Install artificial grass over backerboard

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  #1  
Old 01-03-17, 12:47 PM
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Install artificial grass over backerboard

Hi,
I plan to install artificial grass in the backyard.
Preparing a subbase is very costly and labor-intensive.
How about install it over a backerboard? Any downside you can think of?
Thank you!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-03-17, 03:05 PM
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There are too many downsides to list if considering installing artificial turf on "backerboard". Follow the manufacturers installation instructions. If the proper base is too expensive for your budget then artificial turf might not be a good option.
 
  #3  
Old 01-03-17, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for reply!
Out of curiosity, could you name two downside?
 
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Old 01-04-17, 05:29 AM
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I have done outdoor projects using backer board so I'm not totally poo-pooing you idea just to say follow the manufacturers directions. I've made garden walk way pavers by mortaring concrete paver stones onto 1/2" thick cement board backer. For my stepping stones it worked quite (they are going into their third year) but I took special care to address the possible problems. Also, it was a BS project using scrap material. They are easy to remove or replace if they fail so I didn't mind the risk of failure.

The cost to install the proper base for artificial turf isn't that bad. It's rock and sand. Material so cheap that it's sold by the ton. Since everything is handled by the ton labor is the gotcha. Still, it's not that expensive so if you can't afford the proper base you may want to stick with grass, mulch or some other ground cover. Oh, and if you've ever seen artificial turf a few years later when someone went cheap on the base it's easy to spot. It's amazing how hills and divots can magically appear and how crappy the turf ends up looking. Compare that to turf on a proper base and it can look like new for years.

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Backerboards like cement board and Hardie Backer are not structurally strong enough to walk on. So, they may break, especially at the corners. Thicker sheets will help but you've still got to do the work to prepare a base to support the backer or it will very easily break. If you are in a climate that gets freezing temperatures then you've got to worry about frost heave moving the backer sheets.

Most cement boards are "light" and contain styrofoam beads to help reduce the weight. This can make the sheet suseptible to being crushed if someone heavy walks on it wearing hard soled or high heel shoes.

How will you anchor the small 3x5' sheets? How will you attach the sheets to prevent movement at the joints?

Cement board is not damaged by water and does not rot. It can however get water inside. I won't say it really absorbs water but water can get inside the pores of the material. If you get freezing this will slowly break down the backer board.
 
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