For almost 40 years the synthetic turf industry has used 5 and 8-year warranties. In the last 7 years, with the industry maturing, some companies have decided to differentiate themselves by offering extended and/or expanded warranties.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to compare warranties. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”. Here is one example of a similar scenario.
If a customer has a 15-year warranty and all the yarn fibers fall out after 10 years, one might expect the turf to be replaced at no cost. However, that is often not the case.
This article will address the following topics:
- Who provides a warranty?
- What damage is covered under the warranty?
- Warranty length and its impact on consumer perception
- How much financial coverage does a warranty offer?
- Why companies offer warranties in the first place
As a note all sources will be listed at the end of the article. We’ve done our best to find the latest version of each warranty, and accurately summarize relevant points. Other turf companies can contact us if they have a newer version of their warranty or feel we’ve misrepresented their document.
The best place to start is where warranties are born. Most turf companies don’t manufacture their own turf. Even if they own the trademark design or parts of it almost every company has their turf or turf components such as yarn made by an original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, factory. This means that the details of those warranties are determined by the manufacturer of the synthetic turf or turf component.
As a result, the factory is primarily responsible for workmanship and quality of the turf produced. Factory owners accept that responsibility by offering warranties that most commonly include 100% coverage for 8 years. In addition, these warranties typically consist of only ultraviolet degradation, UV fading, and workmanship flaws.
Consequently, companies offering warranties longer than 8 years, and therefore beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, often do so at their own risk. This explains some of the material we will cover in the following sections.
Damage and Warranty Coverage
As mentioned, almost all turf warranties cover ultraviolet degradation and undue fading. At the same time, they often deny coverage for issues relating to wear and tear, installation, and sometimes even workmanship.
This leads to a wide disparity in exactly what companies will cover. Some just “white-label” their factory’s warranty and only cover ultraviolet degradation and UV fading. Let’s take look at Shaw’s warranty as an example. (Shawgrass, 2017).
Sidebar: Turf Melting
Synthetic turf is usually able to withstand even the hottest sun in areas like Arizona. However, if you have windows reflecting light back onto the surface, the turf can melt, even in northern climates. Twice the sun, twice the heat. This is an issue that needs to be addressed during the planning and installation phases. Solutions include non-reflective window films, specialized turf and/or other abatement options.
Oftentimes, installation warranties do not cover melting damage. Additionally, many installers lack the experience to properly assess melting risks, prior to installation.
Shawgrass also covers some backing defects for 5 years, as you can see in their full warranty.
However, if you look at the full warranty you will notice that the wording is extremely specific. For example, if you experience undue fading of your turf without it disintegrating and losing face-weight the warranty offers no protection.
Meanwhile other companies, like Perfect Turf, cover general workmanship errors for the full duration of the warranty.
Another factor to be aware of when considering warranty coverage, is who will be responsible for the installation. When a company accepts liability for the turf installation and oversees the process, they will typically insure installation errors or related problems, for 1 to 2 years.
Most industry warranties explicitly state that the installation portion of the coverage is provided by whoever installed the turf. This includes certified dealers, contractors and landscapers but would exclude DIY jobs. Therefore, a change in dealer or a landscaper going out of business, could leave you without a qualified individual to back your warranty.
Just as warranties can vary in what they cover, the length of coverage also varies. 8-year warranties are an industry standard, but some companies offer warranties lasting 10 years, 16 years or even “lifetime” warranties”.
Frequently, warranties that last the longest are in fact, the weakest. Once the fine print has been read, you may notice that some companies offering “lifetime” warranties, actually provide extremely limited coverage.
Let’s look at a blog post from SYNLawn’s website, for their take on the issue. (SYNLAWN, 2017).
Note: SYNLawn now offers a limited lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, since publishing this post in 2017, they’ve updated their policy without removing this information. The fact that their “lifetime” commercial warranty only covers 15% of your turf starting at year 11 seems to indicate that a lifetime policy is unrealistic.
The new industry trend is offering Lifetime Warranties that are heavily pro-rated. Frequently, so much so, that after about 8 years, a claim would in fact be profitable for the manufacturer!
Warranties and Financial Coverage
Most warranties either offer the standard 8-year, 100% protection package, or a longer warranty with only partial coverage. Notice ForeverLawn’s coverage plan below, found in the company’s current Landscape 10-Year Limited Warranty. (ForeverLawn, 2021).
As outlined above, ForeverLawn will cover the full cost of replacement for the first 2 years. However, that would not be the case if the turf, which is “guaranteed” to last 10 or more years, is exposed to excessive wear after just 3 years and 1 month. At 37 months, the cost to remedy any turf damage would be 40% of the replacement price. This is not 40% of the original price, but 40% of the price that the turf sells for 3 years and 1 month later. (ForeverLawn, 2021).
However, it can get even more complicated. It is common industry practice to sell turf below MSRP, with most turf being sold at lower price points. However, we cannot source this for the turf industry as no studies have been done on actual turf sales prices vs MSRP. With that in mind, Perfect Turf can attest that we’ve never heard of a large commercial sale done at MSRP. Additionally we very rarely hear of even a residential backyard being done at MSRP.
In many other industries, like consumer electronics, you’ll find that the MSRP exists only to make the consumer think they’re getting a good deal. As this New York Times Article shows, a skillet with a $260 MSRP was being marked as “on-sale” by Amazon for $200. Deceivingly, the item was not on sale. Even the manufacturer was selling their skillet at a “discounted price” of $200 on their own website.
Fortunately, the turf industry is not like that. When someone wants to buy a small amount of turf, it costs the company money to field that sale, cut the turf, and facilitate the logistics. Thus, small sales are often done at MSRP to make up for that flat overhead cost.
However, if someone buying 300 square feet of turf is paying MSRP then someone buying 2,000 SF for their backyard would get a discount. Similarly, a customer buying 25,000 SF of product for a driving range would get a larger discount. Additionally, a landscape contractor, who resells a company’s turf to residential users, would get a good discount in order for them to profit from the sale as well.
If each person is buying the turf at different prices, what would be the correct amount to set the MSRP at? The conclusion seems to be that setting the MSRP at your highest price point, rather than charging a small-order fee or something similar, would make everyone involved happy.
However, that means that when a warranty replaces turf at a percent discount off MSRP, it often does not correlate to the actual price of the turf.
Think about a customer who pays the competitive price of $3.50/SF on premium landscape turf, that has a listed MSRP price of $5.50/SF. When that customer makes a warranty claim, they need to pay 40% of the replacement costs. Despite having paid $3.50/SF for their 2,800 SF backyard, the MSRP that was at $5.50/SF is now $6.50/SF. Now 40% of replacement cost is $7,280. That’s over 70% of what they paid for the brand new product!
It’s also important to note that most warranties do not mention labor costs. The cost of labor can exceed the cost of the material and the customer may be left paying for both. An example of this can be found in Global Syn-Turf’s latest warranty, dated January, 2021. The price of installation is not covered under the warranty. (Global Syn-Turf, 2021).
(Global Syn-Turf, 2021).
The Approved/Certified Installer Trick
A trick that some turf companies use is requiring that turf be installed by an approved or certified installer, even though they sell materials to customers for DIY projects. It’s worth noting that even if turf is sold to a landscaper for professional installation, that landscaper may not qualify, as the “approved” or “certified” warranty terms can be fairly vague.
Some companies only cover installation performed by their dealers. This can lead to issues unrelated to installation, that are left uncovered by a warranty because you didn’t use the right installer.
An example can be found in XGrass’s Warranty below, made public on Crowley’s Clippers website. They appear to be an XGrass dealer. XGrass did not respond to a request for an official warranty if it was different. (Crowley’s Clippers, 2021.)
Also, if their warranty exclusively covers ultraviolet degradation, and it does, why would the method of installation matter? Our guess? It leaves the company with as many legal loopholes as possible, in an effort to avoid liability. Obviously, this isn’t in your best interest as a consumer.
Not Filed Promptly/Timely Trick
Another warranty loophole is a requirement that the customer file a complaint within a certain timeframe and/or register the warranty properly, according to their terms. A failure to do so can result in the company disregarding the issue. For example, under SYNLawn’s warranty, the company has can deny a claim because the warranty was not registered within 45 or 90 days of purchase, based on the residential or commercial warranty. (SYNLawn, CADDetails, 2021).
Voiding Warranties and Increasing Consumer Cost
Below is another example of SYNLawn’s warranty. Note the numerous “fine print” items listed, that allow the company to escape warranty liability. (SYNLawn, CADDetails, 2021).
The worst of these is Section 3.3, which requires a yearly maintenance program to retain the “lifetime” warranty.
As we discussed above, turf is rarely sold at MSRP. This also means that their warranty, which covers only 15% of the “cost” of the turf starting at year 11, could be worthless on a project sold at 15% or more below MSRP starting on year 11. That also depends on what they mean by “cost”, as they do not clearly define the term (MSRP vs. actual cost) in their warranty.
In the end vague wording means it is up to the customer to make up their own mind on the value and trustworthiness of a warranty.
Why Synthetic Turf Companies offer Warranties
When synthetic turf first started getting installed in states like California and Arizona in the early 70s, an issue quickly arose. Turf started to fade, and then would literally disintegrate into dust over the span of a few years.
At that time, turf manufacturers were unaware of how harmful the sun’s UV rays could be to the otherwise durable yarn of the turf. To eradicate the problem, they quickly added UV inhibitors to the yarns and began offering coverage for ultraviolet degradation and UV fading. The hope was that the new UV inhibitors would work and restore trust in their products.
It worked well on all fronts. The UV inhibitors gave turf the long lifespan it’s known for today. The warranties made customers, who’d heard the horror stories of earlier installations, confident that the problem was fixed.
However, in most cases, normal wear and tear is far more impactful than UV degradation. Unfortunately, this does make it difficult to determine how much turf damage is due to UV degradation versus abrasion and other causes.
That being said, ultraviolet degradation hasn’t been a serious issue in over 20 years. This may lead one to conclude that these warranties offer coverage for a problem that is extremely unlikely to occur. One of the main benefits of an ultraviolet degradation warranty is the assurance that the manufacturer is not skimping on material costs and uses enough UV inhibitors.
Ultimately, workmanship and installation coverage are far more important to have in your warranty than claims on ultraviolet degradation and UV fading.
How We Designed Our Warranty – The Perfect Turf Warranty
After losing a string of bids to the appeal of a “longer warranty”, the Perfect Turf Management Team was ready to act. This was despite the fact that those warranties proved to be worse than ours. Previously, we offered an 8-year warranty that covered 100% of the cost of replacement for all 8 years.
At that time, our policy was among the best warranties in the industry. With most turf issues being discovered sooner than later, a warranty that covers a longer period was considered to be somewhat pointless.
However, we still had prospects choosing competitors with longer warranties that provided less coverage. These were objectively weaker warranties if you ran them through any number of realistic situations. However, we found that many consumers just compared 8 years to 12 or 15-year warranties and chose the product offering the longest coverage plan.
Our team considered increasing the length to 16 years, offering to cover the first 8 years at 100% with that percentage declining over the last 8 years. The hope was a coverage plan that would benefit every user with no losers.
Even with 50% coverage at year 10, for reasons listed earlier, it was better than what the competition was offering at that time. It was also superior to our old warranty because we were only adding coverage, not taking anything away.
This warranty was seen as especially beneficial for consumers with little time to research. If you compared companies strictly based on warranty length, Perfect Turf would be selected and you’d receive additional coverage left out by competitors. In essence, this would assist customers in finding the right answer with the wrong formula.
However, stating how long our turf would last left some teammates concerned about potentially misleading customers. Different project applications can present different turf life expectancies. For example, we’d expect a store front that gets heavy foot traffic, to last 10 to 12 years.
While no warranty covers normal wear and tear we didn’t want to give customers, at least the ones only considering warranty length, the wrong idea. Perfect Turf also wanted to avoid offering a warranty that seemed insincere and too good to be true.
This led us to develop several warranties to ensure that no customer felt mislead by a warranty, even if they were otherwise unfamiliar with the product. As a result, we now list the typical warranty offered for each type of turf on the corresponding product page. However, please note that the warranty can change based on the type of application as mentioned above.
For example, if you want to use our HomeTurf 53 to cover a concrete floor, it’s going to suffer significantly accelerated wear. Therefore, we cannot promise that turf will last 16 years. That means that if we do not believe that the turf will last that long, then we will not offer a warranty that long. This is the case even though the eventual failure of the turf would fall under normal wear and tear and not be covered by the warranty.
Similarly, if PetGrass® is used for a residential backyard instead of a dog facility, we may offer a free upgrade to the 16-year warranty. This would address the reduced turf usage for a home when compared to PetGrass® in a commercial space.
We hope that this insight to how and why we designed our warranty is helpful. Our goal was also to provide insight into the industry as a whole, and how we operate here, at Perfect Turf. Now you also know what to look out for when examining warranties from various turf companies.
Finally, if you’d prefer to use someone else’s warranty, Perfect Turf has a warranty-match program. We will match almost any competitor’s warranty, if it’s something you’d prefer. While we firmly believe our warranties give customer the best protection, the decision is ultimately yours to make.
If you want to see what warranty is typically offered on one of our products, please visit the sample shop. If you need additional details about a warranty for your specific application, please contact us.
“Fifteen Year Limited Warranty.” Www.globalsynturf.com, 1 Jan. 2021,
“ForeverLawn Landscape 10-Year Limited Warranty & Closed Loop Warranty System.” Www.ForeverLawn.com, Feb. 2021,
“Commercial Statement of Warranty Terms and Conditions.” Www.CADDetails.com, 1 July. 2021,
“Shawgrass 10 Year Limited Warranty for Commercial Outdoor Landscape Turf.” Www.Shawgrass.com, 2017,
Wagner, Matt. “Is Your Turf Warranty Sending You Warning Signals?” Www.synlawn.com, 11 May 2017,
“XGrass Warranty; 10 Year Limited Warranty Against Failure Due to Exposure to Sunlight.” Crowley’s Clippers,
Note: XGrass did not respond to a request for a a copy of their official warranty, in case the one posted on Crowley’s Clippers was incorrect.
“It’s Discounted, but Is It a Deal? How List Prices Lost Their Meaning” New York Times, 6 March 2016,