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timp 11-28-2007 08:18 PM

Backyard skating rink
I'm thinking of building a skating rink in the backyard for my kids. My wife found the "Ice N' Go" rink in a catalog but they want over $250 for a reasonably sized rink. So, I'm thinking of building something myself.

From some Internet searches, I see that the Ice N' Go uses some sort of PVC tubing as its frame. I'm thinking a low frame of either 2x4s or maybe deck boards (5/4 x 6). They use a vinyl liner but I'm thinking a decent-grade tarp would work (Harbor Freight has some 11 mil tarps for not too much). I see some folks just use plastic sheeting. I'd like something with at least a little bit of durability and I'm leery of the plastic. But, it would be cheap.

Any suggestions?


LawnGuyLandSparky 11-28-2007 09:18 PM

When temperatures are freezing and stable, make a whole bunch of ice blocks and form a perimeter. Then, wet the ground within the perimeter until it's frozen and there's an ice seal between the blocks and the ground. Then, fill 'er up.

slickshift 11-29-2007 05:18 AM

Tarps are a different animal
Vinyl is best, but plastic would probably work better than tarps

timp 11-29-2007 07:28 AM

@LawnGuyLandSparky -- The problem is that nowadays it seems the temp is rarely stable and I don't want to lose the water during thaws. But thanks for the suggestion anyway, it would certainly be the cheapest solution.

@slickshift -- Thanks for the advice on tarps. I figured they would be relatively water-tight and more durable than plastic. I don't know of a source for a large sheet of vinyl. So, I guess I'll use plastic.


NateHanson 11-29-2007 08:10 AM

This is a big thing around Massachusetts. There was an article in the paper a few years ago about people who get carried away with this and go bigger every year. There's even a plastics store in Dorchester that caters to the backyard rink builders. JP Freeman. Give them a call and they'll tell you what works best, and they can sell you the most cost-effective materials in whatever size you want. I've worked with them on other projects (not rinks), and they're a good shop.


joed 11-29-2007 06:00 PM

I never used plastic when I built them. Just put the sprinkler out on very cold day or night and let it freeze up the grass. Move it around to build up a base. I used to put it up on garbage can to keep it from freezing to the ground and to get more spread. If there is snow on the ground pull your kids around on the tobaggon to flatten it or I have even shoveled it. Use the snow to build up banks on the edge and water them as well sort forming a bowl. The just keep going out and flooding it.

If you do use platic make sure to get it up quickly when the rink melts or you might have a dead lawn. Don't build the rink over a septic leach field or you will likely have problems with flushing.

perpetual98 11-30-2007 08:43 AM

When I was a wee lad in elementary school, the neighborhood fire department just came in and flooded a "rink" that we made by framing it with snow. I don't know if they did any prep work by freezing it before they flooded it. I also seem to remember our Wisconsin winters being much more like winter than they are now. Seemed like we always had massive snow for sledding when I was a youngster. Now I wonder if it even pays to buy a snow blower for our new house.

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