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Deciding to spend a million bucks on an artificial turf project is a big decision for schools and sports facilities. The project involves hours of meetings, discussions, and research. Early on, a determination is probably made that a project manager, or more likely, an architect with previous artificial turf project installation experience will be required to complete the project. Plus, including maintenance equipment in the overall bid proposal is just wrong. Bid out the artificial turf equipment separately and save money!

Artificial Turf Project Equipment Selection

Artificial turf looks great visually. However, the work that goes into a fields installation is grueling and complicated. Aspects like the drainage system under the surface requires industry experts. A massive project like installing artificial turf comes with many challenges and a million dollar price tag to match.

Often, the project is so focused on completion, that spending the time to choose the proper artificial turf maintenance equipment seems unnecessary or silly. It’s not, and today we’d love to talk about why. Picking the right maintenance equipment for your unique turf needs is crucial. With so many options out there, it is important to know what you are getting. Letting an architect, construction company, or turf installation company choose your maintenance equipment can take years away from the life of your turf field. Here are some thing to consider before buying synthetic turf maintenance equipment.

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Synthetic turf installation at Wrigley Field.

Letting an Architect Select Turf Equipment

Architects are often asked to provide a project scope with cost for the entire artificial turf project. Architects should not include equipment cost as part of the grand total bid amount but separate the equipment cost separately.  Sometimes the goal of an architect is to quote the lowest cost to schools or facilities installing artificial turf. When this is the case, architects have a reason to ignore the need for maintenance equipment or to simply choose the least expensive equipment they can find. Neither is good for the longevity for your artificial turf. Chances are, architects have never seen artificial turf maintenance equipment and have no knowledge of how the equipment works. Do not let an architect choose what will become a vital part of your large investment in your artificial turf field.

Construction Companies that Make Turf Equipment

Artificial turf installation companies are a great source of information when it comes to knowing who is using what artificial turf maintenance equipment. If the discussion turns to their own proprietary equipment, proceed with caution. When construction companies begin selling their own turf maintenance equipment it is usually because they have worked with enough architects that will include their equipment in the bid proposal. Construction companies who manufacture their own artificial turf maintenance equipment should focus on the construction aspect of the project and not the research and development needed to produce top quality equipment. Are construction companies willing to back up their equipment with parts?  This is a great questions to ask construction companies who sell their own equipment.

Artificial Turf Manufacturers with Equipment

Artificial turf manufacturers should focus their skill set on the turf itself and not be part of proper maintenance equipment choice. Looking back ten years or so, most artificial turf fields were presented and sold to facilities with a strong  “No Maintenance Needed”  sales approach. It was a voiced concerned by facility operators that turf maintenance is needed on artificial turf after all the turf projects around the world were installed. Turf manufacturers eventually had no choice but to concede to the need for turf maintenance and now promote the idea. Many turf manufacturers now also produce their own equipment.

False Red Flags Provided by Artificial Turf Manufacturers

When turf manufacturers suggest certain types of maintenance equipment might cause issues with the turf warranty, be wary. This scare tactic of voiding warranties of your turf should raise a red flag for you.  Do your research; evaluate only artificial turf maintenance equipment manufactured specifically for artificial turf (hint GreensGroomer WorldWide Equipment). Turf manufacturers do this as a scare tactic so they can weed out the competition and sell their own proprietary equipment. Always research the maintenance equipment the turf manufacturer is recommending.

 

Thinking About Your Artificial Turf Project Needs?

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There is no question that proper maintenance adds years to the life of your turf.  Your artificial turf project is usually a minimum of a million dollar investment that should supply 8-10 years of use. Spending $20, 000 (just using an easy rounded number) on quality artificial turf maintenance equipment is only 2% of the total cost. By spending $20, 000 on maintenance equipment now, you might extend the life of your artificial turf. Like cars, properly maintained artificial turf will have a longer useful life when properly maintained. An investment in quality equipment is a very smart financial decision.

How to Research Equipment

Finding quality artificial turf maintenance equipment requires research, and we believe the person(s) who will be operating the turf equipment be part of the product decision. Talk to other facilities that use equipment and see what they like and dislike about the equipment they’ve already purchased. Make calls to companies that sell artificial turf maintenance equipment and ask lots of questions. If you don’t know what questions to ask be upfront as this will help the conversation. Education on proper equipment for artificial turf is very important.

Questions to Ask Artificial Turf Maintenance Equipment Companies

  1. Do you manufacture the equipment?
  2. What are the makes, models, and special features of each piece?
  3. Are warranties provided on your turf maintenance equipment?
  4. How easy is it to get replacement parts for your equipment?
  5. Do you rebrand other equipment as your own?
  6. Is your equipment Made in the USA?

Questions to Ask About Your Equipment Needs

  1. How many pieces of turf maintenance equipment do we need?
  2. What do we need for weekly grooming?
  3. How will we deal with embedded metal like screws and bobby pins?
  4. How will we deal with compaction issues with the infill?
  5. Will foreign debris be an issue on the field?
  6. How are will we protect athletes against harmful bacteria?

Sports Turf NW Offers Advice and Answers About Your Artificial Turf Project Needs

Artificial turf maintenance equipment is crucial to every artificial turf project.  It is important to know what turf maintenance equipment you are getting and why.  We stand firmly behind the idea that you should not let an architect, construction company, or turf manufacturer tell you what turf maintenance equipment to buy.  Doing your own research will ensure that you get the most benefit for your money.  Prolong the investment you are making to switch to artificial turf. Ask as many questions as it takes. Be certain your investment in quality turf maintenance equipment is the proper decision.

Sports Turf NW is here to answer questions and offer advice about artificial turf equipment. We also offer a full selection of artificial turf maintenance equipment including the 926 Integrated Synthetic Sports Turf Groomer, 760 LitterKat Turf Sweeper, and 850 GreenZapr Field Sterilizer. We’d love to discuss your artificial turf project and what equipment you need.

Photo 1 By User RMelon on en.wikipedia (From en.wikipedia; description page is (was) here) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo 2 By Adam Haworth (Turf Moor) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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