What is the difference between woven, tufted and needlepunch surfaces?
Our factory has the ability to manufacture sports surfacing using 3 different manufacturing processes; woven, needlepunch and tufted with each process offering its own unique benefits. Woven is a flat, streamlined surface with a non-directional pile and no infill, ideal for sports that rely on a true ball roll and bounce such as bowls and cricket. Tufted has a longer pile height and is more recognizable as imitating a natural grass look, ideal for large ball sports that require a natural grass and shock absorption, from the combination of sand and rubber infill, for the players. Needlepunch carpet is made in a traditional manner but with fibre that is for outdoor use and sand dressed to increase robustness and wear-ability to take continued use and is ideal to take a number of different sports and let them be played upon the one surface.
How are synthetic surfaces made?
Each type of surfaces is manufactured in a different way:
Woven carpet is manufactured in one process, interlacing two sets of threads namely the warp, at the same time the pile is trapped between the backing yarns with the weft. The yarn is then cut into either a U or a J shaped tuft. Woven products give a higher tuft density than a tufted carpet, though the pile height can only be manufactured to a maximum of 18mm. Needlepunch construction starts with polypropylene staple fibres being placed into a machine at the exact pile weight required. They are combed into line through a carding machine layering the fibres in one direction, then into a needling loom which interlocks the coarser denier fibre creating a flat carpet. This is then placed on a structure machine which designs the required pile design and height specification.
Tufted carpets are created by needling the fibre into a pre-formed primary backing cloth creating a loop which is cut into a U shape by a looper. A secondary backing in the form of latex is then applied, to increase porosity holes are punched into the carpet. On longer pile tufted carpets a pre-formed fleece backing is used which increases tuft retention. Tufted carpets offer sand dressed, sand filled or sand and rubber filled surfaces. Polypropylene, polyethylene along with nylon can be used and you can achieve up to 70mm pile height
Is synthetic carpet maintenance free?
Synthetic carpet is not maintenance free, all artificial surfaces require regular maintenance to ensure longer life expectancy. The absolute minimum requirements are weekly brushing and sand levels must be kept to specification at all times. To see the kind of maintenance regime that Playrite would recommend click here (/installation-maintenance)
What is the life span of a synthetic pitch?
With good maintenance you would expect a full size pitch to last around 10 years and this also applies to tennis courts. Multi sports areas less than 200m² will experience extensive wear greater than a full sized pitch and contingencies should be in place to replace after 7 years.
Can I install a Playrite surface myself, if not can you recommend an installer?
At Playrite we would always recommend that you use a professional installer. On the Installation and Maintenance page you can view our installation animations to give an idea of how our sports pitches, tennis courts and playground safety surfaces are laid. Depending on your location we would be happy to recommend an installer who has previous experience working with Playrite products.
What is 3G?
3G is a long pile tufted carpet that has rubber and sand infill, predominantly for football, although some 40mm carpets pass the performance standard for hockey. Whilst 3G is the ideal surface for football and rugby, when it comes to a multi-sport surface, needlepunch is the preferred surface of choice. For more information you can read more about Playrite’s 3G surface Conqueror here.
What is AstroTurf?
Astroturf is a brand name for a type of artificial grass just like the name “Hoover”. To generalise, Astroturf should be called artificial grass, 3G or synthetic grass/carpet.
Can you play all sports on all surfaces?
This depends on the surface. Some surfaces are specially designed to suit specific sports where as other products are created to suit multiple different sports. When it comes to sports specific surfaces most sports governing bodies carry their own performance standards which are often required when facilitating full size pitch installations and therefore guidelines must be set. Also if the sport’s governing body is providing a high proportion of the funding they will generally stipulate their performance standards must be met.
If no sports’ governing funding has been provided and the venue is private, the design consultant can create their own performance standards based on the client’s needs. Other various standards are the FIFA 1 and 2 Star for football globally, as an alternative there is IATS standard for soccer which is an equivalent test to FIFA 1 Star standards. The International Federation for hockey (FIH) have independent performance standards, along with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) who have their recognised surfaces based on pace of ball speeds for tennis. These standards are generally approved with independent in-house laboratory tests and then endorsed by the relevant governing bodies, who may request on site testing after each individual completed installation.
Can you explain the company accreditations?
There are a number of different surfacing/company accreditations that you will need to be aware of when choosing the correct surface:
BS EN13550 – this is the standards set out for synthetic turf and needlepunch surfacing for outdoor use.
ISO9001 is an organisations quality certificate
ISO14001 is an organisations environmental management certificate
Which surface is best to install for a tennis court that occasionally floods?
The answer can depend on what kind of flooding the courts experience, and whether it is high risk or just infrequent flooding. Court flooding can come from above the surface or below but in either case I would recommend something like needlepunch product Matchplay 2 as it is a scrim reinforced product which acts as a filter to help protect contamination in the sub-base and top layer.
In terms of installation, we do have recommended contractors across the UK who are experienced in using Playrite products and we’d be happy to give you their contact details. Alternatively this animation should give you an idea of how a normal tennis court installation is carried out.
However, if the area is a high flood risk we sometimes recommend that the artificial courts are fully bonded to the surface, to reduce the risk of surface movement. Either way, feel free to contact us if you would like any further information or to arrange a no obligation site visit
Which lasts longer tufted or needlepunch?
When comparing similar low piled and low sand content surfaces, I would say that due to needlepunch products having a fully integrated pile and backing I would expect a needlepunch surface to be more hard wearing than a tufted.
To find out more about any of our Artificial Surfaces call 01924 412488 or click here to contact us.