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Cheap products, and secrets of the trade
What you should know while shopping for Artificial Grass!!!
Installing Artificial Grass is a very expensive project, but it should last you a very long time,
and that's why it should be seen as an investment.
Therefore, the decisions you make in the beginning while shopping for the product that suits your needs and budget,
it is of the outmost important to know the hidden secrets and how to properly evaluate your product against the best in the market.
We at Turfscape (One of the longest Artificial Grass Company in South Africa) want to help you make the correct decisions
when it comes to choice of Artificial grass and base your decisions making on pure facts & knowledge
and not only by knowing what to look for but being educated in your complete process/project you are about to undertake.
Artificial Grass Backing
Backing is the heart of any Synthetic Grass product.
If the backing is weak, then your investment will not last.
How to determine what does a strong backing looks like?
If you look at the backing, you will immediately notice two stitching patterns.
Look at the pictures below and spot the double mesh backing.
The first picture is an example of an extremely poor backing, and you should think five times before investing in a product with this quality of backing.
The second picture is a rubbery type backing and you should bend it and test it.
If it does crack I would highly recommend you think twice about this product.
Be cautious and buy your Artificial Grass products with samples in your hands and testing it against these criteria.
The third picture is a typical strong reliable backing with clearly a double mesh backing pattern visible.
This should be your fist choice and then proceed with further investigations.
Pet Friendly Artificial Grass
Every installer/supplier in South Africa will tell you that their Synthetic Grass product
is Pet Friendly. And Yes!!! It is. But that all depends on how you define "pet friendly"
Pets or lets talk dogs, do love the grass, it's cosey, clean, soft and very nice to to just relax on it.
If that is how you define "pet friendly" then sure no problem. BUT, if you want to know how the grass holds up to the
everday behaviour of the dog, (Pee/Poo), then I surely can tell you the meaning/understanding of "pet friendly" does NOT
describe your thinking. There is only ONE product in South Africa currently that is geniunely a "pet friendly" artificial grass, and that
is the Petscape. No other grass is "pet friendly, as in the dog can pee/poo and you just pick it up, and wash it off. NO!!!! The backing and stitch density of the grass does not allow for that, and even with a proper drainage base constructed,
YOU WILL REGRET IT.
What makes Petscape so different?
I don't think there is ONE artificial grass supplier that do NOT claim his product is Pet Friendly.
If pet friendly is defined as a relative term with reference to: Do pets like Synthetic grass, then the answer the claim could be perceived as a true statement.
BUT if the the question lends itself towards whether pets can freely use Artificial grass as a spot to do their thing, then surely the claim cannot be true.
Why? Refer to the above picture of backing, how could any of those grass types be fully pet friendly, and NOT starting to smell terrible after a month or two.
Simple awnser is, NO they are NOT pet friendly in that regard.
Urine must freely drain through the grass, and down into the sub base material.
If this is NOT the case, you will have huge problems very soon, not only in your own back garden, but the neighbors too. Remember, the BIGGER the dog, the BIGGER the bladder, the BIGGER the problem.
What is the solution then if you want artificial grass, and you do have dogs?
If pet friendly artificial grass is defined in terms of whether dogs can use the Artificial grass for their inner needs, then their MUST be a clear visible difference in backing construction.
Refer to the picture, it can be clearly seen that the backing has got a wider woven backing, Still Double mesch and will let all urine freely through to the sub base drainage material.
The normal drainage holes is still clearly visible.
Remember, additional maintenance work is still required even on real pet friendly grass.
Types/Yarn Shape & Stitches/inch²:-
One of the oldest tricks in the book is to sell your cheap products with a technical
specification that most people does not understand and or fully grasp the idea of formulating a specification
base on something so irrelevant, but sounds impressive enough to make a sale to most un-informed people.
I do not imply that stitches/inch² is completely irrelevant but you should never base your first impression on that spec.
Specs do change over a relative short period of time, and does not reflect the truth about the product anymore,
especially when your product is overpriced and you need to bring cost down to be competitive in today's market.
99% of all people asking what is your stitch rate/inch² do not even know how to count it, AND prove me wrong.
On the first picture it can be clearly seen that the shape of the blade is flat. Flat blade grass tends to go flat very , very, VERY quick and is very maintenance intensive, meaning it should be brushed up on a very regular basis. (twice a week).
If this maintenance aspect is neglected, the Artificial grass becomes like a flat-worn_out-carpet, and render the product useless within a month or two.
On the second picture the grass blade is formed to an C-shape, making this blade a much more robust blade that is very nearly immune to going flat that quick.
This also then lends itself towards a less maintenance intensive artificial grass type.
The last picture shows an S-type blade, which soon will become the norm for all grass blades.
Lastly, let's look at the pro's & con's of each of the grass blade shapes:-
Flat bade:- It is the softest of all the blade shapes and the most compelling type BUT it is the worse choice of them all.
You WILL reap your consequences within a month or two.
C-Shaped:- Very strong and durable and does NOT go flat as quick as the flat-blade yarn, meaning much less maintenance, BUT it does feel a bit more harder to the touch than the flat blade.
This tends to fade away within two to three months of installation.
S-Shaped:- The S-Shape will become the norm of all grass blades within the near future.
It's got the robustness of the C-shaped i.e. does NOT go flat that quick, and it does have the softness of the flat bade grass types.
The blades are also bit broader lending it more towards a realistic kikuyu type grass.
Thus, if there is no shape to the blade(flatblade), be prepared to maintain your grass on a regular bases, twice a week with a hard bristle broom against the grain. This is NOT a job for the faint hearted, and really needs some elbow grease.
Because of the technology and innovation that goes into the grass blades the next thing we should have a look at is the physical yarn and infill.
There is clearly a huge difference between these two types of yarn and infill.
Be careful, because the market is now getting swamped with this bottom low type cheap yarn,
and it is heartbroken to think people think that is the norm/standard of Artificial Grass.
I have just been to a Cricket academy's artificial pitches, (TWO of them) that was constructed with the bottom type yarn,
and in filled with river sand to give ball bounce.
I have been asked numerous times by Daycare centres to please come and fix their artificial grass, and then you find this stuff was sold to them. Because of budget????
Artificial Grass Installation
Installation methods and shortcut scams is a complete chapter on it's own, and I will sum the most important issues....
Inspect the products backing, there should be enough drainage holes clearly visible.
If you do NOT see any drainage holes, then don't even think of investing in such a product.
It is imperative that your artificial grass is installed on a well constructed/prepared drainage base,
and that the slope is being taken in consideration as to prevent rain water gather at some places.
Remember, if you had water problems before, installing artificial grass will not solve your water problem.
The tendency today by most installers is to make use of river sand, with either a wooden border for nailing the grass down (the worst of worst) and or a cement border to glue the grass down on the sides.
Nothing really wrong with this, but things to remember here are the following:-
1) Cement needs to cure for a day, so if your installation is done in ONE day with this method, think twice,
because the bonding between wet/semi wet cement and glue cannot work.
2) Some installers don't even use wooden bars for nailing the grass down, they just use a 6 inch nail and nail it to the ground.
Very dangerous, especially so when this is done where children run and play.
Every thing in life does stretch and crimp, and so does artificial grass.
Because of that slight movement, the nails tend to come loose and raise itself out of the wood/soil,
creating a very dangerous situation.
3) Many installers opt for a cement slab, or even worst, recommend that the customer himself put a cement slab down,
and he(the installer) will just glue the Artificial Grass down on the cement.
If this is a big area, and especially where children play, you defeat the purpose of Synthetic grass,
and might as well just paint the area green.
I do understand that in some cases its best to install a small piece of Synthetic grass in an awkward area on
cement i.e. rock garden between the rocks.
I want to add here, if you do opt for this option, make sure your area is sloped for the rainwater to run-off and
there is ample water escape holes at the lowest point.
Never let the water dam against your house walls.
4) Using river sand as a drainage base is really not a good idea, and even worst if the area is slightly sloped.
The river sand tends to displace underneath the grass and within a month your grass will become wave.
If the area is just slightly sloped, drainage water will move that sand to the lowest part of your grass.
Leaving you with a nightmare to fix, as all the Artificial grass must be lifted,
and the complete drainage base should be reconstructed.
Sometimes, even the slightest weight does a sand transfer underneath your feet.
Also, watch, the trend is to cover just the top of the soil with a thin layer of sand to make it look good. Drainage is a VERY important factor in the installation process if you do not opt for a cement base installation.
A good drainage base consist of at least 30-40mm crusher(not river sand), compacted, and the slope taken into account.
Many installers will inform/mention a drainage base on their quotes, and most likely add sand/crusher/etc... to it.
5) Your Artificial Grass should always/preferably be separated from your garden beds and/or other natural grass areas.
This can be done with any means of physical separation like cobble stone, edging etc....
In the case of installing Artificial grass next to natural grass, the edging is needed to prevent the weed eater/lawnmower of damaging your Artificial grass where they meet.
If it is a garden bed, edging will prevent the soil/mud flow onto your Artificial grass.
6) Your grass will always be a little more than the actual size(m²) of your area. That's because the rolls are 2m and 4m wide, and rule of thumb is what they cut from the roll is for your wastage.
If your area is a configured in straight squares, then the wastage should not be that much.
Thus, if your did get 2 - 3 quotes for your project, and they are not within R500/R800 apart from each other,
or your cheapest quote you received is so much cheaper than the other,
be sure your installation method is based on many shortcuts listed above.
Worst is that your installation can looks like the picture below..
A typical installation of which the quoted cost is R1000+ less than the other quotes you received.
7) Make sure that joint are done with proper jointing tape and proper glue. Make sure it's a chemical based glue,
as solvent base glue types tends to get soft in the sun, and the joint will spilt open in a very short period of time. Joint are very important, and bad joints will show very quick, and could be a very costly affair to get fixed.
Make sure joints are done with a chemical base glue and proper jointing tape.
To save installation cost the tendency is to use the edge of the Artificial Grass to make joints, and even worst, when edge is not available, I saw them use canvas bags to make joints, and then even use bostik as their preferred glue.
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have the best Artificial Grass products,
and have been in this business for 120 years.
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