what is artificial grass made from
& what is the best material for awesome artificial grass?
Treat this article like a gateway drug to all the other, deeper, harder and more insanely boring articles in our little artificial grass self-help section of the Turf King website. We’ll warn you though – it may be worth stocking up on canned goods and toilet paper because once you break the seal, once you enter the rabbit hole and dive deep down into the murky depths of stupendously detailed artificial grass info you may never come back. Such is the incredibly magnetic draw of cold, hard fake-grass facts… you’ve been warned.
Artificial grass for landscape applications (rather than sports or solely decorative applications) is commonly made from one of three materials:
- Polyethylene aka PE
- Polypropylene aka PP
- Nylon aka nigel on the weekends
PE & PP are the most common of these with Nigel Nylon mainly being used for sports products. Nylon is actually a pretty awesome material for the production of artificial grass as it’s stronger and more resilient to wear, tear and heat than PE & PP but there are a couple of points both related to it’s more porous nature that make it less than perfect.
2 reasons why otherwise perfect Nigel nylon is not absolutely perfect for a fake lawn for families
- Nylon will absorb and hold bacteria. Bacteria can be introduced into your garden by defecating and urinating pets, wild animals and family members, the wind and a plethora of other sources
- Nylon will absorb tannins and other staining chemicals more than PP & PE and will be much more difficult to clean. If you end up sloshing a load of Chateauneuf du Pape all over a nylon lawn during an all night UK garage skank-out you’re going to know about it in morning.
The argument over which is best of the remaining contenders PP & PE as an artificial grass raw ingredient is not cut and dry and a combination of the two may actually provide the best solution for everyday use.
To shine a fairly useless amount of light on this here is a Top Trump style table of FACTS to base the subsequent discussion on:
So based on these limited variables that’s six green boxes for PE & five for PP.
There’s an absolute ships-ton of factors such as location of installation (and local climate), intended use and budget that will all impact on which of these materials (or combination thereof) is the best for an individual installation.
We believe a combination of PE and PP would be the best way to create a product with an optimum combination of characteristics for everyday family use. If we were building our Frankenstein grass from the ground up it would probably contain PP as the textured (curly) thatched yarn in the bottom of the product with a combination of structured profile PE yarns creating the blades that make the long straight grass. Having the PP in the thatch of the grass with it’s increased rigidity would help support the longer blades of grass from the bottom of the pile which in turn would increase the products ability to bounce-back and stand up to wear and tear. The PE yarn would allow the grass to be softer to the touch and allow better cold weather resistance to wear and tear.
Just our tuppence-worth. If you’ve got an opinion on this we’d love to hear from you. We’d also always love to hear from anyone working with recycled plastic yarn or finished artificial grass products that are more easily recycled. If this is you please get in touch.
a parting note about Polyethylene…
Polyethylene is manufactured in a variety of grades – C2, C4, C6 and C8 in which the number denominates the number of carbons in the polymer.
When it comes to artificial grass lower grade C2 and C4 are the most commonly used grades of polyethylene. Most of the artificial grass sold in the UK is made from this low-grade polyethylene that is also used to make disposable shopping bags (remember them?) and poor quality cling-film. We recommend either C6 and C8 grade polyethylene in products as this will provide the best material functionality whilst retaining important characteristics such as not being too stiff, shiny or soft. Combining the properties of these polymers creates products that ultimately are structured to have the best product life-cycle possible.
The main product we currently recommend for domestic use (TurfWorks Majestic) is manufactured from a specialist polymer mLLDPE C6 which stands for metallocene linear low density polyethylene C6 which has many of the characteristics, functionality and durability of higher grade C8 polyethylene but forms a softer extrusion which in turn makes the grass product slightly softer to touch.
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