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Artificial Lawn Problem

Hi everyone, this is my first post. I'm not a gardener or landscaper, but I have 3/4 acre, with about 1000m2 of newly laid artificial grass.

I'm very concerned about the finished job. There are 2 area of lawn. A flat area of around 350m2, and an area of 650m2 on a slope.

The grass is a high quality product called Perfection from Hitech. It is  40mm in length.

With the areas in question there are 7 or 8 joins in each area. Almost all are 4m wide. There are no cross joins.

I have a few concerns.

The first is the joins, which are still visible after 6 weeks.

Second, there are lines going across some of the widths, that LOOK like cross joins, athough they are not.

Next is the grass just lies flat, even with just the weight of a ball. It does not bounce back.

There are lumps and bumps here and there, where either the ground was not levelled properly, or as I have noticed in others, sand has spilled and become compacted.

Lastly, we had a very heavy storm about 17 days ago. An overflow from our drains backed up onto the garden. There was a small amount of sewage involved, mostly underneath the grass. A landslip occurred, causing a gash in the sand underneath of around 6 inches in width, running the full length of one of the strips approx 10 yards. The contractor was told before hand about the position of the overflow. I told them not to fit up to it. They ignored this and fitted over it. It looked fine. The pipe had overflowed once before about 7 years ago, due to sanitary products being flushed down a loo in a secondary building which has a saniflo installed. The problem this time was just sheer volume of water that the drains couldn't cope with.

I bought the grass direct, as I was able to negotiate a better price than the contractor, the contractor was happy with that. He has been paid 85% of his fee even although I was only contracted to pay 50% after groundwork, and 50% on completion. He subcontracted the grass fitting to a guy who will not return calls. Thankfully he hasn't paid him.

My main argument with the contractor is that the joins are very visible. He says they will fade. I'm not so sure. No power brushes were used on the grass before or after the install. He used half of the sand recommended by the manufacturer. He added some more to the flat area and then power brushed it, but the improvement is minimal. I  myself have now bought a power brush, but will not use it until this guy comes back and says the job is complete.

The lines that look like cross joins; until I'm satisfied that the job has been installed correctly, I can't really say if there is an issue with manufacturing. I suspect there is still not enough sand on the job, but I don't know.

I'm trying to learn as much as possible about installing this product, but there are various ideas.

So,

1. Should I see joins? If so, how noticeable? Will they go away? If so, when?

2. Should the grass spring back immediately from the weight of a ball, or a dogs toy, or a garden hose?

3. Does anyone know of anyone in the west of scotland who could come and give me a straight forward unbiased opinion on the standard of the job, and of the grass?

Your help would be so appreciated, and help me take this forward.

The contractor is a proper landscape gardener, recommended by my previous gardener.

Thank you

Paul

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Replies

  • PRO

    Do you have any photos of the project? It might be easier to evaluate the work if so

    • Yes, I have pictures shortly after the installers stopped showing up, and I've taken a few just now for comparison. Bear with me please and I'll upload.

    • I've uploaded images. the caption tells you the date and the subject. The May shots were shot late on a dry overcast evening. todays shots were taken on a cloudy wettish afternoon. Hope this helps.

      • PRO

        Paul, do you know what technique was used by your particular contractor to seam the joints or did you see what method was used by them during installation?

        The industry standard width of artificial turf roll is either 2m or 4m

        The seam is always a tricky part of installation but nonetheless it should be hidden in most cases unless something abnormal has occurred. The normal method of joint seal would be seal tape laid under the join, strong approved adhesive applied and the two halves then laid carefully back down together ensuring no glue was squeezed back onto the visible grass. Ideally pressure should then be applied for as long as possible to get good contact. The two halves should be placed tightly together before this process. As an extra, 'hidden' galvanised nails could also be fixed along the line to hold it in place but this might not be undertaken if it is an area to be used by small children for play..

        If the two edges have not been pulled together tightly this might cause a line to appear.

        If the seam was fixed and then the grass was stretched or pulled to tight this could also make the seam appear.

        What can you see when you examine the seams of your grass?

        I don't think the seam lines will disappear unfortunately.

        I'm not sure what the cross lines are if they're not seams (and they shouldn't be) unless the grass has spent quite sometime folded off the roll?

        40mm is a tall pile so it might be that it will lay flat when pressed, the manufacturer should be able to help with information on this if it is a characteristic of that particular turf, I don't think your contractor could be at any fault for this element.

        Steve

        • Hi Steve, I supplied the glue and tape, which in turn came from the manufacturer. The correct materials were used. However, randomly, I've tested a few of the joints and they have simply come apart. It looked like either a lack of adhesive, or the adhesive had dried before the seams were dropped onto it. I've seen that happen with flooring adhesives a million years ago. Some had to be stuck straight away, others you had to give the adhesive 15 mins or so to go off. I watched an installation video from Lazylawn I think. They didn't use a special applicator, choosing to apply straight from the nozzle. From what I can see in some areas it hasn't been effective. No nails can be used due to dog and kids.

          Re tightness, they were using a carpet kicker at certain points. I've now learned the grass is more likely to shrink than stretch, and this worries me.

          On examination, the seam varies in width, certainly wider on certain stretches than the 2mm-3mm recommended by some.

          Steve, you say the seams may not disappear, my real question is how noticeable should they be, if at all?

          This is key. I need to now if I'm being fussy. I have nothing to judge my installation against, which is why the feedback I get here is key. The infuriating thing is no one mentioned seeing joins. If I had known that seams are impossible to hide, I would have laid 2m widths with the grain running opposite alternately, to give the old fashioned striped lawn look .I was told that I could get cheaper quotes, but this work would be the best. I'm now tearing my hair out.

          Re the storage of the rolls. They came direct from the manufacturer in Holland, and were rolled out, cut, rerolled then manhandled with an oversized bogey to the work area. I bought a Stihl power brusher. The closest I could get to getting rid of the cross lines was by actually brushing across the grain! Going with or against the grain did not seem to help. I haven't brushed the whole areas, as I was waiting for the installer to come back to us. He won't even talk to the contractor. He may be ill or something, but he is not returning calls or messages.

          Re the manufacturer. They will not talk to me. Hitech , the agent, were sent the same pictures from May that I posted here.

          They said, " can see your concerns and having spent spent so much money I understand your frustration.
          Firstly I can only tell you my opinion as its what I can see from picture, and secondly I think it unfair to be critical of someone else's work from whom I don't know.

          Condor are a manufacturer, problems with product, ie faults, specification questions etc, fitting details are purely down to the installer.

          There is no correct way how to install artificial turf or real guidelines, as its a relatively new domestic used lawn product in this country so like a lot of trades it is purely down to the installer to sell a product and install it how he or she feels confidant to do so.

          My opinion from the pictures I see is the joints are new as we know but as before I maintain that if the joint width is not wide or close then with a little time and use weather etc. they will disappear. Time (weeks) will tell."

          Suffice to say that the installer is a good customer of hitech, and they don't want to say anything.

          Steve, who would you go to for arbitration over a dispute?

          Thanks

          Paul

          • PRO

            Paul, did you have a contract set up between you and your landscape gardener? If so you need to analyse that closely to see what the wording was with regards to the grass. Your contract I would say is between you and the landscaper unless you had a seperate agreement outside of the contract with the turf fitter. If your landscaper agreed to undertake all the work then he might well be responsible for the 'whole' work regardless of whether he sub-contracted the grass to another party. The consumer law allows you to ask your landscaper to take the opportunity to put right any work which you feel is below standard or not to contract. If he refuses you could approach Trading Standards for advice or assistance/arbitration. However, through all this to go further you should take legal advice from a law professional. Your target unfortunately is your landscaper and his target in turn should be his sub-contractor.

            The Manufacturers should hold their heads in shame by not taking a more positive approach towards a customer who has quite clearly invested a lot of money in their product.

            (Please note I do have a legal knowledge background but I am not a qualified solicitor)

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