Choosing the Right Surface for a Multi-Use Field

Written by Bill Narozanick / Published in Blog

Pennsauken Finished 8

As an athletic director or business director for a school, it is your responsibility to keep your facilities safe for the players while maintaining the appearance and appeal of your school. Multi-use fields can play a pivotal role in a school’s athletics, but there are certain considerations to make when deciding which surface is right for your multi-use field. Here, American Athletic Track and Turf reviews the top factors to take into account when shopping for the right multi-use field surface.


Safety is perhaps the most important factor when considering a playing surface. It’s crucial to have a surface that doesn’t subject athletes to the potential for injures such as sprains, skin contusions, or concussions.

Synthetic turf offers the safety benefit of installing a shock pad with newer fiber technologies, as well as various infill options in addition to traditional crumb rubber. The shock pad increases the cost but also improves a field’s results during the following tests:

  • G-MAX, which tests for how many G’s of force a field can absorb
  • Head Injury Criterion (HIC), which determines how hard a surface is and if athletes face increased risk of concussions


While synthetic turf may be more of an investment initially than natural turf, the difference in cost in certain situations may be as little as 10% of the total construction cost. Technology is bringing down the initial investment required to install synthetic turf because of improvements in materials and labor.


Natural turf can be maintained with a mower and irrigation. Synthetic turf requires less daily maintenance, depending on the quality of the product, but still requires a degree of care to keep it in safe playing condition. Heavy wear areas of synthetic turf, such as football fields or the interior fields for running tracks, require additional maintenance. However, these areas may be easily sustained with replacement inserts.


Synthetic turf is an excellent surface for football fields – especially because of its playability. However, it can also be used to serve many other sports effectively, such as soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and softball, due to its multi-purpose functionality. When installed inside a running track, these fields can host multiple sports and events as well. While natural turf has reliably serviced multiple types of sports fields for many years, many schools also use these fields for physical education classes, making the lower maintenance of synthetic turf more attractive.

Expected Lifespan

Natural turf can harden and become a safety concern for the athletes as it ages. Synthetic turf usually carries a warranty for eight to 10 years but often lasts longer (around 10 to 12 years). Careful maintenance can extend the lifespan and durability of both types, though synthetic turf is far easier to update in the long run than natural grass.

Making the Decision for Your Multi-Use Field

Athletic directors and business directors considering their choices for replacing aging sports fields should carefully consider these five criteria to make the most informed decision. If you need help determining which surface is right for your multi-use field, turn to American Athletic. We happily provide clients in New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Southern Massachusetts, Eastern Pennsylvania, and other states with quality multi-use field surfaces, as well as installation and maintenance services. To learn more about the services we provide and how we can replace your multi-use field surface, contact us today.

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