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.
The History of Commercial Artificial Grass
Throughout the decades, artificial turf has evolved into a very realistic and technologically advanced alternative to real grass. However, it is safe to say that synthetic turf products were not always this way. Like most widely adopted modern products, much research and new developments happened in order to lead to the impressive synthetic grass products that are available to consumers today. Though the artificial grass industry has come a long way, it is important to note its developments and history.
Though newer synthetic grass is very much unlike its predecessors, some may not realize the difference. AstroTurf, the pioneering grass-like surface, was created in the 1960's. This early synthetic grass was a short pile grass that was made from PVC-like material. This tended to have a very spiky and plastic-like feel, as well as a shinier and lighter appearance. In comparison to new artificial grass, old AstroTurf from decades ago was not as soft and less similar to natural grass. It did not have many of the functional attributes available in modern synthetic turf, such as infill and a highly effective drainage system.
The modern drainage system of synthetic grass allows liquids to permeate through the grass in all directions. Thus, it manually drains itself and requires no extra effort when coming into contact with liquid. Modern turf backing is highly perforated, ensuring that drainage is quick and effective. With such an innovative system, artificial turf does not collect water, decreasing bug infestation, bacteria, and spores. It is evident that the evolution of artificial turf has taken strides to be the industry that it is today. Modern synthetic grass is the ultimate in technologically advanced lawn systems that require minimal maintenance, and are equipped with impressive features.
Key Differences Between Fake Grass and Real Grass
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.