Sand-filled Astroturf

The original AstroturfTM in the United States circa 1965 was the first type of synthetic grass surface to be developed and was used in the Houston Astrodome for American football. Whilst the sand infill system required by this surface has remained a constant, the technology of synthetic grass has increased extensively.

The sand-filled system is the ultimate all-round, all-weather sports surface: it can accommodate almost all non-contact sports such as hockey, tennis, football, netball, basketball, volleyball, rounders, cricket and athletics, and its key selling point is its durability: play takes place largely on the infill layer which protects the synthetic grass from wear and tear.

Sand-filled hockey and football pitch at Chew Valley, Somerset

Our Services | Sand-filled Astroturf

Blakedown is one of the largest and longest established sports pitch construction companies in the UK. Our company began in the same decade as the original astroturf was invented and we have been working with universities, colleges, schools, councils and clubs for more than fifty years to complete outstanding sports facilities.

We offer an in-house design and build service and can cater for every requirement of the project, from the base works and drainage system, to the laying of turf and seaming of sports lines, and including the ancillary works such as fencing, floodlighting, and landscaping.

Case Study | Bexley Council Schools

Bexley Council required four new multi-use sports facilities for four schools in the area: Hurstmere School, Woodside School, Trinity School, and Westwood College. Each facility had to be robust enough to withstand intensive usage throughout the day; with a large number of users playing a variety of sports and games simultaneously.

  • Client: Bexley Council
  • Contract Type: IFC & JCT Design
  • Contract Value: £1.1m
  • Build Time: 18 weeks

At Hurstmere and Trinity, the MUGA's were to be used for hockey as well as football, basketball and netball. A 24mm sand-filled synthetic turf was selected on account of its suitability for these sports as well as its durability against such intensive use.

Choosing a Sand-filled surface

Sand-filled sports turf will usually have a pile height of between 20mm and 26mm. This pile height is then filled almost to the top with infill sand and play largely takes place on the sand which protects the turf from wear and tear.

The 'Elite LSR' products from Edel Grass are made with 'Low Slide Resistance' technology - a special monomer is added to the yarn allowing players to easily pivot, turn, and run with reduced risk of injury. The turf is also available in a wide range of colours allowing for coloured run-offs, distinctive lines for different sports, and a facility made to match team, club, or school colours.

Astroturf pitches are ideal for schools and colleges because they are hard-wearing and suitable for almost all non-contact sports

3G pitch construction

Build up of a sand-filled astroturf pitch, from bottom to top: prepared formation and drainage system, textile membrane, stone base, porous 'Engineered' tarmac layer, shockpad, and synthetic astroturf playing surface
Playing Surface
The pile of the sand-filled playing surface will usually be between 20mm and 26mm which is completely filled with infill sand to provide the system with support. Sand-filled sports turfs are available in a wide range of colours - which are also used for coloured run-offs and cross-play lines for other sports. The primary sport on the surface is usually lined in white or yellow.
Shockpad
Sand-filled pitches will usually be constructed with a shockpad directly beneath the playing surface. The top-specification shockpad for this type of surface is an 'in-situ' pad: one which is formed and laid directly onto the surface in construction. Pre-formed pads are also available.
Engineered layer
Ideally the playing surface and shock absorbing pad will be laid onto an 'Engineered' base: a single or double layer of porous tarmac which acts as a stabilising layer. The alternative is a 'Dynamic' base where the top two layers are built directly onto prepared stone.
Stone layer, Textile Membrane, and Soil Formation
Ideally the playing surface and shock absorbing pad will be laid onto an 'Engineered' base: a single or double layer of porous tarmac which acts as a stabilising layer. The alternative is a 'Dynamic' base where the top two layers are built directly onto prepared stone.
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