We want the very best for our animals. Contemplating artificial grass has crossed most pet owners’ minds when it comes to finding solutions on maintaining their property and keeping their fur friends safe and happy. Keep in mind these MUST-ASK questions when choosing the right turf for you:
1. How do I clean it?
You will still have the maintenance of picking up animal poo/leftovers that are on the turf. You may even need to go an additional step of rinsing it off with a hose if picking it up is insufficient. We have installed our turf at dozens of doggie day care facilities, and they simply take a hose or pressure washer to any area that may need a quick rinse. The turf holds up to this and the 50+ dogs on it several times a day with no smell and no damage to the turf.
2. What is the rate of permeability of the turf you are installing?
The what?! Permeability is the rate at which a material allows liquids to pass through it. Grass!365 Denver takes pride in offering the highest rate of permeability artificial turf available, with a rate of over 1,000 inches per hour – (see #1 above). The backing to our turf is completely water permeable (it does not have to drain through small holes punched in the bottom of the turf). It does not hold on to moisture; thus, eliminating this possible source of moisture containment and urine smell. Another benefit to not having holes punched in the backing is that the turf fibers are not damaged. Our turf’s fibers are stitched through and then sealed. Finally, add a drainage rate that is unrivaled in the industry, and you have met Grass!365 Denver!
3. Can the pets dig through it?
Throughout our extensive turf installation and experience, we have never seen an animal dig through our turf. They normally take the path of least resistance and dig in landscape beds. If a dog is really stressed and not getting enough exercise then the extreme case they may tear at a corner of an installation if it is installed in a very small confined space with no other toys to chew or play.
4. Will it smell like urine?
The problem with artificial grass and dogs is twofold. The first reason is from the artificial turf itself and is due to the turfs ability to hold on to water. Approximately 95% of all turf has the industry standard backing, urethane. Urethane has the individual turf fibers hot-pressed glued to a backing (bottom of the turf). This backing does not drain by itself; consequently, holes are punched in it to facilitate the draining of the turf. Depending on the number of holes punched in the backing of the turf, it will generally drain at a rate of 20-50 inches per hour. This rate is effective for our dry Colorado climate. However, there is a layer of glue between the turf fibers and the backing that does not drain by itself (it only drains through the small holes punched in it). Urethane holds onto moisture. Depending on dog size and area of the turf, this can cause the turf to smell like urine.
Two years ago, we worked with our manufacturer to develop a completely different backing for our turf that would help resolve the smell of urine with turf. Our backing is completely water permeable – the individual turf fibers are stitched through the backing and then sealed. The drainage rate of our permeable backing is over 1,000 inches per hour; thus, the turf does not hold on to any moisture. This eliminates this source of the urine smell.
The second potential source of urine smell is underneath the turf. Turf is built on a base that is compacted. In Colorado, we have seen other installers use base materials that have clay in it. Clay is notorious for holding onto moisture. Our primary base material is recycled concrete which is crushed up concrete. Thus, by very definition, it has absolutely no clay in it. We also use a finer gravel that goes on top of the compacted concrete to ensure the base is smooth. This material also has no clay in it.
Historically, the two primary things done to help combat urine smell with turf are using a sand infill that is coated with an antimicrobial and deodorizers. Despite this fact, our engineers tell us that using antimicrobial sand is not necessary with our specially designed turf. However, we still use this sand because we are in the business of doing things right the first time and eliminating the need to worry about any future issues. The other item that has been used by our customers is a deodorizer for the turf. To us, this defeats one of the purposes of turf – having a relatively maintenance free yard.
We have seen (and smelt) the urine issue in Colorado homeowner properties A LOT. It is absolutely horrible when pet owners call us months after they hired a different turf installer to tell us about how their backyard now reeks of urine.
From time to time your pet may go through their body changing or some sort of sickness. Required shots form the vet and other normal issues can make a pet’s urine rather potent for a few days. This is where a little extra flushing of our SealTuft backing may be necessary, other turf will still just hold this problem between the punched holes.
The key to not smelling urine is simple: Pick the best quality artificial grass (that does not hold on to moisture) AND having the artificial grass installers build a proper base for the turf to go on. Additionally, understand proper maintenance for your installation.
5. What is infill and is it necessary?
Turf installers don’t always use a fill after they lay down the turf. However, the key to the turf maintaining a look of standing up, just like “real” grass is using a silica sand. This settles at the bottom of the turf fibers (you do not see this and do not need to reapply) and helps keep the fibers standing up straight. When you walk on turf you should see your footprint and then the fibers should bounce back.