Artificial Lawn Shockpads: How to Choose the Best Thickness for Your Lawn
There are many reasons why you should install a foam underlay underneath your fake grass, starting with the various benefits to be gained.
These include that it provides a luxuriously soft feel underfoot, complies with head impact criteria, can help speed up the installation process and can even save you money on the installation process.
For these reasons, many of our customers decide to install a foam shockpad underneath their fake lawns, and we are often asked by people wishing to use an underlay which thickness is best.
The problem is, offering advice as to whether you should choose a 10mm or 20mm isn’t easy, as the decision isn’t always clear cut.
However, there are few questions that you should ask yourself before you take the plunge and buy a foam underlay.
We have already covered whether you should install a foam underlay in a previous article, and today we will be looking at some considerations and helping you to make an informed decision as to the thickness of underlay that would be best for your application.
How soft do you want your lawn to be?
The most obvious question to start with is, how soft do you want your lawn to be?
A 20mm foam, being double the thickness of the 10mm version, naturally offers the softest feel.
Therefore, if you want a luxuriously soft, bouncy feel to your lawn that will make you feel like you are walking on a cloud, choosing a 20mm underlay would be the way to go.
However, if you want more stability, but still with a degree of softness, then 10mm would be your best bet.
Is there a risk of falling from height?
If your garden has equipment such as climbing frames, for example, and there is a chance of someone falling from height, it’s important to ensure that your lawn can absorb some of the impact to reduce the chance of injuries.
This is normally best achieved with a 20mm foam, as it will offer a greater level of protection and impact absorption.
For areas where there is the risk of falling from height, then we highly recommend opting for a 20mm shockpad.
Does your lawn need to comply with the Head Impact Criteria?
In some circumstances, such as in a school playground, there may be the need to comply with the Head Impact Criteria (HIC).
In those cases, the thickness of foam underlay required is dictated by the potential height that a child may fall from.
Again, this usually means using a 20mm foam underlay in order to be compliant, and we would highly recommend using this thickness for all playground areas where there is the potential for falls from height.
Are you considering installing artificial grass on top of an existing surface?
That is, as long as the surface is structurally sound.
However, if you were to install fake grass directly on top of these types of surface, any undulations, such as the ridges of decking boards, would be visible through the artificial turf.
In order to prevent any underlying undulations from being visible, you’ll need to install a foam underlay. The softness of the foam masks the undulations, leaving a flat surface on which to install your turf.
Whether you should be using a 10mm or 20mm underlay really depends on how pronounced the undulations are.
The best way to tell which foam you will need is to test the surface using a small sample.
You can do this by placing the foam on the intended surface and testing whether the foam will mask the undulations; you’ll know if the foam is sufficient if the top surface of the foam remains flat.
If the foam does not absorb the fluctuations in the surface, opt for a thicker underlay. If neither foam is sufficient, you may need to excavate the existing surface and follow our standard installation procedures.
However, in most situations we’d recommended opting for a 20mm thick foam when covering undulations in an existing surface.
Installing a foam underlay underneath your artificial lawn is certainly not essential (unless you need to comply with the Head Impact Criteria) but it can add a degree of luxury and offers safety benefits, too.
Whether a 10mm or 20mm foam shockpad would be right for your application is rarely clear cut as it depends on several factors.
We hope that this article has helped inform you about some of those factors that you should consider before making a purchase.
That way, you can test out the two most commonly used thicknesses and get an idea as to how they might perform.
Seeing samples will help you to get an idea of the quality of the foam, too, as there are may different types of foam underlay available and they do, of course, vary in quality.
To request your free NeoGrass foam shockpad samples, as well as samples of our artificial turf, please click here.
For help with deciding whether you need to use a foam underlay at all, please see our previous guide, ‘Should You Install a Foam Underlay Underneath Your Artificial Lawn?’
Do you have any questions that we haven’t covered in this article? If so, be sure to leave us a comment below and we’ll do our very best to answer any questions you may have. You can also call us on 01245 931200 and speak to an expert.