Types of Artificial Turf

Many schools and clubs have installed artificial grass surfaces, most commonly as part of an all weather training capability. Those that have maintained natural grass surfaces are now re-considering artificial grass looking to reduce both the maintenance costs and the number of winter matches that are cancelled due to the playing surface being frozen and allowing sports ground owners to generate more income from their artificial sports turf facilities.

White Horse Contractors are the leading Supplier & Installer of Artificial turf offering a comprehensive service covering all aspects of Astroturf & all weather pitch installation, from design & build to a full landscaping service as well as floodlighting & fencing.

Types of Artificial Turf
White Horse Contractors provide a variety of different types of artificial turf surfaces each with their own characteristics and suitability to different sport types.

Sand filled artificial turf is an older technology - a lighter weight short pile fibre carpet filled almost to the top with sand for stability and performance making the field relatively rough and hard, typically used as an all round multi-use turf.

Sand Filled Artificial Sports Turf
Sand filled turves are of particular use on sites where space is at a premium and a wide variety of sports are required on a single facility (especially where provision of winter sport natural turf pitches is limited).

Whilst the nature of this turf is ideal to accommodate a range of sports it is not necessarily for any particular one. Sand filled turves are not typically installed in high level/performance facilities.

Although this surface type is most suited for hockey and tennis (ideally they should both be played on a sand dressed surface - see below), curriculum level football, netball and general play can be undertaken.

Water Based Artificial Sports Turf
Water based artificial turf surfaces and water based astroturf have no sand infill between the pile fibres of the carpet and is therefore sometimes called 'no fill artificial turf'.

water filled artificial turfThese fields require regular wetting, hence the name "water-based", often via prolonged showering often using with pitch-side water cannon prior to their use and occasionally during half-time intervals.

These water-based surfaces have a huge advantage in that they offer increased protection for players against the abrasive effects caused by sand. Water-based pitches are installed in the majority of the elite hockey pitches.

Sand Dressed Artificial Sports Turf
Sand dressed carpets are dense, heavy structures that incorporate a shorter pile and require only some fine sand infill to within 5-8 mm of the tips to support the fibres and add stability to the surface.

Sand dressed carpets have more exposed fibres than sand filled surfaces. The sand cannot be seen and as a result it is much greener in appearance and the speed of ball role makes them ideal for hockey and tennis but less suitable for football although still satisfactory at a curriculum level. They cannot be used for rugby.

sand dressed artificial turfThe image on the right is an artificial turf pitch with sand dressed turf constructed by White Horse Contractors at Dartford Technology College, Dartford.

There are a range of performance levels ranging from general club/school play to elite level.

Third Generation (3G) Artificial Sports Turf
The 'next generation' or 'Third Generation' artificial grass surfaces have a rubber crumb and sand infill for extra performance. This type of surface utilises longer fibres (up to 65mm) to ensure it can hold both rubber and sand infill the levels of which can be adjusted to produce optimum playing characteristics. These are generally regarded as being about as safe to play on as a typical natural grass surface, perhaps even safer in cold conditions.

3G Turf surfaces are normally used for football but can also be used for rugby when combining the 65mm pile with a shock pad below it.

The image above is an artificial turf pitch with 40mm 3G turf constructed by White Horse Contractors at Greendown School, Swindon.

artificial turf pitch at Chelsea FC

Above is an artificial turf pitch with 60mm 3G turf constructed by White Horse Contractors at Chelsea FC Training Ground. Read more in the case study.

Welsh Rugby Union's Centre of Excellence

Above is the artificial turf pitch with 65mm 3G turf constructed by White Horse Contractors at Welsh Rugby Union's Centre of Excellence.
Read more in the case study.

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.