There has been a lot of discussion around the different types of hockey flooring that are available on the market so that people can build ice rinks and hockey practice areas in their own homes. One topic that has been getting a lot of attention is the subject of synthetic ice tiles. We have heard about dryland hockey tiles and synthetic ice, but what are ice tiles? The answer to this is pretty simple, but it may help to get an idea of what synthetic ice is, and what types of flooring there are available on the market today.
Synthetic ice first came into existence back in the 1960s. A group of people wanted to mimic the way the ice allowed people to gently glide across it on ice skates. Some of the first attempts at it were noble ones, but it was a little rocky in the beginning. The flooring was made out of a type of plastic that was very durable and allowed for skates to almost glide across it. The problem was that the flooring needed a lubricant on it at all times in order for the skates to be able to get around on it. Without the lubricant, the skates would stick and cause problems.
Real ice, on the other hand responded to the ice skate blades by causing friction between the skate blades, and the ice. This friction would cause heat, and the heat would cause a slight melting of the ice. This way the skates had their own lubricant, which was water, and they could glide seamlessly about on the surface as graceful as a swan through a lake.
Dryland Hockey Flooring
Dryland hockey flooring is a great solution for practicing with a hockey shooting tarp or slapping around the puck with a hockey rebounder, but it will not allow for ice skating. This is where a lot of people get confused about the types of flooring that are available. Dryland flooring is for practicing on rollerblades, or shoes, and synthetic ice is for ice skating. You can’t ice skate on dryland tiles, nor can you rollerblade on synthetic ice. If you were to try and ice skate on dryland flooring it would be a lot like trying to ice skate on your kitchen linoleum. It just doesn’t work. It goes that way for trying to rollerblade on synthetic ice. You just can’t. Imagine trying to rollerblade on an ice rink. See how that would be a little difficult?
Hockey Flooring Panels and Tiles
The bottom line about synthetic ice tiles is that they are tiles that are made out of synthetic ice that make up an entire synthetic ice flooring solution. Hockey flooring comes in a few popular forms. Tiles, panels, and rolls. We won’t get into the roll option because that is mostly rubber flooring which involves playing hockey with balls instead of pucks. The other types, flooring and panels are most popular because they build substantial, solid flooring in order for people to practice on. The difference between panels and tiles are the sizes. In general, flooring tiles are squared measurements like square feet. You can have one tile that is 12 inches by 12 inches. That would be considered a tile. A panel can be bigger. Panels can be anywhere between four feet by two feet to eight feet by ten feet. It all depends on the size of the flooring area where it would be appropriate to use whatever measurement suits the area. So, the bottom line is that synthetic ice tiles are small squares of synthetic ice that are ready to be installed in a smaller area, and hockey panels are larger pieces.