Gas or charcoal, shaken or stirred … Wood or concrete? You may not have ever considered where you stand on the concrete vs. wood skating rink debate, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with this guide to the different types of skating rinks!
What are the types of skating rinks?
Skating rinks usually fall into one of the following categories: Wood, concrete, or less commonly, plastic tile (VersaCourt and SkateCourt, for example). Each has its own unique properties, but here at Wheels Skate Center, we’re partial to hardwood skating rink flooring. Read on to learn a bit about the pros and cons of each type.
It’s a Hard Knock Life: Concrete Skating Rinks
Concrete is a popular skating rink flooring option because it’s by far the cheapest. It’s also very durable, so it doesn’t have to be replaced as often, and quite slippery, which can make it good for doing certain skate moves like spins, or for speed skating.
However, as you’ve probably guessed, concrete floors are hard. That means not only does it hurt worse to fall on concrete, but also that it’s harder on your joints. Just think about what it’s like to run on grass vs. pavement; roller skating is a low-impact sport, but the surface you’re skating on does make a difference in how much of an impact you feel each time you push off.
In addition to the hardness, concrete skating rinks can be hard to install properly. It’s important that they be perfectly level and smooth in order to make a good roller skating surface, but that’s not always the end result.
Life in Plastic: Not Fantastic
There are some flooring systems out there that use copolymer polypropylene (plastic) tiles, which can be a great option for basketball courts, tennis courts, etc. While these systems are sometimes used for skating rinks, they are not ideal for roller skating. Common complaints include:
- Being too noisy
- Being too bumpy
- Making it hard to get up any speed
- Causing “road rash” to exposed arms or legs if you fall down while skating
Why Wood Skating Rinks Are The Best Skating Rinks
And last, but not least, we have wood skating rinks, like the one we have here at Wheels. Usually built out of maple hardwood, wood skating rinks are the classic material choice for a reason. Wood skating rink flooring is more expensive and doesn’t have quite as long of a lifespan as other options, but we think it’s the superior choice based on the experience it gives skaters. Benefits of maple hardwood rinks include:
- A smooth surface with excellent traction
- “Give” or flexibility, which is easier on joints
- Less painful than falling on concrete
- A beautiful look! Sure, we’re biased, but nothing compares to a beautiful wood skating rink built by skilled craftspeople.
Want to experience a wood skating rink for yourself? Come visit us at our Odenton, Maryland skating rink, Wheels Skate Center. Check out our schedule to see skate sessions and special events.