occasional clouds, overcast, or showers rarely reach extreme highs. The areas that do reach triple-digit temperatures usually fluctuate greatly throughout the day, depending on sun exposure. A study on heat and synthetic grass revealed that solar radiation, not air temperature, was the cause of high fluctuation in temperature. Another significant factor includes the type of infill used beneath the synthetic grass. It was noted that there is a possible lack of heat transfer from artificial grass fibers to the infill of the product. Thus, different materials used to engineer the turf could be significant factors in retaining heat. Though this study poses a risk to those who are concerned about surface heat, it should also be noted that this study was only done on one turf product, and therefore cannot be generalized for all artificial grass products on the market today.
Many modern turf products are coated with UV protection that withstands heat, sun, and other damaging effects. These products are designed to deflect heat and sun reflection that may cause discomfort to people and animals on the turf. There are different types of infill that help combat heat. The black crumbled rubber infill usually tends to absorb heat more than other types of infill. Other light-colored granulated infill, like Durafill, deflect heat better than infill that is composed primarily of dark crumbled rubber.
There are also ways to maintain cooler temperatures for synthetic grass.
In order to greatly reduce the high temperature of synthetic grass, it is as simple as dousing the surface with water for a few minutes. Other studies have shown that entire football fields with synthetic grass surfaces can reduced as much as fifty percent in temperature when sprinklers or hoses were used. This can total up to 60 degrees cooler in temperature. When the temperature is decreased and the surface is cooled, it can maintain a cooler temperature for a few hours after coming in contact with cool water. If possible, keeping synthetic grass in the shade can also help to keep it cool because as mentioned before, direct sun is a strong factor in increasing surface temperature. Though there have been past concerns about heat hazards and synthetic grass, many of the modern products on the market today have been designed to deflect heat and are much better than their older counterparts that absorb heat and increase temperatures dramatically. These newer synthetic grass options are easily cooled down and are both pet and family friendly, even on warmer days.
Synthetic Grass and Heat
How do you decide between synthetic grass and the real thing for your home or business? Ten years ago, there would have been no argument that the real thing was always better. Today, that statement is not always true. Many commercial projects are being completed with synthetic products, and homeowners are starting to turn in this direction as well. In order to make this decision for yourself you need to understand the key differences between both of these options.
If you buy a high quality fake grass, you should not be able to tell the difference going off of appearances alone. When standing at a distance or on the edge of the grass, you should look out and see a beautiful field of bright green, healthy grass. The difference you may notice is that real grass starts to turn brown and limp during a dry period, and the fake version stays healthfully green because it doesn't have the demand for water that comes with the real thing.
Your Final Decision
There will be some maintenance involved with any type of grass you bring into your home or business. As you make your decision, think about how much time you will have to spend taking care of each of these types of grass. Think about how you want your lawn to look year round, and how hard you really want to work to get the lawn of your dreams.
If you want the perfectly green lawn year round, you will have to go with a synthetic product. If you just love yard work and want to spend more time with your grass, the real thing may be just what you need.