Building a backyard ice rink is a great way to keep your kids active and keep yourself fit during the long, cold months of winter. It’s also a lot more convenient than driving to the nearest arena to play a game of hockey or practice skating and it can be a great neighborhood gathering place. It’s actually easier than you might think to build one yourself and takes only a few simple materials to get the job done.
Site Selection And Framing
Probably the most important part of building your skating area is selecting the site. It’s important to choose as level a spot as possible. The base can be set up on slopes, but you’ll need to use more materials to get the ground level. Once you’ve selected your location, prep it by raking the area, removing small rocks and leveling small holes or slopes to minimize the risk of puncturing the tarps.
Next you need to frame out the area using wooden planks held in place with braces or brackets. Use a line level to ensure proper leveling.
Ice Rink Liners Are A Must
Once you’ve got your frame in place, lay the liner and fill it with water. Ice rink liners are a necessity. Not only do they protect your turf from damage, the frozen surface will form better and be stronger than if it were laid directly on top of grass. Ice rink liners specifically designed for this purpose are heavy-duty, waterproof and made to endure harsh winter weather. They’ll be able to handle the pressure of a frozen base better than a less heavy-duty garden or car tarp.
Ice rink liners come in many sizes. Make sure you purchase one that gives enough overlap so you won’t have any leaks. Three to four feet of overlap should be enough to keep your frame lined once you fill it with water and it freezes and expands.
After the liner is in place, fill it up and then fasten it to your frame before the water freezes. Fastening it after it’s filled allows it to settle and fill in low spots while maintaining solid contact with the ground. This will put less pressure on the liner over the winter when frozen ground compresses it. Punctures, rips or tears can occur if it’s pushing on a liner without a solid surface underneath.
1. Set up your skating installation before the snow falls to avoid the bumps and lumps that come with snow that has frozen on the ground.
2. Top off it with water right before a cold front is forecast. This will help fill in any bare or low spots before the cold hits and freezes the water again.
3. Plan on purchasing new ice rink liners every year, as they can really take a beating. They sit outside all winter, enduring freeze-thaw cycles, full of frozen water and skaters for months on end. There’s a possibility the liner can be re-used the next year, but it’s equally possible the tarp will be filled with holes and weak spots that tear before you even get the water in. Re-use the tarp to cover patio furniture or anything else needing winter protection and treat your skaters to a new one.
Tarp Supply is a factory direct warehouse distributor of tarps. Located in the Chicago suburbs, the company carries all grades of tarps from light to heavy duty as well as outdoor screens and ice rink liners. Tarp Supply provides excellent customer service, quality tarps, and low prices. Visit them today to view the Deal of the Month and more!
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