Artificial turf is used to resurface lawns, athletic events and commercial properties. It is extremely durable and can stand up to the rigors of even the harshest conditions. Severe heat and high high levels of foot traffic will not affect how it looks or feels. It survives even the wettest of conditions with very little maintenance. It is able to withstand many of these conditions because of the type of infill that is used when it is installed.
In 2009, the Environmental Agency Protection determined that granulated, crumb rubber is produces no harmful effects to children or pets when used as infill for artificial turf on playgrounds, athletic fields or in residential lawns. The crumb rubber used is taken from recycled tires that have been returned to tire centers and landfills. After concerns were raised about potential health hazards, studies were performed to determine the level of airborne and solid contaminants that would be released if the tires were ground into a granular form and used as infill for artificial turf. The studies proved that the crumb rubber used as infill was safe for all environments in which it was being used.
Artificial or simulated thatch that is used as infill for synthetic lawns and prevents fly-ups and dust. Simulated thatch acts just like natural thatch because it settles in and around the blades of grass. Not only does it fill in gaps, it remains permeable and adds a form of cushion. The additional cushioning adds to the lawns natural feel and makes it a more comfortable surface to walk and play on. Where crumb rubber is black and can make the lawn take on a darker hue, simulated thatch is the same color as the actual artificial turf blades and will blend in more naturally with the rest of the grass.
Combinations of Infill
Just like sand and crumb rubber can be combined to form infill, so can crumb rubber and thatch. With the crumb rubber added first, it offers the blades of grass firm support and acts as a stabilizer. Finishing with the simulated thatch provides the additional cushion and gives the lawn a more natural look. Both are effective when used separately, but when added in layers, the combination offers the benefits of both types of materials.
Choosing the Right Infill
Crumb rubber infill is commonly used in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. This can include playgrounds, recreational areas, exercise plots, and athletic playing fields. It is much more durable than other types of infill when it comes to dealing with the friction and movement of cleats and other athletic shoes. When it comes to simulated thatch, most homeowners choose it because it is lightweight, durable and will not fly up or become compacted like sand and other forms of infill. Thatch looks and feels more like natural grass and will help the lawn retain its color and form. While crumb rubber is effective in most locations including residential areas, many homeowners choose the thatch because of it buoyancy and color.
The infill materials used to finish the installation of artificial turf have all been tested and verified to be safe by the EPA. This leaves the choice of materials up to the home or business owner who is planning on using artificial turf on their property. Many people choose their infill based on level of activity, durability, and wear and tear. Infill can eventually become compacted or be worn away either through friction or by being carried away by the wind or foot traffic. Crumb rubber and simulated thatch do not fly away, nor does either type becoming overly compacted and dense. This makes either one a good choice for residential homes and commercial properties.