The Hidden Costs of Artificial Turf

If you’re planning an athletic field, it’s likely you’ve considered installing artificial turf instead of natural grass. While the notion of fields that don’t need watering and other maintenance may sound great, many field operators are finding out that the costs of artificial turf aren’t as cheap as advertised.

Many artificial fields installed between 2006 and 2009 are failing prematurely, according to an article in Forbes. While many of these have been replaced by their manufacturers under warranty, they resulted in lost billable field time and, in some cases, lawsuits necessary to recoup costs for the upgrade.

Artificial turf is often touted as a no-maintenance alternative to natural turf, that’s not telling the whole story. While you’ll have to mow, water and fertilize natural sod, artificial turf isn’t exactly hassle free: They often need additional infill and ongoing maintenance that includes disinfecting them, removing debris and trash blown in, spraying them to reduce static and, in hot weather, irrigation to control extreme temperatures on the playing surface. Temporary lines and other paint must be removed before re-striping. Not only do this upkeep require the equipment to perform the work, but all the associated labor costs with it.

Even the best artificial playing surface degrades with use. When it reaches the end of its lifespan, operators are faced with disposal costs. Because of excavation and handling materials, removal costs can be up to $130,000 per field plus landfill costs according to the University of Georgia.

In fact, the University of Georgia performed a detailed analysis of cost associated with artificial turf versus natural grass, and concluded it was much cheaper for the Razorbacks to play on natural turf than artificial.

Looking for a low-cost and high quality playing surface? Contact Bigfoot Turf at 970-284-6000 to discuss how we can help your facility cut operational costs.