Sand infill for artificial grass absorbs shock, deters bacteria, and provides the same durability as crumb rubber, making it a great solution for playgrounds, pet areas, and yards.
More and more people are turning to artificial turf for the consistent, beautiful look it provides, thanks to the numerous components that make artificial turf look and feel incredibly realistic. One of these components is called “infill” and it truly gives artificial turf the support and stability it requires to make it maintain the appearance of real grass. There are many options when choosing an infill, but sand is perhaps the best choice for any artificial grass owner.
Natural grass blades stand upright because their roots dig deep into the soil. This is what makes them stand up straight and remain stable even when pressure is applied. For this same effect, artificial turf requires infill, which is often either a type of sand or rubber, which gives it shape, stability, and uniformity.
In some cases, the type of usage your artificial turf will receive will determine its type of infill. Oftentimes, artificial turf for sports fields will have rubber infill because of its shock-absorbent abilities. Sand, though, provides those same shock-absorbing qualities while providing additional benefits. Though several types of infills exist, sand proves to be the best type of infill thanks to its durability, absorbency, and versatility.
Artificial Turf Components
It is helpful to first explain the different materials that typically make up artificial grass before elaborating on why sand is the better infill option. Most artificial turf, to work from the bottom up, begins with a drainage layer of crushed stone or oyster gravel that effectively drains fluids from the turf. Above this, varying shock absorbing layers can be placed, if so desired.
Next is the layer of infill, which is interspersed among the grass blades giving them their shape, and the ability to stand up straight. Certain types of grass require more amounts of infill per square foot depending on the length of the blade and other factors such as blade density.
Infill is perhaps one of the most important parts of artificial turf because it gives it the look, feel, and absorbency of natural grass. Without it, the blades would not stand up reliably, and it could not effectively drain liquids, either. Infill helps grass blades in heavy traffic areas, especially, maintain their integrity and shape.
Different Types of Infill & Their Uses
There are several primary types of infill for artificial turf, each having their own pros, cons, and particularly effective uses.
- Silica sand: Silica sand consists of small, angular sand granules made of silica, which is a derivative of quartz that has been worn by the elements. It is typically inexpensive and works well in low-traffic areas. It is easy to find and install this type of infill, making it popular for areas that don’t take a beating, like a patio or a balcony, or unused areas of grass.
- Durafill sand: Durafill sand is similar to silica sand, in that it comes from quartz. The main difference is that it is round-shaped. Durafill does not trap heat, and it does not absorb liquids making it easier for them to drain through the turf. Interestingly, it is antimicrobial, so it kills bacteria and prevents pet odors from becoming an issue.
- Rubber: Rubber is a popular infill for artificial turf used in sports applications. Often recycled tires are ground into very small granules. This gives the turf a unique bounce. However, rubber can trap odors and heat, making the area of usage even warmer than usual. Unfortunately, it can also result in black dust on clothing, shoes, towels, and patio furniture.
- A rubber/sand mixture is another option. This will provide the benefits of using a sand infill, but also come with some of the more negative aspects of a rubber infill.
Typically, you will need 1-2 pounds infill per square foot of artificial turf. This will ensure your grass has the support it needs to retain its shape, and it will also enable the blades to bounce back effectively after being walked on.
Why Sand is Better
Considering the various types of infill available and the qualities all of them will bring to your yard of artificial turf, the better choice is clearly a sand infill. One should simply look at the economic and physical benefits of using a sand infill to see why this is the better choice over rubber.
- Durability: One major plus for sand infill is that it is incredibly durable. Durafill, especially, can handle usage in high-traffic areas and even under heavy wear, will provide the look and feel of natural grass.
- Absorbency: Sand infills tend to absorb the right things better. For example, rubber absorbs heat–but this will only serve to make your summer oasis unnecessarily hot! Durafill infill has a shock absorbing tendency, which will make it feel like natural soil. But it won’t absorb liquids, and its antimicrobial qualities make it even more beneficial for a yard with pets and children.
- Cost-effectiveness: Sand infills range in price, with Durafill typically being the most expensive and Silica sand being more affordable. However, these two will provide a high-quality infill that, despite the price, will not need to be replaced frequently because of wear, liquid saturation, or odors. It provides exceptional value up front.
- Versatility: Unlike rubber infills, which can become messy and leave a black dust on clothing and other surfaces, sand infills are much more pet and child-friendly. They are versatile in that they are not merely beneficial for the sake of the price or value, but the children and pets that may frequently use the artificial turf will benefit from a sand infill as well.
Consumers have many options when it comes to choosing an infill for their artificial turf. Naturally, value and quality will be two factors that influence the buying decision and with these two factors in mind, sand infill is clearly the better choice. In contrast to rubber infill, sand infills–especially Durafill–will provide the artificial turf with a shock absorbing, bacteria-deterring, durable, and pet-friendly infill to keep the grass blades standing up tall and looking authentic.