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Skate on Your Deck, in the Sun

When you think of ice skating, you probably think of a winter landscape scene, a frozen pond or a lake and bundled-up skaters holding hands. Maybe you think about Rockefeller Center or another public plaza that installs an ice rink in winter, or your mind conjures images of a Zamboni coming out to surface the ice at the indoor rink before another figure skater appears or the team comes back out. 

Whatever you’re imagining, when it comes to ice skating, you generally think of cold, and, well, ice. But that image is changing with the advent of synthetic ice.

Synthetic ice tiles are changing what it means to ice skate. No longer does the weather have to be cold enough to freeze water for you to enjoy ice skating.

At KwikRink, synthetic ice is our specialty. We invented a patented formula, and we have installed ice skating rinks in all sorts of fun places for ice skating enthusiasts to enjoy year-round. Check out our gallery to get inspired.

What Are Synthetic Ice Tiles?

synthetic ice tiles

Synthetic ice is made from high-density polyethylene or ultra high molecular weight polyethylene and other polymers. Today’s synthetic ice has built-in lubricants to improve glide and reduce friction. Most estimates give synthetic ice 90 percent of the glide factor of natural ice.

Synthetic ice comes in long sheets, consistently sized tiles, or custom-cut pieces, depending on your needs. The pieces interlock together, typically with a dovetail system, creating a synthetic ice rink in just the size you need. 

What Size is Best for a Synthetic Ice Rink?

The size of your installation depends on your available space, budget, and how you will use your rink. If you have a budding ice skater or hockey player, a small synthetic ice installation of under 300 square feet will be perfect. Many garages are 12’ x 22’, which means a garage conversion can give you skater plenty of space to work on fundamentals.

If you need a place to get in a workout or practice, a smaller synthetic ice installation works well. You can work on starts, spins, and turns within this space.

Skating on your blades on synthetic ice is far better than attempting to practice on roller blades, which require a different technique and balance. Getting your time in the skates and building muscles is easily done with a smaller installation.

If you are or have a family member who is a future hockey star, a small installation is perfect for practicing fundamentals. Puck glide on synthetic ice is very similar to natural ice, so you can practice stick-handling and shooting easily. Set up a goal at one end, and also practice face-offs and defense as well as skating stamina.

USA Hockey endorses a small rink approach for mastering fundamentals such as strides, pivots, turns, passing, and shooting.

If you’re looking to put in a commercial synthetic ice rink for many people to use at once or to host team practices or games, you’ll need a larger (more than 300 sq. ft.) installation. Here are some places where you can install synthetic ice.

Some Good Places to Install Synthetic Ice Tiles

Your imagination is the only limit to where you can install synthetic ice. Here are some suggestions:

  • Rooftop — Minneapolis and other cities have a lot of beautiful apartment, condo, and loft buildings, many of which have rooftop decks. Add a synthetic rink for community fun.
  • Basements — Concrete slabs are perfect for synthetic ice tiles.
  • Former warehouses or industrial spaces — Convert vacant retail or industrial spaces into a fun synthetic ice rink.
  • Garages — Take out the boxes and vehicles and use the area for skating practice.
  • Swimming pools — If you drain your pool in winter and have a single-depth, you can cover the pool bottom with synthetic ice for three seasons of alternative fun.
  • Parking lots — Is the area flat and paved? It could be a synthetic ice rink.
  • Gymnasiums — convert the gym into an ice rink, then pick up the tiles and play basketball later.
  • Cafeterias or cafetoriums — does your school have a cafeteria? You can lay down synthetic ice tiles for an ice-skating extravaganza.
  • Practice rooms — athletic facilities that have separate practice rooms or studios can convert one into an ice rink for hockey or figure skating drills.
  • Dance studios — if you have a room used for dance or yoga, it can quickly become an ice rink using synthetic ice tiles.

Type and Size of Synthetic Ice Tiles

Types and sizes of synthetic ice tiles

Synthetic ice tiles come in varying sizes and thicknesses. The kind you need depends on your budget, space, use, and plans to clean them. Thinner tiles are more budget-conscious and won’t last as long as thicker ones. However, you can get a good 3-5 years out of them and grow your rink later with higher quality tiles. 

Budget-friendly tiles are a good choice if you have a new skater and aren’t sure if they will stick with it. Smaller synthetic ice tiles are also lighter weight and easier to install and remove for a multi-purpose space. 

Larger tiles are better for larger installations since they reduce the number of seams you will have across the surface. You can also opt for tongue and groove seam connections instead of the dovetail design, for an even smoother surface that stays cleaner longer.

Thicker tiles are heavier and better for installations that are more or less permanent. They also last up to a decade or more.

Whatever the size of your planned ice rink, there are synthetic ice tiles to suit your needs and your budget.

Contact KwikRink to Get Started

KwikRink Synthetic Ice® is a Maple Grove, MN company. We have installed synthetic ice rinks in many locations in the Twin Cities area, but you can find KwikRink installations in five continents around the world.

As a pioneer in developing synthetic ice, we’ve been in the business since the mid-1990s. We’ve just introduced our fifth generation patented product, which provides unsurpassed glide and reduced drag. 

Fill out our rink configuration form to get started or give us a call at (888) 275-2345 to speak with one of our friendly staff. Soon you’ll have a synthetic ice rink to hone your puck handling skills or help your child develop stronger skating technique. 

 

Synthetic ice, the new rage

What Are You Skating On?

When you apply pressure to ice, it melts. When you ice skate, the blade of your skate presses against the ice which creates a thin film of water that acts as a lubricant to allow the blade to slide.

While skating, you are really skating on a thin film of water. At Kwik Rink, we’ll recreate that same experience for you using synthetic ice panels. Ask us how.

What is Synthetic Ice?

Synthetic ice, sometimes referred to as artificial ice, is a surface that simulates that of frozen h²o.  Synthetic ice panels have been around for decades, enabling year-round skating but due to a multitude of performance issues, synthetic ice rinks never quite caught on.

Thankfully, we’ve made significant improvements in synthetic ice panel designs that have drastically improved the quality and experience of synthetic ice rinks.

You Need an Even Surface

Most synthetic ice rinks use a puzzle or dovetail system in which ice panels are interlocked horizontally but not vertically. This system can cause a shift in the panels, which causes the ice to be uneven. Puzzle connections are long and can allow dirt and water to enter, creating an uneven surface or shifting panels.

By utilizing a tongue and groove, the ice panels are interlocked both horizontally and vertically. Interlocking the synthetic ice panels this way prevents the panels from shifting in any direction. This connection system creates a smooth, even surface, just like real ice.

Less Friction = Better Skating

Many synthetic ice panels are composed of low-quality materials that cause friction. This friction causes an unsatisfactory skating experience, dulling skates in the process.

A skater’s smooth flow requires there be no friction. Friction makes gliding difficult, requiring more effort, and also makes a skater exert more energy which detracts from the enjoyment of skating. The highest quality materials must be used to create synthetic ice panels to get the best skating experience.

You Want An Authentic Ice Experience

Most companies utilize new technologies to manufacture synthetic ice panels in an attempt to make skating as easy and as pleasant as possible. However, most plastic ice rinks fail to recreate an authentic ice-like feeling on their synthetic surfaces.

You need to look for ice rinks that use the newest high-quality material and create a response identical to that of authentic ice. Only when a skater feels they are truly skating on ice can they reach their highest potential.

No More Shavings and Abrasions

The Synthetic Ice Buyer’s Guide lists shavings and abrasions as one of the top considerations in selecting a synthetic ice panel for purchase. Inferior quality synthetic ice panels cause shavings and abrasions.

These low-quality panels make the ice rink messy, are hard to clean, and leave skaters unhappy. Using self-lubricating panels adds to the quality of the synthetic ice rink.

No Additional Chemicals

No chemicals need to be added to self-lubricating synthetic ice panels to create a smooth surface. However, this alone does not guarantee exceptional performance.

Every aspect of the synthetic rink process from the production of the synthetic ice panels using the highest quality materials, to the mechanism and pattern by which the panels are connected, to the care of the panels themselves, determine a quality synthetic ice rink.

Stop Dulling Your Blades

If you want to stop blades from being dulled from friction, you will need a premium glide technology with enhanced molecular structure. Low-quality plastic ice rinks do not incorporate this technology, which makes skating difficult and miserable.

Synthetic ice rinks that utilize a premium glide technology enhance the skaters’ glide and allow you to have a better grip just like real ice rinks. These are the perfect conditions for you to attain your skating goals.

High-Quality Materials are a Bargain

Buying cheap synthetic ice panels will cost you in the long run. There are many lower priced, synthetic ice panels which are also of lower quality that will not last. Low quality, cheap, synthetic ice panels, get discolored from the sun and changing weather conditions, many even begin to break down and degrade considerably.

Assurance Your Rink Will Last

High-quality synthetic ice panels incorporate UV protection. The manufacturers know high-quality raw materials are vital to ensure the life and usefulness of quality synthetic ice panels.

If you purchase a quality synthetic ice rink, it will provide long-lasting enjoyment. A high-quality synthetic ice rink will be well worth your investment

Accessories Are Important

Using low-quality accessories will ruin a synthetic ice rink. If your skates are sub-par or your dasher-boards are foul, they’re going to impact your rink negatively. If you want to maintain that even, flawless, synthetic ice, the use of high-quality, compatible, durable accessories is essential to your success. Don’t skimp on the accessories!

Synthetic Rinks Are Gaining Popularity

Using synthetic ice panels to create ice rinks is gaining popularity. Synthetic ice panels have some significant advantages over traditional ice rinks. Synthetic ice panels can get used continuously without re-surfacing and gliding on synthetic ice panels is much more consistent than that of real ice.

The glide factor on traditional ice starts at 100% then reduces to approximately 80% after just a few hours of usage, unlike glide-factor of synthetic ice panels on which does not diminish over time.

Synthetic ice panels are more economical than traditional ice. There is no need to replenish water or use electricity for refrigeration. Synthetic ice panels are environmentally friendly.

Skate Anytime You Want

By utilizing synthetic ice panels, you can have that ice rink you’ve always dreamed. You can have the flexibility to practice your sport at any time. You can play ice hockey in the summer and fulfill all of your icy desires.

Let’s Get Skating

Are you in the market for a fantastic, all-year ice rink? If so, Kwik Rink has what you are looking for. At Kwik Rink we’ll provide you the realistic feel of an ice rink in the form of the highest quality synthetic ice panels preferred by professionals and experts. We use only the highest quality materials and employ the newest technology to provide you a fantastic synthetic ice rink experience.

Give us a call at Kwik Rink, and we’ll get you skating right away.

Toronto Maple Leafs Synthetic Ice by KwikRink

Can you skate on synthetic ice? Although synthetic ice has been around for decades, many people still do not know much about it. Below, we have posted answers to some of the most common synthetic ice questions that we frequently receive.

It can also be hard to find accurate information on the web, as most of it is posted by companies with an agenda. Since 1996, KwikRink Synthetic Ice has been selling premium skating surfaces and are considered the elite experts in the industry.

Can you skate on synthetic ice?

This is a question we get a lot…Can you skate on synthetic ice? Really, can you? Yes, you can, but not all synthetic ice tiles are created equally – Some will skate better than others. Many competing brands sell surfaces that we were selling in the 199o’s…That is old!

We currently manufacture our own synthetic ice formulas in the USA. KwikRink V panels are the best self-lubricating skating surface in the industry.

How long does synthetic ice last?

There are a lot of variables to consider when answering a question like this. Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on factors like; frequency of use, the intensity of use, number of users, the weight of users.

We sold and installed a KwikRink to the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. We expect up to 10 years of lifespan with a team of professional hockey players using the surface intensely every day.

Most commercial training facilities and especially residential rinks can get a lot more life out of their synthetic ice. We have been in business for over 20 years, and have not seen a residential rink wear out.

The only exception is when the synthetic ice is used for goalie training. Goalies do put more wear into the synthetic ice tiles, as they stay mostly in one spot while training.

KwikRink V (3/8″) – 10+ years on average

KwikRink V (1/2″) – 15+ years on average

Will Synthetic Ice Ruin my Skates?

No, synthetic ice will not “ruin” your skates. Most of our clients will use their primary pair of ice skates when skating. Again, all synthetic ice tiles are not created equally. Some will dull your blades faster than others.

Some of the hardest surfaces will dull the blades very fast, so it is important to find a synthetic ice surface that has the proper hardness balance. While skating on KwikRink, you can expect your blades to dull at about the same rate as if you were skating on an outdoor pond on a cold day – a huge improvement over competing brands.

Can I do a Hockey Stop on Synthetic Ice?

Yes, hockey stops are possible on synthetic ice. All skating maneuvers on KwikRink V synthetic ice tiles, such as; backward skating, transitioning, and hockey stops, are 100% natural movements when compared to real ice.

What type of maintenance is required for my synthetic ice rink?

The simple rule of thumb for any synthetic ice rink – The cleaner it is, the faster it will skate. Dirt and debris create extra friction between the skate blade and synthetic ice tiles. Make sure to sweep and mop your rink, as needed. If outside, using a pressure washer works very well to clean rinks that show signs of neglect.

Can I wear shoes on synthetic ice?

Yes, you can wear shoes on synthetic ice. We always recommend keeping a clean pair of gym shoes to use when not wearing skates.

This will help keep the surface clean and performing at its best. The synthetic ice tiles are designed to be slippery to the skate blade but are not as slick on the shoe. That being said, you are purchasing the rink for ice skating, which is what its intended use is. Synthetic ice will not be an ideal surface for intense running and jump-cuts.

 

 

 

 

 

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What is the ideal size for synthetic ice panels? As the saying goes, “the bigger, the better” in most cases. “Bigger” panels certainly have the disadvantage of being less convenient than smaller panels when it comes to shipping and receiving.

From a purely functional standpoint, however, a bigger-sized panel tends to be a much better choice for your synthetic ice rink installation for several reasons.

At KwikRink Synthetic Ice, our default panel is a whopping 8′ x 4′ size, about the same size as a full sheet of plywood. Many other companies sell panels as small as 1.5′ x 1.5′!

These tiles are great for shipping, but the advantages stop there. If you’re looking for the most authentic ice skating experience, you’ll get it from installing larger panels of synthetic ice. 

Let’s take a look at 4 reasons why bigger synthetic ice tiles are the way to go.

1. Larger synthetic ice panels make for less seams in the surface.

While smaller panels are easier to move around, they also will have substantially more seams when the panels are connected. In our example above, comparing a KwikRink 4’x8’ panel with the 18” x 18” tiles, you would have approximately 11 seams from the smaller tiles inside one seamless KwikRink panel.

These seams simply leave a lot more opportunity for things to go wrong in a synthetic ice rink. Seams can bulge, lead to cracks, or catch dirt and debris. If a seam pops up, even very slightly, from variation in the floor surface or expansion due to temperature changes, you can catch the edge of your skate on the lip.

2. Larger synthetic ice panels provide more forgiveness when a substrate is flawed.

Most sub-floors are not perfect. The smaller the synthetic ice tiles are, the less “forgiveness” they provide in a flawed substrate. Aside from the extra seams, the smaller size leaves the panels much more likely to have seams that lip up. This protruding edge is a problem that can stop pucks and trip skaters.

It’s easier for a smaller panel to lift up or buckle, too. The weight of larger panels keeps them more stable and stationary. In short, larger size synthetic ice panels are able to cover up substrate flaws much better than smaller panels. 

You also need to think about the synthetic ice panels shrinking and swelling some due to temperature changes. When that occurs, seams, in particular, are vulnerable to cracking.

Some tiles snap together with a dovetail design, and cracks that break off one of the tabs means that you’ll need to replace a panel. Tongue-and-groove designs are also vulnerable to cracking from an uneven surface or fluctuating temperatures.

3. Larger synthetic ice panels allow for a quicker installation.

This one is a bit obvious, but having to connect fewer panels makes doing a synthetic ice installation much faster. These larger-sized panels will not be as easy to move around as the smaller ones, but connecting one KwikRink synthetic ice panel to another is comparable to connecting up to 16 smaller panels from a different supplier.

Fewer connections mean less time to install and less opportunity for error or breakage. At KwikRink, we can even create custom-sized panels for the odd edges and irregularities for your surface and dimensions.

4. Larger synthetic ice panels offer the best bang for your buck.

Bigger synthetic ice panels will provide the best value for your money. Most competing brands that offer smaller panels do so to improve shipping and convenience of mobility for the consumer.

Although these aren’t bad reasons, consumers are left with even less panel for their dollar due to the desire to cut overhead costs and meet various shipping restrictions. This is also why you often will see “Free Shipping” for the smaller panels. It is not really free, but built into the cost, as they are vastly overpriced for what is received. 

In contrast, larger synthetic ice tiles are thicker and more durable. Their weight is an asset when it comes to rink stability. Larger tiles aren’t going to bounce or flex from the weight of skaters upon them. The additional thickness means they will last.

Check the warranty any synthetic ice panels you’re considering, as well as they approximate years of useful life. Super synthetic ice in larger panels from KwikRink has a 10-year warranty. Other smaller tiles often have a 3-5 year lifespan and warranties for a fraction of that.

Larger panels install securely and stay put, which lowers your maintenance costs. Your ice rink will be the closest to real ice that it can be when you minimize seams, create a smooth surface, and replicate the weight and thickness of actual ice’s feel.

Don’t compromise on the function of a rink and pleasure of skating by installing smaller, thinner tiles. In the long run, whatever initial savings you may have celebrated will vanish with cleaning, repair, and replacement costs.

 

BONUS REASON TO USE LARGER SYNTHETIC ICE SHEETS

Puck glide. Skate glide. Performance. Durability. Cleaner, smoother surface. Okay, that was six reasons. The fewer seams a puck or a skate has to glide over, the lower the amount of friction and the better glide. Better glide means closer to the real thing: natural ice, which is seamless.

Bottom line: a synthetic rink will look, feel, perform, and last better if you use larger, more stable, better manufactured synthetic ice sheets. 

Let’s face it. When you spring for a synthetic ice rink, your goal is to get the feel of natural ice as much as possible. Especially if you are doing a regulation rink-size or more than 300 sq. ft. installation, you’ll be glad you opted for larger panels instead of hundreds of small tiles.

When it comes to synthetic ice panels, bigger is better. Contact our installers at KwikRink with the measurements of your rink space. We’ll help you lay down a rink quickly with as few total panels as possible.