Installation Guidelines

Shawgrass is a strong turf that needs planning and skill to put together correctly.

Artificial grass installation should only be performed by a Go Turf specialist. Our preferred installer is https://castlerockartificialturf.com. Preparing the space for the project is critical for lasting success and while it will involve the most labor it will also yield peak results. These artificial turf installation directions will be essential for making sure that your layouts are deliberated effectively and give your clients the results they want and need.


1. PLANNING

A. Area: The area for an artificial turf installation should be clearly outlined and scored.

B. Drainage: Choose if the prepared plot has an adequate existing drainage or might need more drains or modified drains, grading, or sloping.

C. Soil Condition: Determine whether or not you will have to moisten or soften the soil or use a jackhammer to get rid of big rocks. Waterlogged soil may need to dry a few days prior to when synthetic grass fitting can start.

D. Irrigation: Find existing sprinklers or bubblers for the rest of the trees and plants or complete irrigation for trees and plants before you proceed. Find all irrigation lines, electrical conduit, etc. under the grass that might get harmed during the synthetic turf project. Reroute where you can.

Irrigation sprinklers are not needed for synthetic grass, you will want to call up your irrigation specialist to help reroute and shut off sprinkler heads. If you opt for the TurfChiller cooling technology, you may want to simply change the irrigation settings at the box as your patrons will enjoy having an easily accessible watering source.

E. Preventing Future Damage: Figure out if extra supplies you require to protect against damage from small land animals such as rodents. Rodent wire (similar to chicken wire) may be exactly what you need. Secure the complete space to protect the artificial turf from being pulled up or damaged by pets.

F. Existing Design Elements: Find The concrete borders at the edge of your lawn and decide whether you need to nail into concrete slabs. If you are using different border materials, curbing, or edging, install it before clipping the synthetic grass and adding it with any base material, as this will provide you the most accurate measurement for the artificial turf. Tree roots and pest control should also be strategized around.

G. Measurements: To reduce labor, determine the size of the prepared space thoroughly and create the plan to minimize the number of seams in the synthetic turf. Prepare for a small amount of additional material, mainly if you plan for curves for your desired layout. A great starting number to use is 10%. Utilize a smart level or transit for a proper slope of 2% min.

H. Design Application Tips: Every synthetic grass solution has a pile (grain) direction that has to be planned for. Determine the pile direction and install all rolls of artificial turf in the same pile pattern. Laying out artificial turf in opposing pile patterns may result in visible seams. The grain should be point toward the primary viewing direction as this will minimize sheen.


MATERIAL PREP

A. TURF

Measure the entire prepared space, and get more than enough artificial turf to cover the entire space. Do this even if you only do partial installations over a period of time. Synthetic grass is built in different batches with expected batch to batch variation, so you will do well to purchase enough for your whole project. Synthetic grass is typically manufactured in rolls that are 12 or 15 feet in fifth, so you could divide your prepared plot into 12 or 15 foot wide segments, and then add the total length of these areas. Roll out the synthetic grass the day before, allowing the panel to set. If the synthetic turf has crimped, lay it flat in the sun or pull it taught.

The taller your pile height, the more infill you need. Therefore be mindful of your measurements. Also, don’t forget that turf wrapped closest to the center of the roll could be far too wrinkled, prepare to have 18” of waste just to be sure you have enough.


B. BASE MATERIAL

You will need around two-to-six inches of a stone base layer under your turf. Just one yard of the base layer is enough to cover 80 sq. ft. at 4 inches depth (one yard = one ton). Fine stone or aggregate (89 stone; 1/4” to 5/8” in size) can be poured over a coarse mix (57 stone; 1/2” to 3/4” in size), or a mixture of rough and fine aggregate (often called crush and run) can be used. 

Don’t use pea gravel as your base layer. Never use pea gravel as the rounded stone will definitely move around to a problematic degree. Pea gravel stones have a smooth, rounded surface, making them nearly impossible to compact. Your local nursery, stone or mulch center is going to have the for gravel.


C. INFILL

Infill helps weigh the synthetic grass down and forms tension on the fibers to keep them pointed upward and eliminates matting. Infill is very important as it allows for drainage and makes for a firm, normal grass feeling base. Specific infills can also be used. TurfChiller cools surface temperatures significantly and needs at least 2# per square foot to be effective. Envirofill is an infill that is green in color, provides some cooling properties and has Microban®. Putting the two together is a great combination when children or pets are active in the yard.


D. SAND INFILL

There are some regions where you will need to use a color-coated sand on the top of your infill. This color-coating makes the sand cost a bit more than regular sand, it is often only used on the top of your infill. The recommended rate would be 1 lb per sqft. Calculate the amount of sand infill beforehand; a good estimate is three to five pounds of sand per square foot on 50-80 ounce artificial turf.


E. TURFCHILLER™

TurfChiller has evaporative cooling technology which has been designed to cool artificial turf surfaces. The Turf Chiller technology is a pre-coated material which comes pre-bonded to the sand infill. Once you have laid it out, just wet to make it work. Turf Chiller needs moisture so it can deliver a long-term cooling effect.

We highly recommend TurfChiller since it is premium infill that brings down surface temperatures substantially. When used in a family setting where your family and pets walk it provides another level of comfort and lets you have the best peace of mind on hot days.


F. FABRICS

Be sure to create a weed boundary. You may also require a wire mesh rodent barrier if rodents have been a problem in the past (gophers, moles, etc).


G. SEAMING MATERIAL

It is crucial to have plenty of seaming tape to run the whole length of your seams, and to cover any adhesive. Be careful to go over your seams properly as this will be one of the most easily seen aspects when finished. Also, please be sure to read all of the labels on your adhesives to make sure that they are used and packed away properly.

Design your landscaping project to minimize or hide seams; for example move the seams in the back or out of . Also, think about rebuilding your installation to keep 15’ widths, this can save a lot of labor and can hide those seams from sight as well.


H. LANDSCAPE NAILS/SPIKES

(approximately 3.5 – 10 inches in length)

Spikes will be placed on the side of sidewalks, tree rings, and other objects in the space to landscape. They will eventually get covered by infill but you will want to embed them as deep as you can. There are a variety of spikes that you can purchase made of different materials from plastic to galvanized/non-galvanized. Local dirt will inform these decisions.

Use will determine the length of nails or spikes to get. Nails should be applied approximately every six inches along the outside of the turf, as well as along all seams to secure the turf.

Use nailer board nails one-to-two inches galvanized or staples 1⁄4 inch – 1⁄2 inch. Smaller nail spacing might be required when using nailer boards.


I. EDGING MATERIAL

Polyboard is superior to other lawn edging options because of its toughness and various functions. It looks to be real wood but has all of the advantages of plastic. Polyboard can be bent and curved to fulfill all your lawn maintenance needs. Pressure-treated wood could also be used.


TOOLS & EQUIPMENT

A. SAFETY

Gripped leather gloves

Back supports

Knee pads

Safety goggles

First-aid kit

Safety indicators—for setting up on street for materials and machinery


B. MEASURING

100 ft. standard metal tape measure

Snap line for marking big portions of turf

Hard-edge level—two-to-four foot

Square or T-square for squaring edges of turf


C. SITE PREPARATION

Construction-grade wheelbarrows

Flat blade shovels

Spades—rounded blade

Large picks

Small picks

Leaf rake


D. BASE PREPARATION

Transit or smart level

Asphalt or landscape rake (40 inch)

Pointed mason trowels – used to clear and clean edges of concrete, etc

Hand Tampers (Eight or 10 inch)

Water filled roller

2” x 1” x 2’ pieces of wood – for hand tamping sides & small areas


E. TURF CUTTING

Commercial grade knives and blades (choose a blade and knife set that is easily changeable and stock up on blades)


F. INFILLING

Drop spreaders for small jobs using a small drop spreader (holds approx. 75 lbs. of infill) or for bigger sections, using a commercial drop spreader (holds approx. 200 lbs.) or walk-behind or tow-behind units.

Installation and grooming rakes (poly-nylon)

Grooming hand brooms or tools (poly-nylon)


G. MATERIAL HANDLING > 1000 SF

Forklift with forks and 15-foot carpet pole

Bungee cord for fastening loads

Carpet dollies


H. HAND TOOLS

Small hand shovel—for cleaning and clearing around pipes and awkward sides

Hammers

Pliers (various sizes and shapes)

Wrench and socket set (for small tool repairs and use in adjusting irrigation, etc)

Sledgehammer (medium to large)

Rubber mallets

Cement chisel for cleaning off extra concrete, rocks or other items

Pipe cutter (for modifications to irrigation)


I. POWER TOOLS

Power brush to fibrillate (bloom) blades

Hand saw or power saw to slice bender board, pipes

Leaf blower (for cleanup of organic materials and job site areas)

Sod cutter (optional rental)

Vibratory plate compactor (optional rental)


J. MISC. TOOLS

Several little and large tarps or plastic drop cloths

lots of little containers for used blades and small buckets for filling by hand, small tools, and job materials

Gas cans for both mixes and plain gas


K. SITE CLEAN UP

Water hose (100 ft.) and nozzle with variable heads

Brooms (one hand bristle and one soft bristle)

Small hand broom for rocks, edges, and the like

Shop vacuum (two gallon or larger)


2. AREA PREPARATION

Before you dig, call 8-1-1 to avoid causing damage to utilities underground and service interruption. This is the universal number for the 71 regional services in America that coordinate location services for public underground utilities.

A. Remove all sods, mulches, turfs, etc. from the area that’s marked. You can do this with a hand-held shovel, or a gas-powered sod puller (these are available to rent at many rental centers) or hire a landscaper to remove the existing sod and any landscaping you shouldn’t have in your installation area. When you remove an old lawn, excavate two-to-six inches of turf. Later you will replace this old turf and dirt with two-to-six inches of stone base material.

B. If you are landscaping around flowers, shrubs, trees, utilities, lightpoles, etc., remember to mark around those places and account for the turf edge configuration.

C. Leave an ample area uncovered around the bases of trees.

D. Before you begin, check that you know about any local rules there are about the disposal of green waste. Let your site dry out for a couple days before excavating.

E. Don’t use a tiller to remove turf since that will ruin the dirt below the sod and create a poor base. For larger areas, a sod cutter is recommended. You can find these at most local tool rental suppliers. A shovel or spade can be used to cut the sod in hard to get to areas into small strips.

F. Decomposition of organic material that’s left underneath newly installed surfaces will lead to sub-surface failure. Any newly removed tree stump or root areas should be free of organic materials, then filled and compacted before the job starts.

G. By using an inverted spray can marker, mark off the boundaries for your lawn and layout. Remember that artificial turf comes in either 12-foot or 15-foot widths. Plan your installation with this in mind to avoid any potential issues with your layout.

H. Lots of different types of border solutions and edging materials may be used for your artificial turf project. Examples may include transitions from synthetic turf to a flower bed, stone edging, mulch, or sidewalks. You can also use synthetic lumber or synthetic turf edging.

I. This is the best time to add large rocks and edges, and install stepping stones, pavers, walkways, and walls.

J. If you have a sprinkler system in the installation space, if possible, reroute to the perimeter, or turn off the valves of unnecessary sprinklers and cap them.


3. SOIL COMPACTION

A. It could be necessary to compress the native soil/subgrade prior to base construction.

B. If the native soils are soft and/or saturated, it is advisable to get a geotextile to divide the soft soils from the stone base.

C. As a rule of thumb, if there’s standing water, or if underfoot water comes to the surface, the right thing to use is a geotextile.

D. You should fully firm up the earth that will be the foundation for your artificial turf. You can use a sod roller or a vibrating plate compactor, which are available to rent from the local rental suppliers. Ensure the existing ground is sloped properly or follows the grade of the area surrounding it for proper drainage.

E. Apply a high-quality weed and turf killer to the synthetic turf installation site.

F. Determine if more supplies are required to avoid damage from weeds, rodents or ground animals. Weed boundaries and rodent wire (similar to chicken wire) might be appropriate (this is not always necessary in arid or dry climates).


4. BASE CONSTRUCTION

A. A crushed stone base of two-to-six inches should be spread evenly over the prepared space.

B. If employing heavy machinery to do so, the machinery should not drive directly on top of the prepared site. If it is unavoidable, the worker in the machine has to be cautious of turns that can hurt the base.

C. The crushed stone should be a D.O.T. Class 2 aggregate or equivalent, with a maximum particle size of 3⁄4”, or approved equal. We have Class 2 aggregate in many areas.

D. The crushed stone should then be spread evenly, as smoothly as possible. Using a finer material will help to finish the final grade.

E. For finding the depth of the base as a general rule, in dry climates such as Phoenix, San Diego, or Las Vegas, two inches of base course is plenty. In climates with more rainfall or a higher water table, such as New Orleans, Houston, or Seattle, up to six inches might be required.

F. Gently coat your space with water and then firmly compact the sub-base using a hand compactor, landscape roller, or vibrating plate compactor.

G. Investigate for shallow bumps. If the base course layer is not as smooth as you would like it, or there are unwanted undulations, it may be key to add a layer of fines (stone dust, screenings manufactured sand, etc.) to fill in the deeper sections or create a level surface. This layer should be kept to a minimum, ideally no more than two inches. This layer must be compacted with a heavy roller or plate compactor. Fill in and re-level any base divot that is more than 1/4” deep.

H. Even though synthetic turf drains water vertically through drainage holes that are part of the design, we also advise setting the base at a mild slope, away from any properties, to a proper drainage area to protect from any pooling at all.

J. Perpetual scans over the project area are required until a compaction rate of 95% or greater is reached. When dry, the job space should be smooth and firm to keep off unwanted bumps under the turf.

K. Add your base beginning with the farthest side of the install. Go from edge to edge, not center to edge. Feather base from load to load. The base material should be distributed evenly. Grade and level to achieve design and drainage requirements. Shape to desired appearance—flat, slight roll, mounded.

L. A gas-powered vibratory plate compactor could be rented for more intense projects. Overlap shipments with the press to lower the risk of ridges and bumps.

M. Do not walk on the freshly installed base until it is compacted. Walking over the shaky base will open holes and uneven spots. A straightforward way to guess the right density is to step onto the stone base. If you can leave a footprint, the base is not compacted enough.

5. LAY TURF

A. Roll the synthetic grass out on top of the constructed base, as planned. If the site needs multiple roll widths, make sure to have the lean of the points on each roll of artificial turf running all the same way.

B. When seaming is required, trim the selvedge (un-tufted edge) off the artificial grass and install in the position you want.

C. When clipping selvedge, begin cutting two tuft rows in from the edge in order to achieve proper seam strength.

D. Lay the next roll adjacent to the first and repeat Step C. Then butt the seams together.

E. With a carpet knife or box cutter, trim the extra artificial turf to match the trimmed boundaries of the first roll if needed.

F. Make all cuts as accurate as you are able without making contact. Seam spacing should be no more than 1/8 inch.

G. Repeat as needed for as many roll proportions as the job needs.

H. Around the edges, cut the material to match the edges.

I. If a glued or fastened edge is what you’re looking for do not secure the edge until most of the infill is put in (Refer to Step 8). More on this later.

J. When cutting curved edges, cut in short relief cut increments to match the shape.

K. Rough-cut the perimeter before you perform any seaming.

L. Always stretch artificial turf tight to protect against wrinkling.

6. SEAMING

A. Bend the adjacent trimmed sides of two rolls of synthetic turf around two feet apart from the full length of the seam.

B. Mark the centerline of the seam on the visible base or seaming tape with a chalk line or spray paint.

C. Use the seam tape precisely over the entire length of the seam line. Place adhesive covering all of the seam tape from one end to the other. Based on the kind of adhesive you purchase, you may need to allow time for vapors/gases to flush out (flashing). Find and refer to the adhesive manufacturer’s directions. The flashing time needed could depend on ambient temperature and humidity.

D. After adhesive has flashed, lay the ends of each roll of artificial turf directly onto the adhesive/tape, making sure not to bury any turf fibers into the adhesive.

E. You can add weight (i.e. sandbags) down the length of the freshly sewn seam, or use a heavy roller along the seam length once the adhesive has dried. The adhesive drying/curing time will vary with different adhesives dependent upon climatic conditions.

F. After the adhesive has set, clip off your synthetic grass so your product fits exactly as you desire.


7. INFILL INSTALLATION

A. You might also choose to stand the turf up vertically with the power broom or rigid bristle broom prior to spreading the infill. Don’t use steel or wire bristle brooms that can damage the turf. This keeps all of the artificial turf fibers standing straight up and exposed.

B. In artificial turf products, a drop spreader (commonly used to spread turf seed, fertilizer, lime, etc.) can be used to spread the infill in lifts ranging from 1⁄4” to no greater than 1⁄2” depths.

C. Infill should be applied evenly and groomed to ensure a consistent infill level.

D. If the borders or edges are secured, save the infill installation for these sections for last (See step 9).

E. Do not pour the infill in large quantities on the turf, this can lead to too much grooming because of trapped fibers. As you spread the infill, make one thorough sweep on the surface of your new lawn and then sweep the infill deeply into the fibers with a rigid bristle brush or power broom. Repeat the infill spread/fiber brooming cycle until the infill is spread out so that at the least 1⁄2” – 3⁄4” of artificial grass fiber tips are exposed above the infill level. Repeat this process until all of the infill has been laid out and shifted in between the synthetic ends.

F. CAUTION: An excess of fiber exposed (not enough infill) will make the fibers dampen or smashed with heavy foot traffic. This can lead to abnormal wear of the turf and will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

G. There may be more than one type of infill used on the same installation. In many cases, a mix of silica sand and granulated rubber, or silica sand and processed sand topdressing, may be used in layers. In either case, the silica sand is laid in first, followed by the granulated rubber or topdressing.

H. Be sure to follow the site specifications outlining the amount or depth of each infill material.

I. For a 50-to-80 ounce product, typically four pounds per square foot will be used. Heavier options may use up to five pounds per square foot. The specific amount of infill will depend on the product weight and the wanted amount of product revealed. When finished, 1⁄2” to 3⁄4” of the artificial grass must be exposed. You may want to consider applying color-coated sand as the final layer of infill to best match the local geography. As a rule of thumb you might use one pound per square foot of colored sand.


8. SECURE EDGES

The edges can be installed in several different ways:

A. Landscape Nails and Spikes. Simply hammer landscape spikes, timber spikes, sod staples, etc. around the boundary of the artificial turf distanced apart every 4”-8”(specifically if you are not going to use an edging or curbing). The nail heads have to be aligned with the synthetic turf backing to keep the installation from dimpling. Afterwards, more trimming could be required.

B. Nailer Board. When installed next to a concrete or asphalt curb, a nailer board/artificial lumber can be helpful (preferably in Step 2, Area Preparation) by nailing the board to the curb with concrete nails. The synthetic turf can then be attached into the top of the installed nailer board with a landscape nail. Next, more edge trimming of the synthetic grass could be necessary.

C. Buried Edges. Cut a narrow trench around the border, deep enough to bury the exposed edge of the yard. Tuck the turf’s edge into the ditch (additional clipping of excess artificial turf might be needed). Nail and backfill the excavated soil against the buried turf, and compact. The edge can then be hidden with straw, mulch, rock, etc.

D. Depending on your lawn and your landscape concepts, you might install trim around your new yard. Choices are incredibly varied and include extruded curbing, 4” x 4” timbers, natural stone, rock, metal, and plastic edging. If you do not plan to add an edging, we recommend you hammer landscaping nails every 4” to 8” along the boundary of your synthetic turf to stop the edges from folding up.


9. FINISH INFILL AND TOP DRESSING

A. If a secured edge was installed, it will most likely be necessary to add infill around the edge. (Use the technique described in Step 7).

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