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Ice Arena Floors and How They’re Made

Athletes all over the world are traveling in to Sochi this year for the Winter Olympics. Figure skating, speed skating, hockey and curling are just a few of the winter sports that will be represented for this year’s games. All indoor winter sports involve ice arenas, so the flooring beneath these young athletes are a vital part of their routines and games.

So how do ice floors work? Well, the science of its cooling system is similar to a refrigerator, but with differences. The base of the floor installation is made up of sand and gravel with a level of heated concrete on top to keep the structure of the arena from expanding and cracking. Here are the basics of how the ice arena system works:

  • The chillers in the floor installation cool down brinewater to approximately 16 degrees F. Depending on the ice arena floors and its equipment, the chillers can provide approximately 270 tons of cooling. Because of the chemical makeup of the brinewater it does not freeze, preventing pipe and equipment damage.

  • Once the brinewater is cooled to the desired temperature the brinewater is poured through the steel pipes onto the chilled concrete floors. This slab of concrete stays below 32 degrees F to freeze the water solid once it is poured. Underneath the chilled concrete is a layer of insulation, which allows the ice to expand and shrink as needed.

  • What happens to the ice flooring after the Olympics? The brinewater is defrosted by heat on the underlayer of the ice-bearing concrete slab. The ice is then broken up and removed.

As the Olympic approach and we cheer on the U.S. team, the ice floors are busily working to create the perfect arena. Even the ice arenas around Nashville and Middle Tennessee are busily preparing for the winter months. While you might not need a ice floor for your business, Ozburn-Hessey is glad to help you identify floors that will best allow you to face warm and cold temperatures and keep up with the latest trends in flooring in the Nashville area. So what sport will you watch this season?

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