CBS 5 Advocate

Artificial turf owners responsible for 'reflective' damage

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If you are considering artificial turf for your home, you should know about a key exclusion to their warranties and an easy way to avoid an expensive surprise down the road.

Artificial grass is designed to be resistant to our intense Arizona heat, but that's direct heat. Heat that comes from a reflection is a different story. Reflective heat can cause severe damage and typically isn't covered under the warranty, so you need to know how to protect your investment.

Simone Paz says, about a year and a half after installation, she found a long strip of discoloration on her backyard artificial turf.

"I just noticed, when I looked at it, I went a little closer and I saw that the actual fibers were shriveled and melted," Paz said.

Paz wasn't worried about her $3729 investment because she thought the warranty would cover it. She says the installer, Sunburst Landscaping, told her the melted grass was likely caused by the sun reflecting off a neighbor's window.

"They said it's not covered. It's in the contract, I signed it," Paz said.

The contract Paz signed clearly states the warranty doesn't apply to damage from heat "magnified by glass or reflective surfaces." But paz says she had no idea what "reflective damage" or "melting" even meant because Sunburst never discussed the concept with her.

"Nothing, they didn't even mention it, I didn't know it even happened," Paz said.

Sunburst Landscaping told CBS 5 News they did discuss reflective damage with Paz; more than once. The "A" rated company with the Better Business Bureau says they do so with every customer. Paz has learned homeowners should inspect for potential reflection problems upfront and install cheap screens where needed.

"Foils or shades on the windows before they even put in the turf. I would definitely ask the company to do a full evaluation," Paz said.

Any artificial grass customer will likely sign something saying that they know about reflective damage; "melting" is a serious potential problem.

Installers are the experts. This is something they should bring up first, but be proactive. Ask them to inspect for potential problem windows at or near your house and whether you need screens.

Sunburst Landscaping says they covered this entire topic, in detail. Here is the company's full statement:

"As a leader in artificial turf installation in Arizona, we fully support that Dave Cherry and Channel 5 are working to inform the public about realistic issues with turf. We became aware in 2011 that when Arizona heat is magnified by reflective surfaces, it can cause damage or melting to all artificial turf products. From that time forward, we have made sure that our sales staff are trained to discuss this with all potential customers and offer possible suggestions, such as sun shades for windows, to address it. Additionally, we included multiple references to the potential for excessive heat caused by reflection in our contracts. We’ve built a 40-year reputation for always doing the right thing. Though we disagree on the specifics of this isolated instance, we understand that artificial turf is an investment and that investment carries certain expectations. We are committed to openness regarding the performance of our artificial turf products and we will continue to do our part in educating each individual customer about the pros and cons of artificial turf for their specific needs."

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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