While you may think of artificial grass as traditionally being a lawn cover, you can also use it on top of wood decking. When you install it properly, the grassy surface can offer an added layer of protection for small kids and prevent surfaces from becoming too slippery after the rain.
It can even cut back on how often you need to call in a local deck repair pro to stay on top of deck maintenance too. If you’re into the idea of adding artificial grass to your deck, you’ll want to read on to find out the best way to do it.
Can You Put Artificial Grass On Decks?
Artificial grass can be put on decks and is a great way to increase your curb appeal. Families with children, pet owners, and older adults can benefit from having artificial grass on their decks. Aside from curb appeal, using artificial grass on decks eliminates the need to fix issues such as discoloration. And let’s not forget another major benefit—no watering necessary.
What to Know About Using Artificial Grass on Your Deck
Using artificial grass on your deck helps reduce the required upkeep and maintenance. You reduce the risk of rotting as long as the artificial grass is properly installed and fitted. You won't need to treat or seal your deck once the grass is installed, which helps extend its life. You will need to do some minor upkeep on the artificial grass by cleaning it with a vacuum or scrubbing it to remove dirt.
What’s the Best Artificial Grass for Decks?
There are three main types of artificial grass you can choose from, with each referring to the yarn style: polyethylene, polypropylene, and nylon. The most common artificial grass is polyethylene which is popular due to its versatility, durability, and softness. Polypropylene is the type of artificial grass you often see in professional landscapes, such as putting greens on a golf course. The most expensive and durable option is nylon and by comparison, it is not as soft as polyethylene.
Polyethylene is a great choice for decks to help maintain a quality appearance while being comfortable for the entire family. A local synthetic grass installation pro can set you up with the best option for your deck.
Prepping to Add Artificial Grass to Your Decking
Before getting started, you’ll want to tackle a few jobs to make the application process go a lot smoother.
The very first thing you want to do is plot out where exactly you’ll be laying your artificial grass and then measure that area. It’s much easier to do this step if you’ve cleared any furniture and debris off your deck (plus it will make step two that much easier).
Using a tape measure, get the length and width of the area you’re going to cover. You should add 2 inches onto your measurements to account for wiggle room (and waste).
Prepare the Area
Next, you’ll need to clean the deck. This is where the decking cleaner comes in. Spray your deck down with a hose and then apply your cleaning solution. It’s easier to do this with a spray application, but you can DIY your way through the process with a bucket and a scrub brush. You’ll need to give the surface 48 hours to dry before laying your carpet down.
No matter what type of artificial grass you chose, give it at least an hour to lay flat and breathe. Unwrap it while you’re prepping the rest of your area and supplies and put it in a dry and clean spot where it won’t be underfoot.
Clean Off Your Deck
Since you already cleaned off the area for measuring and then scrubbed it down, there shouldn’t be too much left to remove. However, if you’ve noticed any newly fallen leaves or debris, you’re going to want to sweep them off your deck before getting started.
You’ll need to make sure all of your supplies are within close proximity to your deck so that you don’t have to run around looking for things once you get started. This is especially important when working with the adhesive and sealer—you don’t want to have to go searching for something and risk having it dry out before you’re ready.
Cut Your Padding Into Strips
If you’ve decided to use a layer of padding or drainage material, you’ll want to cut these sections first. The trick here is to cut your pieces into as few strips as you can to avoid having too many seams. Because decks are normally smaller than lawns, you may be able to get away with only having to make a few cuts. Use your utility knife and straightedge for this part.
This is an optional step, so if you’re skipping padding, you can move directly to step seven.
Spray Turf Adhesive on Your Decking
After you have the pieces measured out, you should apply the turf adhesive. You’ll want to follow the directions on the product very closely, but normally you’ll apply a layer—beginning at the furthest point away from you as possible—and then hold your trowel at a 45-degree angle to smooth it out.
Lay Your Padding
Place down your padding and then apply pressure evenly across the entire surface.
Cut Your Artificial Grass
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Like with the padding, you’ll want to cut your faux grass pieces into as few strips as you can to avoid having too many seams. Because decks are normally smaller areas than lawns, you may be able to get away with only having to make a few cuts. Use your utility knife and straightedge again.
Spray the Turf Adhesive on Your Padding
If you’ve skipped the padding, you’ll apply your layer of adhesive directly to your decking. However, if you used a layer of padding, you’ll want to apply this layer on top of that.
Typically, you’ll apply a layer—beginning at the furthest point away from you as possible—and then hold your trowel at a 45-degree angle to smooth it out. But you'll want to follow the directions on the spray very closely.
Apply the Next Piece
Repeat steps four through eight until you’ve covered the surface of the deck. Make sure you’re butting each piece directly up against the one before it as you go.
Apply Seam Sealer
Drag a line of turf seam sealer down the entire seam, covering each joint as you attach a new piece.
After all of your pieces have been laid out, butted together, and sealed, you should be able to tell if you have any excess artificial grass or padding hanging over the edge of where you want it to be. If this is the case, you can use your shears to trim those pieces off and then dispose of them.
Roll the New Grass
Use the weighted lawn roller to press all of the artificial grass and padding down, creating a firm seal as you go.
Wait a Few Hours Before Moving Furniture Onto Your New Deck
You should give your adhesive and sealer four hours before putting any furniture on it. Once everything has dried, your space will be ready to enjoy. Congrats on a job well done!
DIY Grass Installation vs. Hiring a Pro
If you have a free afternoon to spend outside, and you’re a fan of learning a new skill, installing your artificial turf yourself should be a manageable task.
You can expect to pay between $2 to $8 per square foot to purchase faux grass. If you opt to hire a local turf installer, it’ll cost an additional $3 to $8 per square foot.
If you live in an area with heavy rain or you like the idea of an extra layer of cushion under your feet, you may want to consider adding additional layers under your grass. There are pads that are purely for comfort and ones that can help accelerate drainage for those heavy rains.
Similar to how you would care for turf in the yard, you’ll need to make sure you’re staying on top of your deck grass by picking up debris, cleaning up spills as soon as they happen, and giving your turf a monthly brushing with a medium bristle brush to keep it from flattening
To secure artificial grass on wood, you will use fasteners such as staples, carpet-to-wood glue, or carpet tacks. Securing the grass is similar to how carpet is installed on a hardwood floor, except the fasteners are best installed in the middle of the artificial grass area.
No, your deck will not rot under artificial grass as long as it is installed properly. When installed correctly, the artificial grass features a drainage system that prevents rotting. Simply laying artificial grass on top of the decking without proper installation will not lead to an effective drainage system that prevents rotting.