Backing to the Future: Innovation in Artificial Grass Tufts
One of the most important signs of the quality of synthetic grass in Melbourne is, ironically, something that you cannot see. The backing, also known as the tuft due to its process, helps to keep the grass in place, help with drainage, and keep the overall shape of the surface intact. But what exactly is in the backing, and what does each different component inside the synthetic turf tuft do?
In this article, we’re going to run through the key aspects of the grass backing. We hope that it will prove to be a comprehensive buyer’s guide for those looking to purchase artificial turf in Melbourne. At Xtreme Turf, we only ever use the highest quality of materials in the manufacturing of our products, making sure your purchase is a great investment.
A brief history
When fake grass was becoming popular in the 1950’s, the backing consisted of a perforated fabric. Polyurethane was then used as a form of glue to hold the fibres into place, in a similar way to how carpets are made, and that would be that. Whilst this, at the time, was the best practice, the surfaces often lost their shape, and wore out extremely quickly.
With the need for more durability came perhaps the most famous form of fake lawn in Astroturf. AstroTurf was invented in 1965, and was one of the first to use a nylon backing for greater strength and longer life. AstroTurf was not without its downfalls, however, with many players commenting on the lack of traction, as well as criticism of how a ball played off of it.
To the present day
Many things have changed since these times. For one, whilst nylon was a much better substitute for fabric, it has been replaced with textured rubber latex. This rubber compound is far more durable, and resists heat in ways that the older nylon surfaces could not. As well as this, there are many other sub layers that lie below the backing material.
Conventional fake grass will be comprised of at least three layers; the tuft, infill, and a sub-base below. All three play a huge part in keeping the synthetic turf in shape, as well as its sporting applications. If these three components are made to a poor standard, as is common with many cheaper turf installations, you can expect to pay much more in upkeep and maintenance.
The sub-base is what lies above the other three, including the actual grass fibres. It is the job of the sub-base to make sure that the shape and flatness of the surface is kept even at all times. For sporting artificial turf, the sub-base becomes a little more important, as it is here where the playability of the sport of choice is either made or broken.
Traditional sub-bases incorporate a mixed rubber layer, and are perforated to withstand flooding and ease drainage. This rarely changes or differs from one application to another, unless the surface is being used for sport. In which case, depending on the sport, additional padding and compounds may be required.
The infill has historically been a source of importance for synthetic lawn manufacturers. Remember the story we told about AstroTurf earlier in the article? The infill was designed to add traction and grip, and is constantly improved and developed upon almost each year. Earlier infills used to contain many heavy metals, however this use was widely discontinued in the 1990’s.
There are many different types of infills, ranging from complex, plastic mixtures of polyurethanes, to another rubber material. The choice of infill used is completely dependent on its purpose. Sporting applications will want more grip and control, especially for tennis or football, whilst homeowners will be more interested in the comfort it provides.
The backing part of the tuft acts in a similar manner to carpet. It’s job is to hold its shape, minimise the possibility of shrinking under extreme weather conditions, and create a stable bed to house the fake grass fibres. The backing is very important to the overall product, as if it is made poorly, its lifespan will dramatically decrease.
The backing is divided into two parts, one which is called a canvas (alternatively a tuft canvas), and the other which is just known as the backing. The tuft canvas is made out of flexible polypropylene, and allows for the grass blades to be fastened into place. The actual backing holds the whole product down, securing it into position and keeping its shape.
Trying to get your head around synthetic turf backing? All of the staff here at Xtreme Turf know artificial grass back to front, so to speak. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions or enquiries that you may have. Simply send us a message, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.