Laying artificial grass on tiles: A step-by-step guide

A tiled garden can be very appealing, especially if it’s well kept, and you have the time to do so. Whether it’s porcelain tiles, travertine, granite, slate or sandstone, they do offer an aesthetically pleasing look to any outdoor space.

However, certain natural stone tiles can be notoriously difficult to clean, whilst others are adept at accumulating dirt, weeds and even mould. Porcelain doesn’t tend to throw up such an issue, but it can be prone to chipping, especially if things are dropped on it. And cracked tiles don’t really do a garden justice.

If your tiled garden is proving a challenge to maintain, your garden tiles are looking somewhat tired and you fancy a complete change, or it’s just time to go low-maintenance and child-friendly, the good news is that you can lay fake grass straight over tiles. Want to learn how? Read on for all the instructions tools and materials you’ll need to lay artificial grass on tiles.

Materials checklist:

  • Your chosen artificial grass
  • 20mm shock pad underlay
  • Artificial grass glue
  • Jointing tape (if joints are required)
  • Kiln-dried sand (for your fake grass infill – around 4-5Kg per square metre)

You may also need:

  • Sand (to fill any uneven areas)
  • 10mm shingle (to fill any drainage holes)
  • Quick-drying cement (to fill any large gaps between tiles)

Tools checklist:

  • Stiff broom
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure or straight edge
  • Sharp knife and spare blades
  • Spatula or filling knife (to spread the glue)
  • Garden hose (to check drainage)
  • Drill with 16mm bit (to create drainage holes should drainage be an issue)

Before you start:

Clear your surface

You’ll need to start out with a nice clear surface that is totally free from debris. Sweep well or use a leaf blower to remove leaves, grit and dirt. Blitz any weeds growing up through the gaps with a strong weedkiller and get rid of them.

An even surface is a must, although a slight slope works well for drainage. An undulating surface however is a definite no-no. So be sure to use a spirit level and make sure you’ve got no bumps. A thin layer of sand or other self-levelling compound spread over the tiles will help fill any gaps, just be sure to avoid doing this when it’s raining.

If your tiles have been set apart more than 25mm, then your fake lawn could experience sagging. You’ll therefore need to get those gaps closed up, and quick drying cement is the ideal solution. Do make certain though that it’s fully dried before you start installing the fake grass.

Ensure sufficient drainage

The last thing you want when your new artificial lawn is laid over your tiles is to see pools of water forming during wet weather. Always check the drainage before you start. Simply hose the area down and see whether puddles form. If they do, it’s a simple fix. Just drill some drainage holes into the tiles around the area of the puddles. A 16mm drill bit will do the job, then you can fill the holes with shingle.

Again, always wait for the surface to dry before fitting your artificial turf.

Be safe

Remember: you’ll be using adhesive, so be certain that you have sufficient ventilation.

Your step by step guide to installing artificial grass on tiles

Important: being with a dry tiled area and do not start if it is likely to rain.

Step 1: Shock pad underlay installation

Start at one end of the tiled area and push the underlay up to the edge. Then roll it out and cut to the required shape. Continue until the entire area is covered. 

Top tip: As the underlay comes on a roll, it will naturally try to roll itself back as you lay it. Simply place a heavy object on each end to prevent this occurring.

The underlay pieces should be joined together using the jointing tape on the reverse side. Once you have a completely joined sheet, you can start the process of gluing it to the tiles.

Fold your underlay back from the edges. Then, using a spatula or filling knife, apply a generous covering of glue around 2-3mm thick around the edges of the tiled area. You will have about 30 minutes to work with the glue, less if it’s a warm day, so work carefully but quickly.

Once the glue is applied, roll back your underlay and firm down around the edges so that they are glued in place.

Step 2: Fake lawn installation

Roll out your fake grass onto the tiled area. Allow 5cm extra around all the edges so you have sufficient room to create the perfect edge.

Leaving the grass to settle for 2-3 hours before trimming to size will help eliminate any creases.

Top tip: Turn the artificial grass over and run your knife long the stitch lines. This will avoid cutting through the stitches.

You may need to join pieces of artificial grass together to cover a larger area.

Never try to glue individual pieces of grass directly to the underlay. This will result in them moving independently when walked on, which will make the joints visible.

How to join artificial grass

The vital thing to remember when joining pieces of artificial lawn together is to check that the pile of each one runs in the same direction.

Set the two pieces beside each other, pile upwards, then line the edges up.

Fold the edges of both pieces back on themselves about 25cm so you can see the back of the grass and the stitch lines. Now trim back two or three stitch lines down each edge. Turn the two sections over to see how they look on the pile side, before you apply the jointing tape to the underside. Be sure to get the two pieces butting up nicely, then apply pressure along the seam to ensure the adhesive sticks all the way along.

The final step is to secure the whole fake turf sheet to the underlay with artificial grass glue. Fold back the turf sheet at the edges, taking care to keep the taped joints intact. Now apply a layer of glue on top of the underlay around the entire perimeter.

It’s important to make certain the artificial grass and underlay bond fully, so leave it to settle for at least two hours.

Step 3: Infill and brush your fake turf

The infill step is beneficial because it helps to keep the fake turf in place and keep wrinkles at bay. It also protects the fibres of the turf, keeping them straight for the ultimate quality look. Kiln dried sand is recommended. Even better is weed-free kiln dried sand which keeps weeds at bay.

Sprinkle on the sand, then give the fake lawn a brush in the direction of the pile to lift the fibres.

Following fitting:

  • To keep the fibres even, brush the lawn regularly with a stiff broom or plastic rake. You can use the same tools to remove debris.
  • Any spillages can be washed away with water.
  • Any garden furniture or children’s play equipment placed on the fake lawn should be done carefully so that the load is spread and indentations are minimised.
  • Protect your artificial turf from hot objects such as barbeques.