Can Artificial Turf Cause Damp?

The last thing any of us want is a damp turf in our outdoor haven, making what was once a cozy retreat into a soggy disappointment. Nobody wants to lay down 

their picnic blanket or let their children play on a surface that feels perpetually damp.

I’m sure you have experienced that unsettling feeling of stepping onto a supposedly dry patch of artificial grass, only to find it unnervingly damp beneath your feet. I did, too. The promise of a low-maintenance, evergreen lawn can quickly lose its charm when dampness becomes an unwelcome companion, raising questions about the very essence of artificial grass itself.

I did a lot of research on this to get to the bottom of whether artificial grass has the potential to cause dampness in our cherished outdoor spaces. Read on and I will share what I found out.

Also Read – Can I Lay Artificial Grass on Soil or Sand?

What causes fake grass to get damp?

Fake grass is prone to retaining moisture for a few reasons:

  • Lack of proper drainage – Artificial turf needs a drainage system underneath to channel away water. Without it, moisture just pools on top of the plastic backing with nowhere to go. 
  • Heavy rainfall or overflow – Extreme weather or excessive runoff from adjacent areas that collects on turf can lead to temporary dampness. This is especially common in low-lying sections.
  • Overwatering – Overzealous irrigation and sprinkler systems depositing more water than the turf can handle causes avoidable dampness.
  • Shaded areas– Grass in full shade rarely dries out since sunlight is not helping evaporate the moisture away.
  • High water table – Nearby soil with high water tables can increase dampness through the ground below which makes artificial grass prone to excessive moisture.

Why dampness causes problems

Artificial grass is meant to look lush, green, and healthy. Excess moisture in the turf can cause some unfortunate side effects:

  • Mold and mildew growth – Wet grass blades allow mold, mildew and algae to take root, creating dark, unhealthy patches.
  • Odors– Dampness also makes artificial turf prone to mildew smells and bacterial buildup that causes unpleasant odors.
  • Mosquito breeding grounds – Stagnant water creates ideal mosquito breeding conditions. This allows larvae to hatch and multiply.
  • Pet urine smells – The inability to drain urine keeps the smell of ammonia lingering, especially in pet areas.
  • Saturation – Continual moisture softens the ground underneath until sections sink into the mud. Damp turf pulls up easily.

Preventing artificial turf dampness

Don’t tolerate a damp swamp lawn. You can take proactive steps to avoid moisture issues on your synthetic turf:

  • Install drainage– This keeps water flowing through permeable gravel and pipes underneath instead of pooling on top.
  • Choose permeable backing – Let the water drain through the turf backing to the ground below.
  • Sun exposure  – Allow sunlight to dry out your grass by trimming back trees and shrubs.
  • Slope away from structures – Grade your lawn so water runs off instead of collecting around your house.
  • Use fans to increase airflow – Set up breezy fans to encourage moisture evaporation.
  • Treat mold/mildew – At first signs of mildew, treat with antimicrobial sprays containing chlorine bleach.

Signs your artificial turf is too damp

Watch for these visible indicators that moisture levels are too high on your synthetic grass:

  • Spongy feel – Wet, compressed areas that feel saturated and springy underfoot.
  • Darker grass – Mildew and moisture causes the green color to look darker and compromised.
  • Matted flat spots  – Continual dampness makes grass blades clump together into flattened, tangled mats.
  • Puddling – Standing water that lingers on the surface signals drainage issues.
  • Visible mold – If you see fuzzy mildew colonies growing, you have a dampness issue.

When to call synthetic turf professionals

If you can’t get the dampness under control, get professional help:

  • Installing drainage systems for soggy sites lacking runoff.
  • Replacing sections that are deteriorated beyond repair from moisture damage.
  • Removing turf altogether if the spot just can’t support synthetic grass. Time for a new plan!
  • Figuring out drainage for problematic spots that just won’t dry out.

Long-term solutions for chronically damp spots

For areas prone to continual moisture problems, more intense solutions may be needed:

  • Upgrade drainage – Expanding drainage pipes or catch basins may be required in soggy spots.
  • Punch holes in backing – Improve permeability by aerating it.
  • Replace sections – Swap out chronically soggy patches if they don’t improve.
  • Consider hybrid turf – Part artificial, part natural grass may handle moisture better.
  • Convert to hardscape – Gravel, pavers, or decking may be a better solution than turf.

Also Read – The Impact of Artificial Grass on Local Wildlife: Exploring how synthetic turf interacts with Ireland’s native fauna

In closing

To avoid dampness that can ruin artificial grass, ensure proper drainage and sunlight exposure. Monitor for excessive moisture and treat mildew at first appearance. For chronically wet areas, work with synthetic grass pros to improve drainage or install a more suitable alternative. With some diligent preventive care, you can enjoy lush, verdant artificial turf for years to come.

Monitor for excessive moisture and treat mildew at first appearance. For chronically wet areas, work with synthetic grass pros to improve drainage or install a more suitable alternative. Damp artificial grass can lead to extensive problems so you need to have diligent preventive care to enjoy your artificial turf for years to come.