Infill is a key component of artificial turf, in any type of installation. It supports the individual blades of grass so that they remain upright. This gives the turf its natural look and feel. Infill also gives the artificial grass its cushiony feel, or bounce, when you walk or play on it. And it protects the fabric mesh that forms the foundation of the turf. The proper infill depends on how you plan to use your grass.
Here’s an overview of current infill options.
Crumb rubber is one of the most common forms of artificial turf infill. It is made from used automotive tires that have been shredded into very small, smooth pieces, then rolled until all the sharp or rough edges are worn away. Crumb rubber has been proven to be safe for both children and pets. It has been used for several years as playground filler instead of sand and stone because it is softer and safer than stone, sand, or pea gravel.
Sand or Rounded Silica Granules
Sand is naturally smooth and works well as infill for artificial grass. Silica granules that have been shaped into round or smoothly irregular pieces also make good infill. The smoothed surfaces reduce friction between the particles, which keeps the granules from settling and making the ground hard. Sand will pack tighter than the silica granules, but it still produces a soft, cushiony base.
Sand and silica granules used for infill are colored green so they blend in visually with the blades of grass. They are also coated with an acrylic, anti-microbial polymer to help retard growth of bacteria that may be present in debris or pet waste that settles on the grass. For these reasons, schools and playgrounds often choose silica granules for artificial turf infill.
Sand and silica granules cost slightly more than crumb rubber, but they won’t degrade as easily as rubber. They are also less likely to be carried away by clinging to skin, clothing, or fur.
This is one of the best infills for kids and dogs. Its Microban technology breaks down bacteria associated with pet waste, to prevent odors and stains. It is cold-resistant and doesn’t retain heat, so it feels cool to the touch. It will not become compacted or cling to fabric or fur. And it is guaranteed for the life of your artificial turf.
This is a 100% natural infill made from walnut hulls that have been ground into smooth granules. Shell Tech is very durable and weather-resistant, and it produces no dust. Because the material is entirely organic, it is also hypoallergenic and there are no harmful chemicals to leach into the soil.
Durafill sand is another infill option specially formulated for pets, although it can be more expensive. It contains anti-microbials, it does not absorb moisture, and it stands up to heavy foot/paw traffic. Rubber and sand can also be combined to create an infill that is particularly resistant to excessive foot traffic.
With so many infill options, there is no obvious “best” choice, because every artificial turf installation is a custom project. No worries, though. Your Heavenly Greens design consultant will help point you toward the best option(s) that match your type of artificial grass and intended usage.