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    Synthetic Ice Installation & Maintenance

    How to Start Your Own Backyard Ice Rink Project

    How to Start Your Own 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.

    Read more

    10 Synthetic Ice Backyard Rink Do's And Don'ts

    10 Synthetic Ice Backyard Rink Do's And Don'ts

    It's important to know the synthetic ice backyard rink "do's and don'ts" before starting your rink project 

    With your own backyard space, you no longer have to depend on your neighborhood rink or wait your turn.

    Instead, you and your family skate when you want.

    When you decide on a backyard rink, you will have three choices:

    The Liner-and-Water method, a refrigerated rink, and synthetic ice. 

    Of these three choices, the synthetic ice option is the easiest to install, is durable, and lasts for years.

    Synthetic ice consists of ultra-dense polyethylene material, perfect for a backyard setup.

    And with over 10 million active ice skaters in the country, it makes personal rinks more accessible.

    If you’re thinking about a synthetic ice rink, there are several do’s and don’ts to consider.

    Taking these simple steps ensures you save time, money, and the stress that sometimes comes with rinks. 



    Time to maximize your space.

    Getting the sizing and space of the rink right is one of the essential steps for a great skating experience.

    First, consider the use of your synthetic ice backyard rink.

    Who will be skating? Is it your 8-year-old kids?

    Would older teens be practicing on the ice? How many skaters are you expecting?

    These questions will help builders decide on the rink’s size.

    For instance, older kids can cover the length of a smaller rink in just a few strides.

    Our best advice is to maximize the space you have available.

    If you can install a rink that’s 40’ or 60’ long, go for it as long as you’re not risking any critical installations nearby.

    We’ve never seen someone complain about having a rink that’s too big. 


    measure first


    1. Don’t buy synthetic ice without measuring your space. 

    Maximizing your space is only possible if it’s appropriately measured.

    Since synthetic panels usually come with set dimensions, you’ll need to measure the dimensions of your intended rink then calculate how many boards you’ll need.

    If you eyeball it, you may end up with a smaller rink or an extra set of panels.

    Both errors can cost you time and money.

    One of the best things you can do is first find out what dimensions the company uses for standard synthetic ice panels.

    (For instance, we have Pro-Glide 46” x 46” half-sized panels and even more extensive, full-sized panels.)

    Then, use that information and a combination of stakes, a fishing line (or twine), and a measuring tape to mark off the area.

    2. Do look for slopes

    No backyard is perfectly flat or level.

    When you set your drink down on a space that’s not level, you can feel it when you skate.

    Using the fishing line or twine can also help you gauge if your yard is level.

    If that’s a bit old school, pick up a laser level on Amazon that can measure at least 50 feet.

    If the yard is not big enough to avoid the slope, you may need to place some plyboard or underlying wood first to keep things even


    polyglide synthetic ice panels


    3. Don’t choose the wrong type of synthetic ice.

    The amount of use you or your family expect to get out of your rink will determine the type of synthetic ice you’ll need.

    Some panels are great for indoor use or small shuttle drills.

    Our Home Ice Tiles are a great example of this.

    These tiles are thinner and are not recommended for long term outdoor use.

    Home ice tiles are ideal for small rooms, spaces, or a temp driveway setup.

    On the other hand, multiple users playing hockey or skating for hours every day would need synthetic ice panels, which are heavier, thicker, and more durable. 

    4. Do get help to install your backyard rink.

    Everything is better with friends, and installing your backyard rink is no different.

    Synthetic ice makes installation easy, but you will need help based on the size of the panels.

    Some panels can weigh as much as 80lbs each (these are freight shipped), so you’ll need an extra hand to get them installed.

    Once they’re in place, a heavy rubber mallet is enough to connect the panels and ensure they’re smooth and skatable. 

    5. Don’t forget the rink walls and other aesthetics.



    Can you skate with your panels installed and ready to go?

    Absolutely. Would it look and feel like a rink? Not exactly.

    You may want to opt for dasher boards or trim to form the walls around the rink.

    You also may want to consider the PolyGlide Ice BounceBar rebounding curb as a low cost solution to help keep pucks on the surface.

    Plywood is a good option.

    You can get equally sized planks and other pieces of wood to brace the planks.

    However, if you want a cleaner look, plastic wall kits are available.

    These kits come in different heights, and some even have plexiglass walls.

    Rink walls prevent rogue hockey pucks from leaving the rink.

    It’s also helpful to stop stray bodies from collisions!

    6. Do clean your rink

    Skating on rinks made of water or refrigerated rinks needs consistent resurfacing.

    Dirt can form on the rink over time.

    Rain and snow can set on the top and freeze, creating a poor experience.

    To correct this, you’ll use a thin layer of water to resurface and clean the rink after clearing away snow and dirt.

    It can be troublesome at times, but it’s necessary to get the most out of the rinks.

    Fortunately, the process is a lot easier with a synthetic ice rink.

    Skating on the rink will bring shavings from the metal skates.

    This isn’t a bad thing, as those grooves make for a better skating experience.

    However, these shavings need to be removed after skating.

    Use a soft broom to clear away the excess shavings.

    You will also notice the dirt from airborne dust and scuff marks from moving on the rink.

    Since the tiles are white, these scuff marks can look unsightly over time.

    A mop with warm, soapy water can clean off the extra dirt.

    The more you clean your panels, the longer your rink will last.

    On average, synthetic panels last for ten years. 


    slip conditioner


    7. Don’t forget to resurface

    Just because you don’t have to worry about the ice does not mean you do not have to resurface your synthetic rink.

    The friction on synthetic ice rinks can increase over time.

    Some are infused with a conditioner for a smoother skate and to protect the blades over time.

    Others need a special conditioner reapplied occasionally.

    Find out if your rink requires a lubricant so you can get it in advance.

    After cleaning your rink, you’ll simply mix a part of our PolyGlide Slip Conditioner with water and apply a mist on your clean rink. 

    8. Do try different things on your rink.

    When we think about an ice rink, the first thing that comes to mind is ice hockey or recreational skating.

    However, there are other cool, exciting sports, activities, and even events you can have on your rink.

    In fact, we’ve written extensively on the different activities you can try on your backyard rink.

    Using your rink in different ways builds community and increases the return on investment. 


    happy skater


    9. Dont’forget to have fun!

    And ice rink can take some time and effort to set up.

    When the work is over, the fun begins!

    If the rink is for exercise, training, or recreation, don’t forget to enjoy yourself and your time on the ice.

    Get your friends, family, and neighbors together whenever you can and share the experience.

    Don’t forget to rest and stay hydrated!

    10. Don’t be overwhelmed.

    Setting up an ice rink in your backyard can feel daunting.

    Did we measure it right? Is it big enough? Will it work?

    These questions are more evident when you set up a backyard rink the conventional way.

    There are far more variables to consider with refrigerated rinks and rinks with a liner and water.

    Opting for a synthetic ice rink takes most of the hassle out of the setup.

    With a couple of capable hands and some simple tools, anyone can set up a large backyard synthetic rink that everyone will love. 


    In the end, a large synthetic rink in your backyard brings fun for you and your family.

    If you have some junior hockey skaters at home, they’ll enjoy an intense three-on-three game.

    Figure skaters, adult skaters, and skating mixers (because we love skating parties) will be fantastic.

    Are you unsure how to set up your synthetic rink? Do you need help with costing and shipping?

    Reach out to our team, and we’ll be happy to help.

    We understand ice rinks of all kinds and what you’ll need for a synthetic ice rink for your backyard. 

    Should Your Synthetic Ice Rink Be Indoors or Outdoors

    Should Your Synthetic Ice Rink Be Indoors or Outdoors

    Should your synthetic ice rink be indoors or outdoors?

    A few decades ago, this was not an option if you wanted your personal ice rink.

    Ice rinks were always outdoor options as you would skate on a frozen lake or create your backyard ice rink.

    These backyard ice rinks need several steps.

    Take some tarp, some wood, lots of water, and the right temperature.

    If everything goes right, you should have a rink that lasts the winter.  

    The creation of refrigerated rinks meant that ice could now go indoors.

    You currently have hockey, figure skating, curling, and other ice sports indoors.

    Indoor refrigerated ice rinks eventually came to the home, allowing smaller spaces this luxury.

    However, refrigerated rinks can be expensive and difficult to set up.

    For many, this is a niche, luxury item mainly for the rich that love skating.  

    Synthetic Ice Changed the Game.  

    At some point, you must have heard about – or skated on – synthetic ice (or artificial ice).

    The surface (or panels) are made of a skatable polyethylene material that connects on the floor like puzzle pieces.

    There are many providers (and a few imitators) currently being sold on the market.

    PolyGlide Synthetic Ice is manufactured with a proprietary blend that provides optimal glide and performance and limits skate blade wear.

    These materials allow for the best skating experience.  

    Synthetic ice panels were mainly used in malls or large training centers.

    However, advancements in design allow them to be customizable.

    Now, the everyday skater can have a rink at home if they choose.

    Best of all, these rinks could be indoors or outdoors.  

    The Benefits of Synthetic Ice Rinks 

    Synthetic ice rinks have distinct advantages over their refrigerated or natural counterparts, whether indoors or outdoors.  

    • You won’t need to depend on the weather like natural rinks, for starters. These rinks need the First Freeze to make their rink solid. Your synthetic ice rink comes right out of the box, ready to skate. 
    • You’ll save the water and energy it takes to set up alternative rinks outdoors. With your synthetic ice rink, you can install it indoors or outdoors while saving your water bill. This simple change makes synthetic ice a long-term, ‘green’ option. 
    • High-quality synthetic ice is competitively priced. However, the cost is nothing compared to the costs involved with an outdoor or indoor rink. This needs rented (or bought) refrigeration systems, installation, and maintenance. 
    • Synthetic ice rinks are highly durable, lasting up to 10 years or more with proper care. Imagine spending money on other rinks over ten winters! 
    • Rinks are customizable. You can have circular rinks, rectangular rinks, and much more. Since you’ll have tiles at specific dimensions, space is not an issue.   

    Synthetic ice is as simple as ordering and installing, but you’re here to decide whether your rink should be inside or outside.  

    indoor synthetic ice rink


    Should My rink be Indoors or Outdoors? 

    Outdoor and indoor rinks have similar benefits.

    Both are great ways to improve your endurance and strength.

    For instance, skating improves your lower body and core.

    It’s also essential to improve your skills, speed, and agility.

    They are both easy to install and maintain.

    Despite these similarities, each location will have some added benefits.  

    Synthetic Ice Rink Indoors - Benefits

    A synthetic ice rink indoors may sound like a massive rink for competitive hockey, but it isn’t.

    When we use the term ‘rink,’ we mean any space that allows you or others to skate, even if it’s a small distance.

    If you have a large room, barn, or indoor complex, that’s great.

    However, indoor rinks have the advantage of scaling down, so a spare bedroom or garage is excellent too.

    If you have kids passionate about hockey or figure skating, you can create a small indoor rink so they can practice specific skills like stick work or shooting.  

    Indoor rinks are also out of the elements.

    The cold is one of the charms of ice skating, but some people prefer to avoid the chilly weather.

    An indoor ice rink gives you more control over the temperature or swings in the weather like rain.

    Falling snow can also freeze your rink if you forget to cover it.

    With an indoor rink, you can have cool (or toasty) training sessions during the winter.

    Since your synthetic ice allows for training year-round, you can avoid those scorching summer days too.

    You can adjust your temperature to emulate conditions in competitive play.  

    These rinks also have the added benefit of security and safety.

    Sometimes, skating can become competitive, which is a good thing.

    However, you will still want to watch your little ones to avoid injury.

    An indoor skating space means the kids can be active and constructive while safely inside.

    With the evolving world due to the pandemic, an indoor rink at home limits the interaction of the skaters in the house, which may be the safer option in the short term.  


    synthetic ice rink


    Synthetic Ice Rink Outdoors – Benefits 

    So what about outside?

    When we think about at-home rinks, outdoors is where it’s at.

    For starters, you can place your synthetic ice tiles almost anywhere outdoors.

    Driveways, backyards, decks, and even cul-de-sacs can be converted into an outdoor rink.

    We’ve even seen rinks installed on top of pools! Like indoor rinks, you have lots of flexibility thanks to set dimensions with synthetic tiles or panels. 

    Unlike indoor rinks, you have the possibility of scale.

    Some people have large backyards that are begging for a massive outdoor rink.

    Larger outdoor rinks mean skaters can build endurance and strength much faster.

    Outdoor rinks allow for more skaters and even some 3-on-3 action.

    This can help skaters become match-fit and more passionate about the game.  

    Outdoor rinks mean that skaters need to face the elements.

    Skating in the cold can help them acclimate to the cold rinks of competitive play.

    It may be much colder than those rinks at times, but it can help build the mental toughness that skating sports often require.  

    If staying exclusive is not a concern, outdoor rinks are great for community and family building.

    You can invite a few neighbors, teammates, or friends to skate or play a competitive game.

    An outdoor rink is also a great space for family time.

    Have some fun skating on Friday night or have a chilly movie night on the rink.

    When you have an outdoor rink, you’ll find more creative ways to use the space.

    And you’ll enjoy the peaceful skating under the stars.  




    How Much Does It Cost to Build a Synthetic Ice Rink Outdoors? 

    If you have decided to build a large, synthetic ice rink outdoors, some costs are involved.

    The cost will be decided by a few factors: 

    1. The size of the rink 
    2. How much you’ll use the rink 
    3. Added touches (walls, dasher boards, etc.) 

    Most synthetic ice tiles are sold as a group of equally sized parts.

    These parts can combine to make a small, square space for skating.

    Use this information to calculate how many tiles you’ll need for the space, then factor in taxes and shipping.  

    If you’re confident that your rink will see daily skating and heavy traffic, you’ll want to consider larger, more durable panels.

    These panels are often for commercial use and are more expensive but can last longer than tiles.

    Once you have your panels, you’ll also need to think about rink walls and dasher boards.

    The rink walls will prevent stray pucks and skaters from falling out of the rink.

    The dasher boards will help pucks to rebound during gameplay.

    Work with your synthetic ice provider to find the best rink walls and dasher boards on the market.  

    What About Indoors? Is the Cost the Same? 

    With an indoor rink, your cost will depend on the size of the space.

    Most indoor rink customers will install in smaller rooms like spare bedrooms, home gyms, or garages.

    These smaller spaces require just a few synthetic ice tiles.

    Larger rinks will need more tiles but may not command the cost of an outdoor rink.

    You can still add dasher boards, goalposts, and other training aids.

    However, the overall price should be cheaper. 

    Go Outdoors – The Setup. 

    An outdoor rink can be set up with a few simple steps. First, decide on your location.

    It could be most of your backyard or a smaller, outdoor area.

    Next, measure the location with tape or find out the exact square footage using an app.  

    Before you order your tiles, you might need to check the grade of your space.

    Many backyards aren’t level due to construction, for instance. 

    Use this simple online guide to check if your yard is level.

    Skating on uneven ice leads to a poor experience and increases the chances of injury.

    If it’s not level, you’ll need to get some plywood boards first before installing the synthetic ice.  

    Installing the ice is as simple as connecting your tiles with a rubber mallet.

    To avoid injury, it is recommended to get some help for installation.

    This is especially so if you’re installing panels vs. tiles.  

    After installing the ice, you can install the rink walls and dasher boards.

    Make sure to leave a few inches of space for this installation in your measurements.

    Rink walls can be plywood, but there are professionally designed walls available online, so it’s down to personal preference.

    Each wall will need a small beam attached to the outside for support.

    Make sure and test the integrity of the walls before any skating.  

    Once everything is in place, you and your kids can start skating! 


    setting up synthetic ice


    Setting Up Your Indoor Rink 

    Some indoor spaces need much less planning and execution.

    For instance, if you’re setting up in a part of your living room, you can do so without consultation with your provider.

    Buy the rink out the box, install and enjoy.

    Larger spaces will need more thought, but the general concept (a la outdoor rinks) remains.  

    Measuring your space is important as you don’t want to buy too few or too many tiles.

    Both can cost extra in tiles and shipping.

    When measuring the space (for example, a large room), leave a few inches to compensate for dasher boards and the room’s walls.

    Synthetic ice can swell slightly in hot temperatures, and this extra space helps.  

    Most indoor rooms are already level so that you can install your rink with a soft mallet.

    Once the boards are in place, you can install your goalpost, dasher board, or other training equipment.

    Indoor rinks are great for small kids or teens looking to train specific skills, so they’ll want to use them immediately.  

    Both indoor and outdoor rinks need some maintenance to perform like the first time.

    Clean the tiles with warm soapy water and a soft brush or Swiffer mop.

    This takes off the shavings that can develop over time with metal skates.

    Finally, make sure to pick up a glide enhancer or other product to keep your tiles smooth.

    Reapplying this product from time to time will improve the lifespan of your tiles. 


    Indoor and outdoor rinks are just a matter of preference.

    Both bring the joy of lacing up skates and having fun at home, whether that’s in the backyard or the back room.

    There’s also cost and time to install a larger outdoor rink versus a smaller indoor space.

    If you can work out the costs, then you can make a more concrete decision: 

    • Do you want a space that can bring people together to get the most out of the rink? Then go outdoors. 
    • Is it solely to hone specific skills in the off-season? Indoor may be best. 

    Assess the pros and cons outlined here, and then make the best decision based on your space and resources.

    If you’re still having trouble deciding, use our Quote Questionnaire to help you get clear on your needs.

    We’ve helped hundreds of skating enthusiasts build indoor and outdoor rinks of different sizes and shapes.

    We will get back to you with some ideas that will best suit your needs.  


    How to Keep Your Synthetic Ice Clean

    How to Keep Your Synthetic Ice Clean

    The Great Equalizer

    Synthetic ice has been the great equalizer when it comes to access to ice skating.

    It can be placed anywhere, and indeed, homes and businesses across the country are creating their own ice-skating experiences that can be enjoyed all year round.

    You wouldn’t have expected to see enthusiasts gliding on ice at the height of summer, yet, as the New York Times profile of some of the most exciting new rinks in NYC shows, rooftop ice skating parties are in vogue.

    Furthermore, innovations in synthetic ice by companies like PolyGlide Ice have brought the artificial skating experience closer to water-based ice than ever before.

    There is one hazard with homemade and amateur setups and indeed larger synthetic setups – and that’s cleaning.

    Veterans of the industry will have extensive experience in the management and maintenance of their rinks.

    That experience lends itself to noticing the signs of dirt or wear and tear, at the first instance.

    In particular, water ice management requires constant and careful management to maintain the surface – something that isn’t as present in synthetic ice.

    Hygiene and maintenance are an important part of operating any form of rink, and especially so if you intend to have friends come and enjoy ice-skating with you.

    However, keeping them safe and healthy requires a little planning.


    Happy Skater


    The Advantages

    Of course, there are certain advantages to synthetic ice that give you a head start on the health and safety front.

    Real ice, in that it’s water-based, presents a significant number of challenges purely due to its nature.

    Some obvious problems, like slips, trips and falls, are exacerbated by the natural deterioration of ice as skates ride over it and reduce friction on the ice; cleaning away this slush, or draining it as water, is part of a daily challenge.

    This is something synthetic ice rinks can skip entirely.

    Furthermore, the water itself runs the risk of carrying diseases and bugs that can potentially impact general health.

    Making a real ice rink a sanitary environment can be very difficult, especially when fluctuations in the climate control occur.

    Slight changes in humidity control create problems, and, furthermore, the use of gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide to sustain the ice can impact spectators.

    One British Medical Journal article expressed concerns over the long-term impact on ice rink spectators for this reason, especially in enclosed environments.

    The Main Risks

    All of the moving parts associated with water maintenance are removed when it comes to synthetic ice.

    However, there are several new factors that come into play.

    Operators of synthetic ice are concerned with three main things:

    1. -          Accumulated surface shavings from the skating boot.
    2. -          Residue from panel conditioners.
    3. -          General dirt and wear and tear.

    These are relatively easy to remove but they do require careful monitoring.

    Neglect of any one factor can lead to further issues down the line.

    Of these, surface shavings can be the most problematic.

    Cleaning Surface Shavings

    Every time a boot skates across the ice, it will kick up some amount of matter from the synthetic ice tiles, even given the hardness.

    These are only minuscule amounts, but they accumulate over time and will have an impact both on the safety of the rink and the amount of fun that people can have.

    Anything that impacts on the contact between the boot and the tile will, after all, result in a change in exactly how the skating is experienced.

    Managing this is, thankfully, quite simple – sweeping.

    Using a soft brush to twice a day remove residue from the rink will help to keep it safe, slick and fit for use.

    Be sure to wear shoe covers or appropriate boots when heading onto the synthetic ice in this manner – this crucial step will protect the tiles and should also be observed when conducting any other part of the maintenance.



    Cleaning up the Conditioner

    Over time the surface of the tile will start to scratch-up from the skate blades..

    That’s a testament to the fun times spent on the ice and isn’t something to worry about.

    PolyGlide Ice offers a “Slip” Surface Conditioner to be applied when cleaning, regardless of whether the tile is infused or non-infused, to help maximize the performance of the surface. (See video)

    Simply mix with water and spray on the surface with a hand pump sprayer or cordless electric buffer to keep your surface clean and slippery!

    So it’s imperative that this is checked afterwards for both infusion and for the durability of the tile after treatment.

    Any residual liquid does need to be cleaned afterwards, however.

    This can be achieved by simply moving the water off the rink and into troughs for collection or using a device such as a Vax.

    Just be careful, again, that you are using materials that can’t damage the surface of the tile – this will create more problems in the long term.

    Dirt, Wear and Tear

    There will, of course, be dirt built up on the rink. This is inevitable of anything seeing regular human use.

    There are fine bits of dirt on everyone, and the tiles make a good environment on which to cling and build up.

    Similarly, trips and falls are part and parcel of skating, as are the occasional scratch or bruise, and so there’s always the potential for scuff marks on the ice.

    Just as residual chemicals must be cleaned up, so must dirt.

    Noticeable patches will give your rink a shoddy appearance and will also have the impact of reducing ease of movement across the tile.

    Wear and tear also require attention – there is the potential for deeper gouges to be cut into the tile, and these must be remedied in order to maintain safe operation.

    Of course, synthetic ice still provides advantages for the owner over the water-based alternative.

    A Columbia Material Science and Engineering Overview report recongnizes the synthetic ice indistry as rapidly growing sector in future technologies.

    If there’s a large amount of dirt to contend with, using a synthetic ice cleaning machine is easier and safer than conducting the same work on ice, which can easily be damaged by the brushes and chemicals used.

    Synthetic ice is simply more hard wearing than natural.


    Clean Synthetic Rink


    Reaping the Rewards

    The benefits of maintaining synthetic ice are clear to see.

    According to an article by Interesting Engineering, "The goal of any synthetic ice is to have the lowest friction coefficient, or "gliding degree", and to have good grip (on the surface") which will result in better performance for every person on the ice.

    Tricks can also make it appear and feel cleaner; for instance, mixing Dawn into the cleaning solution can provide a blue tint that gives it that super wintery feel.

    There’s also the matter of environmental impact.

    Climate change is a fact of life for every single individual, including those operating ice rinks.

    So how ice-skaters can reduce their ecological impact, and whether synthetic rinks play into that is an important factor in developing and maintaining artificial rinks.

    Maintaining Problematic Ice

    Consider what it takes to maintain an ice rink.

    First, water is required to freeze the surface.

    Then, to maintain the freezing atmosphere rinks demand, a combination of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter-based aerosols are used to support the atmosphere.

    Similarly, the Zamboni rink surfacers responsible for resurfacing ice rinks also contribute large amounts of greenhouse gases.

    As Inhabitat highlights, all of these factors contribute to a fairly serious environmental impact when it comes to ice rinks.

    Furthermore, Inhabitat also notes the wide range of chemicals used to maintain the ice.

    Ammonia and brine are commonly used concurrently to maintain ice temperature; the former is a big contributor to emissions, and the latter can cause untold environmental damage when improperly controlled.

    More rink operators are moving to ethylene glycol, but this comes with toxic properties, too.

    All of these substances risk entering the ecosystem when cleaning is undertaken, and even small emissions will, over time, contribute to significant environmental impact.

    Synthetic ice is largely sourced from plastics, and this means there aren’t the same volume of gases being pumped out in order to maintain it, nor the water and chemical requirements.

    However, the impact of plastics on the planet is well understood, from the emissions created by the production cycle through to the byproducts of cleaning.

    So how can synthetic rink owners mitigate this risk?


    Rink Maintenance


    Improving Your Process

    Keeping the quality of your rink up to scratch is best achieved through regular cleaning.

    However, it’s far too easy to discount the impact of plastic and chemical-based shavings when combined with water overflow.

    Minimizing plastic flows into water is an important task; according to the Natural History Museum, London, between 5.2 and 14 million tons of plastic enters the journal every year, much of it microplastics.

    Synthetic rinks have an important role to play in reducing this burden.

    For indoor properties, the most important step is to separate out cleaning tasks.

    Brush your surfaces to remove dirt, residual plastics and shavings, and then bag them up; you can use a conventional vacuum cleaner for this, too, either by sweeping and then collecting or by hoovering the entire surface.

    If you do, just be careful not to damage the surface; be gentle with the hoover.

    Outdoors, it’s a little tricker. If your rink is not properly bounded, you can easily end up scattering residue into the natural environment or washing it over during cleaning.

    The best way to mitigate this risk is to install a rink cover when not in use to ensure very little can escape.

    If that’s not possible, consider cleaning from the outside in, to minimize the level of particulates being spread.

    Minimizing Water Use

    According to the EPA, American homes waste 900 billion gallons of water every year nationwide – that’s roughly 300 washing loads, per week, per household.

    Part of being a responsible house owner is keeping that number down.

    As ice-skating enthusiasts, you’ll already have made a significant improvement by eschewing water-based ice for synthetic surfaces, but there’s always more to be done.

    One important way is by minimizing the amount of water used when cleaning.

    Aside from resurfacing, which has a specific demand for the conditioner/water balance, it would help if you looked to be economical with water usage.

    Clean in an organized manner, rather than simply blanketing the surface with water.

    You’ll do a better job of keeping particulates controlled this way, and you’ll minimize your water usage.

    How Cleaning Machines Help

    A cleaning machine provides two key functions – it can hoover, and it can wash.

    This kills two birds with one stone when it comes to cleaning your synthetic ice surface and in helping to save the environment.

    The hoovering action, especially if used with a HEPA filter, will effectively remove particulates from the synthetic ice and ensure that the surface is properly fit for skating once again.

    Secondly, the washing action of rink cleaning machines will be more exact than handwashing.

    Being able to control the amount of water and detergent, and indeed conditioner for resurfacing, will minimize waste and also reduce the chance of any residual water being left on the surface that could, at a later time, impact your experience of the ice rink and create dangerous slicks.


    Synthetic ice has significantly closed the gap when compared with the water-based alternative nowadays.

    The experience that can be enjoyed by skating on plastic-based tiles is being enjoyed more and more worldwide, and that’s good news.

    With the scalability of synthetic rinks, the experience is being opened to a wider range than ever before, too – who would have thought skating under tropical temperatures would ever have been possible?

    Synthetic ice has the maintenance and ecological safety edge on its predecessor, too – if managed properly.

    So when you invest in synthetic ice, make sure that you invest in proper maintenance and cleaning protocols at the same time.

    This will ensure you can safely enjoy the ice, allow it to perform to its best potential, and finally provide the planet with a little breathing space.