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Do You Need Underlay for Artificial Grass on Concrete?

Author: Samuel Beckingham
Updated: Jul 13, 2023
8 minutes read
  • Using artificial grass underlay is advantageous
  • Why underlay for artificial grass fitted on concrete is necessary
  • How to tell if your concrete is ready for artificial grass foam underlay

Artificial grass is meant to be comfortable underfoot, with a spongy texture that absorbs shocks and allows for drainage. In most instances, even before you can lay a fake lawn, you need a suitable base for it to sit on. So is concrete a suitable sub-base? It can be, but to provide the best surface for your fake lawn, it’s best to use artificial grass underlay with it.

This article will explain why artificial grass underlay is necessary and why it is beneficial for all sub-bases. The existing concrete surfaces in your garden might be ready for artificial grass foam underlay, but sometimes it might need work to make it ready. Find out about external underlay for your garden here.

Grass growing through cracks in concrete

Why Is Underlay for Artificial Grass a Good Idea?

One of the best things about a fake lawn is its bounciness. Even though the composition of the grass has several layers that allow this to happen, artificial grass underlay completes the process and makes it more comfortable.

You gain the following benefits with artificial grass foam underlay:

  • More comfortable

  • Safer, spongier surface

  • Quicker installation

  • Money saving

  • Improved aesthetic

  • Long life

Artificial Grass on Concrete Isometric

Using artificial grass underlay makes the finished product much more comfortable to walk and play on. If covering concrete, you won’t have to worry about the hard impact of the ground impacting on feet, paws, hands or anything else. It allows the artificial grass to be spongier as well, inviting you to use it more often than you might otherwise.

When it comes to covering concrete with a fake lawn, the process can be completed more quickly if it’s in good shape and you use artificial grass underlay. Usually, before you lay a fake lawn, you require a level surface that needs to be excavated and filled with aggregate. This allows for suitable drainage but is a costly expense. If concrete is level enough, you could save money by having a quicker installation.

Without using an artificial grass underlay, covering concrete or timber decking can leave visible lines on the finished lawn. Unsightly lines, uneven bumps and gaps can be prevented with underlay for artificial grass. And by providing a protective, cushioning layer, your artificial grass will last longer, without being compacted as much by excessive wear.

Is Concrete Suitable for Artificial Grass Underlay?

Not all ground will be ready to have artificial grass laid on top of it. Concrete can be damaged over time with cracks, fissures and can be unlevel. Sometimes these can be fixed before you can proceed to lay a fake lawn, but other times the repair work could be too extensive to be worth fixing and a replacement job will be needed before artificial grass underlay will be effective.

Spirit Level Vector

The reason why not all concrete is ready for underlay is because big gaps can cause problems when the grass is fitted. Gaps can get bigger if the issues aren’t addressed, which can cause tearing in your artificial grass. An uneven surface is also an issue as it can allow for water pooling, which can encourage weeds. The aesthetic can be ruined with an unlevel surface as well. Simply laying artificial grass underlay isn’t enough to assume it will solve uneven surfaces.

Is My Concrete Good Enough for Artificial Grass?


How old is your concrete? Can you lift any part of it up? If it’s disjointed, broken or full of cracks, you need to think about whether this could be a quick repair job that you could patch up yourself. Laying artificial grass underlay can only be done on concrete that doesn’t have a lot of issues.

Minor Repair Works

If repair work is only going to be minor, you could consider visiting a DIY shop and looking for a self-levelling compound. This is basically floor screed that will fill gaps, cover imperfections and provide a more even surface. On a small scale, this is relatively inexpensive. For bigger jobs that require extensive fixes, it’s probably worth your time breaking up the concrete and having a normal sub-base installed for your artificial grass underlay to sit on.

Is It Suitable?

Most existing concrete will be ready to have artificial grass foam underlay applied to it. If the surface is stable and mostly flat, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money by installing underlay straight away. It only takes a little common sense to realise if your concrete is suitable enough already. You can always err on the side of caution and fill in any minor gaps if you feel it will benefit when you install artificial grass underlay.

Water Pooling

Puddle With Wellies Vector

A much needed test for whether your concrete is suitable enough to have a fake lawn on it is to water it. Use a hose to spread an even load of water on the surface. If drainage is consistent and it doesn’t all collect in one area, your concrete will be suitable to have artificial grass underlay applied to it already. In an ideal scenario, a slight gradient would be best to allow for water to run off properly.

If the surface isn’t flat, it could allow for puddles to form and for water to not drain. If you imagine artificial grass already installed on that surface, this wouldn’t change. You would have to put up with soggy patches that don’t drain properly. This is why you should check your concrete for water pooling before going ahead and laying artificial grass underlay. In some instances, you might be able to drill holes through the concrete, which will rectify these issues. Severe water pooling might not be easy to rectify.

What If My Concrete Is in Poor Condition?

Big issues with poor concrete can mean a destructive job will be on your hands. Rocky or loose concrete will need to be removed, either by yourself or a professional. It is a lot of hard labour to break down concrete, so keep this in mind if you’re looking to cut costs and do it yourself. A professional will have the necessary tools to complete this job quickly and effectively. Skipping this step and laying artificial grass underlay anyway is not advisable.

Without concrete, you will need an MOT Type 1 sub-base for artificial grass underlay to be applied to. A weed membrane will be the first barrier above the aggregate, but the underlay for artificial grass creates the perfect cushioning barrier for the finished job. MOT Type 1 aggregate is ideal for a fake lawn as it spreads loads evenly and allows for an adequate amount of drainage.

Concrete Damage Vector

Should You Use Artificial Grass Underlay With Concrete?

Taking away the advantages of using artificial grass foam underlay, it’s clear that providing a shock-absorbing pad can cover slight imperfections in concrete. Walking on a fake lawn without an underlay will feel incredibly solid underfoot, so even though it is an expense, it’s necessary. If you have a lawn that’s uncomfortable to walk on, you aren’t likely to make use of it and it will go neglected, wasting the money you spent on having it installed.

Artificial grass underlay is perfect for concrete. It can hide slight undulations, irregularities and create an all-round more pleasant fake lawn. Even in instances where concrete is perfectly level and uniform, it’s still recommended to install underlay to artificial grass.

Which Underlay for Artificial Grass Is Best?

Not all underlay will perform the same. Some can absorb water instead of allowing it to drain, which can become an issue for bacteria and bad smells. Others are made of recycled materials, which is kinder to the planet. With concrete, the best artificial grass underlay to use is one that allows for free drainage and is good quality, lasting for many years.

Without the suitable drainage, your fake lawn can become unsightly, smelly and the perfect environment for harbouring bacteria and viruses. If you have pets, free drainage is essential if you don’t want the smell of urine to permeate the air. While the best artificial lawn cleaners will eliminate these smells, having a wet, mushy lawn underfoot is not ideal. Get around these issues by installing artificial grass underlay beforehand.

Can I Install Artificial Grass Myself?

Providing you have the correct tools, suitable DIY knowledge and a can-do attitude, you can absolutely install artificial grass yourself. Installing it on concrete should theoretically be simpler than completing any excavation works yourself as the sub-base is already there. Once the artificial grass underlay is in place, you don’t necessarily have to fix it down.

On the other hand, a professional will always get the job done correctly. They have the expertise to know the best artificial grass underlay to fit on concrete and how to properly attach the fake lawn so it looks its best.

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