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Grooming Artificial Grass: DIY Explained

When first installing artificial grass, grooming that turf to perfection is super important. Because our artificial grass is cut from large rolls, it is compressed down and requires some quick beautification when laid out.

Grooming

The fastest and easiest way to perk that grass back up is to use a power broom. Though they may look intimidating, if you can use a vacuum, you can use a power broom. Power brooms will stand up those grass blades and reduce the look of matting. And it’s not just right after install! You can use a power broom to perk up those blades any time they’re looking a little sad. Typically, with normal residential use and the regular cleaning mentioned later in this article, this type of process will need to be performed about once a year.

Purchase Green offers power brooms for rent or for sale. Depending on how much traffic your grass gets, you’ll be able to gauge if renting or buying is a better option for you.

Or if you want a simpler option, larger debris such as leaves or blooms can be easily removed with a rake or brush, while a hose will take care of smaller debris or dust. Grass surfaces that are used less frequently don’t have to be cleaned as often, but we’d still recommend giving it a quick rinse twice a month or so. 

Cleaning

When developing a comprehensive cleaning plan for your turf, consider how it’s being used. The specific use of the grass will have an effect on the ways it should be maintained. 

When using artificial turf at a personal residence, priorities may include the cleaning of dog waste and ensuring a safe surface for kids to play. Another important factor is how much dust is in your area. For a dry, desert climate, in particular, regular cleaning is important.

It’s critical to note that, no matter your turf’s use, periodic deep cleaning is essential to maintaining the look and feel of the surface.

Maintenance of artificial turf fits into two categories: regular cleaning and more thorough deep cleaning or rejuvenation. In order to make sure your turf remains in the best shape, it’s essential that you clean it regularly, in addition to occasional deep cleaning.

Best practice is to clean artificial turf each week if it gets heavy use or experiences significant dust or debris accumulation, such as leaves or blooms. If your artificial turf gets less use or dust is less of a factor, this cleaning can be less frequent, but rinsing at least twice a month is still recommended.

In addition to weekly maintenance, it’s best to also do a more comprehensive cleaning either monthly or every three to four months if the turf gets infrequent use. Use a flexible lawn rake, or a stiff-bristled broom or brush (be sure to avoid metal bristles, since these can damage the artificial grass), to remove debris from the turf.

Deep Cleaning

You’ll want to watch out for bacteria/odor build-up on your grass. Noticing any persisting odors? Try doing a turf-deodorizing using our Turf Bomb or another non-toxic cleaner. Turf Bomb is non-toxic, biodegradable, and hypo-allergenic so it’s safe for kids and pets, and it is specially designed for synthetic turf use. Turf Bomb will sanitize your artificial turf AND target any odors.

And hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to groom your artificial grass and keep it looking spick-and-span! Some regular upkeep with rinsing and raking, a monthly Turf Bomb-ing, and a power brooming once a year will have your grass lasting for years and years to come.

For more info on grooming artificial grass, feel free to reach out to your local Purchase Green expert. Or check out this video below!

What’s the Deal with Tuft Bind?

Tuft bind is one of the most important factors in the longevity and durability of your artificial grass. Consider the traffic levels of your application site. If there is high traffic, or even moderate traffic, a good tuft bind is going to be your best friend. 

So, what is tuft bind?

Tuft bind is a measure of the force required to pull a stitch of blades through the backing system.

In sport field applications, tuft bind is what will keep the grass in place when an outfielder is diving to make a catch, when linemen are blocking each other, and when a goalie slides to stop a goal. Good tuft bind is a result of a great backing system.

Artificial grass backings are the least-often seen part of artificial grass but, one could argue, the most important. An artificial grass’ backing system is responsible for supporting the dimensional stability, tuft bind, and longevity of the finished product, but the exact combination of the various types of primary and secondary components greatly impact the durability of a given grass. 

At Purchase Green we use a triple-layer, woven mesh of fabric for our primary backing. 

It is through the primary backing that the yarn is sewn. The secondary backing is applied after the yarn has been woven into the primary backing. Secondary backings are typically made of latex or polyurethane, though there are some specialized exceptions. This coating acts as an adhesive. It dries around the stitches to hold them in place. The amount and type of secondary backing used will vary and contribute to the life of the grass. Thicker, stronger backings have greater tuft bind.

Our latex and polyurethane backings both produce a tuft bind that requires a force of between 13 pounds and 14 pounds per square-inch. That’s a lot compared to competitors’ standard of 8 pounds per square-inch.

If you’re starting an artificial grass project, it’s important to start thinking about how much traffic your grass will be getting. Your local Purchase Green experts will absolutely be able to help you find that perfect grass for your project, so don’t forget to reach out with any questions!

Infill Varieties: Which one is best for you?

If you’ve already chosen an artificial grass for your project, congratulations! Now onto the next big decision: What kind of infill do you need?

First off, let’s talk about why infill is important. It serves three primary purposes:

  1. To protect the primary backing from UV exposure
  2. To add weight
  3. To add ballast

Depending on the type of project, around 1-2 pounds of infill per square foot should be enough to do the job. But what kind of infill should you use?

At Purchase Green, we offer a few different options for infill. Let’s break them down.

Silica Sand

Silica sand is the most basic option. It’s a high-quality infill, but doesn’t have all the fancy features the others do. It does what infill is made to do: support the blades and prevent matting. Silica sand is often used for putting greens and aesthetic installations where pets and kids won’t be playing often. It is, however, the most cost-effective option at $8.50 per 50-pound bag.

Zeolite

Zeolite is used as an infill for pet applications, primarily for its odor reducing capabilities.

Zeolite is a negatively charged, honeycomb-shaped molecular structure which absorbs liquids and gases like a magnet to prevent ammonia from forming a gas. (The ammonia buildup in pet urine is what you typically associate with the smell.) This molecular structure holds the ammonia until the sodium ions found in rain water release the magnetic ability which forces the odor causing bacteria down into the ground ultimately “flushing out” the ammonia smell. The purity rate is the key component in the ability of the Zeolite infill to perform its intended function as an artificial grass infill.

A maintenance item to pay attention to when using a Zeolite infill is that it is best NOT to flush your turf from a garden hose when using zeolite for urine odor control because the hose water is usually filtered and will end up being encapsulated in the Zeolite granule in lieu of the urine.

This option is also popular with pet owners, but requires additional antiseptic treatment from time to time to keep it free of microbes. Zeolite runs $15 per 50-pound bag.

HeroFill & MellowFill

HeroFill and MellowFill are considered premium-grade because of the many functions they pack. They are the most popular for putting greens and pet areas. They’re also the most expensive – around $23 per 50-pound bag.

MellowFill is infused with anti-fungal protection. This fungistatic agent inhibits growth of mildew and algae. This product’s unique biocide chemistry controls odors caused by mildew, mold fungus, and algae and significantly reduces the odor caused by ammonia buildup in pet urine. This is our highest-quality infill option so it is a little pricier than our other options. MellowFill also keeps artificial grass cooler to the touch than other infills such as crumb rubber and silica sand.

MellowFill prevents the ammonia buildup in pet urine while Zeolite simply “captures” the ammonia and then releases it when it rains. Additionally, any impurities in rain or hose water will reduce the effectiveness of Zeolite. So will a lack of rain.

While Zeolite is effective at reducing pet odor, because of its mesh size it tends to be more susceptible to compaction than MellowFill and is not as effective at providing ballast.

There are a lot of infill varieties to choose from, but we believe MellowFill is the best product with its long list of amazing features.

But as always, every project is different. Contact us with any questions or visit your local Purchase Green store to talk to an artificial grass expert.

Sub-base Varieties: Which one is right for you?

Sub-base is the term used to describe the material that lies directly underneath the artificial grass surface. There are a couple of sub-base varieties used in artificial grass installations. Each has its own strength and specialty.

Crushed Miscellaneous Base

This sub-base typically comes from recycled concrete or recycled asphalt. It consists of a sand-gravel mixture of varying-sized particles up to ¾ of an inch in size. 

CMB compacts better and is less expensive than decomposed granite, which is why it is the more common choice for landscaping applications. 

Decomposed Granite

Often referred to as DG, this sub-base is granite rock that has weathered to the point that it readily fractures into smaller particles of gravel, sand, and clay.

DG is more permeable and can be used to achieve a smoother finish than CMB, but it is substantially more expensive. DG is more suited for putting green applications.

So which is best?

Both are great materials for your sub-base. CMB is more easily compacted than DG but doesn’t drain quite as well. DG, meanwhile, yields a smoother finish than CMB but it is quite a bit more expensive. Generally, CMB is the best choice for artificial grass in landscaping while DG is the best choice if you’re installing a putting green.

After you’ve spread the sub-base material over your installation site, your best option for a proper installation is to use a vibratory-plate compactor. You may also opt to use a roller and a hand tamper to get those hard-to-reach areas and tight corners. And be sure to wet down your sub-base as you’re compacting it to help remove any voids or air spaces.

If you’re still unsure which sub-base is best for your project, contact us at your local Purchase Green store, and we’ll be happy to help!

The Artificial Grass Dictionary

We use a lot of fancy jargon in the artificial grass industry, and it can be hard to keep definitions straight. So we thought it would be helpful for any homeowners, contractors, and DIY’ers to have a little dictionary of common artificial grass terms.

Common Artificial Grass Terms

Application – the intended use for an artificial grass project. We usually categorize applications into landscapes, playgrounds, pets, sports, and putting green/fringes.

Artificial Grass Backing – artificial grass backing consists of two components – the primary backing and the secondary backing. When comparing artificial grass backings people often only focus on the secondary back or the “glue” but in fact both components are critical to the life of an artificial grass product.

Critical Fall Height (CFH) – a combination of critical height and fall height. According to ASTM International, critical height is “…the maximum fall height from which a life threatening head injury would not be expected to occur.” Fall height is “…the vertical distance between a designated play surface and the playground surface beneath it.” Basically, it’s a combined measurement of vertical distance and the height from which a fall would not be expected to cause a life threatening head injury.

Decitex – often referred to as DTEX, decitex is a unit of textile measurement. A tex is defined as the mass in grams per 1,000 meters. A decitex is the mass in grams per 10,000 meters. In artificial grass the decitex is used to describe the thickness and width of the individual fiber.

Denier – this is a unit of textile measurement. A denier is a unit of measure for the linear mass density of fibers and is defined as the mass in grams per 9,000 meters. Denier is a direct yarn numbering system; the higher the denier, the larger or heavier the yarn.

Dimensional stability – this refers to the ability of the finished turf surfaces to retain its original size and shape.

Face weight – Face weight is the number of ounces of fiber per square yard in the face of the turf (not including the backing). The face weight affects performance and durability. Face weight is different from density because it varies with turf height.

Gauge – the distance between stitch rows. The measurements are typically 3/8″, 1/2″, or 5/8″ for landscaping grasses, and are typically tighter for putting greens (3/16″ or 5/32″) and wider for traditional sports grasses (up to 3/4″).

Infill – a material, such as silica sand, used to add weight and ballast to artificial grass while enhancing dimensional stability; ex. HeroFill.

Linear foot – this measurement is used to indicate the length from one point to another ignoring the width of a particular object. As an example 20 linear feet of artificial grass would be a piece of artificial grass that is 20′ long by whatever the width happens to be.

Localized heating – occurs when light from the sun is focused onto a small area. It can melt the blades, the backing material, and leave obvious discoloration.

Pile height – the height of the tall, uncurled fiber.

Primary Backing – this is the fabric that the artificial grass is tufted through – similar to multiple layers of a commercial grade weed barrier. The quality and durability of a primary backing determines the dimensional stability of an artificial grass product. Purchase Green grasses typically have an industry best triple-layer backing (8 oz. per square yard).

Remnant – a remnant is nothing more than a leftover section of grass that has been cut from a full-size roll. Purchase Green sells remnants at steep discounts.

Seaming – this is the process of binding together two pieces of artificial grass. Seaming is typically accomplished using seaming tape and glue. Seams can also be produced using staples or nails as well as by using industrial, double-sided tape.

Secondary Backing – this is the glue that secures or adheres the artificial grass fibers or yarn to the primary backing. The quality and durability of the secondary backing determines the tuft bind of an artificial grass product. Purchase Green grasses use 32 oz. per square yard of latex on our grasses that have a latex backing, and 26 oz. per square yard of polyurethane on our grasses that have a polyurethane backing.

Stitch Rate – the number of stitches in a fixed distance – typically a stitch every 10cm or 3″.  As an example, 15 stitches per 10 cm would be quoted as a 15/10 stitch rate.

Sub-base – this is a layer of material, either road base or decomposed granite, that is placed below the artificial grass. In most cases, a 3-inch thick layer is sufficient. The sub-base serves as an anchor on which the grass can be installed. It also helps prevent artificial grass from expansion and contraction, which could otherwise result in buckling.

Thatch – the short, curly fibers found in artificial grass. Thatch fibers are usually brown or green.

Total weight – the sum of the face weight, weight of the primary backing, and the weight of the secondary backing. For all Purchase Green products that have a latex backing the total weight is the face weight + 40 oz. per square yard (8 oz. for the primary backing and 32 oz. for the secondary backing); for all Purchase Green products that have a polyurethane backing the total weight is the face weight + 32 oz. per square yard (6 oz. for the primary backing and 26 oz. for the secondary backing).

Traffic – the amount of foot traffic from people and pets that the artificial grass receives. Low, medium, and high are our units of traffic measurement.

Tufting – tufting is a type of weaving associated with textiles. In artificial grass, tufting refers to the process of weaving the grass fibers through the backing.

Tuft Bind – tuft bind is a measure of the force required to pull a stitch of blades through the backing system.

We hope this helps clear any confusion on artificial grass terminology! If you have any questions, contact a Purchase Green expert!

Face Weight and Pile Height: What’s the difference?

In the artificial grass industry, we have a lot of jargon that defines the various characteristics of our grasses. A lot of these phrases are also used in carpeting, artificial grass’s indoor cousin. 

Today, we’re defining face weight and pile height, two important characteristics of artificial grass performance and durability.

What is face weight?

Face weight is the number of ounces of fiber per square yard in the face of the turf (not including the backing).

When you’re introduced to different grasses you’ll notice each has a face weight. Our Bluegrass Light, for example, has a face weight of 48 ounces while our Fescue Supreme has a face weight of 108 ounces.

A grass with a high face weight may have fibers that are thicker, that are more densely stitched or that are taller…or all three.  

So if your project is intended mostly for aesthetic purposes, face weight will be less of a consideration. Whereas if your project will experience higher foot traffic, face weight should be given more consideration.

What is pile height?

Pile height is the height of the tall, uncurled fiber. We measure pile height in millimeters and do not include the backing in the measurement. The “pile” refers to the fibers that come out of the backing. Easy enough!

In Conclusion…

There you have it! Face weight and pile height are two important factors to take into account when choosing the best artificial grass for your project. But if you want to know how those differences will specifically impact your application, feel free to contact your local Purchase Green store and explain your project details. We’re always happy, helpful, and happy to help!

Do All Artificial Grass Installations Use Crumb Rubber?

You may have heard of crumb rubber – those tiny bits of rubber that are scattered across artificial grass to serve as both infill and a shock absorber. And if you’ve heard of crumb rubber, you probably haven’t heard good things about it.

Is crumb rubber unsafe? Is it actually safe? There have been various studies conducted on the safety of crumb rubber but at this point it would be premature to draw a conclusion either way. So let’s look into what crumb rubber is and why Purchase Green doesn’t carry it.

What is crumb rubber?

Crumb rubber infill is made by grinding up old tires. At first, the solution was praised as an innovative, environmentally-friendly strategy to reuse the mountains of old tires sitting in landfills.

However, in recent years, anecdotal evidence has begun to shed light on a potential link between the infill and instances of cancer, especially among goalies who frequently come into contact or even ingest/inhale the tiny black pellets common to artificial grass sports fields across the country.

Do we recommend crumb rubber?

At Purchase Green, we don’t sell nor do we recommend crumb rubber for residential landscaping. For one thing, as an infill it actually makes grass hotter. The reality is that there are better, more advanced infill systems than crumb rubber.

At Purchase Green we only carry the best products, and crumb rubber is not the best product. Instead, we offer products such as MellowFill. MellowFill infill prevents the growth of mildew and algae and controls odors. It works very well for residential lawns because it does everything crumb rubber does to ensure the durability and quality of artificial grass while being a much more natural and less costly alternative.

In Conclusion…

The health and safety of our customers and employees are the most important thing to us. Because of this, we’ve already broken from the mainstream, eliminating traditional turf products, like crumb rubber, because we simply weren’t comfortable with the health threats it posed (not to mention its sub-par performance!). We take great pride in offering a product that is healthier for you, your yard, your finances, and the environment.

For more information about the use of crumb rubber in artificial grass installations, check out this video or reach out to your local Purchase Green Artificial Grass expert!

How to choose artificial grass for pets

As a pet owner, you want to choose the very best for your furry friends. They’re practically family! When it comes to choosing the best artificial grass for your pets, Purchase Green is happy to help find that perfect fit.

Pet owners frequently come in with certain concerns about purchasing artificial grass for their pets, and our team is there to make sure that those concerns are addressed. We have pets, too! And we understand that purchasing artificial grass is a big decision. In this blog, we’re going to lay out some of the frequent topics that come up surrounding artificial grass for pets. 

Concern #1: Temperature

Artificial grass temperature is known to get warmer than natural grass. But the temperature only increases when in direct sunlight; ambient temperature has no effect on it. So if your application space is shaded, you’ll be in great shape for letting those pups run around on it all day long.

If it’s not shaded, investing in a Cool Yarn grass would be the way to go. Our Cool Yarn grasses keep the grass 10-20% cooler by reflecting away the sun’s heat. A grass like Diamond Cool 50 will keep your pets’ paws safer from the heat.

Concern #2: Odor

If you have pets, you know that they come with certain…smells. What you don’t want is for those smells to linger in the air. That’s why when it comes to artificial grass, there are certain measures to take to prevent those unpleasant odors.

First, a shorter, denser pile height will make the grass easier to clean as solid waste will remain on top of the blades. Avoiding a taller pile height will make cleaning a lot easier in the long run, even though shorter pile heights are thought to look less natural. See if Vista Sport/Pet is something you like the look of.

Our grasses have great draining systems so as not to absorb liquids and keep them from getting through the backing. In addition to the type of grass, the infill type will greatly impact turf odor.

We recommend choosing an infill like Herofill because it won’t retain moisture and it will help reduce ammonia buildup from pet urine. Avoid silica sand for pet applications as it will not help prevent odor.

Concern #3: Traffic

Durability is huge when it comes to pet turf. If you’ve got three big dogs running around on the lawn all day, then you’re going to need something that’ll hold up. Maybe a grass like Arizona Platinum would work for you.

Just as you groom your pets, you’ll also want to groom your turf. Yes, that means brushing and washing it. Check out this blog we posted about how to clean your turf to get an idea of what it takes to keep your grass looking so fresh and so clean.

If you have any other concerns, feel free to reach out to your local Purchase Green store and see what questions we can answer for you. And if you have any pictures of your pets to show us, we’d love to see them.

HOAs and Artificial Grass: What’s allowed?

Home improvement projects can often be at odds with the local Homeowners Association, so it’s important to know what’s allowed and what is not.

HOAs establish neighborhood rules through CC&Rs – Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. These rules are meant to maintain consistency in the upkeep and aesthetic of the community. But the restrictions can often seem, well, restrictive.

As far as artificial grass installation goes, some places have it better than others. In the state of California, water conservation efforts have made it illegal for HOAs to prevent homeowners from installing artificial grass. So, that’s good news for all you Californians interested in artificial lawns.

For our other states with Purchase Green stores, it’s best to check with your HOA to see if replacing your real lawn with an artificial lawn is allowed. Regulations vary state-to-state, city-to-city, HOA-to-HOA.

And if your HOA does allow artificial grass, hooray! We would love to help you find the perfect artificial grass that fits within any restrictions set in place. Helping you find the most natural-looking, durable grass is our pleasure. Reach out to your local Purchase Green store or contact us here to get in touch with a PG rep. We’re always happy, helpful, and happy to help!

For more information

Here’s a quick video about HOAs and artificial grass: https://youtu.be/UKVvKW7HbRI

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