6 Winter Artificial Grass Installation Tips
Well, here we are again in the thick of winter. The days are still short, there’s frost on the ground and there’s a real chill in the air.
There’s little doubt about it, the winter months are a time when most people’s gardens aren’t at the forefront of their minds.
But that’s not to say that we aren’t still busy throughout winter here at NeoGrass.
We work closely with our approved installers, who carry out their landscaping works all year round.
And with the ever-growing demand for AstroTurf, that also includes continuing to install hundreds of square metres of artificial grass for a wide range of clients and applications.
Winter is also a great time of the year to have an artificial lawn installed.
Why? When having fake grass installed, your garden may be out of bounds for a couple of days or so whilst the work is carried out. As you’re unlikely to be spending much time in your garden during the winter anyway, it’s the perfect time to get the work done, rather than when the rising temperature and warmer weather means you’ll be wanting to spend us much time outside as possible.
Having artificial grass installed will also make your garden much more usable during the winter.
There will be no more mud or mess, so you won’t have to deal with grubby foot and pawprints being tracked throughout the house.
This is just one of the many benefits of having a fake lawn and it’s little surprise that so many homeowners are now opting for artificial grass.
If you have decided to take the plunge and install an artificial lawn, you may be surprised to learn that the procedure for installing artificial grass during the winter, when temperatures are in single figures, has a few differences from the way you would install fake grass during the summer months.
In this article we’re going to be looking at some of these differences and discussing 6 artificial grass installation tips that will help you to successfully install fake grass during the winter.
1. Artificial Grass May Take Longer to ‘Acclimatise’
Let’s start with the biggest difference you’ll notice when installing artificial grass throughout the winter.
Artificial grass is packaged and shipped in rolls for easy handling and storage.
After receiving delivery of your fake turf, the first thing to do – with the help of a willing volunteer – is carry your roll of grass to where your new lawn will be.
It’s then extremely important to unroll your artificial grass and allow it to ‘acclimatise’.
The process of allowing your artificial turf to ‘acclimatise’ makes installation far quicker and easier as it allows unwanted wrinkles and ripples to ‘fall out’ of the turf.
One of the best things about the latex backing of artificial grass is that it will lie flat to virtually any surface and hold its shape. This makes latex the perfect material for the job.
However, as it’s so good at holding its shape you need to allow it to acclimatise before you install it – bear in mind that your roll of artificial grass may have spent several months rolled up on a cardboard tube.
It will need time to ‘forget’ its old shape and settle down and adjust to its new position.
During the summer months, we recommend that you leave your artificial turf unrolled for 24 hours prior to installation; during the winter, 48 hours will provide better results.
The other thing to bear in mind is that the latex will expand and contract.
In freezing conditions you’ll find it beneficial to warm up the latex backing with a heater or heat gun. This will make the installation more efficient and mean that you won’t have to aggressively stretch out your artificial grass.
2. Don’t Attempt to Compact Saturated Ground
The past few winters here in the UK have seen large amounts of rainfall.
This has led to waterlogged gardens, particularly for those suffering from poor drainage.
To install artificial grass, you’ll need to excavate your existing lawn and install a sub-base and laying course prior to laying your artificial grass.
Any fake grass, regardless of the quality, is only as good as the groundworks underneath.
Therefore this preparation is an extremely important part of the installation process.
One of the keys to a great lawn is a solid sub-base.
If your sub-base material has been levelled on wet or saturated ground, when it comes to compaction with a vibrating plate compactor (whacker plate) you’ll find that the sub-base material will get pushed out from under the plate rather than being compacted down.
To prevent this from happening, you’ll need to ensure that the sub-grade (earth) is reasonably dry before adding your sub-base material.
This can be an issue for the professional installer, but sometimes it’s worth putting off a job for a couple of days to allow the ground to dry out rather than face potentially costly installation problems further down the line.
3. Use Wet-Fix Adhesive to Secure Joins
When working in temperatures below 5 degrees, we recommend using Wet-Fix Adhesive, manufactured by EnviroStik.
This specialist adhesive contains a ‘Rapid Set’ accelerator that helps speed up the curing process and can be used in temperatures almost down to freezing point.
It’s an extremely valuable tool to have at your disposal during the winter months.
It’s not only great at securing joins, it’s also good for securing the perimeter of artificial grass to any one of the many different types of edging systems available, even in damp conditions.
For an extremely versatile adhesive for use during the winter months, we highly recommend Wet-Fix Adhesive.
4. Curing Times May Take Longer
Staying with the subject of adhesive, you’ll find that those joins will take a little longer to cure during the winter months.
This means it’s important to ensure that you and your pets stay off the affected areas for a minimum of 24 hours; in temperatures below 10 degrees, we recommend 48 hours as a minimum.
This will ensure that the joins do not come apart before properly curing. It’s a small price to pay for a strong join that can last for 20 years.
4. Don’t Allow Your Joining Tape to Get Wet
Another winter tip for securing your joins is to make sure that your joining tape doesn’t become wet.
When securing a join, adhesive is applied to the joining tape and the two pieces of artificial grass are butted up and bonded to the tape.
However, damp or wet joining tape can affect the bond of the adhesive and may result in an unsecure join.
While using Wet-Fix Adhesive is recommended in damp conditions, based on our experience it’s very important to also use dry joining tape to ensure a strong bond.
6. Don’t Attempt to Apply a Sand Infill to Artificial Grass When It’s Wet
While it’s a hotly debated subject amongst people in the artificial grass industry, we believe there are many good reasons to install a sand infill to your artificial lawn.
Those reasons are beyond the scope of this particular post, but you can find more information about the many advantages here.
When installing a sand infill you’ll need to make sure that you do it when your artificial grass is completely dry.
This is because the silica sand that you’ll be using is very fine sand.
It can very quickly absorb moisture, which makes it clumpy.
When this happens, it’s virtually impossible for the sand to make its way to the bottom of the pile as it should, even with the use of a power brush.
Therefore, whenever you install your sand infill – whether it’s in winter, or even summer for that matter – only attempt it when your lawn is completely dry.
In the same vein, make sure your bags of sand are stored in a dry place prior to installation, as if there are any small holes in the bag, moisture may get in and spoil the sand.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, deciding to have artificial grass installed during the winter is a great idea as it’s likely to cause you less inconvenience than in the summer.
You’ll also be able to reap the many benefits of having artificial grass in the winter.
However, there are a few key things to remember when installing artificial grass in lower temperatures and hopefully you’ve learnt from this article some of the best practices to follow to avoid any potential disappointment.
Whilst on the subject of artificial grass in the winter, you can find the answer to another frequently asked question we get, ‘Will Frost or Snow Damage Artificial Grass?’, by clicking here.
Our approved installers can guide you through the entire process by helping you to decide on the best artificial grass to suit your needs, explaining best installation practices and ensuring you get a first-class installation service that will result in a lush green lawn that can last upwards of 20 years.
If you have any further questions regarding artificial grass in the winter, please leave them below and we’ll be happy to help with any queries you may have.
Thanks for reading.