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    PolyGlide Blog, News & Updates — polyglide synthteic ice

    Make the Most of Your Home Environment with Synthetic Ice Tiles

    Make the Most of Your Home Environment with Synthetic Ice Tiles

    The Challenge of Excelling at Ice Skating 

    We love ice skating in all its forms. Whether we’re skating at the rink during the holidays or practicing our jumps or hockey stops in the offseason, skating is a thrilling experience everyone should try at least once. Skating this year, like everything else, has been a challenge. You need to get your skates and gear and find a local ice skating rink to practice or play with your friends. 

    Unfortunately, ice skating and hockey rinks have been hit hard, effectively shutting them down for 2020 and beyond. And while there has been some traction of late, we see it start to regress yet again. To keep the sport and your skill alive, you have to be a bit creative. That means skating at home. And you can make your home environment into your own skating sanctuary with synthetic ice tiles. Stay tuned. We’ll give you some fun tips on making spaces your own. 

    synthetic ice tiles

    It’s Time to Improvise with Synthetic Ice Tiles

    What are synthetic ice tiles? These are specially made panels that imitate the feeling of ice. Don’t be fooled. Skating on synthetic ice tiles is not akin to using your rollerblades. You use your actual metal blades on a high-quality, ultra-dense, polyethylene material. Synthetic ice tiles have been around for several years. In fact, it’s the same material that spaces like malls and hotels use to set up skating rinks for the holidays. These panels are smaller and interlock so that you can skate on any flat surface. That means you can take them home and get a little creative. 

    Using Synthetic Ice Tiles at Home vs. Natural ice

    A common question that arises is, “Why not create a DIY ice rink at home?” Without a doubt, this is a great option. In fact, with some elbow grease and a little creativity, you can create a large, natural ice rink that can last for years but it does have some drawbacks. If you decide to go with synthetic ice tiles instead, you get all the benefits with none of the hiccups. For example:

    Weather is Not a Problem

    While natural rinks feel amazing, to create one, you need ideal conditions. For instance, you must have a few consecutive days at a steady temperature for your rink to freeze. That means time is of the essence. Furthermore, you’ll need to shovel off snow, slush, and freezing rain. Synthetic ice tiles aren’t dependent on the weather and can clean with a simple wipe or soft broom. 

    You Save on Water and Other Materials

    To create a natural ice rink, you need water. And lots of it. You can spend a day filling your rink and several hundred gallons of water, with the hope that it freezes well. You need to have a tarp for the weather, plywood boards, and poles to keep everything in place. With synthetic ice, all you need is to purchase the number of tiles for your space and Rebounding Dasher Curbs to cordon it off with synthetic ice tiles. These can be used for years to come without having to waste precious time and resources.

    Easy to Set-up and Uninstall

    Setting up a natural rink makes excellent use of your environment. But it can be a task to set up and take it down. You’ll need a little help with measuring, setting up the walls, and filling up the rink. With synthetic ice tiles, you can set up by yourself with just a soft mallet to interlock the panels. When you’re done, you can break it down and store it away (but who will want to do that when you can skate all year!).

    It’s Safer for Your Kids

    Most parents love that their kids are crazy for hockey. But playing at a local rink can bring some safety concerns. Older kids could be a bit rough, and parents tend to worry about stray pucks flying everywhere. By using your home environment, you have a more controlled space where they can have fun. Furthermore, if you’re still a bit concerned about heading out due to the ongoing pandemic, you can safely skate at home in your own bubble. 

    A Great Way to Release Some Energy

    If the kids have a little energy to burn, they can put on their skates and have some fun! Ice skating, figure skating, and hockey are great ways to burn off some energy. And if you want a way to stay in shape, you can get a great workout on your synthetic rink.  

    Happy SkaterYou’ll Get Better at Skating

    The more hours you put in something, the better you get at it. Ice skating is no exception. If you or your kids want to get an edge on the competition, having space to practice will quickly improve your speed, strength, and stickhandling skills. While everyone is resting, you’ll be working.

    How to Take Advantage of Your Environment

    Now it’s time to put on your thinking cap and see how you can make the most of your surroundings. Opting for synthetic ice tiles gives you the advantage of setting up almost anywhere. Make sure to measure your space so you have the necessary tiles for your area. For uneven surfaces, you’ll need additional plywood to have a smoother skate. Here are some ways to make the most of your space.

    backyard rink

    1. Set-up a Backyard Rink

    This is one of our favorite locations to set up a rink. People often use their backyards for natural, DIY ice rinks because they’re spacious. We love space when it comes to skating though you really don't need a lot! With as little as 200 square feet, you can set up a space for hockey training or a manageable enough rink to practice figure skating. You can go larger if you have older kids or have practice matches. Having a level surface is critical, so check grassy areas and use plywood if needed to keep things even.  

     2. Use Your Driveway

    Sometimes, all you have is your driveway! Park the cars in the street or the garage and get your tiles down to start skating. You’ll have significantly less space compared to the back yard. However, you can still get a nice sized rink if you have a large area. You can even get creative and use your front lawn!

    3. Skate on Your Deck

    Decks are flat surfaces created outdoors and connected to your house. They are usually made of high-quality wood and elevated from the floor on concrete or wooden pillars. Decks are great for lounging in the summer but can double as your skating rink all year round! Decks are some of the best places for skating since they are usually large spaces with level floors. All you’ll need to do is set up your rink based on the dimensions of your deck.

    4. Garage Ice Arena

    Probably one of the most popular spaces for a home rink is right where you park your car (or store all your possesions....the Garage! It's the ideal location that provides the nesessary space just enough to practice your edge work while away from the riink AND stay warm! The great thing about synthteic ice is thta the polymer plastic is strong enough to park your car on it with no damage to the surface. Just remember to cover your rink first to prevent dirt, oils and debris from mucking-up your rink.

    ice court

    5. Sport Court Conversion

    If you have a backyard basketball court or tennis court, you can quickly convert it into your rink for the holidays and beyond. Since these have flat surfaces, you can easily place multiple tiles in any shape you like so you or your family can start skating. To have the best of both worlds, you can invest in a pad or covering where you can still play basketball or tennis while having your rink in place. 

    6. Turn Swimming into Skating

    Earlier this year, our friends at the Faze Clan mansion took our tiles and created a skating runway around their pool. That gave us an idea. Why not cover your pool in ice! During the cold months, swimming will be at a minimum. It’s a great way to use the space by installing a synthetic ice rink. If the pool is shallow, you can drain it and install the rink on the pool floor. This can save you money on energy and water! Place a sub-layer of foam or board to protect the floor of the pool. You can go over the pool, but this may be a bit more difficult. You’ll need to create a sturdy structure to hold everyone safely before placing the skating panels. Speak with a contractor or structural engineer for this option. 

    rooftop rink

     7. Take it to the Roof

    Sometimes we don’t have space in our environment to create large rinks. Some people live in apartment complexes or other living arrangements where space is a premium. Why not take advantage of the space on the top floor? Set up a synthetic ice rink on the rooftop area away from the ledge. It will feel fantastic skating closer to the clouds, or even under the stars!

    Get Creative with Your Environment

    If skating is as important to you as it is to us, it makes sense to make the most of your environment. Using synthetic ice tiles, you have the versatility to set up almost everywhere while still having a skating experience comparable to real ice. From your deck, pool, and even the street, you and your family can have fun skating again! If you need advice on measurements and set up or need special pricing, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

     

    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!