Consider the following comparison prices, taken recently from a major USA retail home improvement company:
Carpet: $0.38 to $10.55 per square foot
Ceramic Tile: $0.79 to $3.00 per square foot
Laminate Flooring: $0.99 to $2.99 per square foot
Hardwood Flooring: $3.79 to $7.50 per square foot
Marble Tile: $4.00 to $9.65 per square foot
Now, consider the cost of synthetic ice:
Major USA Brand: $16.00 per square foot
Although this cost seems quite large upfront, it is actually not as exorbitant as the cost of a real rink, which requires expensive ongoing refrigeration expenses. But the news is better when examining the low-cost alternative to synthetic ice, purchased directly from a plastic company!
HDPE Plastic from USA (3/16" Thickness): $2.00 per square foot
Now, consider the following higher-quality solution:
Ultra-HDPE Direct from China: $1.20 per square foot, Including Rink Sideboards
Note that these cost estimates have been made in 2014 and 2015, and may vary over time and with respect to the size of the order. Shipping costs may also vary due to destination and other considerations.
The next question on the mind of potential consumers pertains to the quality of skating on these surfaces. The author, investigating the quality of an 8 foot square HDPE surface, found it suitable for hockey practice, and some figure skating. A YouTube Video Playlist, Skating Science Demos, includes samples of skating on the surface.
Additional information on the science of ice skating, including both hockey and figure skating, can be found on the blog, Ice Skating Science. Additional information on the science of ice skating are available in a free pamphlet from the publisher's webpage.
The following books from Schottenbauer Publishing contain graphs and data pertaining to the science of ice skating, figure skating, and hockey:
In addition, the following books are suitable for younger children learning geometry:
- The Geometry of Figure Skating
- The Geometry of Winter Olympic Sports