I installed hydroturf this spring in 3 curvy pieces with straight angled edges between them, made cardboard templates to copy. I didn't really have to choose which way to go as the hyrdoturf piece came with the boat
Followed the recommended instructions - contact cement. Other than waiting 5 minutes to put the pad on the deck because couldn't move it at all by then (learned with first attempt). Instead basically put it on right away after spreading the contact cement (which probably took a couple minutes).
As far as expanding, I'm not really sure that's true or not but can see that perspective as you rollout from the center to make sure air all gets out - And doing so probably stretches it all a bit compared to just laying there. Mine ended up pretty good and consistent around the edges. The part I worked hardest on (mostly prep before sticking) was to get the straight edges spaced equally.
This was about 2 months ago, I haven't notices any stretching or shrinking to date. However, it hasn't gotten above about 85 here yet.
I didn't time it, but probably took 2 to 3 hours or something in that neighborhood. Obviously not as easy as peal and stick, but for about $70 total (if had to buy turf, glue, and brush) vs. $300+ it may have been worth it