Taishan Landscape Turf Installation Guidelines
Proper preparation is most essential for successful Taishan Turf installations, yielding many years of exceptional performance and beauty, eliminating the alternative of costly and time consuming watering, weeding, mowing, fertilizing and related sodding, seeding and irrigation maintenance. All of this doesn’t even begin to address the environmental and water conservation benefits of Taishan Turf.
Pre-Installation Site Inspection
Above we see a before and after shot of a slightly complex installation. Existing area layout and slope must be examined to identify potential drainage and installation problems that may be addressed during installation. An alternative to compacted rock sub-base is the application of one of our Drain sheet drain products, allowing proper drainage on high clay content or other soils compositions that cannot provide acceptable water absorption characteristics. Areas with curves or grass between stepping stones may require more time and expertise to install, due to potentially more complex seaming and final trimming than a simple squared off area, to enhance the long-term appearance and performance. However, to properly install Taishan Turf in many locations, it’s not an impossible task for someone without experience, as long as proper planning, execution, and adherence to procedures are executed.
Site Sub-Grade Preparation
Critical to achieving optimum results is proper site preparation, which includes sensitivity to those surrounding areas around the installation area, to leave the site looking as good, if not better, than it did prior to the installation. This might include the use of plywood boards over travel path areas where wheelbarrows or other traffic might otherwise potentially destroy existing landscape areas, leaving possible problems at the site beyond the scope of the lawn.
Perhaps the most critical preliminary issue at the beginning of a Taishan Turf installation is addressing any existing irrigation systems, by properly assessing current and future irrigation requirements, identifying the locations of those irrigation lines that will no longer be required, as well as the preservation of those that are still needed. This may require the services of a qualified irrigation specialist to assure the irrigation system will continue to maintain the proper performance after the Taishan Turf installation has been completed.
Installation Preparation – Turf Removal
Once the irrigation system has been addressed, it’s time to remove the existing grass. While it’s possible that there will be Taishan Turf installations where grass isn’t present, it’s more common that a person is replacing their current lawn.
Flat-headed shovels work best for slicing through the lawn, removing the roots and enough dirt to allow proper Taishan Turf installation. On larger sites, gas-powered sod cutters are most effective. The thickness of sub-base rock or application of other drainage method will depend on the overall surface area, the slope of the site, and the drainage properties of the soil. Typically, at least 2-3 inches of soil depth should be removed, less if using Drain exclusively, more if using rock sub-base exclusively on slow-draining soil.
Installation of Drainage Sub-Base
A typically acceptable sub-base consists of either decomposed granite or rock, sized at 3/4 minus standard grade, and compacted to between 90% and 95% with a vibratory plate compactor, or other suitable method. The thickness required is based upon a number of considerations, including the site’s average rainfall, overall size and slope, soil drainage characteristics, and usage, among other things. This thickness may range from as little as 1' to 2' with or without Drain, to 5' or 6' that may be necessary to allow proper subsurface drainage. In addition, if the perimeter doesn’t allow for proper drainage, the installation of a French drain that can tie into existing sewage or other drain systems should be considered (please refer to Taishan Turf Engineering drawings).
If the intended use of the area includes a lot of direct human contact, dressing the top of the sub-base layer may be recommended. Suggested methods include compacting a thin layer of pea gravel, with or without sand mixed in; or, using smaller recycled concrete particles that break down during compaction, yielding a smooth final surface for Taishan Turf installation. Drain is intended to be placed directly on top of the rock sub-base, sometimes on just the highest elevation to avoid water pooling and allow evacuation. Make sure that there isn’t a step from the Drain to adjoining rock sub-base surface. Additionally, make sure that all non-drainage edges are sealed prior to the installation, utilizing proper tape, such as PVC tape, for seaming the Drain sections as well. When sealing the non-draining edges, make sure that the tape wraps all the way around, creating a sealed edge.
Installation of Geo-textile Fabric
While our Taishan Turf triple backing is very thick and resilient, the drainage holes could potentially allow weed seeds to blow through the holes and start growing in the sub-surface. That’s why we recommend using a durable landscaping fabric, that doubles as a weed blanket,immediately underneath the Taishan Turf (on top of the compacted sub-base). If using Drain, the landscape fabric isn’t required, as the sealed black PVC layer adequately prevents anything from growing up through it. When selecting the right landscaping fabric it is important to make sure that it remains fully permeable to allow for proper drainage through it, while preventing weeds from growing up through the fabric. Some are better than others, but the important issue is to overlap the sections to create a completely covered area where the Taishan Turf will be installed. Smaller areas between stepping stones are difficult, if not impossible, to apply weed blanket between.
Taishan Turf Layout and Seaming
Perhaps the most important step in the installation. Allowing a min. of 6' Taishan Turf around all dimensions helps to determine the size of Taishan Turf to cut for the installation. Provide enough material so that you don’t run short and excess to grab hold of when stretching the Taishan Turf during the installation. Obviously, a loose installation may generate a potential trip hazard, similar to carpeting as it relaxes slightly over time, depending on a number of issues. Lay out the sections of turf, with the direction of the Taishan Turf lying toward the primary viewing angle. While Taishan Turf looks good from all angles, the direction opposite the direction of the Taishan Turf will tend to reflect more sunlight. To assure a good seam, create a clean edge by trimming between the two rows closest the edge to be seamed, with a linoleum/vinyl flooring knife (many installers prefer the long point variety), after laying out the sections of Taishan Turf to assure the entire area will be covered.
There will be times when the seams are easy, and other installations where it requires a little more effort to reduce the amount of Taishan Turf waste for irregularly shaped areas. To the left we see an example where three sections of Taishan Turf are going to be seamed together, overlapping the two seam segments. Perhaps the most important aspect of an installation of Taishan Turf are the seams, which can be the weakest link if done improperly. Here it is important that the correct seam tape material and seam adhesive is used. Many may consider cutting corners on this step, which causes seam failures in far less time than the life expectancy of the synthetic turf. To avoid this, make sure that a suitable seam tape material such as ballistic nylon, like Cordura 1000D, with a minimum burst strength of 600, at a minimum of 10' width (we use 11' to 12' width). The adhesive we exclusively use and recommend is Nordot 34G adhesive, which especially formulated for the installation for synthetic turf. While this adhesive costs around $240 for a 5- gallon pail, and around $75 to ship that pail from the East Coast, there’s really no substitute. All substitute adhesives are inferior, including those available from 3M and others (even 3M used Nordot for their turf), not providing the green cure strength necessary to re-position the seams if necessary, lacking the benefit of having a wide installation temperature range from freezing to high-heat desert conditions, and applicable strength over varying weather and usage conditions. Premature seam failures cost way more in re-installation.
Fold the sections of turf back, positioning the seam tape between the sections of Taishan Turf to be seamed. This will allow for proper positioning when applying the seam adhesive in place with a serrated trowel, making sure to use protective gloves during this process. The objective is to apply enough adhesive to properly adhere the seam tape to the bottom of the Taishan Turf backing. After applying the adhesive, wait until the tack strength is achieved, which varies depending on various conditions, such as temperature, humidity, direct sunlight or shade. It is most important to look at how the “threads” break when pulling something away from the adhesive. If the strings that occur when pulling something away from the adhesive are very long before they break (or they don’t break), more green pre-cure time is needed before adhering the Taishan Turf to the seam. Once the adhesive “threads” or “strings” break at around a length of 2' to 3' when pulling away, this is the best time to adhere the seams, providing the grab strength to hold the turf together during final curing, while allowing enough active green time for any necessary re-positioning of the seam.
Perhaps the most effective method is lowering both segments into the adhesive at the same time, making sure the Taishan Turf seam edge is straight and is pressed well into the adhesive. Align the next Taishan Turf segment, making sure the outside edges are positioned properly, the two adjoining segments are pulled tightly together, while avoiding “blades” of Taishan Turf getting caught in the seam adhesive. Nordot adhesive allows re-positioning. Once again, make sure the Taishan Turf is pushed well into the adhesive to assure a well applied seam that will last for the life of the Taishan Turf application. Now that all of the seams have been glued, it’s important to allow up to 24-hours for proper curing time to guarantee long-term satisfaction. Wait at least overnight before you attempt to place the seam under any stress, to avoid seam failure during the curing process. As previously mentioned, this can easily be the weakest link in an unsuccessful install, if any of the installation parameters are not followed properly. Due to stresses placed upon the seam during the stretching process, please do not attempt to complete the installation without allowance for the recommended final cure time.
Stretching and Securing Taishan Turf
There are many methods to secure or anchor Taishan Turf, with the most common being spikes or large nails. What we recommend are 8'-10” long galvanized nails, typically available from your local hardware store. While other installers may use 6' nails, these tend to lose their hold strength over time, causing failure and lifting up easily. Another method is to glue down the Taishan Turf to a surface, including padding and/or Drain, and around the entire perimeter, using the same Nordot 34G adhesive for the seams (typically called a “total glue-down” installation method). Taishan Turf installation should be planned so that the final level of the installation surface is a minimum of ¾' to 1' below the perimeter curb level. This will allow the tuft groups of “blades” to separate or “bloom” out, creating nice coverage and optimum appearance, extending from ½' to 1¼' above the perimeter level. A typical “nail-down” installation method will be discussed from this point forward. When hammering the nails, always take care to avoid existing irrigation or other lines or buried wires. It’s best to place the nails no more than about 8' to 10' apart, as placing them any closer usually doesn’t provide any strength benefit, due to the triple-layer backing of both Taishan Turf Ideal and Professional. Exceptions may include contours that require greater nail placement frequency. The best performance is seen when the nails are slightly angled inward from the perimeter, wherever possible, providing extra strength and pull resistance.
Once one end of the Taishan Turf has been anchored, stretching the Taishan Turf toward the furthest end is very important, to avoid trip hazards and other potential problems. On larger installation sites, something like an industrial carpet kicker will work well, or perhaps a couple of people “shuffle kicking” the Taishan Turf on smaller installations, after first pulling the slack out the Taishan Turf. You may wish to anchor the far edge by placing one or more nails, perhaps not all the way in at this point, while the Taishan Turf has been stretched across the longest dimension. Next you’ll want to start securing the edges, starting at the original end and moving toward the furthest end, stretching the Taishan Turf outward out in a herringbone pattern from the center toward each nail before securing. You don’t need to stretch it too much, just enough so that it’s not loose. On smaller areas, you may want to alternate sides as you progress with securing the Taishan Turf as you move from the initial edge toward the stretched end.
Trimming Excess Taishan Turf
Spend extra time to be careful during the trimming the perimeter, you’ll avoid costly mistakes like cutting the perimeter edge too short, and less touch-up trimming is required. Grab the excess material tightly outside the perimeter and pull it outward, poke downward through the Taishan Turf and backing with a long point linoleum/vinyl flooring knife, using the curb edge as a guide. Proceed by carefully slicing back and forth along the perimeter as you continue to pull away the trimmed excess Taishan Turf. If done properly, you won’t have to retouch by re-trimming with detail shear scissors. Prior to final trimming, you may want to rough pre-trim certain areas of excess material when close to structural or landscape elements to ease the stretching and securing process. Make sure there enough excess exists for stretching and securing, final trimming to allow ½” min. perimeter excess to be turned under for added beauty and durability.
In-Fill Application, Final Finishing and Maintenance
There are various to apply in-fill to meet requirements for virtually every type of intended use for Taishan Turf landscape varieties, with thickness requirements for impact safety (if required), and the two most prominently used are silica sand and/or granulated rubber (Rubberoo in-fill). For added safety, some applications may use padding under the Taishan Turf, and some locations may not use in-fill. Part of what makes Taishan Turf look so natural also allows it to relax over time, depending on a number of conditions, including use and frequency, temperature, weather and more. The application of slightly over ¼' in-fill assists by helping the tufts to remain fully upright at the backing, and at ½' the in-fill starts to fill-in between the individual “blades” of Taishan Turf, also allowing them to spread out and appear taller and evenly displaced on the surface. Applying the in-fill as evenly as possible before you work it into the Taishan Turf will save time when working it down toward the backing surface. For the application of in-fill and periodic rejuvenation of Taishan Turf, you may use a plastic rake, or a power brush. Under very heavy use, some applications may require the application of additional in-fill over the useful lifetime to maintain safety parameters.
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