Field managers are busy enough with worrying about irrigation, overseeding schedules, fertilizer availability, and the ever-present threat of vandalism. Trying to decide between pre-made or custom field covers can seem like an obvious choice since a pre-made tarp can arrive within days. However, there are many reasons to wait for the extra work required for custom fabricated baseball field covers. You’ll get better performance, enjoy a longer life, and deal with fewer issues by choosing a custom baseball field cover.
Flexibility of Size and Shape
Only custom baseball field covers can accurately fit your particular skinned areas without inappropriate or insufficient overlap. Covers that stretch too far over the turf at the edges can damage the grass and destabilize the edge. If they’re too small and don’t have enough overlap, it’s all too easy for water to soak in around the edges. A custom cover is the best option to ensure a perfect fit. Even regulation fields can end up with slightly different dimensions than the standards. Instead of trying to re-establish your turf and soil edges to get a specific fit, just order your covers to the proper specifications.
It’s true that most pre-made baseball field covers will cost less than custom fabrication options. However, custom covers tend to have a lower cost over their total lifespan because the higher quality leads to many more seasons of use. Spending a little more up front can pay off for the lifespan of the cover. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of extra time spent on patching and repairing the covers as they age as well. Custom covers made from quality, reinforced materials will lower these labor costs, in addition to reducing your frustration levels as well.
If you have a specific cover material in mind for its durability or UV resistance, you’ll have to choose a custom cover instead of a pre-made one. Pre-made baseball covers are often lacking in clear labels to specify the material and its specific limitations. You may think you’ve chosen a material that can last through the winter only to find it failing after just a few weeks because it’s designed for temporary use. By choosing custom fabrication, you have control over the entire process, including material selection in the beginning.
Ease of Installing Seams, Grommets, and Pockets
You may think you’re free from the need to install seams, pockets, grommets, and other attachments when buying a pre-made cover. However, most field managers find themselves altering their existing and older tarps in order to make them easier and safer to use without damaging the material. Knowing how difficult it is to add durable pockets and hand-straps should help guide your purchase. Some materials are easily sealed with heat or adhesives, while other covers are best fabricated only by the manufacturer. If you plan to keep your baseball field covers long enough that you’ll repair and alter them extensively, start with a custom design that’s made with an easy-working material.
Most pre-made baseball covers are only available in limited color options and with no particular decorative features. If you want to add a complex design to the cover, you’ll likely want to start with a material you’ve confirmed works with your desired printing process and then get a third-party printer to add the artwork for you.
If you already have a full set of pre-made field covers, consider ordering at least one custom area cover to compare the difference. You can slowly transition your entire collection into custom designs as they become too worn to be worth repairing. If you’re working to protect a new athletic field instead, order a whole set of complementing covers from us here at BTL Liners. You’ll enjoy years of reliable protection from your new covers without having to worry about constant patching.