Last Updated on February 24, 2023 by ReTurf

Artificial turf has revolutionized the way we think about outdoor spaces. It’s become a popular alternative to natural grass for everything from sports fields, to luxurious residential lawns, to commercial landscaping.

While a large part of its growing popularity is due to its low maintenance and cost-effectiveness, the materials used to make the turf blades have a significant impact on its overall quality and durability.

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of synthetic grass, exploring the different materials used for artificial grass blades. We’ll uncover what makes each material unique, and how it contributes to the overall performance of the artificial turf.

If you’ve ever wondered about the differences between nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene turf, this is the guide for you.

Join us as we explore the various strengths and weaknesses of these materials, and discover how combining them can create a turf that is beautiful, durable, low-cost, low-maintenance, and comfortable to play on.

Common Materials Used in Artificial Turf Blades

Polyethylene Fibers

Polyethylene (PE) is both the newest and most common material used for artificial turf blades. It is known for its durability, resistance to wear and tear, and realistic appearance. The blades are also soft to the touch, making PE ideal for use in high-traffic areas such as sports fields and playgrounds. In addition, polyethylene fibers come in a wide range of colors, allowing for customization of the turf’s appearance to match the surrounding environment. It is also extremely moisture and odor-resistant, which is great for pet owners. Being softer than nylon, more durable than polypropylene, and more realistic looking than either makes PE turf suitable for a variety of turf applications.

Polypropylene Fibers

Polypropylene (PP) is a general name for a group of polymers used in the manufacture of artificial turf. PP’s advantages include its low cost and excellent heat resistance, making it suitable for use in outdoor areas with high sun exposure (as long as it is combined with UV-resistant polymers during the manufacturing process).

However, PP fibers are not as durable as PE fibers and are therefore not suitable for use in high-traffic areas. While it can be combined with other materials to increase its durability and UV resistance, polypropylene is commonly used in turf products that are not meant for extended use, like the fake grass mats and rolls from big box stores.

Nylon Fibers

Nylon has been used in synthetic turf for the longest out of these 3 materials, going all the way back to its early use in astro turf. It’s a very durable and resilient material, making it ideal for use in sports fields and other high-traffic areas that benefit from having the grass blades “spring back” to position without requiring as much brushing. It’s also even more heat resistant than PE.

Nylon is also resistant to ultraviolet rays, meaning it keeps its color very well when exposed to the sun. However, all the resilience comes at a price: nylon blades are less soft than PE or PP blades, which can make them less comfortable to play on. It’s also less moisture-resistant than other materials—not to mention it’s the most expensive material used to manufacture artificial grass blades.

Combining Materials

Some artificial turf manufacturers use a combination of different synthetic fibers to create turf that offers the best of both worlds. For example:

  • A combination of polyethylene and polypropylene fibers can create a turf that is more durable than PP and lower cost than pure PE.
  • A combination of polyethylene and nylon fibers can create a turf that is thick and soft to the touch while also being more heat-resistant and durable.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to consider the intended use of the artificial grass when choosing the right materials. Polyethylene is the most versatile option, while polypropylene is the lowest cost. And nylon, while the most expensive material, is ideal for increasing durability and creating turf with a thicker pile.

By combining different materials, manufacturers can create unique turf products that offer the best of both worlds.

Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance solution for your lawn, a durable surface for a sports field, or a creative landscaping solution, synthetic turf has a lot to offer. With the right combination of materials, it can be an attractive, long-lasting, and eco-friendly alternative to natural grass—especially if you elect to go with used artificial turf in your application.

Artificial turf isn’t just a practical solution for outdoor spaces; it is also a solution that allows for endless creative possibilities. With the ability to customize the color, texture, and pattern of the grass blades, it can be used to create stunning designs and bring a unique touch to any outdoor space. With the technology improving all the time, we can expect to see even more innovation in the development of synthetic grass materials in the future, particularly when it comes to recycling artificial turf.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to ReTURF if you have any questions about your artificial turf project. Our expert team can guide you in choosing the right turf for your project, while providing lower-cost and more environmentally-conscious solutions to your artificial grass needs. Give us a call at (828) 518-5787 or click here to get in touch with us.