How to Choose the Best Artificial Grass for Your School or Playground
Not all artificial grass is suitable for every type of application.
That’s because different applications have differing requirements.
For instance, an ornamental front garden lawn is going to receive far less foot traffic than an artificial lawn in a picnic area at a theme park.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense that each grass would require different characteristics.
The same goes for areas of fake grass in schools and playgrounds, which is the focus of today’s article.
Artificial grass has many advantages for schools and playgrounds over other types of surfacing.
It is perfect for transforming patchy, worn out grass into lush green areas that can be enjoyed all year round, come rain or shine.
It is great for extending existing play areas by making more of the school or playground into usable space that is perfect for fun and games.
Another major benefit is that it’s also very low-maintenance; meaning it can save schools and local authorities expensive maintenance fees.
But when choosing artificial grass for this particular application, it’s extremely important to choose one that has the ability to cope with the demands placed upon it.
In this article we’ll be exploring some of the key characteristics to look for when choosing the best artificial grass for your school or playground application.
Choose a Product That Incorporates Nylon Fibres
When choosing artificial grass, it is important to look at more than just aesthetics.
Clearly, choosing a product that will look good is important, but in order to find the best artificial grass for a school or playground application, you’ll need to take a closer look at your chosen turf.
There are three different types of plastic that artificial fibres can be made from.
Those are nylon, polypropylene and polyethylene.
The strongest fibre of the three is nylon, which is up to 33% stronger than polyethylene.
In the vast majority of school and playground applications, it will be vitally important to choose a hard-wearing grass.
Children absolutely love artificial grass and, once it is installed, they will find it difficult to resist playing on it.
This means that it will be subjected to high levels of foot traffic.
But what happens if you don’t choose a hard-wearing product?
Well, what can happen to weaker fibres is that they can break down and become permanently damaged as a result of being subjected to frequent foot traffic. When this happens, the fibres will lie flat against the backing, which results in unnatural-looking artificial turf.
When choosing the strongest, most resilient artificial grass for school and playground applications, it is highly recommended that you choose Instant Recovery technology.
This innovative technology incorporates nylon fibres to form the strongest, most resilient fake turf available in the UK.
In the vast majority of school and playground applications, the artificial grass is going to be subjected to heavy, frequent use and therefore choosing the most hard-wearing turf is a wise choice.
Compare Fibre Thickness
Not only should you be looking closely at the material the fibres are made from, but also their size and shape.
As a general rule of thumb, the wider and thicker the fibre, the more hard-wearing it will be.
Thin fibres tend to break down quickly, causing them to lie flat rather than stand in an upright position, which is the key to realistic looking artificial turf.
When comparing differing grades of artificial turf, always compare the fibre width and thickness and check the data sheets for technical information.
With regard to the recommended size for a school or playground application, we recommend a fibre thickness of 200/99 microns.
This will help to ensure that the fibres can withstand regular use.
Compare Pile Density
Alongside fibre thickness, it’s a very good idea to compare pile density too.
Typically, the denser the pile, the more hard-wearing a fake grass will be. That’s because there are more fibres to withstand foot traffic.
When choosing the best artificial grass for a school or playground application, look for a pile density of a minimum of 16,000 stitches per square metre.
The downside to dense artificial grass is, of course, that it tends to be more expensive. That’s because there is more material cost per square metre.
But it is well worth the investment, as your school or playground surface will last far longer and perform much better. Trying to save money on this aspect of your project could well turn out to be a false economy.
Consider Feelgood Technology
Artificial grass should be usable all year round.
During the summer months, some types of artificial grass can become very hot to touch.
This is because the plastic fibres absorb heat from the sun’s rays, resulting in a turf that can be too hot to use and play on.
That is why Feelgood technology was developed.
Feelgood technology works by dissipating and reflecting the heat from the sun’s rays, to ensure that the turf stays up to 12 degrees cooler than products without this technology.
The end result is a beautiful green space that can be used all year round.
Watch the video below to see this ground-breaking technology in action:
Consider Natural Look Technology
It’s not only important that your artificial lawn performs well, it has to look good, too.
If you are looking for the most realistic-looking fake grass, then you’ll certainly want to consider choosing a turf with Natural Look technology.
Natural Look technology does exactly what the name suggests – it reduces unsightly glare and shine from the fibres to create a more natural look.
Inferior fibres can reflect sunlight, which can give them a shiny appearance that is unnatural to the eye.
For the most realistic school or playground turf, choose Natural Look technology.
Choose a Strong Backing
The backing is an extremely important part of any fake turf.
That’s because it is what holds everything together. You can have the hardest wearing, most realistic looking yarn, but if the backing is of poor quality, then your fake turf will not last.
When looking for a high-quality backing, you’ll need to compare the quantities of latex used to form the secondary layer.
The latex is basically the glue that holds everything together. Inferior products tend to have low quantities of latex. We highly recommend that when searching for a strong backing for a school or playground application, you look for a backing with a minimum of 900 grams of latex per square metre.
Check the anchoring resistance with your chosen manufacturer – it’s typically measured in newtons.
Ensure Your Chosen Turf Has Been Independently Tested for Harmful Substances
There is absolutely no reason why there should be any harmful substances lurking within artificial turf.
But unfortunately, in the past, there have been instances where traces of harmful substances have been found.
This makes it extremely important to choose a turf that has been independently tested and certified as being free from harmful substances.
Don’t just take a manufacturer’s word for it.
Leading industry bodies, such as OEKO-TEX, are an independent testing and certification organisation for the textile industry.
Their certifications are awarded to manufacturers who undergo regular, rigorous testing to ensure that their products are safe.
When choosing the best artificial grass for schools and playgrounds, be sure to check for independently tested certifications to ensure users of your artificial turf will not be subjected to potentially harmful toxins.
Check for Fire Resistance
Staying with the safety theme, not only should your chosen fake grass be free from harmful substances, but you’ll also want to choose a product that is resistant to fire, in case the unexpected was ever to occur.
Again, don’t just take a manufacturer’s word for it, ask for the evidence.
A reputable manufacturer should be able to produce independently verified certifications and their turf should be classified as Cfl-s1 in fire-retardant tests for flooring, according to UNE EN 13501-12007 – the best guarantee for fire-resistant artificial turf.
Choosing the best artificial grass for a school or playground application isn’t as straightforward as choosing the most realistic turf.
Of course, it certainly is important, but in order to find a hard-wearing turf that will prove to be an excellent investment for many years, you’ll need to look further than just aesthetics.
By following the advice set out in this article, you can be sure that you’ll find the perfect grass for the job.
To view the NeoGrass range of artificial grass suitable for school and playground applications, please click here.
You can also request your free sample pack, by completing the sample request form found here.
Do you have any questions or need any help in choosing the best fake grass for your school or playground? Then why not leave us a comment below, or call us on 01245 931200; we’ll be more than happy to help.
Thanks for reading.