In the final part of our Basic Guide to Synthetic Turf, we explore the role of E-layers and how to best approach painting the synthetic turf that is installed on top of it.

Part 4: What’s an E-Layer?

Synthetic Turf Guide Pt. 4Synthetic Turf Guide Pt. 4

In the early years of synthetic turf it was common for the field to be laid out directly on concreate, asphalt or gravel. This practice continues to be prevalent when installing synthetic turf. However, with safety being at the forefront of all sports, manufacturers are trying to make turf surfaces as player-friendly as possible. The turf companies have come up with different forms of elastic layers, or E-Layers, to help aid in this issue. The E-layer is a bonded rubber shock pad that is placed between the ground and the turf. There are several ways turf companies install this layer; it comes in panels that snap together, sections that are rolled out, or it can be poured and packed down the same way asphalt is applied.

Painting Fields with E-Layers

If the E-layer is under the turf, how does it affect the way I paint my field? Good question; glad you asked. It’s less of a concern if you have turf that requires very little painting; for instance if you only apply a non-removable paint once a year for lines, you may not need to worry about the E-layer. Where the E-Layer comes into play is in instances when you have a significant amount of paint changeovers. If you have logos that have to be put down and removed over the course of a year or if you have multiple sports where lines are being applied and removed frequently, you really need to keep the E-layer in mind when deciding on your paint removal process.

Paint Removal and the E-layers

Removing Gameline Removable paint from fields that do not have an E-Layer can be done with the following steps:

  • Step 1: Agitation with Blitz Walk Behind Machine
  • Step 2: Apply Blitz Remover or Blitz HT Remover Solution
  • Step 3: Agitation with Blitz Walk Behind Machine
  • Step 4: Rinse area with water

In this case, the water, paint and, remover solution runs through the turf and base layer. Now, if you have an E-layer, these substances have to pass through the elastic padding before getting to the base layer. What winds up happening is they get absorbed into the E-layer, causing it to lose its cushion. This affects the Gmax (surface hardness) of the turf, negating the safety benefits of the E-layer. Groundskeepers often use instruments (such as the Clegg Impact Tester) to determine the hardness of synthetic turf sports surfaces.

Have no fear; there is a way to prolong the life of your E-layer and your turf system. Instead of pushing the removal substances through the padding, it is best to extract them with a machine that works more like a vacuum. The P-REX Remover & Extractor sucks up paint and remover solution, keeping your E-layer free from debris with minimal loss of infill. This machine is an all-in-one tool that agitates, applies remover solution and water, and extracts the liquids all at the same time.

Knowing exactly what makes up your turf can be a complex process, but if you’ve stuck it out with us for the entire series, you have learned how to identify the basic types of fibers and infill your turf has and how to paint each variety. You have also received a look at the E-layer and how it plays a role when removing paint from your turf. If you missed a week, below are links to the previous sections of our series.