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    Info & Tips

    Ice Rink Kits: Should You Go Natural Or Synthetic?

    Ice Rink Kits: Should You Go Natural Or Synthetic?

    Are you thinking about a backyard ice rink?

    Nothing beats time on the ice if you are an avid ice skater, hockey player, or figure skater.

    The more reps you put in, the stronger, faster, and more confident you become.

    But ice skating has a major limitation; access to ice.

    So you need to book time, travel to rinks, or work within the confines of coaching.

    So now, you might be thinking about your own ice rink, specifically, ice rink kits.  

    Some people have experience building ice rinks from scratch.

    They know the exact materials and measurements and can work with their hands.

    Others need help, a plug-and-play system so they can spend less time building and more time skating.

    There are two options to consider: natural and synthetic ice rinks.

    We’ll break down both and help you make the best choice possible.  


    What is a rink kit? 

    To build a model train with train tracks, you can painstakingly source each piece until you have your set.

    Or you can get a model kit with all the tools and parts you need to create your model train.

    Ice rink kits have all the components you need to build a fully functional skating rink.

    These kits come in different sizes and have materials like wood or plastic.

    Once you have the parts and a flat backyard surface, you can install your kit.  


    Rink kits for natural rinks 

    Most backyard ice rinks depend on lots of water and cold weather.

    To build one, you’ll need to measure your yard, then buy enough lumber to make up the rink walls.

    Brackets help keep the walls in place.

    From there, you’ll need a tarp or another large, strong piece of plastic to go inside the rink (and partially over the rink walls).

    Water – and lots of it – fills the rink a couple of inches high, and once it’s cold enough, you have a rink that is ready to go.  

    The rink kit has all the components you will need to fill with water and create a natural rink.

    Some kits come with enough material to cover 20’ x 40’ or more.

    You might even be able to get an NHL-sized rink kit!

    The best kits should have rink walls (PVC, wood, or polypropylene) and a tough liner to cover the rink and walls.  


    Pros and cons 

    Here are some reasons why you should choose a rink kit: 

    • Kits save you time. No more searching for lumber, plastic boards, and liners at your local Home Depot. 
    • Kits save you money. Rising real estate costs mean rising material costs. The price of lumber can be much more than what you’re willing to pay.  
    • You get the exact dimensions you need for your rink. No more guesswork or errors that can cost you more time and money.  
    • Rink kits are durable, and you can reuse them over several winters.  
    • Some allow for easy storage. When the temperature warms, you simply let the water run off, then pack up the components for the next winter. 

    Despite these benefits, natural rink kits do have some limitations: 

    • You still need manpower to install the brackets for each rink wall. In fact, the entire setup can be time-consuming. It is recommended you stage the rink in advance to avoid any issues. 
    • Rinks need lots of water, often multiple layers of freezing, to get the best results. So if you’d like a green approach or to save money on water, you’ll be slightly disappointed.  
    • Rinks are governed by temperature, so you’ll only have the cold winter months for skating. The earlier you start the better. Rink maintenance is also necessary due to rain, snow, and dirt. This can be a daily occurrence if the rink gets heavy use.  
    • Beware of rink kit quality. Cheaper rinks can have liners that aren’t durable or walls that are difficult to install.  
    • If you want to scale your rink, you may need to repurchase a new kit as some manufacturers would not sell the additional pieces separately.  

    Overall, kits are a great option for beginner rink builders.

    Choose your size, install, fill with water, and get skating! 


    Rink kits with synthetic ice 

    Ice rinks filled with water aren’t your only option.

    Synthetic ice rink kits are growing in popularity, especially since the recent pandemic.

    Synthetic ice rinks were once for commercial rinks, hotels, and rentals.

    Now, you can get a synthetic ice rink kit that’s perfect for your backyard

    Synthetic ice is a special polyethylene material that allows skaters to use their metal skates.

    It’s been around for decades, but advancements in research and technology allow them to be cut for home use.

    They also come infused with a slip agent to improve the overall skating experience.  

    Ice rink kits come with a set number of tiles that cover a specific square footage.

    For instance, our Home Ice Tile Kit is 4 individual panels covering 32 square feet.

    For commercial use or heavy use at home, there are also panels that are bigger, thicker, and more durable. 

    Once you measure your space, you can get the correct number of kits needed to fill your rink. 


    Pros and cons 

    Why should you go synthetic?

    Here are some advantages to a synthetic ice rink kit: 

    • Synthetic ice is easy to install. All you need is a flat, level surface in your backyard. The tiles lay down and have interlocking grooves that allow you to connect them like a puzzle. Use a soft mallet to ensure they are snug. 
    • You can only install natural rinks containing water outdoors. Synthetic kits can go indoors, too, like garages, basements, spare rooms, driveways, and even your living room. Wherever there is a flat surface, you can skate. 
    • These panels are durable, allowing them to last for years. You can even flip them over for extra mileage.  
    • Synthetic ice rinks don’t depend on the weather, so you can install them at your convenience and use them well past the cold winter months.  
    • These kits are easy to maintain in any weather.  
    • Kits are scalable. If you need a larger rink, you can purchase and add extra tiles or panels to your existing rink. 

    And what about the disadvantages? 

    • Synthetic ice rinks have added friction that natural ice rinks do not. The best synthetic ice has a 10% coefficient of friction, making skating more challenging, and the seasoned skater can tell the difference. However, more friction equals more power and control. 
    • Synthetic ice rink kits require a more considerable upfront investment than natural rinks.  
    • Most synthetic ice kits do not come with rink walls because they aren’t needed. However, for a more aesthetic look and safety reasons, you will need to purchase rink walls or dasher boards separately.  

    Synthetic ice rink kits are easy to source, install, and scale.

    More importantly, they will last for years.


    Which should you choose

    Choosing the best ice rink kit comes down to a few factors: 

    • First, what space is available? 
    •  Is it just a backyard hockey rink?  
    • Do you want an indoor rink too?  
    • What's your budget? 
    • Who will use the rink, and for how long? 

    You can choose the best rink when you answer all these questions.

    Natural ice rinks are great family projects, as you can skate on large ice rinks during the wintertime.

    However, a synthetic ice rink kit is a long-term option that’s great for multiple areas and with the proper care, your rink lasts for years.

    If you want guidance on choosing a synthetic ice kit, feel free to contact us.

    We’ve helped hundreds of customers with rinks of all sizes, so we can help you choose the right kit. 



    Synthetic Ice Tips: Can Synthetic Ice Ruin Your Blades?

    Synthetic Ice Tips: Can Synthetic Ice Ruin Your Blades?

    It is the number one tool, and often the only tool a skater needs.

    Their ice skates.

    Today’s ice skates come in different fits, performance levels, and of course, different price points.

    As you move up in level, you will need better skates and better blades.

    You will also find yourself skating on different surfaces, like synthetic ice.

    Synthetic ice is a product of engineering advancements that became an excellent alternative to conventional ice skating.

    Thus, the big question is, "Can synthetic ice ruin your blades?"

    There is no need for special blades or specialized ice skates.

    You can glide flawlessly with your regular hockey or figure skates.

    Synthetic ice cannot and should not ruin your skates.

    However, the synthetic surface may dull the blade more than the natural ice.

    Don't worry, you just have to sharpen your blades based on how often you skate.


    Why do Your Skates Dull Faster on Synthetic Ice?

    Regardless of the surface, blades and edges of ice skates tend to dull over time.

    Friction happens when your skate hits the ice, every time you push off. That friction helps melt the ice ever so slightly, which allows you to skate.

    For synthetic ice, that liquid needs to be added.

    Some synthetic ice products come infused with a slip agent.

    Others are non-infused, so skaters need to apply a slip surface conditioner first.

    The liquid is not constantly renewing itself like conventional ice, so eventually, there will be more friction from the polyethylene.

    Home synthetic ice rinks are usually small, so skaters, especially kids, use the edges of their skates more frequently than they do on a large surface with natural ice.

    This causes the edges to dull faster.

    The quality of the synthetic ice also differs from one ice rink to another.

    There are different types you can buy online but they aren’t made of High-Density Polyethylene or they aren’t infused.

    The right ice provides the right mix of hardness and slickness for your skating maneuvers.

    If your blades get dull too quickly or are damaged too often, then you might be skating on low-quality synthetic ice.

    Its surface may be too hard for your blades, or it may be textured and so creates more shavings that damage your blades.

    Do You Need High Quality Skates on Synthetic Ice?

    Regular ice skates can be used on synthetic ice rinks.

    We’ve done a list of the best skates under $200 and each works well on synthetic ice.

    As a rule of thumb, higher-quality (more expensive) skates mean better blades.

    The blades should last longer than budget blades, and you would sharpen the blades less often.

    Stainless steel blades are considered beginner skates, and those are pretty good for synthetic ice too.

    Nickel-plated blades are growing in popularity.

    They are less subject to rust and damage, and their edges would last longer.

    You’ll know when you need to sharpen your blades.

    Skating won’t feel as smooth. Dull blades can restrict your turns and begin to lose their grip, meaning you’ll fall more.

    You can also do ‘the thumbnail test.’ Turn our thumbnail to the blad and gently pass it along the edge.

    If bits of the nail get shaved off, you still have a skatable edge.

    Once you find yourself sharpening your skate blades too often - after 15 hours or less on the ice - you may have to buy another skate with better quality than your previous one.

    Or you can always opt to have separate skates for your synthetic ice.


    How to Take Care of Your Skate Blades

    Ice skating is not a cheap hobby.

    As such, regular maintenance of your ice skates is vital to maximizing their use (regardless if you're skating on natural ice or synthetic ice).

    Here are some tips on taking care of your skates.

    1. Avoid Using Your Skates in Places Not Made of Ice.

    One habit that skaters do that causes significant damage to their skates? Walking them on surfaces other than ice.

    When you walk on hard surfaces, like cement for instance, with your skates on, the blades can easily chip or dent, significantly reducing their lifespan.

    Make sure to invest in blade guards.

    Blade guards are made of rubber or plastic that you can put on your blades as you walk to and from the ice.

    However, as you put your skates in your bag, closet, or locker, remember to take off the blade guards as they can trap moisture and may cause rust on your blade.

    In other words, these are just to protect the blade but not for storage purposes.

    It’s an additional expense, but they sure are worth the investment in the long run.


    2. Sharpen Your Blades Regularly.

    Sharp blades provide a smoother and faster feel on ice because they have a better grip. You can glide and train better even with minimum effort.

    On the other hand, dull blades will just make your skating experience awful.

    You also increase the chances of injury.

    How often should you sharpen your blades?

    It really depends on you.

    You would surely feel the difference between a sharp and dull blade.

    Different factors may affect how quickly your blade will become dull such as your weight, intensity, skill level, and of course, how often you use your skates.

    The best synthetic ice should hold your skates for at least 10 hours.

    You should trust how you feel when you're skating.

    3. Make Sure that Your Blades are Sharpened Properly.

    If you're a beginner and the only skater in the house, it is best to carry your skates to a skate shop or a professional since sharpening skates blades requires skill and precision.

    As you improve your skating skills, you’ll probably have an interest in the craft of skate sharpening.

    It’s best to learn from a professional first, then try on an older pair of blades first. When you’ve got the hang of it, you can invest in an at home skate sharpener.

    When sharpening your blades, remember the hollow, that curved groove that goes down the center of the blade.

    The depth of the hollow affects speed and performance. It can also influence how long it will last on your synthetic ice.

    A deeper hollow depends on the pressure of the ice to improve performance, which may or may not help on synthetic ice.

    You will have to experiment a bit to find the best hollow for you.


    4. Remember to Keep Your Skates Dry.

    Skating on synthetic ice does not mean it will no longer develop rust.

    When you are on an ice rink, your skates are still prone to dirt, dust, and shavings.

    So, no matter how exhausted you are from all the skating you did, don't forget to thoroughly dry off your skates before storing them.

    Where you leave your skates is also essential.

    Toss them in a corner for a few minutes but make sure to store them properly as soon as you can because the surrounding area may also cause your skates to develop moisture.

    We recommend you put them in a dry skate bag or a ventilated compartment where they can quickly dry out.

    You can also get soakers to help your blades stay dry.

    Your Blades are Safe on Synthetic ice

    Synthetic ice will not ruin your regular skates.

    Yes, they would dull faster depending on the size of the ice rink, skating frequency, and, more importantly, the quality of the synthetic ice.

    Investing in our Premium Grade, proprietary polyethylene ensures your skates have the best surface for a fantastic skate that protects your blades.

    The right surface along with proper care means your skates are in safe hands.



    Synthetic Ice Tips: Can Synthetic Ice Get Wet?

    Synthetic Ice Tips: Can Synthetic Ice Get Wet?

    So you've been thinking about building your ice rink?

    After building backyard ice rinks and being involved in the synthetic ice industry for years, we can tell you it's a labor of love.

    It's also why we have started and continue to grow PolyGlide Ice.

    Synthetic ice brings convenience to you without the expense, hassle, and pressure of creating natural ice rinks.

    People are surprised when they see the tiles and panels for the first time.

    Can you use actual ice skates to skate?

    Can synthetic ice get wet?

    Should you keep them indoors in a dry spot so that they last?

    Skaters are surprised that synthetic ice can withstand water (including rain), snow, and heat.

    However, understanding the mechanics of the product and how to care for it is all you need for hours of hockey, figure skating, or recreational fun.


    Understanding synthetic ice

    In a short time, synthetic ice has become quite popular with both skaters and hockey players.

    In the last few years, the industry has seen tremendous growth when access to the ice rink has been limited.

    Now, it's in garages, decks, and backyards across the country.

    For the uninitiated, synthetic ice are panels that imitate actual ice.

    The plastic ice can mimic the smoothness and hardness of an ice rink.

    Synthetic ice panels were standard in large commercial rinks.

    Now, panels are available in multiple sizes and shapes.

    Each piece can connect like a puzzle to form a larger surface, similar to flooring you'd find in your local gym.

    The surface itself requires a special slip agent to make it slippery.

    There are two ways to make this happen:

    • Infusion: We combine the synthetic ice and slip agent at the start of the manufaturing process. This allows the slip agent to permeate the entire sheet. Infused sheets provide an excellent experience without having to remember to apply a slip agent.
    • Topically: The slip agent is applied directly on the surface as it's not infused during production. Instead, the skater will mix the agent with water and spray it on the surface before skating.

    While non-infused ice is cheaper, it needs more time to maintain and has a steady supply of slip agents.

    In both cases, the conditioner provides the conditions for the blades to grip while reducing friction.

    Friction is a concern for synthetic ice as it's higher than natural ice.

    However, the advancements in synthetic ice have reduced the coefficient of friction to less than 10%.

    As a result, you can place your synthetic ice on any flat, hard surface and skate anywhere and any time of year.


    How does moisture affect synthetic ice?

    With some plastic materials, excess moisture can cause swelling or degrade it over time.

    Not with synthetic ice.

    The polyethylene material welcomes liquid to the surface.

    The sip surface conditioner is an environmentally friendly compound that consists mainly of water.

    So moisture from rain, a garden hose, or any other water source will not damage the tiles. There are some considerations:

    • Of course, you don't want your synthetic ice covered in a pool of water. Your skates won't work well, and you increase the chance of rust or damage. Instead, use a mop or soft broom to remove the excess water before skating.
    • Rainwater or a dusty day can cause dirt to mix with moisture and settle on the rink. Clean your rink before skating by using a soft mop or brush with warm water to scrub off dirt. For tougher stains, a light power washer can help clean larger rinks.

    So Can You Skate on Wet Synthetic Ice?

    Even if the water remains on your rink for several days, it will not change the performance of the rink or damage the panels.

    A synthetic ice rink is durable and can last up to 10 years with recreational use or 5-7 years with heavy use.

    So you should be fine if it's slightly wet when you're skating on it.

    The biggest concern will be the longevity of your skates, which we will touch on shortly.


    What About Other Conditions?

    If you're building a big rink outside, you won't be worried about the rain.

    All the elements come into play.

    Another great advantage is that you can skate any time of the year.

    If you're skating in warmer months, you'll be concerned about the heat affecting your tiles.

    Heat can cause your tiles to expand but would not damage the tile or ruin your skate experience.

    Most synthetic ice rinks are also UV protected, so you and your rink are safe in the sun.

    And for snow?

    It can work through freezing temperatures too.

    If ice forms on your rink, you can get it off misting with hot water, as you would on a backyard rink made with water.

    Depending on how big or small your rink is, you may want to figure out a homemade Zamboni method.

    Water and Your Skates

    Synthetic ice can get wet, so your skates can get wet too.

    Keeping your rink wet can transfer that moisture to your blades.

    If you aren't practicing proper blade care, it would seem that the synthetic ice is to blame.

    Ice skates and their blades need consistent care to perform well and last long.

    Make sure to dry your boot and blade with a microfiber cloth, then place the blades in soakers.

    These will ensure your edges don't dull or rust out over time.

    If you're concerned about your blade life, you can remove any excess moisture from your synthetic ice rink before skating.


    Don't Sweat Over the Water on Your Ice Rink.

    Synthetic ice can get wet and remain wet.

    You can skate on it without drying it off first, and it may even improve the quality of your skating.

    However, if it gets dirty due to the rain, you should clean the dirt first.

    The high-quality polyethylene that makes up

    PolyGlide's tiles and panels can withstand any weather.

    Simply follow the care instructions, infuse your ice as necessary, and you'll have a synthetic ice rink that will last for years.

    For more information on all our products or guidance on how to start your rink project, feel free to give us a call.

    Let's create a skating experience you won't forget!




    Synthetic Ice Tips: Can You Rollerblade on Synthetic Ice?

    Synthetic Ice Tips: Can You Rollerblade on Synthetic Ice?

    Rollerblading and inline skating are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.

    These skates were wildly popular in the 1980s and went away into hiding in the early 2000s.

    Now, more kids (and some adults) are dusting off their rollerblades.

    They are eager to skate anywhere, anytime, and on anything.

    So it’s not unusual for our customers to ask, “can you rollerblade on synthetic ice?"


    Rollerblading? On, what?  

    Yes, synthetic ice.

    This product is popular with hockey players and figure skaters.

    These are winter sports, but synthetic ice allows them to skate without the need for frigid temperatures.

    When the weather heats up, the ice skates are packed away.

    But it isn’t easy to store your ice rink, depending on its size.  

    So ice skaters don’t mind turning into rollerbladers. Inline skating allows hockey players to still practice their stick work while on shoes that feel like ice skates.

    Figure skaters won’t be able to perform their jumps, but they want to know if they can still have fun and keep in shape in the summer.   

    And some skaters love skating so much that they want to test their skills on all surfaces.   

    In short, rollerblading on synthetic ice is possible but not recommended for new rollerbladers.

    They should try outdoor surfaces like asphalt, as they provide enough grip for the skates.

    Experienced skaters can use synthetic ice for rollerblading, similar to how rollerblades work on the smooth surfaces of a skating rink.   


    What is synthetic ice?  

    Synthetic ice is a unique product made for ice skating with real metal blades.

    It’s made of a High-Density or Ultra-High Density Molecular-Weight Polyethylene, a durable but smooth material that’s perfect for ice skating.

    Synthetic ice has been around since the 1960s, mainly in large public rinks.   

    Today, we can create solid polymer tiles or panels of different sizes.

    These interlock like puzzle pieces.

    You can outfit your rink in your backyard, deck, or spare room.

    The panels are also self-lubricating, meaning you won’t need to reapply a slipping agent for a fantastic experience constantly.   

    For the casual and competitive ice skater, synthetic ice has several benefits:  

    • It’s easy to set up. You can have a large rink going in less than an hour with some help.  
    • It’s more cost-effective over time than creating your own refrigerated rink or natural ice rink.   
    • Synthetic ice rinks are durable and have a 10+ year shelf life.  
    • You can move your rink and place it almost anywhere.  
    • And you can skate all year!  

    Synthetic ice rinks have grown in popularity, especially since the pandemic.

    Over the years, we have helped many customers finally realize a dream of having an at-home or commercial skating space.   


    So it’s for Ice Skating. But Can You Rollerblade on Synthetic Ice?  

    Now you can use any ice skate on synthetic ice, hockey skates, figure skates, and recreational skates.

    The same goes for wheeled skates too.

    This surface is flat and smooth, like the hardwood or concrete floors of your neighborhood roller rink.

    In addition, there are roller rinks made with plastic tiles and synthetic flooring!  

    You can rollerblade on synthetic ice, but there are some conditions.

    For ice skating, friction is the enemy.

    Too much can slow down the skater, but some are required for the gliding effect on the ice.

    For inline skating and rollerblading, friction is your friend. It’s necessary for the wheels to turn.

    When you push off, the wheel begins to turn so you can move.

    Bearings in the wheel reduce friction for a bit of speed, but rollerblading would be difficult without it.  

    If you use inline skates on synthetic ice, you are facing significantly reduced friction.   

    Remember, some synthetic ice panels are self-lubricating.   

     The smooth surface gives ice skaters as little coefficient of friction as possible.

    The best synthetic ice has a 10% variance from natural ice!  

    With no friction, it can be not easy to generate speed or accelerate unless you are an experienced skater.

    You’ll also find that the skate wheels slide more than roll, reducing your ability to turn and stop.   

    We recommend that you get accustomed to skating outdoors first, then use your synthetic ice or other smooth surfaces when you’re more experienced with your rollerblades or inline skates.   

    Is it Safe to Rollerblade on Synthetic Ice?  

    When you are doing any kind of skating, falling is inevitable.

    The possibility of injury exists.

    Falls can mean a bruised arm, knee, or butt.   

    In some cases, the damage is a bit more severe.

    An advantage is that synthetic ice can absorb the energy of a fall, making it less painful.   

    Inexperienced rollerbladers are more likely to fall on smooth, slippery surfaces like synthetic ice.

    Stopping can be particularly difficult, so you’ll experience more falls if your wheels are sliding instead of rolling.   

    But overall, it’s safe to rollerblade on synthetic ice like it is on hardwood floors.

    We recommend wearing the appropriate protective gear (elbow pads, gloves, etc.) to reduce the chances of injury.   

    What (other) Surfaces Can You Rollerblade on?  

    Synthetic ice is not the only surface that’s great for rollerblading. If you go to your local skating rink, you won’t see “ice.”

    Instead, you’ll see hardwood floors or smooth concrete.

    Both surfaces work and will provide speed for experienced skaters.

    Rollerblading shines in outdoor arenas, so skate parks, sidewalks, concrete areas, and asphalt are great options.  


    How to Set Up Your Synthetic Ice Roller Rink  

    Think year-round if you’re thinking about setting up a roller rink with synthetic ice.

    Of course, you want to have your rollerblades, inline skates, and a pair of ice skates too.

    Ice skating on synthetic ice in the winter months feels like the real thing, so you don’t want to miss out.   

    • Start by measuring your surface area and checking for uneven ground. Your synthetic ice rink can get bumps on a rough surface, making for a bumpy, poor experience. When you have a flat surface, skating of all kinds is much better.  Measure the slope of your space with a level. If it is uneven, you can use some plywood board as a foundation first before placing the synthetic ice. Measure your area and get the necessary boards from your local hardware. 
    • Place your boards down (if needed), then start connecting to your panels. Each tile or panel has ends to join, so use that to your advantage. Take a mallet to secure the rink safely.  
    • Add your rink walls or other accessories. These bring a professional look to the table. This setup should take place in less than 2 hours once you have all the equipment.

    Then all that’s left to do is to skate!

    First, test out your rollerblades on it, making sure to wear protective gear and have a rail or nearby walls you can use as needed.

    As you get accustomed to the slippery rink, you can build more power and endurance, allowing you to become a better skater.   

    Have Fun on Any Surface  

    So can you rollerblade on synthetic ice?

    The goal of strapping up your rollerblades or inline skates is to have fun skating, moving quickly yet effortlessly.

    You can use your rollerblades on synthetic ice surfaces, but not without its challenges.  

    The slippery surface can bring some balance, speed, and stopping concerns for the inexperienced skater.

    However, the surfaces are comfortable and durable and hurt less when falling.

    You can even switch out your rollerblades for metal skates when it gets colder.

    In the meantime, be sure to check out our synthetic ice panels here at PolyGlide Ice!   



    What's the Best Synthetic Ice for Figure Skating (2023)

    What's the Best Synthetic Ice for Figure Skating (2023)

    So you decided to start your search for the best synthetic ice for figure skaters?

    Look no further as we have a lot of information here for you to review and help with your research.

    In this article, we will discuss the different types of surfaces that are available and which one is best suited for your needs.

    We'll also take a look at some of the benefits of owning your own synthetic surface and creating your own home training center.

    There's a lot of information out there, so it's important to take the time to ascertain what would be the ideal product for you before pulling the trigger on a purchase.

    So whether you're a beginner just starting out or an experienced competitive skater, read on to find out more about the best synthetic ice skating surface for you!

    purpose of your rink

    What is the Purpose of Your Rink?

    It's important to understand what goals you're trying to achieve by owning your own synthetic ice rink for your home or business.

    Having unlimited ice available whenever you want is a huge advantage for any skater, but only if they utilize it.

    Having your own "Home Ice Advantage" can be a great thing as long as you take the time to lace up your skates and get out there on the ice.

    Here are five good reasons why any figure skater may want to consider owning their own home synthetic ice rink:

    1. Develop a Proper Skating Technique

    Having the extra time to practice at home affords any skater the time to work on the basics and build a solid skating foundation and advance their overall skills.

    By doing so, they will get the most out of each stride and build an overall sense of confidence when performing all of their skating elements and maneuvers.

    Once a new skill has been learned, they can challenge themselves to the point of failure and take their skating to the next level while building muscle memory.

    2. Increase Speed and Power

     Another huge advantage to owning your own synthetic ice rink is the "Positive Friction" that is added to every workout every time to step foot on the ice.

    The additional surface friction of skating on artificial ice requires roughly 5-10% more effort, thus naturally strengthening each skating muscle group being worked on.

    Think of it like a baseball player that puts a weighted doughnut on his/her bat before stepping into the batter's box.

    Once you get used to training on synthetic ice, your feet will naturally feel a lot lighter the next time you go to the rink and take to the ice.

    footwork and agility

    3. Improve Footwork and Agility 

    A lot of the basic figure skating elements can be taught in a small area and do not require the luxury of skating on open ice to work on your footwork and agility.

    The great thing about practicing your moves in a smaller space is that you quickly repeat the drill if a mistake is made or you want to hone and strengthen each specific skill.

    You'll find that you spend a lot more time training and less time floating around between drills on a smaller surface which helps you get the most out of each practice.

    Once you start to see the results you were hoping for, you can start to speed things up, which will get those feet moving quicker with each drill as you continue to build confidence.

    4. Enhance Your Jumps and Spins

    Jumps and spins are two of the most popular elements that require endless hours of practice to get it just right, and having your own synthetic ice rink will only help you get the desired results that much quicker.

    You can use the time at home to record your progress and make corrections where needed as you continue to improve each of these important skills.

    Having the extra ice time will also enable you to develop your balance quicker when learning different ways to work on each spin.

    You'll be happy to know that you do not require a lot of space to learn or improve jumps and spins on synthetic ice, so it's not necessary to create too large of a rink if that's the main reason for your purchase.

    5. Practice your Routine

    Once you and your coach have choreographed your routine and music, you can prepare yourself mentally for any competition rink in the comfort of your own home.

    This goes back to the confidence factor, which is a great advantage to any competitive skater who wants to place well at any event they may choose to enter.

    Having the time to mentally prepare yourself away from the rink and spotlight is a benefit that any skater would love to have when trying to compete at the next level.

    As they say, "Practice makes perfect," and although we all know there's no such thing as perfect, a little extra practice never hurt anyone, and you'll get that on your own home synthetic ice rink.


    What Size Area and Budget?

    The next thing to consider when choosing a synthetic ice skating surface is the type of skating drills you'll be doing.

    If you're just starting out, you may just want a small surface until you feel more comfortable on your edges and then grow your rink over time.

    For more experienced skaters, you may want a surface that is faster and more responsive with an area large enough to practice all of your skating elements.

    Throughout the years, we here at PolyGlide Ice have developed surfaces that address any skater's needs to help them achieve their goals, from beginners to competitive Olympians.

    Knowing the main purpose of your rink will help you figure out what type of surface would be ideal for the space you have within the budget you have set out for your project.

    • Size of Your Space
    • Portable or Dedicated Panel
    • Budget


    The size of your rink should be determined by what your general needs are along with the space you have available.

    If it's for training, then the size of the skater should also be considered and what drills they need to perform on the surface to accomplish their goals.

    It's typical for people to think that they need a large surface, but nothing could be further from the truth if the purpose of the rink is solely for off-ice training.

    You'd be surprised how much can be accomplished with just a little bit of space.

    Portable or Dedicated Rink

    The reason why there are so many types of synthetic ice panels is mainly that everyone's needs are different.

    To help you understand the type of panels, we broke it down into two basic categories:

    If you're a family or person with limited space, then you may want to consider a portable panel that can be installed and disassembled easily for quick usage.

    Here at PolyGlide Ice, we currently offer portable panels in both our Home Starter Kit and Pro-Glide "Cube" commercial-grade models.

    Both of these panels are light enough to be handled by a single adult during the installation process.

    Also, if you have limited access to the rink location, a portable panel makes it easier to maneuver into hard-to-reach areas.

    Budget (All in or Grow Your Rink)

    The nice thing about having a large selection of panels to pick and choose from is that you can choose to grow your rink a little at a time or all at once.

    Our larger PolyGlide Ice Pro-Glide panel is ideal for any dedicated space or large rink as it requires fewer seams overall to complete your rink layout.

    Keep in mind that larger panels are heavier and bulkier than synthetic ice tiles and are best handled by two people during the installation process.

    If you decide you would prefer to grow your rink a little at a time, then you could choose any panel you like with a smaller start-up investment and order additional panels down the road to help finance your project.

    type of rink

    What Types Should You Choose?

    As you begin your search in your quest to find the best synthetic ice for figure skating, it helps to understand a few things about the product and how it developed over the years.

    When it was first introduced at trade shows decades ago, it was not much more than a white cutting board treated with any slippery topical solution you could find (olive oil, vegetable oil, wax, grease, silicone), you name it, it was used.

    The plastic itself was an early form of Polyethylene plastic that was originally developed in the 1950s and has come a long way since then.

    Polyethylene plastic sheets are currently available in many forms throughout many different industries and applications.

    There are two types of manufacturing processes performed to create Polyethylene sheets that are suitable for ice skating when either topical or infused slip agents are introduced.

    They are:

    • Extruded HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) The extruded manufacturing process is performed by adding a masterbatch of HDPE pellets into a large hopper that drops into a rotating screw under high heat that is pushed through a die to create a continuous sheet of plastic. Think of it as a very large, plastic "Play-Dough" machine.
    • Sinter-Pressed UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) SInter-Pressed sheets are manufactured using a high amount of heat and pressure to form a solid mass of plastic which is then "planed" to create the desired consistent thickness of the panel being manufactured.

      slip agents

      Slip Agents

      Slip agent additives or lubricants are what give the artificial ice surface more of an "ice-like" feel without being too "sticky." 


      • Topical - Any lubricant application applied to reduce the surface coefficient of friction after the manufacturing process, such as a biodegradable glide enhancer mixed with water or silicone spray.
      • Infused - A percentage of slip agent additive is mixed-in with masterbatch resin prior to the manufacturing process to create a thoroughly infused synthetic ice sheet.

      Optimal Glide

      The best way to achieve optimal glide out of any synthetic ice surface is to consider purchasing an infused surface and combining it with a topical slip agent conditioner to achieve the best results.


      The really is no such thing as zero maintenance with any flooring product, especially one that you can ice skate on.

      It's important to keep your surface clean from dirt and debris to maximize the performance throughout the lifetime of the product.

      Be sure to sweep away surface shavings regularly and dispose of them with your recyclables as part of your daily/weekly maintenance.

      pros and cons

      Pros and Cons

      As with any type of product, there are pros and cons that you may want to consider before making your purchase.

      At PolyGlide Ice, we offer all types of residential and commercial grade surfaces and have heard the Pros and cons of all types of surfaces.

      Non-Infused HDPE:

      • Pros - This is typically the least expensive product on the market.
      • Cons - The most "sticky" type of surface with the least amount of glide.

      Infused HDPE:

      • Pros - Offers optimal glide with the least amount of skate blade wear.
      • Cons - Higher price point than standard HDPE sheet.

      Non-Infused UHMWPE:

      • Pros - Offers the least amount of surface wear.
      • Cons - Less rigid than HDPE sheet at a much higher cost.

      Infused UHMWPE:

      • Pros - Offers optimal glide with the least amount of surface wear.
      • Cons - The highest-priced surface with most skate blade wear.


      So what is truly the best synthetic ice for figure skating?

      We have heard a lot of customer feedback over the years on all the products listed above, and the key thing to understand is that all skaters want the closest feel to natural ice possible.

      It's also important to think of synthetic ice as a "simulator" to natural ice, much the same way golfers and other athletes use simulators.

      The bottom line is that ice is ice, and plastic allows you to make all the same maneuvers as natural ice, which is a great asset.

      Infused UHMWPE with a slip agent conditioner offers great glide, but because of the hardness of the surface, skaters complain they can't "dig-in" like they can on HDPE.

      Figure skaters are also very cautious when it comes to the wear and tear on the skate blade, which you get from a workout on UHMWPE.

      An infused HDPE surface with a surface conditioner will shave slightly more than UHMWPE, but it does allow the skater to grip the surface better when training.

      At PolyGlide Ice, we have developed our "Hydrid" Pro-Glide synthetic ice panel that combines all the best characteristics from both infused UHMWPE & HDPE plastics to create the best synthetic ice for figure skaters!