Planning to install the best artificial turf yourself? Wise move – do it right and you’re about to save a ton on labor costs while getting the lawn of your dreams.
But like any other project, it can be a major pain if you don’t prepare and do your research (or worse – try to cut corners). If this is your first DIY artificial grass installation project, here are 12 common issues that might pop up and how to resolve them.
1. A seam won’t lay flat.
Seams can be a real issue during installation. It’s not enough to simply cut the pieces and line them up against each other; you’ll need to secure them in place with seaming tape, which is specially designed for turf installations.
If the seams aren’t lying flat, make sure they’re secured to the ground with clean, straight lines. Use the sharpest utility knife you can find to cut them to size. Once installed correctly, they should be nearly impossible to spot.
2. There are wrinkles or creases on the surface.
Wrinkles primarily happen just after installation – if it’s hot outside, they’re likely due to heat being trapped beneath the turf and causing it to stretch out of shape. If it’s cold, the opposite can happen. These issues are usually short-lived and will correct themselves in time if you lay off the turf for a few days.
We highly recommend letting the artificial grass “settle” for a full day or more after the installation. In other words, try to do as little activity on the turf as possible for at least 24 hours (especially avoiding heavy objects like furniture or people) and allow the synthetic grass to lay flat on the ground.
3. There are bumps or ridges throughout the lawn.
This is probably one of the biggest headaches you can encounter during DIY artificial grass installation.
There are several reasons why this might happen, but it usually stems from an issue with sub-grade preparation before installation begins. You have to make sure the ground is smooth and level by removing any rocks or debris that may be getting in the way.
Additionally, be sure to flatten the ground properly. Rent a vibrating plate compactor if you can to ensure that the ground is smoothed out.
4. The turf has lines or creases in it, which will not flatten out.
This is also largely due to sub-grade preparation, but can sometimes happen if the ground beneath the turf is uneven (for example, an elevation change of 1/2 inch or more). You’ll also need to make sure that you level everything out before laying the turf.
5. You bought the wrong type of artificial grass.
This may seem like common sense, but it’s probably the most important element to any artificial grass installation project. Make sure you know what type of synthetic turf you’re working with before you begin.
While some artificial grasses are pretty much the same in terms of application, some are made for high-traffic areas while others are designed for special purposes like the best putting greens.
The best way to ensure you’re buying the right type of synthetic turf is to talk to experts. This is why we recommend coming down to the Artificial Turf Express showroom before spending a cent on your project.
We’ll be more than happy to walk you through your options and show you samples to help you make a decision.
6. The turf is not properly secured to the ground or does not adhere well.
In some cases, you might suspect that the turf is not adhering properly to the ground. This can happen if the adhesive you’re using does not have strong enough holding power or if it rains during installation (it will dilute adhesive elements).
First, check if you’re using the correct type of turf adhesive. Then, make sure your tools and work area are all dry during the installation. If the ground is wet, wait until it dries up before continuing with your project.
7. The turf is not soft enough.
Some DIY installers completely forget about infill, which is essential for successful artificial grass installation.
Infill does several things for synthetic turf. It provides shock absorption, it holds the turf fibers down for reinforcement (prevents them from shifting or moving around) and it promotes drainage (when there’s excess water on the grass blades). And yes, it’s responsible for that soft, lush feeling that makes artificial grass feel so much like the real thing.
We recommend that you always choose a product with infill for consistent performance, even if you’re going to use it in a non-high-traffic area.
The good thing is there are several types of synthetic turf infill to choose from – sand, rubber crumb rubber granules or other materials based on your needs and budget.
8. The turf is too soft.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might notice that your artificial grass lawn feels way too squishy. This may be due to sinking spots, which is a result of uneven sub-grade preparation before installing the turf.
Fixing this begins with laying a solid and even sub-base. Don’t rush ground preparation and make sure that the ground is completely flat and even, with all debris like sprinkler heads taken out. After that, make sure that you follow manufacturer recommendations for infill installation (and don’t skimp on it).
9. The turf blades are not straight.
Before securing each roll, always check that all the blades are facing the same way. Otherwise, the installation will have a very uneven appearance once it’s complete.
10. The turf blades are different lengths and heights.
We’re pretty sure you could tell if this was the case during installation because you’ve been paying attention to your work! However, in some cases, shorter or longer blades might be a result of a manufacturing defect.
If the turf is still within warranty, contact your supplier. If not, you might need to replace a few rolls.
Want to make sure this doesn’t happen? Again, visit us at Artificial Turf Express! We’ll help you double-check that all the items you have are correct. All of our products are also covered by excellent warranties, so you can rest easy if a defect does pop up.
11. You don’t have enough artificial grass.
This one’s quite simple. Make sure you have all the rolls of turf you need before installing them on your project! NEVER estimate the amount of turf you’ll need – always buy more than what you think will be enough, then purchase a few extra rolls as spare (just in case).
Most importantly, take exact measurements of the area where you plan to install the turf, down to the last inch.
In case you do run out of turf, don’t worry. Artificial Turf Express delivers! Call us, tell us what you need and we can bring it straight to your home or project site.
12. The blades are curling upwards or downwards.
One of the most common reasons for this is that you didn’t give the glue enough time to dry after you applied it on to the turf backing, so the turf might be shifting around and causing them to curl upwards or downwards.
To prevent this from happening, wait for at least 24 hours after installation before allowing anyone to walk on the turf.
If the blades are only curling a little bit, you can try flattening them out with a garden roller or a weed trimmer. If they’re curling excessively in one particular direction though, you have no choice but to pull the turf back up and apply more glue.
More DIY Artificial Grass Installation Tips
With so much variety when it comes to the best artificial grass accessories and turf, picking the right ones for your needs can be overwhelming.
Here’s a quick guide on how to choose the best products for your synthetic grass installation project!
Know what you need your infill for.
What do you want your infill to do? Are you looking for something that’s durable, natural-looking, low maintenance, high performance? Or maybe you’re after something easy to clean and maintain?
If you need infill for play areas or active sports fields, it should be durable – so consider crumb rubber.
For residential lawns, you should look for infill that’s easy to clean – so you may want to go with silica sand.
Want something that doesn’t get too hot? Walnut shell is a great option.
And if you’d rather invest in an eco-friendly infill, it’s hard to beat our Envirofill acrylic coated infill.
Use adhesives designed for synthetic turf.
Now, let’s talk glue. When you’re installing synthetic grass over hardscape (or over any surface), we recommend using high-performance glue designed for synthetic turf. This ensures that your artificial lawn will stay flat and even, helping the grass last longer.
Buy high-quality seam tape.
Seam tapes are used in the edges of artificial grass and they keep your lawn from fraying. In order to get a good seal that will last for years, choose a high-quality seaming tape.
Decide if you’d like shock pads.
Shock pads or foam pads add extra cushioning and protection for your artificial grass. They can help prolong the life of your lawn and prevent damage from play activities like soccer, football and baseball.
They’re also crucial for playgrounds, because they soften the impact of falls, especially those from a height.
However, not all installations require foam padding. Not sure if your project needs it? Don’t hesitate to ask a member of our team when you visit the Artificial Turf Express showroom.
Do I need a permit to install artificial grass?
This is the number one question for homeowners planning to install an artificial lawn themselves. Although many landscaping projects are not subject to building permits, it is always best practice to check with your local municipality before tearing up your yard, especially when you’re a part of an HOA.
How long will it take to install artificial grass?
The time it takes to complete this project depends on a number of factors, including the size of your yard and how many materials you have lying around. On average, an experienced DIYer can install turf in a few days.
What tools will I need for the installation process?
You don’t need anything fancy to install artificial grass, but you will need a few basic equipment. Don’t start the project without these 15 tools!
What kind of maintenance will my new lawn require?
After installation, your artificial grass will need a quick once-over to clean up debris and flatten the turf. Once that’s done, it shouldn’t require much else in terms of upkeep! Brush the areas that start looking a little flat, rinse the dirt off and pick up debris— that’s pretty much it.
Is it safe for pets and children?
Artificial grass meets safety standards for both humans and pets, but it’s important to take precautions when your turf is brand new. Do not let children or pets use the lawn until it has settled down to avoid damage.
Artificial Turf Express: Best Artificial Turf in the Bay Area!
Find everything you need for your installation here at Artificial Turf Express! We’d love for you to visit our showroom, but if you don’t have time yet, you can browse our products and accessories right here.
You can also download our FREE Installation Guide to kickstart your preparations.