How to Install Artificial Turf for Dogs
Mar 20, 2023 | Artificial Turf for Pets
Artificial turf can brighten any backyard and make it a fun place to play with your pets. With the right materials, preparation, and installation, you can have a landscape you and your pup love season after season. However, there are some key considerations to navigate with artificial turf for dogs, namely:
- Choosing turf with the right pile height (the length of the blade of artificial grass)
- Selecting turf, base, and infill that can handle liquid waste
- Securely installing turf so it can handle higher levels of foot traffic and recreation
This guide will address the above considerations while explaining how to install pet-friendly turf on dirt or concrete. We then answer some pet owners' most pressing questions about artificial turf.
How to Install Pet Turf on Dirt
With the proper installation process, you can cover your backyard with artificial turf that stays green throughout the seasons and doesn’t develop wrinkles or rips. But focusing on preparation and gathering suitable materials is essential.
After all, dirt can shift over time, absorb moisture, and expand or contract as the weather changes. If you want pet turf installed on dirt, professionals may be needed to prepare the surface to prevent any shifting and sinking.
That requires specific tools.
Pet Turf Tools
To secure the artificial turf, all installers will need:
DIYers and professionals differ in the tools they use to remove existing sod and soil and then level and compact the installation surface. If you're doing the job yourself, you can use manual tools like a:
- Hand push broom
Professional installers will use power tools and specialized equipment that makes the job much faster and ensures a more consistent installation, such as:
- Vibrating plate compactor
- Carpet kicker
- Drop spreader
- Power broom
Specialized tools and years of installation experience explain how best-in-class artificial turf installers can lay 500 square feet of turf per day.
Pet Turf Installation
Experienced installers can lay artificial turf over a dirt surface in seven steps:
- Remove the grass and four inches of the underlying soil.
- Pour Class II road base into the cavity and even it out until you have a layer three inches thick. Compact this layer down to create a solid, smooth surface for the turf. At this stage, some homeowners install weed blocker. However, do not install this material if you have a dog, as weed barriers can trap liquid waste, leading to odors.
- Roll out the turf across the prepared surface without letting it drag or form wrinkles. Ensure the stitch patterns for each roll are oriented in the same direction for a consistent appearance. Leave it to settle for 30 to 60 minutes, so the creases disappear.
- Cut the excess material away from the perimeter of your lawn, leaving approximately half an inch extra along the border. Join seams to each other using seam tape and turf glue.
- Tuck the edges of the turf down with a putty knife and lightly tap in turf nails every six inches along the perimeter and down the seams.
- Spread infill across the entire turf surface. Opt for Zeofill or Biltright’s Cool-Pet Blend instead of alternatives like crumb rubber — which can get too hot for your dog's feet — or silica sand — which will hold onto urine odors. Zeofill and Cool-Pet Blend are negatively charged turf deodorizers. Their molecular structure lets them absorb liquid waste and lock it in place without allowing ammonia to escape and generate smells.
- Use a broom to brush the turf and ensure the blades stand upright. Then, lightly water the grass to rinse away dust.
Class II road base is the best base material for artificial turf, especially for pet-friendly turf. This base layer provides a stable turf platform and good drainage.
The infill is almost as important as the base material when you have dogs. Zeofill and Cool-Pet Blend outperform other common infill materials by eliminating the ammonia and urine smells silica sand can hold onto and by keeping artificial turf up to 19° F cooler than crumb rubber. Installers just need one 50-pound bag per 30 square feet of turf.
However, ZeoFill may be too light on its own to keep your artificial grass blades standing up straight. That’s why we offer Biltright’s Cool-Pet Blend, specifically developed to keep pet paws safe from heat and eliminate odors while keeping your turf blades upright. It works just like ZeoFill, but has the weight needed to keep artificial grass blades looking realistic.
How to Install Pet Turf on Concrete
With today's options for high-quality artificial grass, turf glue, foam underlay, and infill, installing pet turf on concrete is relatively simple. The most important consideration for pet owners is drainage; choose high-performance underlay that can handle water and pet urine so odors never develop in your yard.
Professional installers use these six steps to install reliable pet turf on concrete:
- Thoroughly clean the concrete to remove dirt, weeds, and moss. This prepares the surface for adhesive later in the installation project.
- Drill drainage holes with a 16mm bit where the concrete is prone to puddling. Fill the holes with 10 mm shingle.
- Apply a foam underlayment that provides shock protection and good drainage. Cut the foam and lay it to ensure proper sizing. Then glue down the pieces.
- Cut out the artificial turf. Roll it out onto the foam and cut it to size. Then tape and glue the artificial turf joints.
- Spread glue along the entire perimeter without any gaps. Then, let the glue cure for several hours.
- Apply infill and brush the grass. The best infills for pet turf on concrete are ZeoFill and Cool-Pet Specialty Blend. These infills will keep the turf cooler and prevent urine odors.
Then you and your pet can enjoy the new turf without worrying about pet odors!
FAQs About Artificial Grass for Dogs
Installing pet-friendly turf comes with a lot of questions from dog owners. Here are some helpful answers to the most commonly asked questions:
Is Fake Grass Safe for Pets?
Yes! Pets can safely walk and play on fake grass. Using the correct infill instead of crumb rubber (which can hold onto heat) makes it safe for sensitive dog paws.
How Long Does Artificial Turf Last With Dogs?
New artificial turf can last up to 20 years with regular maintenance and proper installation. If there is no maintenance, lifespan shortens. In addition, high-quality installation makes all the difference in how long the turf will last. Using the right drainage solutions, underlayment, and infill also reduces foul odors.
What Maintenance Does Pet Turf Need?
When you have a dog, there are some steps you can take to maintain the appearance and hygiene of your artificial grass.
- Remove solid waste: Pick up any solid waste from the artificial grass as soon as possible to prevent odors and bacteria buildup. Use a plastic bag or a pooper scooper to dispose of it properly.
- Hose down the area: Rinse where your dog does it’s business. This will help remove any leftover solid or liquid waste from the grass while preventing unpleasant odors.
- Spot clean: If you notice any stains, use equal parts water and white vinegar to clean the area. Rinse with water after cleaning.
- Brush the grass: Brush the artificial grass regularly to keep it looking its best. This will help to keep the grass fibers upright and prevent matting.
What Is the Best Pile Height for Synthetic Turf for Dogs?
When you have pets, choosing the right pile height significantly affects the turf's longevity, appearance, and odor-repelling characteristics. We recommend selecting a pile height between 0.8 and 1.2 inches. This height will resist more damage.
How Do You Prevent Pet Turf From Smelling?
The best way to prevent pet turf from smelling is by using the right materials. Ensure good drainage with the right underlayment material or base layer. Don't install a weed barrier (which can retain liquid waste and smells). Use an infill like Zeofill or Cool-Pet Specialty Blend. Both are designed for pet turf and will eliminate ammonia-based urine smells.