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29 FAQs about Backyard Ice Rinks Answered

29 FAQs About Backyard Ice Rinks

The internet’s been asking crazy yet important question about building the best backyard ice rinks. So I saved you time and gathered all the answers.  

Well, if you’re asking these these questions, it means that you’re trying to build one. In case you didn’t check out, here the process of building a backyard ice rink.

1. Can I create a backyard ice rink on any type of surface?

Yes. A backyard ice rink can be created on various surfaces, including grass, concrete, or asphalt.

2. Can you make an ice rink on grass?

Yes, you can make an ice rink on grass, as long as you use a liner to protect the grass from the water and ice. The liner should be large enough to cover the entire surface area of the rink, plus some extra overhang. The liner should also be thick and durable enough to withstand the weight and pressure of the water and ice.

3. Can you make a backyard rink on uneven ground?

It is possible to make a backyard rink on uneven ground, but it will require more work and materials. You will need to level the ground as much as possible, or use a frame that can adjust to the slope. You will also need more water to fill the lower end of the rink, and more liner to cover the extra depth.

4. Does a backyard ice rink ruin your grass?

No. It will not ruin your grass if you install and take it apart at the right times. Grass rests in the winter, so if you wait until it gets really cold to make the rink and then remove it before spring begins, your lawn should be okay. However, if you leave the rink on for too long, it can suffocate the grass and cause mold or fungus growth.

5. Do I need any special skills or experience to create a backyard ice rink?

No special skills or experience are required to create a backyard ice rink. Follow our step-by-step guide and take necessary safety precautions; anyone can successfully build their own ice rink.

6. How do I maintain my DIY backyard ice rink once it is frozen?

Read the full detailed blog about maintenance of a backyard ice rink.

7. How does a backyard ice rink compare to renting ice time at a local rink?

Renting ice time at a public rink can be expensive and often comes with limited availability. In contrast, a backyard ice rink provides you with the freedom to skate whenever you want, without the need to reserve time slots. Plus, it’s a one-time investment that can last for years, offering better long-term value.

8. Can I use my backyard ice rink for sports other than ice skating and hockey?

Absolutely! Your backyard ice rink can be a versatile space. Many people use it for curling, broomball, and even as a mini ice hockey training area. The smooth surface is perfect for various winter activities, ensuring year-round entertainment for your family and friends.

9. How can I make the most of my backyard ice rink during the winter season?

Invite friends and family over for fun-filled skating parties, organize mini hockey tournaments, or simply enjoy peaceful solo skating sessions under the stars. The possibilities are endless when you have your very own backyard ice rink.

10. How do you layer ice on a rink?

Layering ice on a rink is a process of adding thin layers of water on top of the existing ice surface, and letting them freeze before adding another layer. This can help smooth out any bumps or cracks, and improve the quality of the ice. 

To layer ice on a rink, you will need a garden hose with a fine spray nozzle, and a cold night with no wind or snow. Start from one end of the rink and spray a thin layer of water over the entire surface, moving slowly and evenly. Then wait for it to freeze completely before repeating the process.

Read about how to build a backyard ice rink.

11. How long does it take to fill up a backyard rink?

It takes roughly about 30 minutes to fill up 1 inch of water over 1,000 square feet of surface area. So, for example, if you have a 20 x 40 feet rink with 3 inches of water depth, it will take about 3 hours to fill up. Time depends on several factors, such as the size of the rink, the water pressure, the temperature, and the wind. 

12. How many gallons or layers of water does it take to make an ice rink?

For an NHL ice rink, it takes about 10,600 gallons of water to make an NHL ice rink. A home ice rink can vary in size and thickness. So it takes about 1,500 gallons of water to make such a home ice rink. Both types of ice rinks are made with one layer of water.

13. How deep should the water be for a backyard rink?

The minimum water depth for a backyard rink is 3 inches, which is enough to support skating and prevent cracking. However, some people prefer to have a deeper rink, up to 6 inches or more, for better insulation and durability. The deeper the water, the longer it will take to freeze and the more liner you will need.

14. How much slope is too much for a backyard rink?

The ideal slope for a backyard rink is 0, meaning that the ground is perfectly level. However, most yards have some degree of slope, which can affect the construction and maintenance of the rink.

A general rule of thumb is that a slope of less than 6 inches over 100 feet is acceptable for a backyard rink. Anything more than that will require extra work and materials to level the ground or adjust the frame.

15. How thick should a homemade backyard ice rink be?

It should be at least 3 inches thick, which is enough to support skating and prevent cracking. However, some people prefer to have a thicker rink, up to 6 inches or more, for better insulation and durability. The thicker the ice, the longer it will take to freeze and the more water you will need.

16. Should I fill my rink all at once?

Professional rink builders suggest filling the backyard rink all at once, rather than in layers. This is because filling in layers can cause damage to the liner and result in uneven freezing. Filling all at once also ensures that the water level is consistent throughout the rink.

17. When should I build my outdoor rink?

The best time to build your outdoor rink is days/weeks before the first freeze. This will allow you to set up the frame and liner and give them time to “freeze in”.

Then once you’ve had several days of temperatures below 36°F and night temps of below 32°F, the ground should be ready and you can fill the rink with water.

18. How many square feet is a standard ice rink compared to a backyard ice rink?

A standard ice rink, such as those used in the NHL or the Olympics, measures 200 x 85 feet, which is 17,000 square feet. A backyard ice rink can vary in size, but a common example is 20 x 40 feet, which is 800 square feet. So a standard ice rink is about 21 times larger than a backyard ice rink.

19. How do I turn my backyard into an ice rink (or) How do you build a homemade ice rink in your backyard?

Here’s a detailed blog about how to build the perfect backyard ice rink.

20. How do you square a backyard rink?

To square a backyard rink, you can use the Pythagorean theorem. 

For example, if you want to make a 20 x 40 feet rink, you can measure 20 feet along one side and mark it with a stake. Then measure 40 feet along the adjacent side and mark it with another stake. Then measure the diagonal distance between the two stakes, which should be about 44.7 feet. If it is not, adjust the stakes until it is. Then repeat the process for the other two sides and corners.

21. How hard is it to make a backyard ice rink?

Making a backyard ice rink is not very hard, but it does require some planning, preparation, and patience. Read the full blog about how to build a backyard ice rink at your own home.

22. What materials do I need for a backyard ice rink?

Here’s a list of materials used to build a perfect ice rink for homes.

23. Are ice rinks toxic?

Ice rinks are not toxic in general, but they can pose some health risks if not properly maintained or ventilated. Ice resurfacing machines can emit carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide gases that can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or even death if inhaled in high concentrations. 

Ice making chemicals can also leak into the water and ice, and cause skin irritation, eye damage, or respiratory problems if exposed to them. To prevent these risks, ice rinks should have adequate ventilation systems, regular air quality testing, and safe handling of ice making chemicals.

24. What are the problems with ice rinks?

Some of the common problems with ice rinks are shell or shale ice, cracked ice, pebble or rough ice, ice chipping, spring deterioration, and low spots on the ice. These problems can be caused by heavy flooding, cold temperatures, snow accumulation, poor ventilation, warm weather, or excessive use. 

They can affect the quality and safety of the ice surface for skating and other activities. 

25. What are the solutions to the potential ice rink problems?

Some of the possible remedies for these problems are 

  • scraping away the damaged ice, 
  • filling the cracks or low spots with wet snow or warm water, 
  • layering ice with a fine spray nozzle, 
  • improving air flow and circulation, and 
  • using pollution control devices on ice resurfacers

26. How do you cool an outdoor rink?

To cool an outdoor rink, you need a refrigeration system that pumps chilled brine water through pipes embedded in the concrete slab below the ice surface. The brine water absorbs the heat from the ice and keeps it at a constant temperature. 

The refrigeration system can use ammonia or synthetic refrigerants as the cooling agent. The system can also include a heat reclaim device that captures the waste heat from the refrigeration process and uses it to heat other parts of the facility.

27. How long does it take a DIY backyard ice rink to freeze?

The time it takes for the water to freeze and form an ice rink depends on factors like temperature and weather conditions but typically takes around 24-48 hours.

28. What temperature do you fill an ice rink?

The best temperature to fill a diy home ice rink is between -7°C and -20°C. If you try to fill your rink when it’s below -20°C, the ice will be brittle and freeze before it has a chance to level out. If you try to fill your rink when it’s above -7°C, the ice will take too long to freeze and may melt in warm weather.

29. How do I test the air quality of my ice rink?

To test the air quality of your ice rink, you need to monitor the levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are the main pollutants emitted by ice resurfacers and edgers. 

You can use portable or fixed monitors that measure CO and NO2 concentrations in parts per million (ppm). 

You should test the air quality at least once per week, preferably during the busiest time of the day, and at different locations within the rink. 

You should also follow the recommended health-based exposure limits for CO and NO2, which are 25 ppm for CO and 0.5 ppm for NO2 over an 8-hour period.


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