Turf Backings – What You Need to Know

Obviously in synthetic grass, the fiber is the star of the show. The appearance of the turf counts for a lot, and it’s significant to weigh the color and composition of yarn, density and pile height.

But the backing, the skeleton of the turf system, is also important (though less apparent). How a backing is manufactured and what it’s made of is essential to the performance of artificial grass.

Almost all turf is has a two-part backing system – a primary woven backing into which fibers are stitched, and a heavier secondary backing that holds the tufts in place and keeps the carpet laying flat. The composition and construction of secondary backings are worth consideration.

One great backing debate: Perforated, or non-perforated? Most secondary backings of contemporary synthetic grass are made of urethane and feature perforations, or punched holes every couple of inches, to facilitate drainage. Perforated drainage systems are typically rated at 20 inches per hour of greater. Some manufacturers have introduced non-perforated geotextile backings without perforations (in essence, woven layer melted onto the primary backing) in quest for better drainage and an antidote to pre-existing weeds that try to peek through the turf. Non-perforated backings have yet to be perfected, however; miracle “hot-melt” backings often drain less efficiently and are less effective for pet turf and tend to be less heavy-duty than their urethane counterparts … reasons why perforated backings are overwhelmingly more popular.

Another backing point to deliberate is the material of synthetic grass secondary backings – urethane or latex? Both have advantages, but urethane is the choice for most manufacturers. Urethane is costlier, but it’s also heavy-duty (to hold tuft binds secure) and non-absorbent (all-important for pet turf consumers). Latex is cheaper but degrades much faster than urethane when moisture is present, making it easier for turf blades to come loose.