The Best Way to Remove Excess Glue from Artificial Turf
Published June 12, 2023
Too much or too little glue is one of the most common mistakes for rookie turf installers or DIYers. Even if you “know” how much glue to ideally use, consistently applying 300 linear feet of glue, for example, is not easy.
Most seam fabric is 12 inches wide and, ideally, you’ll cover the middle 8 inches with a notched trowel with teeth. (Trowels come with squared off teeth or “pointy” teeth). The simple wooden handled trowels are cheap and readily available at hardware stores. The directions on the glue usually explain this. Then it’s a matter of bending over, or getting on your knees, pouring the glue onto the fabric in consistent amounts, and then using the trowel to spread the glue “bead” evenly over the middle 8 inches of the 12 inch fabric.
Sounds easy right? Here’s the problem. When glue comes in 5 gallon buckets, the buckets are heavy and usually have a flimsy wire handle to carry them. The initial instinct is to remove the lid and start pouring it onto the seam fabric. More often than not, that first pour will be messy until you get the feel for it. Globs of excess glue will initially overflow out of the bucket until you adjust, and get a consistent stream. As you get down about 50 ft, bending over with the heavy bucket is not easy for some of us, and it becomes more difficult to stay in the middle of the fabric. Subsequently, glue is often poured unevenly and too much glue collects in a small section.
Pro Tip 1: Do Not Overpour in the first place. Do Not Remove the Bucket Lid.
Instead of removing the entire lid from a 5 gallon bucket of glue, take your box cutter and cut a small triangle in the lid, at the midpoint of the wire handle, to allow for more control over the rate of glue AND it’s easier to “aim” for the center of the seam fabric. You’ll need to make another small hole on the opposite side of the lid for air flow, or the glue won’t come out. This also prevents a huge mess, if the bucket gets knocked over for some reason.
Inevitably, there will be some areas in the seam where there is too much glue. When pressing the turf into the glue, the effect is that excess glue will come up through the 2 pieces of turf and get into the fibers. Or sometimes, glue will simply get onto the turf in places. It might drip off the bucket, or someone accidentally steps into the glue and then onto the turf.
Pro Tip 2: Do Not Use Acetone or Mineral Spirits to Remove Excess Glue
Once the glue is on the turf fibers, you can not just wipe it off with a towel. The heavy duty turf glue is IN the fibers and makes the fibers themselves stick together. A common mistake is to buy a solvent, like Mineral Spirits, Acetone or paint remover and apply it, to get the glue out. DO NOT DO THIS. YOU WILL RUIN YOUR TURF. The solvent will seep down into the turf and delaminate the backing(as pictured here), and the fibers will fall out, making your seam almost irreparable. On a padded turf for indoor sports, it will separate the backing from the 5mm pad, as well.
Pro Tip 3: Use WD40 and a Comb
The best, and easiest, way to remove artificial turf glue from turf is to get a can of WD40, spray it on the areas with glue, wait a few minutes and then wipe it off with a towel. WD40 will not separate the turf from the backing. Get a comb and “comb” the fibers and the glue will slide right off and the fibers will no longer be stuck together. A hair comb can work but a “Purdy” comb from paint stores like Sherwin Williams, is ideal. The metal bristles are the right distance apart and it has a handle. Normal metal brushes are difficult because the bristles are too close together. You can order these online, or the local Paint Store usually has them in stock, in a pinch.