Things to Know Before Deciding to Replace Your Field
Every field has a lifespan. Even the highest quality turf will eventually wear down as a result of frequent contact with cleats, sporting equipment, and more. One of the advantages of products like AstroTurf compared to living grass is that its lifespan is not dependent on water, rain, or other elements. But over time, that turf will slowly start to break down, and it may become time to replace the field.
What Are the Signs Your Field Needs Replacement?
Turf does not need to be replaced often. Most are warrantied for somewhere between 5 and 10 years, and in most cases, it is expected to last as many as 10 to 15 years or more, though for athletic fields it tends to be closer to 10 years as a result of wear and tear.
The good news is that the signs that your turf needs replacement tend to occur gradually. Some potential signs include:
- Shedding of turf fibers upon impact.
- Visible aging of the field, with color fading.
- Loose or worn turf inlays.
If there is also sand, rubber, or other infill materials gathering upon the edges, that may also be a sign that the turf is nearing time for a replacement.
The purpose of turf replacement is safety. If there are conditions on the field that seem unsafe or are requiring more frequent repairs and maintenance in order to remain safe, it is time to consider replacing the field with new turf.
Additional Considerations Before Field Replacement
Safety is the primary goal of replacing a field. But there may be other considerations that you may need to make. These include:
- Warranty – Is the turf still under warranty and would it qualify for replacement?
- Time – It takes at least a month to replace a field, during which time it could not be used.
- Cost – Astroturf is expected to cost far less than grass after only a few years but does have a higher initial cost.
Taking these into consideration is important, and may affect your schedule when it comes to determining the best time to replace your AstroTurf.
Tips to Save Time and Money When Replacing Your Turf
Replacing artificial turf can be expensive, though the cost is usually less than the initial install assuming the base is still intact. Still, there may be ways that you can save money depending on the type and size of the project. For example:
- Reuse for Old Turf – Some companies charge for turf removal and disposal. But other companies may reduce the cost of your install or take the old turf for free to use it for less aesthetic projects, such as children’s playgrounds. Obtain a Consultation for Maintenance/Repair – Not all turf needs to be replaced, even as it starts to age. Some may simply need small spot repairs or may benefit from trained field maintenance teams, extending the life of your field and giving you more time to save.
- Reuse Infill – You may be able to reuse some of the infill from your prior artificial turf installation, thus saving you money on material costs.
Installation speed is at the mercy of the company that installs the replacement turf. But you may be able to some time by assisting in turf removal, or removing any debris on the field, or ensuring that the base is in good shape. The most common delays occur when there is a problem with the base.
Manage Costs and Start Early with Your Field Replacement
The cost of field replacement is usually about $5.00 per square foot for quality turf, which is generally less than most schools paid during the initial install. You should also set aside some of your budget for subbase contingencies and repair.
But once you’ve determined that your field does require replacement, moving forward is better for the safety of your players, the appearance of the field, and the purity of the sport. If you also start early in the offseason – at least 45 days prior to the first major sporting events, if possible – your project should be completed long before the first kickoff, jump, or bat swing.
Replacing a field is an important part of running a successful athletics program. But it is a major expense. If you have questions about field replacement or want to learn more about the various artificial turf products and service options, click here to schedule a consultation.