Terms Used In Artificial Turf

Artificial Turf Surfaces are often called by alternative names including:

Astroturf - A commonly used term, but in fact AstroTurf is a brand of artificial turf, it is a registered trademark not a generic name.

  • All weather pitch (AWP)
  • Artificial Grass Pitch (AGP)
  • Artificial Turf Pitch (ATP)
  • Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA)
  • Synthetic Grass Pitch (SGP)
  • Synthetic Turf Pitch (STP)
  • 3rd Generation Pitch (3g turf)
Types of Yarn used in Artificial Turf Pitches
Traditionally there are three different types of yarn used in synthetic turf according to fibre (sward) type.

Polyethylene (PE) which is Soft, durable and non-abrasive. This is the most popular type of material, used for sports fields and gardens.

Polypropylene (PP) - Rigid, brittle and more abrasive is used for sports fields and lawns.

Nylon (PA) - Hardwearing, hydrophyllic.

Recent developments in extrusion technologies have allowed the development a new type of yarn, using fully recycled polyester (PET) flakes. 100% recycled, 100% innovative.

The Yarn manufacturing process enables different constructions of yarn to be extruded:

Monofilament (for rugby and football): individually created filaments twisted or wrapped together. Monofilaments offer increased durability, resilience and ability to cope with high usage. The manufacturing process enables the yarn to be formed in different profiles and thicknesses.

Fibrillated (ideal for rugby and football): Manufactured as a tape that is perforated lengthways to create a strong lattice structure which splits down with use to produce a multi-fibre appearance.

Knit-de-knit (ideal for hockey): Straight yarn that is given a tight curly appearance through a knitting process, producing non-directional surface.

Texturised (ideal for tennis and hockey): Straight Yarn that has been heat-set to produce a tight, curly appearance which gives a non-directional surface.

Artificial Turf Pitch Structure

Surface Types
Fully Synthetic - An all-fibre construction with no added infill. Water is normally required when used for hockey.

Sand-Filled - A lighter weight surface filled with high levels of sand for stability and performance.

Sand-Dressed - A dense, heavy surface requiring some sand infill to support the fibres and add stability. It has more exposed fibre for a greener appearance.

Third Generation (3G turf) - A system containing a rubber infill for extra performance. Utilises longer fibres to hold rubber as well as sand.

Infill Types
Infills are divided into two categories:
Stabilising infills: Predominantly sand, at varying grades to weigh down the carpet and give structural integrity.

Performance infills: Usually rubber made from recycled sources, ground down into fine granules to prevent compaction, increase resilience and enhance playing characteristics.

Pile Structure
Artificial turf varies by its "sward" length - the tallest is the "grass" for rugby fields, and the lowest is the "grass" for lawns.

Pile Weight
The weight refers to the quantity of yarn within a square metre of product, using the number of stitches and the gauge of manufacture. Historically, the pile weight of a product has dictated the quality and price, with the heavier products demanding a higher price in return for improved performance.

Pile height
The height of the product gives an indication of its application and format. Most football products will have a pile height of between 40mm-65mm and shockpads are required for surfaces with a pile height below 60mm. Rugby surfaces always have pile height of 65mm and are installed with a shockpad. Hockey surfaces tend to be between 10-20mm, offering different performance characteristics than the longer pile products. Generally shockpads are used in hockey.

Testing and Accreditations
Laboratory testing - Different testing standards apply to each application:

Football surfaces can achieve three accreditation awards:
FA - Community use performance with heavy emphasis on longevity and a prerequisite for Football Foundation funding. FA have now adopted the FIFA 1 star testing standards.

FIFA 1 Star - Designed for community use and has to pass a series of stringent tests focussing particularly on durability and longevity (similar to FA standard)

FIFA 2 Star - The highest professional standard, awarded to the best performing surfaces and stadia (Designed for minimal use and requiring extensive maintenance).

IRB/RFU standards – Rugby surfaces have to adhere to for full contact games and training activities. Testing measures the Head Impact Criteria (HIC), which has to be over 1.3m, ensuring player safety for full contact rugby in set pieces and open play.

Hockey has one awarding body accreditations split into two levels:
FIH National - the highest standard for surfaces with infill.
FIH Global - The highest standard for surfaces without infill.

Visit our gallery of Artificial Sports Turf pitch construction.

For more info or to make an enquiry on our 3G turf pitches, artificial grass or all weather pitches, synthetic grass or artificial turf replacement either
click here
or call us on:
01865 736272

Case Studies

FIFA Club World Cup, Abu Dhabi
White Horse Contractors have recently delivered international standard football pitches; including both tournament match pitches and training pitches; as well as the first full size rugby pitch, to the FIFA Club World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) in Abu Dhabi...
Full story

Building schools for the future
Developing outside space for schools has as much impact on the local environment as constructing the buildings themselves. White Horse Contractors is able to minimise this while keeping time and budgeting focussed…
Full story

Chelsea Football Club
After its grand opening and first official game, the final match pitches at Chelsea Football Club’s Cobham training ground are now open…Full story


“Despite challenging ground and weather conditions, White Horse Contractors provided the University with an outstanding artificial sports pitch for football and rugby training.”

Dr Tudor Williams, Head of Sport at the University of Glamorgan.

“I have no hesitation in endorsing the excellent work White Horse Contractors carried out for the school. The timescales for the project were very tight and White Horse delivered our all weather pitches on time and more importantly within budget. The development has revolutionised sport at Pinewood, performing excellently in all weathers for hockey, netball and five-a-side alike.”

Philip Hoyland, Headmaster, Pinewood School.