What Are the Signs of an Aging Synthetic Turf Field?

It’s estimated that today’s synthetic turf fields on average will see a lifespan of 10 to 12 years, due to technological advancements and the development of annual maintenance programs. With that said, barring an act of nature, your field should be able to last eight years on its own. But, like any repeatedly used product, there will come a time where signs of aging will start to appear. In order to keep your field in optimal condition and be proactive in your replacement planning, you must be on the lookout for these potentially telling signs:

  1. Loose Seams: Loose seams can occur in any location where two synthetic turf panels come together. Since your field is made up of a series of many turf panels (generally 15ft in width), this could happen in different areas across your surface as it ages.
  2. Torn Inlays: Torn inlays, depending on your synthetic turf provider’s installation methods, are traditionally seen any place on your field where letters, numbers, logos, field markings or hash marks are present.
  3. Reduction of Infill Levels: With hours of continued play and exposure to the elements, your field is likely to see a reduction in its infill level over time. This is most common in high-use areas like lacrosse creases, penalty kicks, goalmouths and batter’s boxes. Low infill levels, if not addressed, can lead to fiber degradation.
  4. Fiber Degradation/Worn Turf: Fiber degradation or worn turf is frequently seen in areas where infill levels are low causing more of the fiber to be exposed and potentially compromised. As your field ages so do the fibers, and over time those fibers can begin to weaken and eventually, break down.
  5. GMAX Results: GMAX testing, perhaps the most revealing measurement, can determine your field’s impact attenuation. According to the United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (UPSC), a GMAX rating greater than 200 can significantly increase the risk of serious injury. Suggesting that anything over 200 could yield injury and should be remediated or in some cases, replaced. Although the Synthetic Turf Council (STC), the leading industry voice, states that <165 is the ideal performance standard.

It is important to note that not all of these signs listed above are definite indicators that your field is aging, or nearing its end-of-life. But, they are in fact a good reason to contact your provider and schedule a field assessment combined with a GMAX test (recommended as an annual best practice). During that assessment, your provider can help determine what items can be effectively repaired and those that may require a more invasive solution.

If you have questions regarding your aging synthetic turf field or would like to schedule a field assessment, feel free to contact us today at info@themotzgroup.com.