Artificial Grass and Shock Pads: FAQs for Parents

March 14, 2024 FieldTurf Landscape
Playground turf for backyard spaces is fantastic for kids – it's soft, always green, and doesn't get muddy!  However, if you're thinking of having artificial...
Artificial Grass Shock Pads Essential Safety FAQs for Parents - FieldTurfLandScape 1

Playground turf for backyard spaces is fantastic for kids – it’s soft, always green, and doesn’t get muddy!  However, if you’re thinking of having artificial grass installed for your family, you may have heard about shock pads and wondering if it may be right for you. We answer some common questions below.

What Are Shock Pads?

Think of shock pads like soft cushions underneath your artificial grass– that’s why they’re also called foam padding. They’re typically made of closed-cell foam or rubber. Closed-cell foam means the material has lots of tiny air bubbles trapped inside, which is what makes it good at absorbing shock.

What are Shock Pads Made From?

Shock pads for artificial grass are typically made from these materials:

  • Closed-Cell Foam: The most common type of shock pad material. Closed-cell foam means it has tiny, closed air pockets trapped within it which give it its shock-absorbing properties. Foam shock pads offer a good balance of cushioning and cost-effectiveness but can compress over time with heavy use.
  • Rubber: Rubber shock pads are known for their exceptional durability and drainage capabilities. They also tend to maintain their shape and cushioning better over long periods compared to foam. However, rubber is usually a more expensive option.
  • Recycled Materials: There’s a growing trend of using recycled materials, like shredded tires, to create eco-friendly shock pads. These options vary in performance and certifications, so it’s important to research specific products carefully.

What Do Shock Pads Do for Artificial Grass?

Their primary role is to absorb the impact of falls, reducing the risk of injuries, especially head injuries. Their foam or rubber construction compresses when a child lands, dissipating the energy of the fall and reducing the force that reaches their body.

And, even smaller falls and tumbles can place strain on children’s joints, especially knees and ankles. Shock pads provide a more cushioned surface that lessens the impact stress on growing bodies.

Aside from that, shock pads also offer these benefits for artificial grass installations:

  • Comfort:  Shock pads create a softer, more forgiving surface underfoot. This makes walking and playing on synthetic turf for playgrounds more comfortable, especially for bare feet.
  • Extended Turf Lifespan: They act as a protective layer for the artificial grass backing. Shock pads help reduce wear and tear from foot traffic and playtime activities, prolonging the lifespan of your artificial grass.
  • Drainage Assistance: Some shock pads are designed with holes or channels to facilitate water drainage. This helps prevent puddles and keeps the play area dry more quickly after rain.
  • Reduced Infill Need: In some cases, shock pads lessen the amount of infill (the sand or crumb rubber that supports the grass blades) required in an artificial grass installation. However, this still depends on the type of installation we’re talking about.

Where Do Shock Pads Go Under Artificial Grass?

Shock pads are installed directly beneath the artificial grass blades, during the turf installation process. They act as a base layer between the ground and the artificial grass itself.  

Will Shock Pads Stop Artificial Grass From Draining

Generally, no, shock pads will not stop artificial grass from draining properly. Modern shock pads designed for artificial grass installations often include built-in drainage mechanisms, such as:

  • Perforations: Tiny holes throughout the pad allow water to pass through
  • Drainage Channels: Grooves or channels within the pad direct water flow

And when installed correctly, shock pads are laid on top of a properly graded and compacted base.  This base usually includes gravel or other materials that facilitate drainage themselves. The artificial grass, with its own drainage holes in the backing, is then placed on top of the shock pad.

Learn More

Shock pads can be an invaluable addition to FieldTurf synthetic grass for play areas. It can help you make sure that your kids are playing safely while you enjoy a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn.  

Ultimately, it will depend on what you’re looking for, so call 866-352-4575 or message us to schedule your free consultation. Aside from helping you explore your shock pad options and other elements of your installation, we can also connect you with FieldTurf Landscape partners near you.

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