Maintaining artificial surfaces
By Sam Breedon
What to do about failed drainage on an artificial tennis court ? that was the question that faced me as facilities manager at my local tennis club, a few seasons ago. First line of approach was to contact the installers " you need to pressure wash it 2250 psi should do " was the reply. So a suitable pressure washer was purchased and the next 44 hours of daylight were spent washing, sweeping, squeegying and barrowing tons of sludge and contaminated sand from the court. After the new sand ordered through the installer failed to arrive for the third time, the quarry was tracked down and sand was bought in for a fraction of the previously quoted price.
At this point I realised that the installers guidelines for maintenance of their courts was woefully inadequate, five years after a lottery grant had resurfaced the courts we were faced with spending half of our sinking fund on renovation, so I started to do some research into the problem. Firstly an effective way of keeping organic debris out of the carpet was sought, after reading about Aerosweep of Australia and their simple cleaning mats, within weeks of seeing how effective, simple and easy to use they were, I had agreed with the manufactures to become the U.K agent and Sweepfast ltd was formed with the help of his my long friend, David Reynolds, presently company secretary.
With another four courts to clean an alternative was sought, quotes were obtained for various renovation schemes other clubs were contacted and visited, all quotes were outside the clubs budget, and also the quality of some restorations left me feeling I could do a better job !!! so wet undertook the task.
We see regular maintenance as the key to artificial surface management, starting with the basics of removing organic debris, before it is trodden down into the pile, and brushing to keep the pile open and the infill mobile. Ideally the manufacturers should by now have maintenance schedules in place, that work, for all their surfaces, sadly this is not the case, possibly because they feel efficient maintenance schedules could scare prospective purchasers away.
Possibly an industry standard should be available Club and facilities managers need to be made aware that these are not low maintenance surfaces. Right from day one after the installation maintenance should be planned !
We visit facililities that have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and yet no regular maintenance is in place on the surfaces !! drag brushing alone is not enough! The owners wonder why the drainage has failed and the area is covered with sludge and water logged. Imagine what a swimming pool would be like if left exposed to the elements!! After only a few days the water would be filthy after a few years well !!! that's what you get if you don't keep your surfaces clean .
We now operate machines from various manufacturers, have prototypes of our own both working and on the drawing board, and have recently started importing custom built smooth surface cleaners from the states, again as we could not find what they needed on the domestic market to add to the extensive range of sports ground machinery and accessories that they already sell.
Our aim with our website is to provide cost effective maintenance suggestions and solutions, along with the machinery and services we offer to the industry.
To this we were recently exhibiting and demonstrating at Reaseheath turf show in Cheshire where Head Groundsman and machinery demonstrator, Richard Murray has been evaluating Green sweep and Cleansweep machines from Aerosweep on the golf course as
Richard enthused so much about them that one of his quotes. " the next big step forward on the golf course after the Dew brush" will head up our advertising campaign for the golf industry this autumn.
The industry leader in artificial turf care , Technical surfaces has recently ordered these machines for use by there crews in the maintenance division and will be promoting there use where applicable to clients.
We have always worked to very high standards and feel we have a moral duty to provide the best advice and services available whilst also being committed to offer the most cost effective service available even if it is not the most profitable.
Manufacturers, installers and maintenance specialists need to work together to find the most cost effective solutions to artificial turf maintenance, I recently asked one UK manufacturer how he recommended we should clean contamination out of a sand/rubber crumb filled 4g carpet. I have no idea was his reply, but someone will think of a way when its needed, this was not quite the answer I wanted and certainly didn't fill me with confidence !
Old Kingsbury Road,
Contact Sam Breedon Telephone 01675 470770
Web Site www.sweepfast.com