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    PolyGlide Blog, News & Updates — PolyGlide Ice

    7 Synthetic Ice Rink Installation Tips

    7 Synthetic Ice Rink Installation Tips

     Synthetic ice was initially made to facilitate year-round skating. Over the years, the ice moved from only available in large malls and public spaces to homes with custom panels. Anyone can now have synthetic ice panels delivered to their homes for a personal skating experience.  

    This has brought a rise in the installation of synthetic ice rinks. Some persons want to build a large, at-home rink to practice hockey, figure skating, or to pick back up a childhood hobby. Others are small businesses that want to add a large rink as an added source of income or to host an event. Whatever the reason, installing a rink has become more accessible than ever. At the same time, you can make some synthetic ice rink installation mistakes. Let’s break down the process and offer some simple tips to consider before installing your rink.

    Polymer Technology

    What is Synthetic Ice?

    If you’ve stumbled across the concept of synthetic ice for the first time on this blog post, let’s help you out. Simply put, synthetic ice is interlocking panels made of a high-quality polymer. 

    There are several synthetic ice manufacturers on the market, but ours is made of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE). Both materials create a fantastic skating experience that feels similar to natural ice. 

    You can order synthetic ice panels to size and shape, installing them quickly to start skating in short order. Because these panels are customizable and accessible, it’s possible to create small and large synthetic rinks for your skating needs.

    Synthetic Ice Rink vs. Conventional Ice Rink

    There is a subset of persons who enjoy creating a DIY ice rink every year. A smaller subset still has a conventional rink installed in their homes. However, there are several advantages to opting for a synthetic ice rink vs. a traditional ice rink.

    • Easy maintenance: When compared to conventional rinks, synthetic panels can be maintained with minimal effort. Boards only need a mild cleaner to remove dirt and shavings. The panels will get scuff marks, which is a good thing. Those grooves improve the skating experience. Conventional rinks need skilled personnel to maintain the rink. DIY (flooded) rinks have a short shelf life but depend on factors like temperature.
    • Improved Skating Experience: With DIY rinks, builders run the risk of creating a sloped rink if the water is not easily distributed. This tends to happen when the ground is not level. You may not get this issue with a refrigerated rink. However, synthetic ice panels allow for flexibility in installation. This flexibility reduces the chances of an uneven rink. 
    • Durability: Synthetic ice panels can last over ten years, with some being able to last well past 15 years. Conventional DIY rinks last only as long as the freezing weather. Refrigerated rinks are durable like synthetics but come at a high cost, as we’ll explain shortly. 
    • Seasonality: The advantage of getting panels is the year-round availability. You can skate freely on your rink in the offseason without worrying about melting ice. For instance, some persons consider using snow for a border or base of their rink. That snow can melt, creating leaks and poor skating experience. When you’re installing in warmer seasons, just make sure to dress lightly, because you’ll be working up a sweat!
    • Cost Savings: Both a conventional, refrigerated rink can cost tens of thousands of dollars to set up and maintain. We’re not even talking about energy costs. These rinks can still run in hotter weather, but unless you’re a professional athlete, the cost-benefit won’t add up. DIY ice rinks can cost you a trip to the hardware store and a lot of time to set up if you’re not good with your hands. Synthetic rinks cost cheaper than both per square foot. It’s also easier to install! 

    Now that you know what synthetic is panels are and the advantages of installing a rink, you might be raring to install one. Simultaneously, it’s easy to make some installation mistakes that will prove costly or create a poor skating experience. Here are some mistakes to look out for and how to avoid them. These tips can save you time, money, and help you get the most out of your synthetic ice rink.

    Perfect Place

    1. Choose the Right Space for your Rink

    If you’re deciding on installing a sizeable synthetic ice rink, make sure to choose the right space before you start anything. For at-home use, you’ll want an area that you can use for an extended period. Don’t choose a site where you will need to remove your rink. For commercial use, you have far more questions and logistics to consider:

    • Is the selected space easily accessible?
    • Is the space available for several persons to use at once?
    • Do you have the necessary approvals to install the rink?
    • Will you require liability insurance?
    • What’s your system for getting persons in and out of the rink?

    Some of these questions may even apply to home use. Overall, making sure that you consider all possibilities can save you a future headache.

    2. Use a Suitable Subsurface for your Rink

    Synthetic panels work best on a hard, flat surface like concrete, wooden decks, or hardwood floors. Choosing a soft, uneven surface can create a poor skating experience. Avoid grassy areas, carpeting or gravel floors. If that’s the only available space, then there’s a solution. Invest in plywood boards as a sub-flooring for your rink, to give you a nice even floor. A severley sloped surface may need more boards, soil, or a filler before installing the synthetic panels.                                                                                                        

    3. Measure the Space before Ordering

    As the saying goes, ‘measure twice, cut once.’ Once you’ve locked down your space, it’s time to measure the dimensions for the rink. It’s vital to get the right dimensions so you can purchase the right size and number of panels. Get measuring tape long enough to cover a large area and markers to record the measurements. You can waste valuable time and money by ordering too many or too few panels. The same goes for the plywood if you need it. Check your hardware store for plywood cut to your needs. 

    4. Order the Right Type of Tiles

    Whether home or commercial use, you must ask a critical question: What will the rink be used for? If the rink is solely for figure skating practice, consider a Spin Station, infused for the best skating experience. These self-infused panels are perfect for professional ice skating, with a solid core. Ice hockey, on the other hand, can benefit from infused (skating) or non-infused panels (shooting gallery) depending on the purpose of your rink.

    Commercial rinks may require a higher molecular weight, durable panel for heavy use. Choosing the wrong type of synthetic ice can reduce the lifespan and even skating experience.

    Installation Tools

    5. Use the Right Tools for Installation

    You may think you don’t need tools to install a synthetic ice rink. After all, the panels are interlocking and made-to-measure. But some tools can help.

    Taps from a soft mallet are enough to connect the panels for a rink without any borders. The mallet ensures the panels stay locked in place. Hands alone may not suffice. If a plywood subsurface or dasher boards are required, make sure to get additional material. This may include wood framing, screws or nails to secure the plywood or dashers in place. 

    6. Account for Temperature Changes

    When installing your rink, you may have rink walls and toppers installed for safety. However, one common mistake is not accounting for temperature changes. Polyethylene panels tend to expand and contract with changes in the temperature. This may damage the outside of the panels if there is not enough space to account for the expansion. Expanding tiles can also disconnect from the interlocking grooves. Leave a couple of inches on the outside of the rink to compensate for any swelling. 

    7. Ask for Help!

    Synthetic panel installations are quick and easy, but that does not mean you should do it alone! Getting a friend, family member, or DIY expert can help speed things up. This is especially the case if you’re building a large skating space that includes walls. That person may also see something that you’ve missed. When you have others pitch in, the fun starts much sooner.

    Now it’s Your Turn

    Ready to install your synthetic ice rink? It’s a great way to practice ice skating, hockey training, or other ice sports all year round. Make sure to follow these easy tips. A simple step, such as choosing and measuring the correct space, can cost you time and money through extra panels. With rinks for commercial use, make sure to recruit some help and put safety measures in place. When done the right way, you can get your synthetic ice rink up and running in a couple of hours. 

    If you need help choosing the right synthetic ice panels for your needs, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also request a quote so you can start planning your installation. We can’t wait to see your rink!

    FaZe Kay Epic Fun With PolyGlide Synthetic Ice

    FaZe Kay Epic Fun With PolyGlide Synthetic Ice

    What do you do when it’s the middle of summer in Los Angeles, and you want to ice skate? Popular Fortnite streamer and YouTuber, Frazier -  aka Faze Kay - and his brother Jarvis, missed the cold weather and ice sports in their native England. 

    Kay’s solution; to have some ice shipped to the Faze Clan mansion so he can ice skate around the pool.After calling Antarctica for a batch of fresh ice, which of course, would melt in the LA sun, he was running out of ideas. Faze Nikan had a suggestion: get a lubricated synthetic material that works anywhere in any weather. 

    That’s when we received a call from Kay! We were happy to help out the clan and sent some of our synthetic ice panels to the Faze Clan mansion.

    Who are the Faze Clan?

    For over ten years, the Faze Clan has been one of the premier eSports organizations in the world. The company competes in several tournaments around the globe, including Fortnite, FIF, Valorant, Call of Duty, and many others. The company’s growth over the years has been fueled by investment from celebrities, entrepreneurs, and athletes like Pitbull, Jimmy Iovine, Offset, and Ben Simmons. 

    The Faze Clan soon evolved into content creation with several personalities on their roster creating Twitch and YouTube content. Famous faces include Faze Kay and Faze Jarvis, who rack up tens of millions of views on their channels each month. 

    The content creators recently moved into an LA mansion called the Faze house, where they spend time improving their craft while creating YouTube and Twitch content. 

    What are Synthetic ice panels?

    Synthetic ice panels are interlocking sheets made of a strong polyethylene compound. The panels are infused with a compound that mirrors the feel of real ice skating. The durable material works with real metal skates and has minimal friction when compared to real ice. If you’re thinking that metal skates will damage the tiles, it’s actually the opposite. The grooves formed by metal skates improve the skating experience over time.

    You can connect the panels to create an ice rink or space for hockey, ice skating, figure skating, or even games like curling. Seeing and feeling those panels were too good to be true. When Kay slapped on his skates and stepped on one of the sheets, he was convinced that this was just what he was looking for.

    Setting things up

    What we did not expect was the brothers to have their own Winter Olympics in the back yard! To start, Nikan set up the rink around the pool. Since the synthetic ice panels need a hard flat surface, the guys also bought plywood to use as a base. 

    Nikan then came up with three challenges for Kay and Jarvis. The winner receives a special mystery box. Since these two had no experience ice skating, this would be a fun way to get accustomed to skates while having some friendly sibling rivalry. 

    Our synthetic ice is great for sports like ice hockey and figure skating. But there are some fun activities and challenges you can do too. Here’s what happened at the Faze mansion and how you can have your own challenges.

    Game 1: The Time Trial

    With helmets on for safety, the guys jumped into their first challenge; a simple time trial. The brothers had 3 rounds to skate around half of the swimming pool as quickly as possible. The fastest time would be the winner of the round, with the best 2 out of 3 the winner.

    Kay easily took the first round but destroyed his time in the second and third rounds. Kay was able to cut his time down to 9.67 seconds. Jarvis got swept 3-0 as he took some time to find his balance in the skates. Even trying to sabotage Kay’s second run was not enough to lose this one. 

    How You Can Do It At Home

    Time trials are a great way to improve your speed, balance, and control on the ice. It’s also a great way to get your competitive juices flowing. For safety, it’s best not to set the ice panels next to a swimming pool. However, you can set the panels in a line in the backyard, garage, or driveway. 

    Have someone keep time, while each person takes turns skating from one end to the other. A group of kids or adults can even turn it into a relay event, where the fastest team wins. Try a time trial event before hockey practice, ice skating practice, or when you have a group of friends over to the house.

    Game 2: The Jump Style Contest


    For the second game, Nikan wanted to increase the difficulty. The panels were set up in a straight line that fell off a ledge about one foot high. The goal of the game is to jump off the ledge and land cleanly. 

    Nikan would judge Kay and Jarvis on the style of each jump out of 10. Falling after the jump or leaving the ice after the jump would be an automatic disqualification. The brothers were up to the challenge.This time, Jarvis stepped up. After Jarvis scored only 1 point on his first attempt, Kay fell on his first attempt, giving him a 0. Kay came roaring back with a 5 on his second attempt to Jarvis’ score of 4. 

    With the scores tied, it was down to the last jump. Jarvis scored a 5, but Kay’s unimpressive jump landed him a 4!In the end, Jarvis won the game by two points. With the games tied, there was just one more game left to crown an overall champion!

    Time for Your Jump Style Game

    Figure skaters are known for their impressive jumps and practice different jumping techniques off the ice. But there could be a little friendly competition on the ice! You and a figure skating friend can practice simple jumps on your synthetic ice rink and get a friend to give you a score out of 10.

    If you’re not into jumping, you can try a gliding competition. Set your panels up in a straight line. Take turns gliding the length of the panels on two feet then on one foot. The person to reach the furthest point wins the competition. 

    Game 3: The Lego High Jump Challenge

    Do you think you can perform a jump on the ice? In the toughest challenge yet, the guys set up the panels on the grass, using the plywood boards as a base. In the middle of the ice strip was a wall of two rows of legos. The brothers had to start from one end, skate to the middle, jump over the lego wall, and skate to the end.

    The first person to fail the jump, while the other succeed, would lose the game. But there was a catch. After every round, Nikan would add two more levels to the lego wall. With the competition at its peak, the brothers cleared the first three rounds with ease. 

    At 8 layers high, Jarvis and Kay cleared their jumps. To decide a winner, the wall was set to 10 layers high. Unfortunately, Jarvis crashed into the lego wall, leaving Kay to clear the legos and win the game.

    In the end, Sweedish gamer (and very athletic) Faze Teeqo stole the show, jumping over the 12 rows of the blocks with ease. The guys were so impressed, they gave the prize to Teeqo!

    Ready For Your High Jump Challenge?  

    Do you have legos at home? Set up your own high jump challenge to compete against your family or friends. Jumping improves your strength, balance, and power. You can set a wall of legos like the Faze house and take turns jumping over. If you don’t have legos, a small box will do. 

    If you want to take it up a notch, set up an obstacle course! Use cones, hockey sticks, pool noodles, or anything you can find. Take turns going through the obstacle course. The course could be a timed event, or must be completed without touching the obstacles. 

    You’re next!

    We were so happy that the guys at the Faze mansion were able to experience ice skating during the LA heat. We made these synthetic ice panels out of a love for skating and hockey. However, you can use it to have some fun challenges too!

    With everyone still under some kind of quarantine, setting up some panels are a great way to learn skating, challenge your friends, and beat the boredom. At the same time, these fun games increase your confidence on the ice.

    You’ll also see an improvement in your speed, strength, and balance. When you’re ready to skate against others or hit a large skating rink, your competition will not know what hit them.

    These are just some of the challenges you can do on any of our synthetic ice rink packages. If you’ve completed a challenge or made up some of your own, we’d love to see. Tag us on our Instagram page