Infill for Artificial Grass: Silica Sand vs Zeolite
Here at NeoGrass, we always advocate applying an infill material on your artificial lawn.
As we’ll explore later in the article, infill materials serve several important functions that will ultimately ensure your lawn looks and performs better, for longer.
But it’s also important to choose the right type of infill material if you want to get the most out of your artificial lawn.
We offer, and recommend, two different types of infill material, both of which perform many of the same roles; however, there are also some key differences.
Today, we’re going to be looking in depth at both the similarities and differences between the two types of infill and helping you decide which is the best to suit your needs.
Key Similarities Between Kiln-Dried Silica Sand & DeoFill®
As we’ve already touched upon, both kiln-dried silica sand infill and DeoFill® perform many of the same key purposes. These include:
Helping to Support the Fibres
Installing an infill is important in helping to keep the fibres in a vertical position; this helps to keep your grass looking as realistic as possible.
Adding Ballast to Prevent Ripples & Creases
The backing material of artificial grass can expand and contract slightly with changes in temperature. Adding an infill adds ballast to the lawn to prevent this expansion and contraction from forming ripples.
Increasing Fire Resistance
Both silica sand and DeoFill® do a great job in increasing the fire resistance of your artificial turf.
Helping to Prevent Theft
By adding infill material in adequate quantities you drastically increase the weight of the grass, making it extremely difficult to lift or roll up the turf.
Helping to Keep Your Lawn Cool
Infill materials also help to keep your turf cool by dissipating heat.
Both infills help to control and regulate the flow of water or rainfall through your artificial lawn.
Key Differences Between Kiln-Dried Silica Sand & DeoFill®
So, as you now know, there are plenty of similarities between the two types of infill. But there are also some key differences:
Silica sand is a very fine sand that is made up of two main elements: silica and oxygen.
The most common form is quartz (SiO2) which can vary in colour depending upon the variety of minerals and rock that make up the resource.
DeoFill® on the other hand is made up of natural zeolite, which is a volcanic mineral. It has a clinoptilolite mineral content of up to 90%.
Most natural zeolites have a chemical formula of M2/n:Al2O3:xSiO2:yH2O.
DeoFill® Absorbs Nasty Smells
The composition of DeoFill® leads us to the major difference between the two types of infill material.
DeoFill® works by absorbing the ammonia found within urine to help prevent nasty, lingering odours in your artificial turf.
The zeolite used in DeoFill® has a negatively charged honeycomb structure that absorbs the ammonia contained within urine, like a sponge.
During rainfall, the sodium ion found within rain droplets releases the bacteria and flushes the ammonia through the turf, recharging the DeoFill® when dry.
DeoFill® is more expensive than kiln-dried silica sand infill. This is mainly down to the availability of both types of infill and the fact that zeolite is not naturally available in the UK.
What Type of Infill Should I Use?
This depends upon your circumstances and the intended use for your artificial lawn.
In the majority of cases, we’d recommend using kiln-dried silica sand infill.
DeoFill® will only be necessary if you have one or more dogs that regularly urinate on your turf; otherwise, you’ll just need to use kiln-dried silica sand.
Typically, if you follow our recommendations when installing artificial grass (i.e. permeable sub-base and no weed membrane beneath your turf) and it’s properly maintained, it’s unlikely that your artificial grass will smell.
However, if your lawn has already been installed following the above recommendations or if you have multiple dogs, then the ideal solution would be to use zeolite, in the form of DeoFill®.
For artificial putting greens, such as NeoPutt, you should use kiln-dried silica sand infill. For putting greens, silica sand plays an even more important role in terms of performance as it can have a big effect on ball roll. For further information on infill materials for artificial putting greens please click here.
Sports turf, such as football pitches, have very different requirements and are beyond the scope of this article. For more specific advice here please check out our article ‘Why It’s Important to Keep the Infill Material Topped Up on a 3G Synthetic Sports Pitch’.
Hopefully, any confusion about which type of infill material you should be using on your artificial lawn has now been cleared up.
If you have any doubts, or require any specific advice to suit your own individual needs, then leave your questions in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to help. Alternatively, you can call our friendly team on 01245 931200 who are always on hand to discuss all things artificial grass.