Synthetic turf systems – the way forward

As the weather worsens and matches are called off the increase in interest in synthetic turf pitches intensifies. In proven markets like Scotland spectators promote the need of synthetic turf pitches, which is remarkable given the criticism and scepticism further south. I would hazard a guess that these advocates are more than happy with the standard of games delivered on synthetic turf, proving that concerns over “false” playing characteristics are unfounded.

So what makes a good pitch? Quite simply one that is as close to a high quality natural turf pitch as possible. This means it has to look, feel and play like a natural surface. This is best achieved through a well-specified and installed system of turf, pad and base construction. Let’s look more closely at this.

First off the market place – contractors and consultants – need to forget expensive, unnecessary “engineered” bases for football. A well-built unbound stone base offers better performance and saves a few pounds for the client

No short cuts here, and an end to contractors over specifying in order to install their own base preferences.

Next up comes the crucial performance layer, consisting of a specially designed pad. Performance wise the Brock pad gives fantastic results and is proven in football and rugby. Although more expensive, it offers savings in base build and drainage, whilst giving the certainty previously advocated from “engineered” bases, but with player performance greatly enhanced. The twenty-year drainage and performance warranty adds further to the integrity of the product.

Of the several dedicated pre-formed shock pads the best performing and easiest to install undoubtedly is the Rebounce pad. Proven throughout Europe and used at Premiership training grounds, Rebounce works well on unbound stone bases, and is very cost effective, especially when you realise the pad will easily last for two surface life’s.

The third option is elastic layers also referred to as insitu pads. There are now questions being asked over this type due to their tensile strength regularly falling below the required level. In practice this means that more often than not standard insitu pads are not good enough. But on the horizon come heavier and thicker Elastic layers incorporating rubber crumb, shredded rubber and stone held with a higher binder content, and designed to meet the needs of football and rugby. These may cost more than cheap, non-performing pads but will certainly offer better long term value.

Once the appropriate pad is selected the choice of surface can be determined. For football only a dense 40mm surface such as Rhino-Turf VT40, with extra root fibres will give the best performance. But for rugby the pile increases to 65mm (expected to drop to 60mm later this year), and again the Rhino-Turf VT60 ensures best play, durability and visual attractiveness. The final part of the system is the way it is all put together. This can make or break a pitch and only a handful of installers can meet the high standards required to ensure a great facility. If you work on the premise that a pitch can be tested the moment it is finished the installer has to do a proper job.

So we now have a top pitch capable of hosting games to the highest standard, and a facility able to sustain many hours use a week. Remember it all starts with an understanding that a synthetic turf pitch is more than just the green part. From top down, or bottom up, every part is integral to the perfect pitch.

To find out about Rhino-Turf simply get in touch.


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