How to Keep Artificial Turf Cool
Synthetic grass, usually simply called turf, has been used prominently in sporting arenas since the 1960s, and has been used in commercial landscaping for nearly that long as well. In more recent years, as turf has improved in the quality of its appearance, feel, and durability, it has also become a popular choice for installation at residences.
Synthetic grass offers myriad benefits that natural lawns can't. First and foremost, there is minimal maintenance required with turf. It needs no watering or fertilizing, and it never needs to be mowed, edged, weeded, or otherwise managed, beyond perhaps occasional raking or blowing. Second, turf is durable and resilient, looking pristine for many years even if it is daily trod upon by people and pets alike. And third, turf looks great right from the first day of installation and in all seasons. It never dries out or goes dormant, is never overgrown, and is always uniform in appearance.
One major drawback to turf as compared top natural grass, though, is heat. Synthetic grass gets very hot in certain conditions, especially when sunlight beams down directly onto its surface. It tends to hold much more heat that natural lawns, often creating a ground cover that is too hot to touch with bare skin and that radiates heat up into and around the rest of the property. And in some cases, turf grass gets hot enough to melt, thereby undoing the many benefits mentioned above.
How to Keep Synthetic Grass Cool
If your synthetic turf is too hot for comfort or safety, or if it's getting so hot it melts and loses its pleasant appearance, there are a few steps you need to consider taking. This is a quick checklist of common ways to keep turf cooler and protected from burning.
Plant More Trees and Bushes
While your lawn might be artificial, your property can benefit from the addition of other natural features of hot turf grass is a problem. Tall trees and hedges can cast shadows that provide relief from hot sunshine. Bushes and trees with deep roots also help keep the ground cooler by holding water underneath the soil. And trees, shrubs, and other plants naturally clean and cool the air around them, providing some relief from the heat radiating up off of the turf.
Switch to a Cool Turf Infill
Replacing the infill in your existing turf lawn can be an arduous process, there's no doubt, but if it means protecting the turf against melting and keeping the yard cool enough to enjoy, it's worth it. Switching to an infill with a lighter color is a good approach, as is considering one of the specialty turf infill products designed to keep turf cool. (And if you are installing new synthetic grass, by all means make the investment in a heat reducing infill right from the start.)
Use a Liquid Cooling System
Water cooling systems can circulate liquid around your turf lawn and help keep it cool even when the sunshine is beating down and the ambient temperature is rising up. Investing in a system that uses evaporative cooling can be pricey, but think of it as a one time expense that will protect your synthetic lawn for years and will save you from needing to replace a damaged turf lawn.
Keep in mind that you have to know exactly what factors are causing your turf to heat up in the first place, because sometimes ambient heat and sunshine are only part of the problem, and not even the main issues, either.
Is Your Turf Grass Melting Even With Cooling Measures In Place?
Hot turf grass that is uncomfortable or unsafe to the touch and that makes a yard too warm to enjoy is certainly a frustration, but it's a problem that will likely be mitigated by a combination of the solutions previously discussed. Melting turf grass, however, can be an issue even with all of these ways to keep turf cool in place, and in fact artificial grass melting can even be an issue when the ambient temperature is cool. How? The problem might be window reflections melting turf grass.
When sunlight bounces off of regular single pane windows, its reflection is rarely an issue. But when sunshine bounces off highly reflective low-e windows that are designed to reject maximum solar energy, the resulting glare can be a major problem. The sunshine reflected by energy efficient low-e windows is often concentrated into a beam by the reflectivity and the slight concavity of these double pane windows, and that beam can create patches of light so warm that they melt turf grass. In fact, sun reflections off windows can be as hot as 220 degrees Fahrenheit in many cases, while most synthetic grass has a melting point of around 200 degrees. (Some turf melts at just 160 degrees, though.)
How to Stop Grass Melting from Window Reflections
If window glare melting artificial turf is an issue for you, consider installing anti reflective window film on the windows causing the damaging reflections. This specialty window film protects turf grass against melting by scattering the sunlight that bounces off the windows in countless directions instead of letting it form a focused beam of heated light.
Turf protection window film might be the final part of your overheated artificial grass issue, but in fact it might also be the only step you need to take. If your artificial lawn is not generally too hot for comfort or safety but patches of it are still melting, it's probably window reflections. Applying artificial grass protecting window film will stop the issue of grass melted by window glare at once.
And these films don't compromise the appearance or the function of your windows, either. Anti glare window film doesn't limit the view out through the windows any more than a standard insect screen, it does not reduce the energy efficiency of the windows, and if you choose a clear anti reflective window film, it's almost impossible to detect the coating except on close inspection.