It was the year 1966, which marked the first installation of artificial turf in place of natural grass at the infamous Houston Astrodome.
Millions of businesses and homeowners have not looked back to getting the good old grass since then.
Is artificial turf really worth the money as compared to natural grass? What are the advantages? The disadvantages?
More importantly for this article, does artificial turf get hot?
Does Artificial Turf Get Hot?
Artificial turf may seem like a more expensive option since there are greater initial costs incurred when installing artificial turf as opposed to natural grass.
However, one cannot deny that fact that with the installation of natural grass comes the need to water it, trim it, apply pesticides, and get rid of weeds.
All these things do take up more time and money over the life of the lawn or field as compared to artificial turf.
Comparatively though, will the artificial turf be able to withstand the heat of the summer?
Or is it going to burn the feet of its users, leaving them yearning for cool natural grass?
Is Artificial Grass Hotter Than Natural Grass?
The definite answer to this question is “Yes.”
The reason for the absorption of heat in the artificial grass is the synthetic plastic blades in the turf that absorb and then maintain heat from the sun in a different manner than real grass.
However, technology and advancement has helped reduce the heat-absorbing characteristic of artificial turf tremendously over the years.
But aren’t other landscapes that employ brick or asphalt way hotter than artificial turf, but still considered great options for paving?
So why not give artificial grass a chance and take advantage of its time and money saving characteristics as mentioned above?
UNLV Study on Artificial Grass Heat Problems
A study conducted between August 2006 and March 2007 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) tested artificial turf fields to find that they emitted heat that was up to 69 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than that of watered natural grass.
The findings of the study claimed that artificial turf attained a temperature of 169 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 46 degrees higher than the temperature deemed safe for athletes, and nowhere near temperatures considered safe for children or house pets.
It should also be noted that the UNLV study did not even test the artificial turf fields during the hottest months of the year.
Artificial Turf Heat Problems Due to Crumb Rubber Infill
One of the culprits that is responsible for artificial turf heat problems is crumb rubber infill.
It has been reported that artificial turf that has employed crumb rubber as infill to support its grass blades has higher temperatures at the surface and has heat absorbing properties as well.
According to research, crumb rubber is the primary source of heat in any artificial turf system as it easily absorbs the sun’s rays.
Ensure You Have Artificial Grass That Stays Cool
Since artificial grass has a myriad of benefits over real grass and only one disadvantage of getting heated too much in the summer months, it is a great idea to opt for the former.
By making educated choices, the heat problems associated with artificial grass can be overcome.
Some ways that will ensure artificial turf that is cool enough to use include:
- Choosing a turf with cooling technology
- Installing turf that is lighter in color
- Using infill that has proven to be cooler due to its composition
- Avoiding crumb rubber infill.
Choose a Cool Turf
The first way you can ensure that you will have an artificial turf that will not get too hot is by getting a cool turf.
A cool turf can have characteristics that automatically repel the sun’s heat and do not get as hot as other artificial turf.
Recommended – TigerCool Turf
TigerCool is one of the latest technologies in artificial turf cooling. The blades in TigerCool turf have advanced UV inhibitors and special heat reflective pigments that keep the heat at bay.
According to tests, artificial turf that has been engineered with TigerCool technology has a surface temperature 15% lower than that without TigerCool technology, which is almost 10 degrees.
TigerCool is safe for pets as well as kids, so it can be used safely around the home.
TigerCool turf is also a great option for public parks, commercial properties, and other outdoor places.
Choose an Artificial Turf with Lighter Color
Another way to reduce the heat emitted by artificial turf is to choose a turf that has blades that are lighter in color.
Lighter colors have proven to be bad heat absorbers, as compared to the darker colors, therefore a good option when looking for turf that is on the cooler side.
White colored turf is the coolest of all as it absorbs the least heat in comparison to all other colors.
Use Cool Infill like ZeoFill
When looking out for an artificial turf that does not get unbearably hot, it is a good idea to consider installing an infill that has heat repelling properties.
ZeoFill is such an infill.
An infill that is 100% natural, ZeoFill contains zeolite, which originally contains small silica crystals.
However, when preparing zeolite to use as a component of ZeoFill, the silica particles are removed, which leaves behind elements that are lighter in weight.
It is the permeability of ZeoFill that allows it to act pretty much in the same way as real grass is cooled by natural processes: through the process of evapotranspiration, where cooling moisture is expelled into the air.
ZeoFill has the ability to cool artificial turf by almost 20 degrees as compared to other types of infill.
Avoid Crumb Rubber Infill
Although it is one of the most economical options to use as an infill for artificial turf, crumb rubber infill is not the best choice when looking for turf that does not heat up easily.
Because of its composition, crumb rubber infill is a good conductor of heat, hence can get really hot, especially in the summer days.
So, if someone wants to ensure their artificial turf remains more on the cooler side, they should opt for infills other than crumb rubber, such as ZeoFill, as mentioned above.
How to Keep Artificial Turf Cool
The first step was to use turf and infill that has heat repelling properties.
More steps can be taken to bring the temperature even further down so that the artificial turf can be enjoyed without having to worry about the excess heat that may cause health concerns.
Just because artificial turf gets hot in the summer months, this should not keep people away from enjoying their investment in this type of turf.
Normally, it does not really get that hot, but even if it does, other than making the correct choices of turf and infill that have the ability to reduce heat build-up and thermal emissivity, artificial turf can be kept cool by following a few steps:
Rinsing with Water (But Not Too Much)
It is a good idea to rinse the turf with cool water before kids and pets run on it.
Rinsing will help dispel the heat and make the artificial turf more comfortable for all.
Not too much water should be used on the turf, as it may drive away part of the infill that helps keep the grass blades erect.
Installing the Turf Under Tree Shade
Normally, because there is less sunlight under a tree shade, natural grass does not grow well in this location.
This is why artificial turf would be the best option for this location anyway.
Another advantage of installing the turf under tree shade is to keep it cooler, as it will not absorb as much heat from the sun as it would if it were out in the open, without any shade.
Installing a Canopy or Shade
Where installing the turf under tree shade is impossible due to no trees in the area, a good idea to keep the artificial turf cool is to place it under a canopy or any other kind of shade.
Or conversely, place a canopy or shade above the location where you have already installed the turf.
The shade from the canopy will help keep the turf stay cool.
Retractable awnings are a great idea too when the need for a cooler turf arises.
The advantage of retractable awnings is that they can be extended in the hotter hours or seasons and retracted when not needed.
They are also popular for their space saving characteristics.
Using a Sprinkler System
If a sprinkler system is already installed in a lawn or yard, which also has artificial turf, it is a good idea to switch it on for a few minutes before enjoying a warm summer afternoon in the front or backyard.
This will help quickly cool off the artificial turf.
Although natural grass has its own beauty, one cannot deny the advantages of installing artificial turf in its place.
Definitely artificial turf does tend to get hotter in the summer but overcoming this drawback of artificial turf has become easier than ever if the correct steps are followed.