Last Updated on July 3, 2024 by ReTurf

Artificial turf is a versatile and low-maintenance option for decking. Whether you have a deck made from plywood, pressure-treated lumber, cedar planking, or composite materials, adding artificial turf can create a comfortable, attractive outdoor space. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process and get started on installing artificial turf on your deck.

  1. Choosing the Right Turf

When selecting artificial turf for your deck, it’s essential to opt for a high-quality, heat-resistant product. Decks, especially those exposed to direct sunlight, can get extremely hot. A heat-resistant turf will ensure that the surface remains cool and comfortable underfoot, even during the peak of summer. Look for turf with UV stabilization to prevent fading and deterioration over time.

  1. Preparing the Deck Surface

The first step in the installation process is to prepare your deck surface. This involves cleaning and inspecting the deck to ensure it’s in good condition. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clean the Deck: Remove any dirt, debris, and loose materials. Use a pressure washer if necessary, but be careful not to damage the deck surface.
  2. Inspect for Damage: Check for any signs of rot, mold, or damage. This is particularly important for wooden decks like those made of pressure-treated lumber, cedar planking, or plywood. Repair any damaged areas to ensure a smooth and stable surface.
  3. Smooth the Surface: Ensure the deck surface is as smooth as possible. Sand down any rough spots or uneven areas. For composite decks, this step may not be necessary as they typically have a smooth surface already.
  1. Applying a Sub-Base (Optional)

Depending on your deck’s condition and the type of artificial turf you choose, you may need to install a sub-base. This layer helps with drainage and provides additional cushioning. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Install a Foam Underlay: If your deck surface is uneven or if you want extra cushioning, consider installing a foam underlay. This will provide a soft, comfortable base for the turf.
  2. Add a Drainage Layer: For decks that tend to hold water, a drainage layer is essential. This could be a layer of crushed stone or a specialized drainage mat that allows water to pass through and prevents pooling.
  1. Measuring and Cutting the Turf

Accurate measurements are crucial for a seamless installation. Measure the dimensions of your deck carefully, including any protrusions or obstacles like railings and posts. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Measure the Deck: Use a tape measure to determine the length and width of the deck. Account for any irregular shapes or cutouts.
  2. Cut the Turf: Roll out the artificial turf on a flat surface and use a utility knife to cut it to the measured dimensions. Make sure to leave a few extra inches on all sides to ensure a precise fit.
  3. Dry Fit the Turf: Lay the cut turf pieces on the deck to ensure they fit correctly. Adjust as needed before proceeding with the installation.

  1. Securing the Turf

Once you have the turf cut to size and properly positioned, it’s time to secure it to the deck. This step ensures that the turf stays in place and looks neat. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply Adhesive: Use a high-quality outdoor adhesive designed for artificial turf. Apply the adhesive in a zigzag pattern across the deck surface.
  2. Lay the Turf: Carefully place the turf onto the adhesive, starting from one end and working your way to the other. Press down firmly to ensure good contact between the turf and the adhesive.
  3. Secure the Edges: Use galvanized nails or staples to secure the edges of the turf. Place them every 6-8 inches to ensure the turf stays in place. For composite decks, you might need to use a different type of fastener designed for composite materials.
  4. Seam the Pieces: If your deck is larger than a single roll of turf, you will need to seam multiple pieces together. Use seam tape and adhesive to join the edges, ensuring the fibers blend seamlessly.
  1. Finishing Touches

After securing the turf, there are a few final steps to complete the installation:

  1. Trim the Edges: Use a utility knife to trim any excess turf around the edges. Make sure the edges are neat and flush with the deck.
  2. Brush the Turf: Use a stiff-bristled broom to brush the turf fibers. This helps to lift the fibers and gives the turf a more natural look.
  3. Add Infill (Optional): Depending on the type of artificial turf you’ve chosen, you may need to add an infill material. This could be sand, rubber, or another type of infill that helps to support the turf fibers and improve drainage.
  4. Water the Turf: Lightly water the turf to help settle the infill and remove any dust or debris.

Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your artificial turf deck is relatively easy, but there are a few key steps to keep it looking great:

  • Regular Cleaning: Sweep or rinse the turf regularly to remove debris. For a deeper clean, you can use a mild soap and water solution.
  • Check for Damage: Periodically inspect the turf for any signs of wear or damage. Repair any loose edges or seams promptly.
  • Protect from Heat: Even though you’ve chosen a heat-resistant turf, it’s still a good idea to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day to prolong the life of the turf.
  • Avoid Heavy Loads: While artificial turf is durable, avoid placing extremely heavy objects on it, as this can cause indentations and damage.

Installing artificial turf on your deck can transform it into a comfortable and attractive outdoor space. By choosing a high-quality, heat-resistant turf and following these detailed steps, you can achieve a professional installation that will last for years. Whether your deck is made of plywood, pressure-treated lumber, cedar planking, or composite materials, this guide provides all the information you need to get started. With a little effort and attention to detail, you’ll have a beautiful, low-maintenance deck that you can enjoy year-round.