Tag: synthetic ice

Is Synthetic Ice Easy to Skate On?

Is Synthetic Ice Easy to Skate On?

Is Synthetic Ice Easy to Skate On?

In wake of the COVID pandemic, millions of hockey players and ice skaters were stuck at home with no way to practice hockey moves or ice skating strategies. Until they learned about synthetic ice. As soon as the word got out that people could build high-quality ice skating rinks in their own homes, they began to go online and order tons of synthetic ice panels. 

Once they got their panels, they found that installing skatable flooring was even easier than they had thought to begin with. All they had to do is find a hard, flat surface that would support the ice panels and build from there. You can imagine how happy many of the die-hard ice hockey players were.

What is Synthetic Ice, Anyway?

Since you will be installing the ice panels in the place where you live it might be a good idea to at least have a little bit of understanding about what synthetic ice is. 

Synthetic ice was first made in the 1960s in hopes to find a solution for ice skaters to be able to skate in all weather types throughout the year. At first, the flooring was made out of interlocking panels kind of like what we have today, but not as effective.

The first artificial ice flooring had to be constantly sprayed with a silicone compound that helped the skaters be able to glide across the surface. One of the major drawbacks of this compound is that it had to be scraped away or else it would build up and cause a grimy goo on the flooring. There was a lot of work involved with keeping and maintaining synthetic ice rinks back in the day.

Modern-day artificial ice is made out of a much more advanced type of plastic than it was in the 1960s. As developers gained more knowledge about the way that plastic was formed, they began to understand some of the basic building blocks of molecules and the structure that they had to offer. It wasn’t too much longer than polymer plastics were introduced into the world, and that is when the synthetic ice we are familiar with today began its journey.

Synthetic ice is basically special plastic that was developed from the molecular level and enhanced so that it would have the ability to supply its own lubricating system that never had to be applied externally or scraped off. It is:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Strong
  • Self-lubricating
  • Easy to install

Ice Skating on Frozen Water

It is not a secret that ice is actually water that has been frozen. However, in order for ice skates to slide across it without much resistance, there has to be a little science involved. As the ice skate blades skate across the ice they cause friction heat to occur, which melts just enough ice to provide a very thin layer of water that acts as a natural lubricant for the ice skates.

Ice Skating on Polymer Plastic

Synthetic ice panels that have been created out of polymer plastic are built in a way that allows the plastic to provide its own lubricant to the surface, much like the way that frozen water provides a natural lubricant. As the skater glides across the surface of the artificial ice, the lubricant is brought to the surface of the flooring and allows for smooth-skating, much like real ice.

Easy to Skate On?

Ice skating on synthetic ice is just about as easy as it is to ice skate on frozen water. If you know how to ice skate well, you should not have any problems at all skating on the flooring. The only thing you might notice is a slight drag with a little resistance. This is a small problem that you will get used to very quickly. As for whether or not it is easy…that’s up to you to decide.

***Sniper’s Edge Hockey loves Canada! We proudly ship all of our products to Canada and offer the same return policies as we do for everybody else. We realize the exchange rates for the Canadian dollar are not the best right now, so we’re trying to help by giving you free shipping and no customs/duty.***

How is Synthetic Ice Made?

How is Synthetic Ice Made?

The synthetic ice of today is made from a special plastic-based polymer that is made out of polyethylene. Although there are a lot of products that are available on the market, not all synthetic ice is created equally. As more and more skaters are turning to synthetic ice so that they can skate at home during the pandemic, it is a good idea to understand the basic fundamentals of artificial ice and how it works.

In the Beginning

Back in the 1950s, a certain big named company known as DuPont came up with a new type of plastic that was supposed to be stronger and longer-lasting than the other plastics that were available on the market at that time. It wasn’t until the 1960s when developers actually created the first synthetic ice and put it to use. One of the biggest problems with polyoxymethylene plastic is that it needed to be lubricated at all times in order to substantially allow skaters to glide across the surface. Even with the lubricant, however, there was much drag and resistance for the skaters.

High-Density Plastic

As the years passed, synthetic ice evolved from the cumbersome ways of a solid slab of polyoxymethylene plastic to smaller panels of high-density polyethylene plastic. In the 1980s companies began to expand on the idea of creating ice panels out of high-density plastic that could easily be installed in places that had a flat, hard surface. The biggest drawback of this type of synthetic ice flooring is that it had to be meticulously maintained and kept clean in order to work properly. It also needed to be sprayed with a type of gliding fluid in order to keep the tiles ice-like and slick. Although the synthetic ice of this time was sufficient, it was not near as good as the flooring that is available on the market today.

Modern-Day Synthetic Ice

The synthetic ice of today is much closer to real ice than it ever has been. However, it all depends on the quality of the ice, and where it was manufactured. Not all synthetic ice flooring is created equally.

This is Where it Counts the Most.

In order to have great synthetic ice flooring, you need to be sure that when you purchase it that it has these characteristics:

  • Self-lubricating
  • UV protection
  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Great reputation

If you install synthetic ice tiles or panels you want to get the most out of your investment so whether you playing an actual game, or practicing with a hockey shooting tarp, your flooring delivers the quality that you need in order to keep your game strong.

High-Quality Synthetic Ice

The better the quality of your product, the more you will get out of it. High-quality synthetic ice comes from high-quality manufacturers such as Sniper’s Edge Hockey Products. This particular kind of synthetic ice is made from a special polymer that possesses a unique sliding agent that is able to self-lubricate the panels and ensure an ice-like, slick surface for years to come. The great thing about having this kind of flooring is that once you install it, it can be there for a long time and remain slick. After it gets old and starts to not be as good, the tiles are double-sided so that you don’t have to go out and buy new ones, all you have to do is flip the tiles over and you can continue to skate and practice on the other side.

Conclusion

As with most of the other products that are mass-produced in the United States these days, synthetic ice flooring is created in a factory. The highest-grade synthetic ice is made in the USA using the technology and science that knows how to make the best, and longest-lasting hockey products that are available today.

Where To Install Synthetic Ice

synthetic ice

synthetic ice

One of the greatest things about synthetic ice, besides being great to ice skate on, is that it is incredibly versatile and easy to install. Before you go out and buy a bunch of panels or tiles there are some things that you need to know in order to get the most out of your investment. Artificial ice flooring is a fantastic solution for skaters and hockey players that want to enjoy the feel of ice in their own backyards. If you install your flooring in the correct fashion you will be able to enjoy the benefits of having your own rink for years to come.

In Your Home

If you would like to install synthetic ice flooring in your home you need to make sure that the surface that you install it on is flat, hard, and level. If you want to install your flooring on the carpet, or some other softer surface you must first lay down a layer of plywood so that you can properly set your tiles. If you try to install the ice panels on a soft surface you can end up causing more problems than you want to deal with. You can crack the surface, warp the panels, or even cause yourself injury. The best way to ensure that you will get the correct platform for your panels is to make sure that it is flat and strong enough so that the panels won’t bend under your weight.

In Your Garage

The garage is probably the best place to install synthetic ice flooring. In most cases, the floor is on a concrete slab that is already level and ready to go. If this is the case, you can install the flooring right there on the concrete. If you have carpet, or some other less than a solid surface, you can do as above and lay down a layer of plywood to build upon. A solid surface to practice on will help with training aids such as hockey shooting tarps and hockey rebounders.

In Your Backyard

If you already have a concrete patio in your backyard where you can simply lay down your ice panels and get to skating, you are in businesses. If not, you will need to measure out an area that you would like to transform into an ice rink and lay down your plywood. One of the great things about installing synthetic ice is that you can use an area big or small to build on. If you wanted to turn your whole backyard into a huge ice rink, it is possible to do just that because synthetic ice panels are designed to build on and keep building on them as long as you want. The key is to place your first panel in the center of the flooring area and build out from it. If you try to build from the outside in, unless you have everything precisely measured out, you will end up with a hole in the middle that will not allow for a whole panel to fit into.

The Platform is Key

As we mentioned earlier, you can install synthetic ice panels virtually anywhere. The most important fact that you have to remember is that the platform that you build the rink upon is very important. If you build your rink on an unlevel surface, you may end up with major problems. However, if you build it in your driveway that has a slight slope, you can make it work. If you build it on a platform that has a bunch of soft spots, dips, cracks, or bumps in it you can ultimately ruin your flooring or, worse yet, cause yourself or somebody else to become injured. Use a little foresight and critical thinking as you build, and you can’t go wrong. Synthetic ice is amazing and will help anybody keep the skills sharp, and the body in shape.