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    Synthetic Ice Installation & Maintenance

    Best Hockey Boards for Synthetic Ice Training (2022)

    Best Hockey Boards for Synthetic Ice Training (2022)

    When you’re done setting up your synthetic ice, you’ll begin to think about adding elements to make it look and feel like a real, competitive hockey rink.

    Two of the main objectives will be puck containment and making sure there are a limited amount of broken windows on each shooting end.

    Whether you have a backyard rink, a small rink in a spare room, or a large commercial synthetic ice rink, you must be wondering, “ Are hockey boards for a synthetic ice rink even necessary?”

    Here’s an answer based on our experience:

    You don’t need hockey boards to enjoy the benefits of synthetic ice, however, it’s an important part of the safety of skaters (and potential spectators) depending on the size of the rink.

    Hockey boards can also help with the strategic parts of the game when practicing though it's your choice whether to install them or not.

    Because it is a common practice to see hockey boards at your favorite NHL team rink, you may think it’s a requirement but if you're handy you can create your own board system that won't hurt your pocket book.

    Here is some more insight into some of the best hockey boards on the market and how great they work with any synthetic ice surface.


    hockey boards


    What are Hockey Boards Exactly?

    Hockey "dasher" boards are simply the walls for your rink.

    Your standard regulation hockey rink has two side boards that cover the length of the rink with end boards and corner boards around each end zone.

    Near the center red line in the Neutral Zone, one of these side boards provides the doors for each player to enter and exit the game.

    On the opposite end are the doors for the penalty boxes.

    On your standard Collegiate or NHL rink, hockey boards are actually two parts.

    The bottom part is the dasher board with the white board that makes up the rink walls and on the top of the boards is tempered glass which can be several feet high, with higher glass shielding behind the goal.

    The main purpose of hockey boards is to keep the puck in play and not injuring a fan during the game. It also plays a key part in offensive and defensive strategy.

    Some of the best hockey boards are now accessible for smaller home rinks and larger recreational rinks.


     hockey rink boards

    What Materials Can Be Used for Hockey Boards?

    The best hockey dasher boards are made of polyethylene sheet, a material that has been around for decades and is known for its durability and versatility as it absorbs energy, making it perfect for puck-impact and checking.

    Dasher boards are at least 1/2 inch thick and at least 40-42 inches tall (but no taller than 48”).

    Standard rink hockey boards have a painted yellow "kick-plate" at the bottom and blue or red "cap-rail" trim on top.. In professional rinks, part of the board is painted with a blue or red strip to match the blue and red lines on the ice.

    Home rinks or commercial spaces do not need rink shielding systems and can be constructed using plywood to create rink walls, especially if they are making backyard rinks during the winter.

    Plywood boards are cheaper alternatives but lack the durability of polyethylene.


    pros and cons

    Pros and Cons of Hockey Boards

    If you have a synthetic ice rink, you may be wondering if you should take the next step to invest in the best hockey boards on the market.

    You should consider who will be using the rink and for what purpose.

    If you’re expecting the kids to have friends over and have friendly 3-on-3 action, the boards are a great investment.

    It will help them with a more enjoyable game that is similar to real competition.

    But if the rink is just for recreational use, side boards may not be necessary.

    Here are some pros and cons to consider:



    Provides safety 

    It can be costly to install

    Commercial advertising space

    Need skilled help to install/uninstall safely.

    Spend less time chasing pucks

    More time cleaning and maintaining

    Allows for more physical play

    The possibility of ‘boarding’ injuries at home rinks. 

    Durable and long-lasting.

    Requires UV Inhibitor for outdoor rinks 


    hockey rink boards

    Boards and Hockey Strategy.

    Hockey boards play an important part in the overall flow and strategy of hockey and learning how to use those boards intelligently instantly makes you a better player.

    If you have young Peewee or Bantam-level skaters at home, now is a good time to introduce dasher or rebound dasher curbs with your synthetic ice.

    For starters, having boards will help them learn how to quickly receive the puck as it bounces off the board.

    They can start working on using specific angles to give them an advantage in a game.

    The boards also come into play in passing, defending, and even setting up the play by "banking it" off the boards at the right angle to get it to a teammate in stride during the play.

    As a defenseman, you can also use the boards to shield the puck from an oncoming opponent as getting the puck from behind your body and stick is much more difficult when angling and using the boards properly.

    This technique gives the player enough time to assess the ice before making his next move.

    installing your boards 

    How Do You Set Up Hockey Boards On Your Synthetic Ice Rink?

    If you’re interested in setting up boards for your rink, there are a few things to consider.

    First, you have to think about the materials you will use.

    • Are you going to get wood, plastic, or stronger polyethylene?
    • Are you going to buy ready-made boards?

    There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

    If you want something easy to assemble and disassemble, ready-made polyethylene boards work but can be quite pricey.

    If you have more time but a smaller budget, you’ll probably want to build your rink walls yourself.

    First, measure the dimensions of your synthetic ice surface as these measurements will help you determine how many boards you will need to complete your project.

    Some rinks have curved, radius corners, so any measurements taken must consider this. 

    Your rink should already be on level ground, or the walls will be uneven.

    Rink boards also need brackets to hold them in place which you can source from a hardware store, or the rink wall provider you purchased form.

    Each bracket must be anchored into the ground to support the board's weight.

    You will have additional brackets to connect the corners and the boards together.

    Remember to recruit a friend or experienced builder to help you get this done right.

    • Lay down each board along the edges of the rink.
    • Start with the corners. Stand two boards up next to each other.
    • Connect one corner first using the brackets or attachment mechanisms provided. Then use the provided bracket to hold the board in place. Test the sturdiness of your first board. It should be strong enough to hold your body weight.
    • Move your way around the rink, carefully connecting each board with the brackets, then placing an anchor to keep them in place.
    • Some rinks walls have bumpers for safer collisions. Install your bumpers last or buy your own using some foam.

    It can take some time, but you’ll have a great hockey board that’s safe and gives your rink.

    Consider a Rebounding Dasher Curb.

    Some synthetic ice rink owners have time and budget constraints.

    A rebounding dasher curb is a great alternative.

    The BounceBar by PolyGlide Ice, for instance, is a strip we designed to give synthetic rice rinks a polished finish.

    The bar is about 3” high but doubles as a rebounder thanks to the unique, high-reactive foam built into each unit.

    You or the hockey player in your family can practice receiving the puck at different angles off of the bar. 

    Take a look at how the BounceBar responds in the video below:


    These bars are customizable and are easy to install, allowing you or your kids to practice those dasher board puck skills at a fraction of the cost.

    You can even stack the bars or outfit rinks with curved corners.

    Keep in mind that different types of hockey boards will produce different results when the puck hits them.

    Wood boards might slow the puck or not provide the same response as conventional polyethylene boards.

    If you’re installing panels for safety, the material won’t matter too much.

    If it’s for safety and training, you can always get professional-grade boards.

    The Bottom Line

    Hockey boards are an optional part of building a synthetic ice rink.

    Synthetic ice rinks have fantastic benefits like skating year round, easy installation, durability, lower costs and you can skate on the ice without hockey boards. 

    However, you’ll find some great benefits to installing your boards, including safety, aesthetics, and training key skills. 

    It’s great knowing that you can also choose smaller rebounders or bounce bars to complete your home synthetic ice rink project.

    Are you ready to take your synthetic ice rink to the next level?




    How to Plan a Commercial Ice Rink Project On a Budget

    How to Plan a Commercial Ice Rink Project On a Budget

    Ice skating enthusiasts always remember hitting the ice rink for the first time.

    For some, it's a nearby lake that's frozen just enough for the kids to risk it all on the ice.

    Others would have gone to a neighbor's backyard after their Dad spent hours with the hose filling the rink earlier in the week.

    Or maybe you experienced the magic that's The Rink At Rockefeller Center.

    These simple moments are the things that turn people like you into lifelong skaters.

    And now, sometime later, you're thinking about building a rink of your own.

    But not just any rink but a large, commercial ice rink. 

    However, setting up a commercial rink is no small task.

    Commerical rinks are massive, often capable of handling multiple skaters at once.

    When you think about commercial rinks, the ones that might come to mind are massive NHL rinks or rinks set up for Winter Olympics.

    However, commercial rinks can come in different sizes and have different uses.

    In fact, there are about 2000 commercial rinks in America (our skate-crazed Canadian neighbors have four times as many!), with some even on the west coast.

    There are many reasons why a business, group, or individual would install a temporary or permanent commercial rink.

    The top 5 reasons include:


    profit making

    1. A profit-making venture

    Commercial means profit.

    A commercial ice rink can attract new business to a current establishment.

    Or in some cases, the rink itself can be a stand-alone business that earns money for the owners over time.

    Hotels, malls, and other high-traffic areas install temporary rinks in the colder months to attract skating enthusiasts.

    Permanent rinks allow skaters to train and have fun year-round.

    Whatever the reason, most commercial rinks are in the business of making money.

    2. Training for a sports team or club

    A hockey team or other ice sports club may need a new rink.

    Having direct access to a rink means more time training.

    That investment can give a team a significant edge in competition.

    Of course, the biggest skating clubs and sports teams are in the NHL.

    However, that does not mean smaller clubs or communities can't set up a commercial rink for their junior teams.


    hockey coach


    3. Coaching or other skating related classes

    Are you a skating coach or part of an ice skating organization?

    Maybe you have access to a large space and need a dedicated rink to train your students.

    However, a smaller commercial rink can allow coaches to train hockey players, figure skaters, curlers, and much more.

    4. You Can Host Events

    Commercial rinks are great for individual skaters to enjoy one of their favorite hobbies.

    But the uses don't stop there.

    These rinks are perfect for larger private and corporate events too.

    The possibilities are numerous, such as dancing shows on ice, team-building activities, parties, and even an ice-themed wedding.


    community ice rink

    5. A new community rink

    Ice skating is a great way to bring communities together.

    If kids and young adults have a space they can easily access, they'll be healthier, happier, and stay out of trouble.

    A city council may decide to install a commercial rink for the community benefits.

    Consider Synthetic Ice

    Installing a commercial ice rink is easier said than done.

    Commercial rinks can be expensive in both installation and maintenance.

    Refrigerated rinks, the most common commercial rinks, require large-scale refrigeration machines, temperature control, and continuous resurfacing.

    These costs add up, and most commercial refrigerated ice rinks fail to turn a profit.

    Some outdoor commercial rinks are seasonal, using the elements to create a natural ice rink.

    The rink creator fills a specific space with water and waits for the "First Freeze", around mid-October in most cases.

    If you're looking to build a commercial rink on a budget, there's no better option than a synthetic ice rink.

    Synthetic ice rinks have been used for decades for large-scale projects in malls, outside of businesses, and community events.

    The materials mimic the look and feel of real ice, allowing skaters to use their metal blades as they would on other forms.

    These panels also have interlocking edges, enabling easy installation.

    There are a few advantages of going with a synthetic ice rink versus a refrigerated or natural rink:

    cost effective

    It's Cost-Effective

    If a cost-effective rink is music to your ears, then a synthetic ice rink is that symphony.

    You'd pay a set price for the panels based on your measurements.

    However, there won't be any ongoing costs for building the rink infrastructure, refrigeration maintenance, and resurfacing.

    A few persons can install synthetic ice rinks in a few hours (if you include the walls).

    To date, it's the best way to build a large rink on a budget.


    Natural rinks are contingent on the cold winter months.

    Even outdoor refrigerated rinks last a few months longer.

    Because of the materials used in synthetic ice, the rink can stay up all year.

    This is excellent news for athletes or trainers who want to use a rink throughout the year.

    It provides alternative training options and oppotunities for skaters at any level.

    It's Scalable

    Ready to build a larger rink?

    Do you need to scale it back a bit?

    Synthetic ice panels allow just that.

    You can easily order, reorder, or disconnect panels as needed.

    However, making these changes can be expensive for other types of rinks.

    It's Durable

    Your investment in a large-scale synthetic can pay off for years to come. Synthetic ice panels can last for at least five years with heavy use.

    The more durable commercial panels can last well into ten years if maintained well.

    The cost savings go on for years as smaller commercial rinks don't have to spend money removing and reinstalling rinks every year.

    Positive Friction

    Synthteic ice is the ideal "ice sumulator" for ice skaters much the same way golfers utilize golf simulators and the driving range.

    Since the panels aren't natural ice, there is some resistance.

    The PolyGlide-Ice infused Pro-Glide panel has roughly 10% more friction than natural ice which can be reduced by using a surface conditioner


    helpful tips

    Commercial Synthetic Ice Rink Tips

    If you're ready to build a commercial rink, synthetic ice should be the material of choice.

    However, it takes more than ordering your parts and laying them down in your spot of choice.

    There are some steps all builders must consider to make the process as cost-effective as possible:

    Do it yourself

    There's a time versus money dilemma but if you're trying to save money, you'll have to use some time.

    Enlist the help of some friends or volunteers and you can set up a synthetic ice rink in a few hours.

    The panels interlocking tiles fit together like a puzzle.

    Since these panels are larger than tiles, connecting them will be easier.

    If you're not handy, you'll need help setting up the rink walls, so make sure there's a handyman on your team. 

    measure first

    Measure Your Area

    It sounds like a simple step, but measuring your commercial space can save you money.

    Most commercial spaces need to cover a large surface area, but overestimating can mean purchasing ice you do not need.

    Instead, spend the time getting the measurements right, accounting for factors like the ice rink's walls.

    Tiles or Panels?

    Synthetic ice can come in tiles or panels.

    Tiles are usually for at-home use or a small group.

    Panels are a larger, thicker, and more durable commercial grade surface.

    These are perfect for larger rinks or commercial rinks with much more traffic.

    Panels are more expensive and need to be freight shipped but will last for years compared to panels.

    Make sure to choose the right one for your commercial rink.

    Factor in Your Maintenance

    Refrigerated rinks need consistent maintenance, which can cost thousands of dollars. Indoor and outdoor rinks would also require different levels of maintenance.

    Synthetic ice panels require less maintenance compared to refrigerated or natural rinks.

    The rinks need Slip Surface Conditioner application, depending on the foot traffic and surface dust or dirt that is visible.

    You'll also need to remove shavings that are common with metal blades. You only need a soft broom to clean it daily.

    Don't forget to factor in your maintenance costs.

    Consider Collaborating or Sponsorships.

    NHL rinks are sponsored by some of the biggest companies in the world.

    These sponsorships often offset the cost of maintaining the rink.

    So why not do the same?

    Collaborate with other businesses through sponsored events or labeled rink walls.

    This can make a commercial rink easier to manage and allows you to do it on a budget.


    Operating a commercial ice rink is a great way to earn additional income, increase foot traffic for businesses, and even bring communities together.

    However, they are expensive to build and maintain.

    Most struggle to keep up with the rising costs of maintenance.

    Synthetic ice rinks are a cost-effective option as the panels are durable, easy to install, and provide the same use as other conventional rinks.

    For commercial rinks, it's best to communicate with the synthetic ice provider first to discuss your needs.

    At PolyGlide Synthetic Ice, we provide synthetic ice panels that can be freight shipped for your first or next commercial rink.

    Feel free to reach out to us to bring that dream into a reality





    How to Convert Your Garage Into a Home Ice Rink

    How to Convert Your Garage Into a Home Ice Rink

    Do you love ice skating but don't live near a rink?

    Or maybe the weather is too hot or cold to enjoy a traditional ice skating session.

    The ideal place to ice skate would be right in the comfort of your own home but how can you make that happen?

    Have no fear, because with a little bit of work you can convert your garage (or any space) into a home synthetic ice skating rink!

    Most skaters do not need a lot of space to train and advance their overall skills.

    In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to make this happen.

    garage rink

    Synthetic Ice

    When most people think of ice skating, they picture a large rink with smooth, cold ice.

    However, you can actually skate on many different types of surfaces.

    Synthetic ice is made from special polymer material that is designed to replicate the feeling of real ice skating.

    This material is often used in training facilities for figure skaters and hockey players because it provides a realistic skating experience.

    The great thing about synthetic ice is that it can be used in any climate and doesn't require refrigeration like traditional ice rinks.

    This means you can enjoy skating year-round in the comfort of your own home!

    Plus setting up a home ice rink is much less expensive than building an outdoor rink.

    Start with a Clean Slate

    Well, it's finally time to get the garage cleaned out!

    Something I think we all tend not to get too excited about.

    First, you will need to motivate yourself to clean out the garage.

    This may seem like a daunting task, but it's important to remember the result will be well worth it!

    Plus, once you get started, it's not really as bad as it seems.

    Set aside a day or two where you can focus on cleaning out the garage without any outside distractions.

    Maybe utilize the time while you're working with a pair of headphones listening to some tunes or listening to an audible eBook that you've been putting off.

    Next, you will need to gather some supplies.

    A few trash bags, some old blankets or towels, and some cleaning supplies should do the trick.

    Now it's time to start cleaning!

    Begin by removing and emptying out all of the clutter from the garage.

    This includes old toys, sports equipment, tools, and anything else that you no longer need or use.

    You will need to clear out any shelving, bins, or other storage that is taking up space in your garage. 

    This means getting rid of anything that you no longer need or use and have been hoarding.

    If you haven't used something in over a year, chances are you don't need it.

    So get rid of it and organize what's left!

    Once the garage is completely cleared out, you can start sweeping and cleaning the floor.


    Once you've gotten rid of all the unnecessary stuff, it's time to start organizing. 

    You may want to consider investing in some plastic storage containers and bins so that you can keep the area organized.

    This means putting things away and labeling them so you'll know where everything is when you need it which is the ultimate goal! 

    You can also invest in some garage shelving to help utilize higher wall areas and spaces for storage.

    The most important part of having a clean garage is to make sure it stays that way. 

    This means taking the time to sweep and mop on a regular basis. 

    You should also make sure to put away things after using them so they don't become cluttered again.


    Measure your space

    Once you have a cleared area, you can start measuring for your rink.

    When measuring, be sure to allow space for your gear and a bench to put on your skates.

    You will also want to leave some extra space around the perimeter of your rink so that skaters can move freely without fear of falling into anything.

    Measurements are everything when it comes to installing a home synthetic ice rink.

    You need to make sure that the space you are using is the correct size, or else you may find yourself with a rink that's too big or small.

    It's important to know the purpose of your rink, who it's for and it's intended use.

    That will help you determine the size of your rink to fit the space you have to work with.

    Measure the length and width of the area where you plan to install your rink.

    This is best done with a tape measure, but if you don't have one handy, you can always use a ruler or yardstick.


    To determine the total Area of space simply multiply Length X Width which will determine your total square footage.

    For example:

    • A typical empty 1-car garage measures 12ft wide by 22 feet deep = 264 square feet.
    • A typical empty 2-car garage measures 20ft wide by 20 to 22 feet deep = 400-440 square feet.

    Your total square footage equals the total area of floor space that you have available.

    You would then need to subtract the square footage of the floor space that has been dedicated for storage to get a better dea of the overall available floor space.

    Obviously ovehead bins or storage above 7-feet would not impact or impede on your floor space.

     synthetic ice rink package

    Ordering Your Rink Package.

    When you're looking to buy a synthetic ice rink package, there are a few things you need to consider.

    The first is the size of your garage, both the width and length as previously mentioned.

    If the space you have available is somewhat limited, say under 150 square feet, you may want to consider using lightweight portable tiles instead of heavier, thicker panels though both would work.

    Our PolyGlide Ice portable synthetic ice tiles do provide more of a cost savings as they can be boxed-shipped as opposed to freight shipped.

    Our larger, thicker Pro-Glide panels are more rigid, require less seams to assemble and can be utilized for both indoor and outdoor use.

    We put together a few common rink packages that are ideal for any garage or home ice rink:


    1 Kit (4X8)- 4 Panels (32 SQUARE FEET WHEN ASSEMBLED)

    2 Kits (8X8) - 8 Panels (64 SQUARE FEET WHEN ASSEMBLED)

    3 Kits (8X12) - 12 Panels (96 SQUARE FEET WHEN ASSEMBLED)

    4 Kits (8X16) - 16 Panels (128 SQUARE FEET WHEN ASSEMBLED)








    Think about how often you plan on using the rink throughout the year and whether or not a portable option works better for you.

    If you only plan on using it occasionally, then a package with fewer accessories may be the best option.

    But if you plan on using it frequently, then you may want to consider a package that includes all the bells and whistles.

    Also keep in mind, you can always order more in the future!

    Now that you have a better idea of what's available regarding the different rink packages it's time to figure out what works best for YOU!

    We offer plenty of options, so take your time and as they say, "Measure twice and cut once!"

    If you're not quite sure and could use a little help, feel free to reach out to us anytime and we'll help walk you through it.

    fun time

    Installation Time

    Installing synthetic ice tiles or panels are relatively an easy task.

    Think of it as a flooring lego system that's easy to install and fun to use once you're done!

    Take your measuring tape and mark with masking or painters tape where the center width or your rink will be.

    To determine the center mark simply dived the width measurement of your rink by two (2).

    Then do the same thing for the length to create a center-ice mark for your rink layout.

    Then you will be able to determine if you center line should line up with the center of your panel OR the side seam of the panel.

    You can lay it out both ways to see what works best for your overall rink layout.

    Prep Work and Assembly

    Make sure once again before installing your rink that the subsurface has been swept and/or vacumed thoroughly clean.

    Be sure to thoroughly inspect the sub-floor for flatness as fixtures such as area drains sometimes has deflection and pitch in the concrete surface to allow for drainage.

    If this is the case, you can prep the floor first with an OSB plywood underlayment to insure flatness for the sub-surface prior in installing your new rink.

    It's important to note that your synthetic ice surface must be able to expand and contract and must not be mechanically fasted in any way to the sub-floor.

    Synthetic ice flooring is very similar to laminate flooring with regards to the necessary prep work required to insure a proper installation.

    Once you receive your new panels lay them flat on the floor to let them acclimate to the temperature in the room prior to assembly.

    To begin assembly of your new home ice rink panels simply align two panels side-by-side along the dovetail connections and strike firmly with a heavy rubber mallet along the entire seam.

    Continue along each seam until all the dovetail panel connections are locked in place and ready for skating!



    Once your synthetic ice panels have been installed you can consider adding some fun accessories to spice-up your new rink!

    For hockey players, keeping the puck on the surface is always a challenge if you have not installed some type of perimeter dasher system.

    There are a few different types of dasher systems available on the market, so be sure to do your research and choose the one that best suits your needs.

    For simple puck containment, a 4'X4" pressure-treated railroad around the perimeter will do the job and give your rink rustic look.

    Another puck containment option is "The BounceBar" by PolyGlide Ice which offers a rebounding curb feature to help train AND keep your puck on the surface.

    Once you have chosen a system, follow the instructions carefully to ensure proper installation.

    Keep Your Parking Spot!

    PolyGlide Ice, solid core synthetic ice panels are durable and built to last for many years.

    There's no need to lose your garage parking space to accommodate your new rink project.

    Simply cover your ice with a tarp or rink blankets to prevent oil or grease from dripping on the surface.

    The weight of the car has no impact on the panel performance or guarantee throughout the lifetime of the panel.

    This is what makes the average garage space the number one most popular location for many of our home ice rink customers!

    thumbs up

    Hit the Ice!

    Now that your rink is built, it’s time to start skating!

    Once your new surface has been installed you are ready for your first skate!

    You will need a few strides to get used to the “feel” of your new rink.

    Synthetic ice requires slightly more effort than natural ice but you'll soon see that you'll be able to make all the same maneuvers on your new rink!

    Be sure to invite all of your friends and family over for a skate party!

    With your new home ice rink, you can skate anytime you want, day or night!

    Just be sure to keep your rink well-maintained so that it can be enjoyed for years to come.


    Synthetic ice rinks do require regular maintenance depending on the amount of use and dirt that accumulates on the surface.

    Keeping your rink free of dirt, dust and debris by using a cover is a great way to limit the amount of extra clean-up for outdoor rink.

    Be sure to broom or vacuum your surface regularly to reduce the amount of shavings while skating (note: shavings are recyclable)

    One good tip for hockey players is to use white tape on your stick blades to limit the amount of scuffing on your rink surface.


    Now that you have all the information you need it's time to start considering your home garage rink project!

    You'd be suprised on how quickly you can convert any space into your own home ice rink.

    With a little bit of effort, you can enjoy lacing-up anytime throughout the year with unlimited ice time whenever YOU want it!. 

    Be sure to check our our full line of rink packages to learn more about our products and how we can help you create your own home ice rink!

    We have created a FAQ page along with videos to help you learn a little more about this versatile new product that is changing the way people utilizing their own persomal ice time.

    So have some fun and start creating and we'll have you ice skating in no time!

    How to Start Your Own DIY Backyard Ice Rink Project

    How to Start Your Own DIY Backyard Ice Rink Project

    What kid wouldn't want a little bit of Canada in their backyard in the shape of their own personal backyard ice rink

    This is the ultimate backyard DIY project for any parent that can be shared by the whole family and enjoyed by all. 

    It will also automatically put you on the list for the following awards:

    A project this size will keep you on these lists for years.

    If these acknowledgments are too much to pass up, we need to ask you to pause.

    You've come to this article to understand what you're getting yourself into, and that's understandable.

    DIY ice rinks have a few moving parts.

    Here's how to get things set up and what you need to consider before pulling the trigger. 


    Backyard Rink


    Understanding Backyard Ice Rinks

    The backyard Ice rink has been around for decades.

    Long ago, skaters had to depend on lakes and other bodies of water to freeze before lacing up their skates.

    If these weren't available, they had to go to professional rinks, which were scarce and even expensive to use. 

    While there are more professional rinks around today, there's now the possibility of building your own rink using some simple materials and tools.

    Of course, rinks can take some time, so we recommend that you enlist a friend or two, regardless of the size. 

    Rinks need three things: a dedicated space, lots of water, and the right weather conditions.

    Backyard ice rink builders must have these tenets in place first before taking the next step.


    Take Notes


    Things to note:

    With backyard ice rinks, there's a Golden Rule:

    Go big or go home. (Well, since you're already home, you can probably just go inside and get some hot cocoa.) 

    Use as much space as possible as the project is already time-consuming.

    You don't want a rink that's too small that you can't stretch your legs and build up some real speed. 

    The goal here is not only to build something that's effective but reusable.

    You want to easily disassemble your rink, store the components, and bring it back out for next winter. 

    After confirming your geographical location and referencing the Farmers Almanac (to know when it's freezing time), start to outline the materials and price out what the costs are associated with starting your rink project.

    Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Yes, we said to go big, but you'll have to consider the age and sport of your skater(s). Smaller skaters just starting only need enough space to perform a figure eight to work both their inside and outside skate edges. Consider a bigger rink for more than one skater. Larger rinks allow for stickhandling for hockey players or jumps for figure skaters.
    • Assess how much dedicated space (square footage) you have for your outdoor (or indoor for synthetic ice) rink. Using the total dimensions will help you draft a list of materials necessary to complete your rink project. If synthetic ice is your best or only option, you may want to choose a solid core panel that will withstand outdoor temperatures over time. More on synthetic ice later.
    • Keep growing your rink as your skater grows and continues to show an interest in their sport which will help keep your start-up cost to a minimum.

    The next step is to measure your rink. You'll need a combination of a tape measure, stakes, string, and a level. Place stakes at each corner while connecting the line to measure your rink.

    The string helps you to use a level to check the ground.

    An uneven surface will lead to a poor skating experience.

    If there is some uneven ground, you'll need some extra material to compensate.

    Keep this in mind. 

    With those particulars confirmed, it's time to get your materials.


    Things You'll Need


    Here's what you'll need:

    • Several pieces of 2 in. X 12 in. X 8ft. Prime lumber. Since you know the exact length and width of your rink, you can purchase enough board to make your rink walls. 
    • Extra lumber is necessary for parts of the rink that is uneven. These walls may need to be slightly higher.
    • Several concrete stakes to secure each piece of lumber. Each will go into the ground and connect to the board with screws. 
    • Each piece of wood needs securing at the seams. Metal mending plates work well here.  
    • L-shaped metal brackets for the corners.
    • A large roll of white plastic or tarp. This tarp is the foundation of the rink and holds the ice securely. White reflects the sunlight versus another color like black, which can absorb light and melt your rink.
    • Enough screws to hold a small house together. 
    • Rubber bumpers that will cover the tops of the walls. These will prevent possible injury. 
    • We can't emphasize enough that you measure the location first. This simple step saves you time and money.

    Are Plastic Walls Better?

    There are rink-building companies that provide rink walls made of plastic.

    These rink walls have pegs that connect, removing the need for mending plates.

    If you're only looking to keep the puck on the surface and want to save money, check out "The BounceBar" by PolyGlide Ice.

    Wood walls are very effective and reusable but run the risk of absorbing water, so the choice is yours. 

    rink installation

    Installing Your DIY Backyard Ice Rink

    With all your supplies ready to go, it's time to install.

    It would help if you had your measurements already in place when it's time to put the rink walls together. 

    • Use the mending plates to connect one board to the other. Stand the board up and use the stakes or brackets to keep the walls upright. You should have a friend who can help with the brackets and ensure the rink stays level. Start with the length and then move on to the width and corners. If you're using plastic walls, lay them out and connect them using the manufacturer's mechanism.
    • Each corner needs at least one L-shaped bracket to hold it in place. Use the screws and a handheld drill to get them installed. Move on to the other length and final width to complete your rectangular rink.
    • In some cases, the backyard is uneven. When the rink fills, it can bring the ice to the top. You'd need to install an additional board above or below to compensate. Measuring in advance would ensure you purchase the extra material necessary for this change.
    • With the rink walls secure, it's time to place the white plastic. Make sure the area is clear of any debris that can puncture the plastic. Roll it out and cover the inner rink. 
    • A commonly overlooked step is ensuring there's enough to drape over the walls of the rink. The walls and ice place extra weight on the plastic. At least one or two feet is enough to prevent the plastic from slipping into the rink. 
    • Now, it's time to fill your rink. Get your hose, place it in the rink and turn the water on. The rink can take at least 8 hours to fill. Water will flow to the lowest areas first, then to the higher parts of the rink. You'd want at least 3" of ice, so be patient. 
    • It's time to get those feet wet! Check the liner periodically to remove any large creases or bubbles which can impact your ice. 
    • Now we wait! It can take at least two days for the water to freeze, depending on the weather. Once it's done, it's time to skate!

    Obstacles in the Way

    Building the rink sounds easy and fun, but there are some challenges you'll encounter along the way.

    Understanding how to navigate these obstacles is essential for a wonderful skating season.

    These include:

    • Climate
    • Timing
    • Maintenance
    • Minor details

    climate factors

    Climate Factors

    If you live North of the US, backyard rink cost border, you actually have a shot at an opportunity for some thick ice for a few months out of the year should mother nature decide to smile on your rink building dreams.

    Heading South into the States, the ice time duration starts to melt depending on which way the wind blows from January through February. 

    As you head South of Route 80, synthetic ice becomes a primary consideration as the actual duration of sustained ice seriously starts to dwindle.

    The rink building project itself may take longer than the lifespan of the rink, which you may wind up branding as a one-day "Winter Classic."

    Traveling further South becomes a polymer paradise for Artificial Ice as the only option unless you prefer to mortgage the house for an ice compressor, piping, and brine and 100 hours of labor (forget it).

    Synthetic Ice: The Difference Maker

    Even if the weather is not in your favor, you can still skate.

    Synthetic ice panels are made of a unique polyethylene material that connects and forms a smooth skating surface. 

    The material is infused with a special compound that allows for fantastic skating with reduced friction.

    The Benefits of Going Synthetic Include:

    Ease of Installation: Once you have your dimensions, you purchase the number of panels needed for the rink.

    The panels are shipped to your home, and you can have a fully installed rink in less than an hour.

    If you include the time to build the walls, it can take about 2-3 hours. 

    Cheaper than Refrigerated Ice: Refrigerated ice can cost tens of thousands of dollars in installation and maintenance costs.

    Synthetic ice is a one-time purchase. 

    Reusable: Ice panels are easy to clean and maintain.

    A soft brush and warm, soapy water are all you need to care for your rink.

    If ice forms on the rink due to a storm, you can shovel the top layer, use hot water to melt the additional ice, then clean it again.

    Once you're done, you can skate again!

    Time is On Your Side: With backyard rinks, the earlier you start, the better.

    There's a higher chance of the ice freezing, which will last longer.

    If you started late in the season, synthetic ice ensures you can skate well into spring.

    You Can Scale Over Time: Panels at a specific size means you can increase the size of your rink as needed. 

    Timing is Everything

    Backyard ice rinks work best at the beginning of winter as it preserves the health of your lawn.

    Lawns become dormant at the beginning of winter, making it the perfect time to lay down the components for a rink.

    Much later in the season and you run the risk of ruining your lawn.

    That's an added cost later in the year you could avoid.


    rink maintenance


    Rink Maintenance is Often Overlooked

    Wintertime could be unpredictable, and the changing weather can impact the quality of your rink.

    Snowstorms can add layers that can make skating impossible.

    You'll have to shovel out the excess snow, then use warm water to resurface the rink.

    Snow buildup will happen several times during the winter, so be prepared. 

    Even when snow does not build up, rain can freeze on the rink.

    To resurface your rink by misting the surface with warm water.

    You'd want to do that multiple times, avoiding over-soaking any one area.

    There are rink resurfacers on Amazon, or you can do a DIY resurfacer.

    Thanks to objects that melt it, your ice won't stay the same level throughout the year.

    Anything from a puck left on the ice to a leaf can absorb energy from the sun.

    Each can melt into the ice, disrupting the smooth surface.

    Make sure to clean the surface after use.

    If an object melts the ice, pack some snow in the groove, then use water to help freeze it. 

    Don't Skip the Minor Details

    A rink is not complete without some added details to make it feel authentic.

    If you're making a hockey rink, you can add a centerline by spray painting a piece of PVC or other plastic red or blue.

    Lay down the colored line before filling the rink.

    Also, consider dasher boards for the inside of the rink. Dasher boards line the walls so hockey players can have a smooth skating experience. 

    Skating is fun in the evenings, but you lose sunlight fast at this time of year.

    So you may need floodlights so that the kids can tire themselves out well into the night.

    Floodlights encourage your neighbors to come over and skate, so be careful when you're turning them on and off!

    Invest in goalposts, nets (so you don't lose a window), and an area where everyone can stay warm.

    Think about these features in advance, so you can get them all done beforehand.

    team project

    Make it a Team Rink Project

    Think about making your backyard rink a team project and enlist the help of family members and friends as volunteers that would surely enjoy lacing up and skating on your rink.

    If your construction costs exceed your budget, perhaps other teammates and their families would help you raise the necessary funds to complete your rink project if all will benefit.

    The skating community, be it hockey or figure skating, is dedicated to their related sports and can be pretty creative in fundraising ideas to make any rink build project a reality!

    For instance, you can have an ice skating party or event covering several days.

    Each person pays a cover charge, which goes towards building the rink. 


    A DIY backyard ice rink project can feel like a big undertaking.

    It can be a breeze as long as you prepare a budget, get the right supplies, and have some help.

    However, some factors are out of your control, like the weather.

    You'll need to navigate the snow or storms should they come while you're waiting for the rink to freeze.

    Rinks also need continued maintenance for a fantastic skate.

    A synthetic ice rink is a better option for warmer climates or shorter winters.

    You can install it without the hassle and start skating almost immediately.

    The other rink components remain; however, your synthetic ice replaces the water. 

    If you need help with setting up your synthetic ice, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for help.

    We love building backyard outdoor rinks and can help you avoid many of the mistakes that are common with the project. 


    Where Can I Install My Synthetic Ice Rink?

    Where Can I Install My Synthetic Ice Rink?
    Are you thinking about creating your own skating rink? You can opt for synthetic ice installation for personal, business, or community purposes. From your garage, public gym, to your event space and more. Here are a few locations and surfaces you can consider, so you can get the most out of it.

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