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Old January 12th, 2010, 08:56 PM   #1
Fall Down Go Boom
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Question Wood vs. Cement

Would you avoid a roller rink just because it had a cement floor? All the rinks that I have skated at (indoors) have had wood floors but I was wondering how the skating community felt about cement ones.

I am looking into running a roller rink and comparing the installation and upkeep of the different floor types. I am still at least a year or more out from realizing this dream. I have a lot of research to do and understanding of the business end of rink ownership before taking the plunge.

My theory is that I would upgrade to a wood floor at a later date. Of course, I will need to investigate this to make sure it will cost less in the long run. If just going to a wood floor is more cost-effective, I'll go that route. But, I thought it was still an interesting question and knowing more about how skaters feel about skating can never hurt!
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Old January 12th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #2
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In my opinion:
Good, fresh coated wood > good cement > crappy wood > staying home > crappy cement.

Well maintained and/or coated floors of any type can be grippy (and fast), whereas there are plenty of examples of a once great food floor gone completely to pot over the years.

Northridge, CA is a perfect example of a huge, nice wood floor that you can't get a fast lap on (even with the stickiest of wheels) because the coating is gone, its always dirty, and there are scratches and scuffs everywhere. A flat, clean cement floor, even raw cement, beats the pants off this. On the other hand, there's nothing worse to skate on indoor than cement that isn't flat, isn't smooth, and has pits/holes in it.

Can't speak to the costs of either, though I know wood floors do cost a lot to maintain. I'm pickier than your average session skater too mind you - every 'enthusiast' hates the Northridge floor but they still cram the place every Friday night, so what do I know
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:10 PM   #3
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I prefer wood floors but I have skated on pretty much everything. I don't think there is a floor that I haven't skated on. But I won't, NOT, go to a rink because of the type of floor it has.

I love skating that much!!!!!
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Old January 13th, 2010, 12:34 AM   #4
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Back in the day most of the floors in our area where coated concrete.. the rink floor at my home rink was well maintained and smooth as silk. I worked there for 3 years, we dust mopped after every session and used a squeegee machine on it every night. In the early 80's the owner decided to try one of the "composite" type floors .. which was basically press board panels with roll-on applied to the surface .. I hated it .. it gripped like mad but after a while you could feel the seams maybe it has been improved over the years?
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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:17 AM   #5
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Hi Fall Down Go Boom,

If your really interested in getting into the Rink business, then you would be very well served to get to as many as you can, to skate in, and to study their operations.

This is a part of what I've done over the last 57 yrs.

I've got a number of Rinks in my area with every floor out there. If you could get away for a time, and come to KC, I could take you to everyone - so you could experience most of the options of floors, sound systems, Rink Layouts, etc. Even can get you to the Local Skate Supply business, R.C. Sports.

I can then go over the Pros and Cons of all these different systems with you - so you can start out with a much greater knowledge base, before you take the plunge. Floor types, Building Types, Rental Skates types, Sound Systems - components and set up, Video systems, and much more - are just a few of the critical factors in setting up a Rink.

You're best off knowing as much as possible about all Rink related equipment and issues, and more, before you make that jump.

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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:44 AM   #6
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Default Wood is Great, YET Cement Well Done is . .

Hi Fall Down Go Boom,

First off Harold knows more than me since he has been at this thing a lot longer. That said I am not sure about how things developed in his region vs other regions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fall Down Go Boom View Post
Would you avoid a roller rink just because it had a cement floor? o - o - o
I have two great Cement floors I have skated on that are or were better than a poor or even an average maintained wood floor. My thoughts about these two cement coated floors are also shared by the artistic skaters who skated/skate on these floors and then do National competition. A bad cement floor in my experience is worst than a bad wood floor.

Yet wood done well and taken care of regularly supplies the best surface. I mean you have to watch temperature and humidity yet wood does better.

As you can see I go back and forth which is the challenge. SO NO I would not "NOT buy" a rink with a cement floor. YET after procurement I would have it prepared and coated by someone who really knew their stuff. And then I would plan to put in wood and have it done every year.

Yours in Skating, MA/NY Skating Dave
P.S. One of these days I am going to maybe research this stuff. Yet I hope crazy legs Harold has already done it.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 07:06 AM   #7
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OK I'm not going to claim any more or less experience that anyone else, there are a lot with more and less that myself. One thing I have done is skated a lot of different floors in just about every state in the country...perks of the job

I live in a place that has a really bad cement floor rink, for many many reasons that I won't bother to go into here,...let's just say, I refuse to skate there, the floor is one of the few reasons I wont. it is crap in my opinion, I mean bad. And if the person who is running the rink...which isn't the owner! wont fix it up, I'm not going to give them anymore of my hard earned moola!

I have to travel about 30 some miles to the south to go to a real rink with a good coated floor.

Preferably I like wood...I think up here it's just too darn hard to take care of. as long as the floor is well maintained and cleaned, grips and you can get wheels to grip it...good and flat those are the really important things to me. For some reason I just hate feeling the waves in a floor!

I will travel to go skate a floor! but hey...i just love skating THAT much!
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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for your comments and opinions. I really appreciate it.

The only time I have skated on concrete has been when I was outdoors. My biggest concern is that skaters would see a concrete floor and be automatically turned off. That's the reason I brought up the question.

I am still in the very early stages of moving into rink ownership and I am trying to make sure that my preferences don't override what the skater community wants. I don't want to go cheap in an area that isn't important to me but every other skater out there can't live without. Since I haven't had experience on an indoor cement rink, I wanted the diehard view of it.

Anyway, I just moved to Houston last February so that is another reason why I plan on taking my time to open a rink. I need to make sure to give the skaters here something that they don't already have. The closest rink to me has a wood floor, however, it is very bad. It has waves in it that can make you sea-sick. You can see wide gaps with wood filler caked in them. And every single time that I have gone there I have run over something... screws, nuts, unidentifiable plastic pieces. In addition, there are dead spaces in several spots where you can't hear the music. Even so, the rink usually has a good number of people there and has a number of birthday parties. But, I don't normally see skaters there that are better than me.

Now don't get me wrong... I am no where near the best skater in the world but I do have balance. I can do crossovers and backwards skate and am pretty comfortable on wheels. I don't do many tricks because I don't know the techniques. If I do fall, I usually try to get dramatic with it (hence my name). My kids love to see me fall. But now I'm getting off track.

My intention is to visit all of the rinks in a half hour to 45 minute radius from where I plan on setting up shop, several times. I will also check out the ones further out so I know all the establishments that I will be competing against.

Currently for me, the floor is one of the top three important factors of a good rink. It will be instinctive for me that the floor will need to be maintained at all times. When I was younger, a rink I went to would make everyone get off the floor and sweep it every few hours. It was always clean and smooth. I plan on following that way of thinking.

But again, I need to do more research to make sure I know my stuff. I have no intention on starting this without understanding what is going on in every area. And thanks for the invite Skatervideoguy. Right now, I am still at the beginning of my research and am focusing on getting to know what makes up the rink business as well as getting finances in order. When I get more knowledgeable about the industry I may take you up on your offer. At that time, I should have a better grasp of what I need to know and it should make for a better information gathering experience.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:22 PM   #9
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I'm sure if you contact rink owners that have concrete floors or epoxy coated concrete floors, they can give you some kind of insight.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:49 PM   #10
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Its actually quite simple. You need a concrete base to lay a wood floor on correct? So if you are building from scratch spend a little more and have the floor laser leveled, seal it, coat it, and skate. You can ALWAYS add a new $175,000-200,000 12,000 sq ft new wood floor over that concrete later.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 07:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk82day View Post
Its actually quite simple. You need a concrete base to lay a wood floor on correct? So if you are building from scratch spend a little more and have the floor laser leveled, seal it, coat it, and skate. You can ALWAYS add a new $175,000-200,000 12,000 sq ft new wood floor over that concrete later.
This is exactly what one of the rinks I use to skate at (and worked) did.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 07:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fall Down Go Boom View Post
Currently for me, the floor is one of the top three important factors of a good rink.
Curious as to what the other 2 are??
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Old January 13th, 2010, 07:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk82day View Post
Its actually quite simple. You need a concrete base to lay a wood floor on correct? So if you are building from scratch spend a little more and have the floor laser leveled, seal it, coat it, and skate. You can ALWAYS add a new $175,000-200,000 12,000 sq ft new wood floor over that concrete later.
That's exactly what I was thinking. But I didn't want to give my future patrons a bad taste in their mouths for my rink because the first thing they see is a concrete floor. I just wanted to know if people didn't mind skating on concrete if everything else was good.

I still need to see if adding a wood floor on top of the finished concrete is cheaper than just going straight to wood. If I can save some cash by going concrete then wood, I can put the difference into the sound system or another area. Just weighing my options and like I said above, I don't want to skimp in an area that is important to skaters.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 08:10 PM   #14
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Check out a sport court surface.
Our local rink has one - it doubles for roller hockey - and it's pretty good.
Just another option...
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Old January 13th, 2010, 08:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fall Down Go Boom View Post
I still need to see if adding a wood floor on top of the finished concrete is cheaper than just going straight to wood. If I can save some cash by going concrete then wood, I can put the difference into the sound system or another area. Just weighing my options and like I said above, I don't want to skimp in an area that is important to skaters.
I am trying to understand your ? concern? Spending upwards of $200,000 on a wood floor that should be installed over a concrete surface cheaper? Sealant for concrete is not very expensive, the coating which if you use roll-on is the same price on a wood floor as a concrete floor. your only loss in adding a wood floor later is the maintenance costs of coating the concrete floor that wood would cover.

A finished concrete floor under a wood floor will add to value if down the road if the building is sold.

Its great that you are asking what skaters think about floors but remember in the end your money is going to be made from the 8-14 year old range of patrons, and no disrespect to anyone here but the patrons in that age range could care less about if its wood or concrete, they just want to skate!
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Old January 13th, 2010, 08:37 PM   #16
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Hi Fall Down Go Boom,

As to floors specifically, a Maple Wood Rotunda is the best to install, bar none - if done properly and maintained properly. All other floors options will simply not be as skateable or as safe.

All floors must be installed properly and maintained properly - it's just that many, if not most, simply are not - no matter what type they are. Hence, many folks seldom get to really enjoy a decent skating surface, at least for an extended period of time.

Your idea of puting in a wood floor, of any type, over concrete - can work. BUT, the concrete or asphault primary surface must be done correctly in the begining - to contol for ground shift, cracking, and moisture control - any of which can screw up a decent wood floor placed on top. That kind of means you also need to know the ground characteristics of where you plan to build - or the same for a building you plan to use with an existing concrete or asphault surface.

As for sound systems, those can be much better and cheaper that most Rinks currently install. Many Rinks simply install the wrong speakers, in the wrong configuration, without being properly tuned to the environment, and then are not properly used. (generally that means they are being played too loud) So, most folks seldom hear a decent sound system playing really good sound.

At least this has been my experience.

Harold
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Old January 13th, 2010, 08:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sk82day View Post
Its great that you are asking what skaters think about floors but remember in the end your money is going to be made from the 8-14 year old range of patrons, and no disrespect to anyone here but the patrons in that age range could care less about if its wood or concrete, they just want to skate!
This is essentially what I was getting to when I asked him what his other 2 priorities were....
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Old January 13th, 2010, 09:27 PM   #18
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I have skated on both types of floors, and for me as an artistic skate, it really didn't matter.

For Freestyle skaters, it can matter. I have seen skaters take a fall after a jump and absolutely shatter their trucks upon landing. I have never seen a shatter like this on a wood floor.

Cement floors also have a tendency to "heave, or settle" causing waves in the floor. Skateable..... yes. But a bit concerning to get used to if you are skating competition on.

I used to skate at a rink up in Montana, that I dont think had a cement floor, but I think that it was some sort of coated/painted particle board floor. maintained very nicely, repainted and repolyied once a year, usually in the summer. Very nice floor.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #19
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Another way to look at your choice is what other options are available in your area for the skaters you want to come to your rink.

A few years back our Home Depot ground & polished their concrete floors. (very, very flat). Without a paint coating the maintenance would be little and it would be stable. But is it sticky enough? Probably not without a coating but it would be very flat.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 12:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatervideoguy View Post
Hi Fall Down Go Boom,

As to floors specifically, a Maple Wood Rotunda is the best to install, bar none - if done properly and maintained properly. All other floors options will simply not be as skateable or as safe.

All floors must be installed properly and maintained properly - it's just that many, if not most, simply are not - no matter what type they are. Hence, many folks seldom get to really enjoy a decent skating surface, at least for an extended period of time.

Your idea of puting in a wood floor, of any type, over concrete - can work. BUT, the concrete or asphault primary surface must be done correctly in the begining - to contol for ground shift, cracking, and moisture control - any of which can screw up a decent wood floor placed on top. That kind of means you also need to know the ground characteristics of where you plan to build - or the same for a building you plan to use with an existing concrete or asphault surface.

Harold
+1 being in construction I was curious and looked up how skating floors where constructed a while back ... the specs for the sub-grade and sub-floor requirements are pretty strict. If you do decide to do coated concrete to start and wood later you would need to plan ahead for the type of transition you will have onto existing finishes from the new wood floor as well.
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