Common Misconceptions Surrounding ADA Compliant Artificial Turf Systems

Common Misconceptions Surrounding ADA Compliant Artificial Turf Systems

STC Certified Installers of ADA Compliant Surfacing Systems for any Application.
April 08th, 2019


When it comes to ADA compliant artificial turf systems, things aren’t exactly written in black and white. The law considers synthetic grass to be a floor surface and requires it to be “stable, firm, and slip resistant” in order to comply. While everyone knows what these words mean, there’s no numeric value attributed to them that would allow them to be measured. For this reason, there’s no standardized system put in place to determine whether or not synthetic grass adheres to these requirements. This is just one of the numerous misconceptions surrounding ADA compliance for artificial grass though, and while it may sound complicated, it’s far from it.

ADA Compliant Artificial Turf vs. Installation

It takes more than purchasing ADA-compliant SYNLawn to meet these obligations. The installation and surrounding construction must also meet the law’s requirements. For example, using ADA-compliant artificial grass on a playground without wheelchair accessible pathways to get onto the turf leaves you with a playground that isn’t ADA compliant. Every aspect of the construction needs to be considered in order to satisfy these requirements.

Testing Often Doesn’t Include Underlying Layers

While artificial grass will be tested on its own to ensure it meets ADA specifications, it can’t predict what the underlying layer at each construction site will be. Since the ground texture and quality where it is being installed will contribute to its ability to remain stable and slip resistant, it must be examined in an integrated test sample. Only then will it be determined whether the synthetic grass is ADA compliant with the specific construction site.

Transition Strips Are Often Overlooked

Any time the flooring transitions from SYNLawn to something else, often concrete, a transition strip is required. It’s frequently an overlooked part of the construction — without these, the area will fail any ADA-compliant testing.

Testing Can’t Be Done On-Site for ADA Compliant Artificial Turf

While testing can’t be done on a site, it’s not uncommon for construction areas to be audited by local inspectors. The industry standard test for ADA compliance is called ASTM no F1951 and determines accessibility for turf systems. As long as the artificial grass is firm and a wheelchair can move around it with ease, it should pass.

Level Changes May Require Treatment

Having level changes in a construction’s design can require treatment to the surface’s edges depending on the difference in levels. A difference of ¼” or less doesn’t require attention in order to be considered ADA compliant artificial turf. Anything more should follow these guidelines:

  • Changes in level between ¼” and ½” need to be beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2
  • Changes in level greater than ½” need to be flush and free of abrupt changes

When it comes to installing artificial grass in large areas, it’s best to have a professional do the work to avoid failing ADA-compliance testing among other common hurdles. Learn more about the benefits of using plant-based SYNLawn and installation tips at