Effective drainage is ‘paramount’ to perfect 3G sports surfaces

With the UK’s leading sporting associations continuing to invest heavily in 3G astroturf sports pitches, Aggregate Industries is reminding contractors that effective drainage has never been more important to the successful design and management of these all-weather surfaces.

It comes as recent findings by the Football Association show that just one in three football pitches at grassroots level is currently of adequate quality - a stark statistic the sporting body hopes to address by building over 400 new 3G pitches by 20211.

At the same time, UK average rainfall is increasing, with wetter summers and higher annual rainfalls predicted to increase further in the coming years - placing a greater emphasis on the essential role drainage plays when it comes to the construction of these much-needed synthetic pitches.

Tom Wise, General Manager for Aggregate Industries’ Garside Sands Division, comments: “As more and more sports clubs are investing in their facilities, particularly with the ongoing large-scale construction of 3G pitches to boost grassroots level sport, the importance of correct maintenance has risen to the top of the agenda for many.

Traditionally, 3G surfaces consist of three layers; the top pile of artificial grass blades is supported by an infill rubber crumb and a thin layer of sand.

“However, what’s often overlooked is the vital role that infill silica sands play in providing an effective drainage system for the pitch. This in turn is key to ensuring playability in all weather conditions and guaranteeing the legacy of these high-tech surfaces will last the test of time.”

According to Aggregate Industries, essential to a superior drainage system is the use of silica sand infills such as ProPitch Elite, an innovative solution made from larger rounded particles in order to provide superior void space, making it ideal for synthetic sports pitches exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Reducing the risk of flooding, independent tests have proven ProPitch Elite to have the best drainage rates available to the UK market, draining a record 116% better than the most popular competitor sand. This means it is particularly suited to not only 3G surfaces, but also tennis courts, hockey pitches and bowling greens, which require shorter pile carpets where the sands layer is crucial in offering stability to the carpet fibres as well as draining fast enough to guarantee there is no standing water during a game.

Tom adds: “Investing in a new pitch and playing field is a huge undertaking, and with higher than average rainfall predicted over the coming years, the risk of flooding has increased exponentially across many areas of the UK. Hence for sports clubs looking to provide a world class surface, it has become increasingly paramount to utilise the latest innovative materials such as ProPitch Elite, which has super absorbent properties that have been proven to aid with effective drainage.”

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