yarn ends for dummies
THE most boring subject in the world – but occasionally useful
N.B. This article was originally written in 2015. Product recommendations may have change but the essence of the article remains the same.
‘Yarn ends’ refers to the number of blades of grass in each tuft of artificial grass.
The number of yarn ends in each tuft will affect the product density and in turn the whole look, structure, feel and suitability of the product for different applications. A denser product will support itself much better.
Follow the steps in the previous update to remove a tuft of grass from the product you are evaluating. Unpick the strands from the tuft and count the individual blades of grass. Below is a picture of an intact tuft from our home:urf™ (2015 range) next to a tuft of the same product which has been deconstructed. There are 20 yarn ends in this product combining a number of different blade profiles, structures and colours. Below the home:urf™ is a similar comparison using a tuft from a UK market leading manufacturer – this product has 12 yarn ends.
Both of these products are designed for (or marketed for) the same use – domestic lawns. It’s easy to see in this comparison how this would affect the product as a whole. If there are 20 yarn ends in a tuft which translates to 40 blades of grass when the tuft has been looped through the backing. This means the product with only 12 yarn ends is 16 blades of grass more sparse than its 20 yarn end competitor – this makes a big difference over an area the size of the average lawn when you bear in mind that one looped tuft represents approximately 1cm² of your artificial grass product. Whichever way you look at it – it’s 40% less blades of grass. The most common number of yarn ends for a domestic product is 16 and any number upwards of this number is fine for domestic use.
Another quick test that can signify a low product density and / or low yarn end count is how flat the product sits in its new state before it gets in-filled and brushed up. When you receive samples or unroll a new roll of grass and the product remains flat it’s a good indication that; it is not a very dense product; it may have a low yarn end count; and that it might only have flat profiled blades (see first update.) These products are commonly marketed under “softest product ever” or similar straplines which act as neat disguise for a poor product. Softness in new artificial grass can signify low quality materials, low amount of materials and lack of any functional blade structure/profile which in turn can lead to a quicker aesthetic degradation of the product, quicker material breakdown of the product and ultimately a product that is less fit for purpose. See the picture below for an example of the same products from the earlier comparison – both products have been sat on a desk for over a week. The home:urf™ sample on the right is standing up and supporting itself well, the competitor product has remained flat. Note as well that the competitor product is a 32mm product and the Turf King product is 30mm – a great indication that pile length means nothing if the grass is not well structured or dense enough.
Remember: in an artificial grass product you would expect to last 15 to 20 years be wary of products that are marketed as soft. A good quality new artificial grass should be slightly stiff and should naturally stand upright when left standing rather than flat. Grass that is initially stiffer will soften quickly with use.
It’s worth noting in reference to the pictures above that these give a really good indication of good verses bad in artificial grass. When you link the way the competitor tuft looks (a few very straight, flat, thin profiles) to the way it looks as a product as a whole it’s easy to see why the product can’t support itself. Similarly when you link the way the home:urf™ tuft looks (a denser tuft with a variety of blade shapes and profiles) to the way it looks as a product as a whole you can see why that product would naturally stand up and support itself.
A note about pile length
Artificial grass for domestic use is available in many lengths most commonly from 18mm to 40mm with the longer end of that scale often marketed as ‘luxury’ and sold at a premium price. Whilst there are obviously more raw materials going into these products which in turn make the product more expensive we question whether or not this makes a product luxury.
Longer products have to work harder to carry out their basic function. One of the key characteristics in a successful artificial grass product is the ability of every single blade of grass to support itself. The longer the grass gets the harder this is. We’ve yet to come across a ‘luxury’ artificial grass product that works as a lifestyle enhancing solution in the sense that it requires little or no maintenance. We commonly hear about customers sweeping compressed footprints out of their lawn when they’ve walked across it; or customers who are disappointed because their 40mm product never ‘stood up’ as they expected it to.
We’ve heard of installers who increase the sand infill in order to help support the longer fibres which in turn remedies the problems – but why pay extra for a 35mm luxury product to infill it with 8mm of sand and leave only 27mm of accessible pile when you could buy a shorter, less expensive product which is built more appropriately for use?
If anyone has had an alternative experience with longer, ‘luxury’ grasses we’d be interested in hearing it.
Yarn ends along with density, stitch rate and gauge all contribute to the feel and durability of an artificial grass product. As one part of the puzzle more yarn ends can enhance the feel of a product and increase it’s ability to bounce back under use.
About Turf King
Turf King is a small but elite group of the country’s finest Turf Ticklers tasked with the supply, installation and maintenance of artificial grass across the sports, education and domestic markets. We don’t take ourselves too seriously but one thing we won’t compromise on is the quality of the products and services we offer. We don’t do budget and we don’t do cheap, we just do awesome! Our regular customers would recommend us for our old fashioned business values: we do what we say we are going to do; we don’t cut corners; we do it once and do it right!
Whether you’re looking for a small piece of grass for a DIY project or a couple of thousand m² supplied and installed on a city centre rooftop we’ve got your back. No matter how ‘out-there’ your idea is we’ve got an awesome team who most likely will have done something similar before and we’d love to help – nothing is impossible!
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❤️ Team TK
contact the turf doctors via our contact us page or social media accounts. We love to help.
t: 01179 807905
p: 35 – 37 Whitehouse Street, Bristol, BS3 4AY