Maintenance is like insurance…
– No one likes paying for it
– Its hard to see the difference on a day by day basis
– If you don’t have it, eventually you will REALLY regret it!
Tuff Group was recently asked to look at a field that had been poorly maintained for a long time. The organisation that owns and uses the field is frustrated because the high-level athletes who train on it are complaining and of course fingers are being pointed everywhere.
This situation is more common than you may think. In this particular case, the field was poorly installed on a base that was not properly constructed. Over time, even with good maintenance, this would have meant a shorter-than-necessary lifespan, but poor maintenance and lack of repairs to critical elements of the field mean that it will now be difficult to do anything other than replace it.
Here are some of the critical elements that should be addressed in the Maintenance process.
1. Failed joins
When Synthetic Turf is laid, the joints must be sealed together correctly, using the tape and/or glue approved for the particular product. If this is not done correctly, the joins will come apart, as can be seen in the images below.
During the maintenance process, this needs to be fixed by placing new tape / glue under the join, or by removing a strip where the join is located and creating two new joins. This is not ideal, but sometimes the only way to resolve the issue.
2. Separating joins
The first stage of a failed join, where there is evidence of the joins coming apart, but they are not yet totally failed. The ‘back yard’ solution is often to fill these with infill to give the appearance of a correct surface, but this will ultimately lead to further damage (and cost). The join needs to be fixed correctly on the spot, which is part of any good and responsible maintenance program.
3. Overuse in specific areas
Some areas will invariable get more use than others. The goal areas in football and AFL grounds are good examples. Likewise, the Penalty Spot in football often wears quickly. This should be replaced with a larger piece of turf and not ‘filled in’ to ‘cover up’ the problem. The image below is an example for this.
4. Uneven Infill
Perhaps the most critical purpose of fortnightly or monthly maintenance is to ensure that Infill sow constantly re-spread to ensurer an even coverage. The image below shows an area where there is too much infill, which invariably means another area has too little. The area with too much will feel spongy, while in areas with too little influx, the grass blades will bend, flattening (and this deadening) the surface. This is very difficult to fix.
So, while it’s not sexy, a regular maintenance program that addresses all the elements of a synthetic grass surface is critical to get an appropriate return on investment for the Capital that has been put into a field.
Tuff Group now has Maintenance Operations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. If you are unsure about the maintenance and life expectancy of your synthetic turf surface, contact our Signature Care Maintenance Team. They will come and inspect the facility, give you their view and then suggest a program. There’s no obligation and you have nothing to lose, except years of use of your surface if you do nothing!