Here’s Why You Should Consider Pile Density When Choosing the Best Artificial Turf
Artificial grass has come an extremely long way since its conception way back in the 1960s.
Thanks to advances in technology, it’s changed from being an obviously fake alternative that was very abrasive to the skin, to something that is now very difficult to tell from the real thing. It’s little wonder that the increase in its popularity has gone through the roof.
These days, the amount of choice available within the UK is as big as ever, which is great news for the consumer.
However, like everything, quality does vary wildly throughout the industry.
Finding the best artificial grass can be difficult, especially for someone who has never owned an artificial lawn before.
There is more to choosing the best quality artificial turf than maybe first meets the eye.
There are many different aspects that you should carefully consider before making a decision to buy artificial grass.
Choosing a fake grass that looks amazing is, of course, extremely important, but you also need to avoid purchasing a poor-quality turf – those good looks need to last! So how can you be confident the turf you choose will perform well?
Aspects such as the backing material, pile height, fibre material, fibre shape, Decitex, fibre thickness and, of course, pile density, all play a vital role in how well an artificial turf will perform during its lifespan. We have covered these in great detail in previous articles.
The focus of this article is on an equally important feature that anyone looking to buy fake grass should consider before taking the plunge; pile density.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure you are armed with all the knowledge you’ll need to find the best artificial grass, for any type of application – from front gardens to large commercial areas, from public spaces to roof top balconies, and even artificial grass for dogs.
What is the ‘Pile’?
For those that don’t know, when we refer to the ‘pile’, we are talking about the strands of fibre (yarn) that are used to make up the visible surface of the turf.
What is ‘Pile Density’?
When artificial grass is manufactured, synthetic yarn is stitched to a layer of fabric, known as the primary backing.
The pile density refers to the number of fibres stitched to this backing layer, and how close together they are.
The higher the density, the more fibres are present in the turf.
How is it Measured?
In the Europe, pile density is typically measured in stitches per square metre.
It can sometimes be measured in stitches per linear metre, too.
When comparing pile densities, you should look at the ‘gauge’, as well as the number of stitches per square metre.
When you look at the backing of artificial grass, you’ll notice lines of stitching running up and down.
The gauge refers to how closely those lines of stitching on the back of artificial grass are stitched together.
The smaller the distance, the denser the pile.
How Does Pile Density Affect the Performance of Artificial Grass?
The pile density has a significant impact on the resilience and durability of an artificial turf.
There are lots of different factors to consider when comparing turfs and working out which is likely to be the most resilient, but generally, the higher the pile density, the more resilient it is likely to be.
That’s because denser fibres will be able to support each other better and recover more easily from foot traffic and the placement of heavy objects.
Remember, though, fibre material also plays a significant part in resistance.
Polyethylene and polypropylene are the two other types of synthetic fibre found in artificial grass, with polyethylene being the one most commonly used, but neither is as strong or resilient as nylon.
Although pile density is important, you’ll also need to factor in what type of plastic the grass is made from.
For example, a nylon turf with 18,000 stitches per square metre would, in fact, be stronger and more resilient than a polyethylene turf with 20,000 stitches.
So, be careful not to judge a turf purely on pile density, and bear in mind that nylon is 40% more resilient than polyethylene and 22% more resilient than polypropylene.
How Does Pile Height Affect the Appearance of Artificial Grass?
Of course, the pile density does not just affect the performance or durability of artificial grass, it also has an impact on the aesthetics.
The denser the pile, the thicker the grass will appear to be, and vice versa.
The pictures below help to illustrate the impact pile density can have upon the appearance of fake turf.
The first artificial turf, Tauro, is manufactured with round 13,500 stitches per square metre.
The other grass, Tempo, has over three times the number of stitches, with over 48,000 per square metre. This results in a thicker, more lush appearance.
Of course, the angle you view the grass from makes a difference, too. If viewed from directly above, the difference between a dense and sparse pile is even more noticeable.
This is because when viewed from the side, you are looking through the fibres, which gives the illusion of a higher density.
Just because one turf has a denser pile than another, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should always choose the turf with the densest pile.
The best pile density depends entirely upon the intended application.
What Pile Density Should You be Looking for When Choosing the Best Artificial Grass?
As discussed above, choosing the best pile density depends entirely upon the application and the viewing angle.
High density piles, with 18,000 stitches per square metre and above, are ideally suited for artificial lawns that will receive frequent, heavy use, such as commercial and public areas.
Fibre material is key here, too, and nylon fibres would be preferential over polypropylene or polyethylene.
High density turf should also be chosen for areas where the viewing angle will be predominantly directly above, such as for a balcony or roof terrace. In this case, it is important to choose dense pile to prevent the backing material from being visible.
Turf with medium density piles, between 15,000 and 18,000 stitches per square metre, are ideal for the vast majority of domestic uses, such as back gardens, and are capable of withstanding use by pets and active families.
Artificial grasses with fewer than 15,000 stitches per square metre are perfect for ornamental and low-traffic areas, such as a front garden, for example.
But always remember that resilience is strongly influenced by fibre material and fibre shape, too.
For further information on the ideal pile density for specific applications, please see our guides below:
Pile density has a big impact on both performance and aesthetics, so it should play an important part in the decision-making process you work through before purchasing your artificial grass.
You should ask your manufacturers for a detailed specification that includes information on the pile density, in respect of both stitches per square metre and the gauge.
As we’ve learnt, denser piles aren’t always necessary, so you need to weigh up how much use your artificial grass will receive and the angles you are likely to be viewing it from.
There is, however, more to consider when choosing the best artificial grass, and you shouldn’t base your decision purely on pile density.
You should also be looking closely at the quality of the backing, the fibre material, fibre shape, Decitex, fibre thickness and pile height, to find the best artificial grass to suit your needs in terms of performance.
If you have any questions on anything we have discussed in this article, then leave us a comment below; we’ll be glad to answer any queries you may have.