Important considerations when replacing a synthetic turf field

Important considerations when replacing a synthetic turf field

Artificial turf recycling

The cost to replace a synthetic turf field ranges somewhere between $360,000 to $620,000. The exact price depends on various factors that we will break down in this article. We will also describe what the replacement process looks like and what important considerations there are for sports facility operators when undertaking such a project. 

You can also use our synthetic turf field replacement cost calculator to get a customized cost estimate for your resurfacing project.

Synthetic turf field replacement cost per sport
Synthetic turf field Replacement cost
Baseball turf field
$350,000 - $650,000
Football turf field
$300,000 - $600,000
Soccer turf field
$350,000 - $650,000
Softball turf field
$220,000 - $380,000
Field hockey field
$250,000 - $460,000

Table of Contents

What influences the cost of synthetic turf replacement?

From removing the worn-out turf field to recycling the materials and putting in a new playing surface there are various factors that affect the overall cost of replacing an artificial turf field surface. Here’s a handy breakdown of those factors:

  • Type and size of the sports field – It’s safe to say that removing and resurfacing a softball diamond is less labor and material intensive than replacing a surface for a regular sized football field
  • Competition level and quality of the turf material – the higher the competition level of the main users of the field, the higher the quality requirements are for the turf material
  • Geographical differences in labor cost – affects removal, disposal, reycling and installation cost
  • Disposal and recycling –  charges vary between states
  • Customization and design factors – extra line markings, additional turf coloring, logos and names will add to the overall cost

How to know when to replace the turf field?

The lifespan of an artificial turf pitch is usually 8 – 10 years. The potential to reuse components of the old field varies depending on the use (the sport played, frequency of play, weather conditions, etc), product quality, and maintenance of the turf over its life. In some cases, the pitch is barely playable after only 6 years and the turf system needs to be replaced. With professional care the appropriate equipment and high product quality, an artificial turf pitch can be used for training and games for up to 10 – 12 years.

Artificial turf fields are robust and can take a beating for quite some time, but nothing lasts forever. After years of heavy use, you will begin to see certain signs on and around the field that suggest you should consider replacing the turf field playing surface. 

Here are some of the “red flags” to look out for: 

  • Inlays and seams start loosening up and need repair more frequently
  • Turf field surface color fades from bright green to grey-green
  • Loose turf fibers scattered around the pitch, infill granules piling up on the sides of the turf field
  • An uneven overall look and splitting turf fibers all around the field
 

To the untrained eye, it can be hard to evaluate when the turf field needs replacement. Professional synthetic sports turf companies can visit your sports facility and perform an audit. On top of the visual inspection of the field, they can perform a GMAX test, which measures the ability of the playing surface to absorb shocks due to impact. You can read more about turf field testing in our separate article. 

End-to-end synthetic turf field replacement process

  1. Planning: A detailed site plan and timeline are necessary for efficiently deconstructing an out-of-service turf pitch. If contractors are involved in the process, precise planning and professional site management are essential.
  2. Removing the old system: The actual work of deconstruction begins with removing the turf and separating the turf from the infill granules and sand.. The artificial turf, infill granules and sand must be removed and separated from each other.
  3. Transporting, disposing and recycling of waste material: Now that the turf system is removed, the last task is recycling what you can and disposing of the rest. Sports field contractors and specialized turf deconstruction companies will handle this step via their network of providers.
  4. Installing the new synthetic turf field surface: Last but not least, the chosen, new, turf surface is installed on top of the base layer and new infill is distributed on top of the turf. 
artificial turf sports field recycling

Removing and replacing the turf field surface

Removing the old system and installing the new one should be smoothly coordinated. Deconstruction should be completed as soon as possible so the installation of the new turf can be started with minimal delay, therefore minimizing the amount of time your field is out of service.  

The deconstruction normally takes between two to four working days. After that, the crew begins rehabilitating the elastic base layer and lays the artificial turf tracks. 

 The overall cost of resurfacing an artificial turf field can be calculated using the artificial turf cost calculator.

Recycling and reuse of out-of-service artificial turf systems

Some manufacturers offer new forms of artificial turf field recycling. Here, the old artificial turf is not thrown out, but is re-installed on a secondary or training field. 

Special machines are used to dismantle the old artificial turf, separate the infill granules and sand, and disinfect the individual components. The artificial turf strips are rolled up with or without infill granulate and laid again at the new location. 

This form of recycling is ideal, for example, for clubs that want to equip a training or recreational field with an artificial turf surface that does not have to meet the requirements of regular training and competition. 

According to the manufacturer, it is possible to remove the old artificial turf and install it on a new pitch within one week.

What to do with the elastic base layer?

The elastic base layer and the substructure of the sports field play crucial roles in whether you can recycle parts of the artificial turf field. The life of the elastic layer is rated as two to three times that of the artificial turf. In most cases, however, the elastic base layer must also be repaired before you can begin installing new turf.

Cost of recycling an old synthetic turf field

The costs for artificial turf field recycling depend on the size of the field and on which components (elastic base layer, infill granulate, etc.) can be reused, and which have to be disposed of properly. The costs for labor, removal and disposing of the old artificial infill surface are more or less between $60,000 – $100,000 for a 72,000 sf sports field. 

There are additional costs for breaking down the artificial turf and separating the infill granulate and sand. If the elastic base layer cannot be reused, it will impart more costs for removal and disposal. 

With an eye to conserving resources, facility owners and sports construction companies should make every effort to reuse a large proportion of the artificial turf system to the economic cycle. What remains after that will be disposed of or incinerated.

Other considerations

There are many factors to consider when replacing your synthetic turf field playing surface. Here are some secondary considerations that you should take into account and discuss them with potential turf field replacement companies:
 
  • Check the condition of the subbase – most likely the subbase of your turf field system will still be in a good shape when replacing the turf field surface, because typically it is made of stone. However, it is the perfect moment to take a look under the hood, as sometimes due to drainage issues, rainwater may puddle on top of the playing surface which can make the field unplayable. 
  • Choose your turf according to the use concept – there are several types of turf fields available to choose from. They vary in price and some turf fields are suited for a higher competition level than others. 
  • Re-use the infill or choose an eco-friendly infill – to save money, typically, you can re-use the existing infill granules after the new turf field surface has been installed. In recent years there are more and more eco-friendly infill options made out of various organic materials that do not damage the environment such as cork, coconut fiber, coconut husk, coconut peat, rice husks, or walnut shells.
  • Customization and design of the field – make sure to communicate your wishes for the design of the new turf field surface. Do you want to add a logo or a name? Do you want to change the color of the turf? Do you need additional line-markings for other sports?

Consider signing up for a professional turf field maintenance program

Without regular care and maintenance, damage to the pitch will be its undoing sooner than the club and, above all, the  players would like. As is often the case, the more often the field  is used, the more you should invest in maintenance and ongoing upkeep of the turf system. 

Synthetic turf field maintenance costs are divided into the permanent care and maintenance, and intensive cleaning. These tasks can be carried out by the facility’s in-house staff using specialized turf maintenance equipment; or by a company specializing in sports field maintenance.

If you don’t have previous experience and knowhow of artificial turf field maintenance, we would highly recommend to get in touch with professional turf field maintenance companies. It’s the best way to protect the users of the field from injuries and the long-term financial value of your asset.

You can get a good idea of the annual cost of artificial turf field maintenance and the associated equipment using our turf field maintenance cost calculators.

Get a cost estimate for replacing your turf field

By now you should have a pretty good idea of all the moving parts that a turf field replacement project entails. It is definitely not something you want to consider doing yourself since it is quite labor intensive and requires special knowhow and equipment. 

You can always contact the supplier that installed your artificial turf field in the first place, but you might also want to “seize the moment” and compare prices between different suppliers. Often times you can find a supplier who is able to give you a better deal for whatever reason. Maybe they want to get rid of their stock or possible a supplier is willing to charge less for a logistics. Who knows! The point is that you will not know until you ask. 

We make this process very quick and easy for you. Our turf field replacement cost calculator give s you an accurate cost estimate for the overall costs of the project. If you wish you can also choose to get contacted by some of the leading turf field installers in the US for further information and pricing.