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Backyard Rink Top Tips

Last Modified: Jan 13, 2011

  1. Be PATIENT!!!

  2. Give some thought to leveling your backyard in the summer. A level surface means you have to use less water, which means it will freeze solid faster, allowing you to use your rink faster, and allows you to deal with any of mother nature's obstacles (rain, snow, both, etc) faster. Your lawn may look level, but most people find that it isn't as level as they thought it was.

  3. If you can't level your backyard, you should at least raise the sloped end of your backyard. You can use items such as mulch or softener salt as a leveler. Lay it out in the low area to buid up the low end. Lay the plastic over top of the mulch/salt and flood as normal.

  4. Make sure that your boards are level...especially if you don't level your ground surface. Use a level, don't trust your eye.

  5. Beware of wet slushy snow. On cold, snowy days it can be all too tempting to stay indoors, watching television or playing free bingo in the warm. However, it really is worth braving the cold and clearing this snow. If you leave it on your rink too long and the temperature drops, your rink could be ruined for the rest of the skating season.

  6. Beware of wet slushy snow. If you leave it on your rink too long and the temperature drops, your rink could be ruined for the rest of the skating season.

  7. Put adequate lighting in place for night time skating.

  8. This sounds obvious but sometimes it's the little things that escape us. When planning a rink, make sure your hose can reach the area where you are putting the rink.

  9. Either drain your hose completely or bring it indoors when you are finished using it. Otherwise it will freeze up and won't be ready for the next time you need to use it for flooding.

  10. Before resurfacing, clean the ice fairly well. You can use a deck broom after shovelling to get the ice super clean. The point is, if you leave too much snow on the surface, it will "bunch" up during the flood, freeze and then form bumps.

  11. It takes a minimum of 72 hours at -10 C for 8 inches of water to completely freeze. Do NOT walk on your rink before this time unless you have to. Water will seep up around the sides and flow onto your surface.

  12. It takes a minimum of 1 hour for a light flooding to completely freeze when the temperature is -14 degrees Celsius. That's at night, with no wind.

  13. While it isn't totally necessary, use warm water when resurfacing. No edge ripples or slush bumps, just a nice even surface that resembles artificial ice. Also, I have read that hot water makes a stronger ice surface.

  14. The perfect temperature range is between -10 and -15 degrees celsius (14 and 5 deg Fahrenheit) for ice to solidify smoothly. If the temperature is not cold enough, or if you overwater at a warm temp, a condition called "shell ice" could result. This is where the top layer of ice crumbles very easily. A rule of thumb: The warmer the temperature, the lighter the application of water. I have only found shell ice to be a problem when the temp is up around -1 C to -5 C. Any colder than -5 C and you would have to apply more than 0.5 cm of water to get shell ice. Once the temp gets below -10 C it is not really something to be concerned about.

  15. Never make your rink over a septic field.

  16. Check with your insurance company concerning your rink and how it affects your homeowners policy. You wouldn't want to get any surprises if someone was to get hurt on your rink.

  17. Putting lines, dots or logos on your rink will probably cause it to melt prematurely. The dark colors will draw heat from the sun.

Feel free to pass along any tips you have to offer.