While building a diy backyard ice rink, people are often faced with a question – should you use a tarp or go full-out with an actual rink liner?
Having brainstormed this myself and done some serious legwork (or rather, hand work) on my research, I can tell you that both options have their unique set of perks and drawbacks.
This blog is designed to guide you through these advantages and disadvantages of tarps versus liners, helping you make a smart decision based on the weather in your neck of the woods, how much coinage you want to spend, and what dreams you hold for your frosty retreat.
A tarpaulin, commonly referred to as tarp, is a sizeable piece of durable, pliable material that is resistant to water and designed to be waterproof. It is frequently constructed from materials like fabric, such as canvas or polyester, which are coated with polyurethane, or from plastics like polyethylene.
A tarp can act as a waterproof liner for your ice rink. They are durable, flexible, and affordable. It is recommended to use poly tarps for ice rinks. Poly tarp is short for polyethylene tarp, which is the most common material used for ice rink liners. Poly tarps are waterproof, UV-resistant, and strong enough to withstand harsh winter conditions.
When it comes to blue tarps, people can use them but they are not recommended. They are usually thinner and less durable than white tarps, which means they are more likely to tear or puncture.
Blue tarps also absorb more heat from the sun, which can melt your ice faster. White tarps are preferred because they reflect more light and keep your ice colder.
Regular tarps may be used, but it may not be the best option. They are often too small, too thin, or too flimsy for an ice rink. They may not cover the entire area of your rink, or they may sag or rip under the weight of the water and ice. You should look for a heavy-duty tarp that is specifically designed for ice rinks.
Coming to thickness of the tarps, it depends on the size and shape of your rink, as well as the quality of the material. Generally speaking, thicker tarps are more durable and less prone to leaks or tears.
However, thicker tarps are also more expensive and heavier to handle. A good rule of thumb is to choose a tarp that is at least 6 mils thick, which is equivalent to 0.006 inches or 0.15 millimeters.
Also read: Best backyard ice rinks
Tarps will hold water for an ice rink if it is properly installed and maintained. A tarp acts as a barrier between the water and the ground, preventing it from seeping out or evaporating. To ensure that your tarp holds water for an ice rink, you should follow these steps:
Yes, but it is not advisable. Making an ice rink without a tarp means that you have to rely on natural snow or frozen ground to form the base of your rink. This can be unpredictable and unreliable, depending on the weather and soil conditions. You may end up with uneven or bumpy ice, or no ice at all. Using a tarp gives you more control over the quality and shape of your ice.
Using a tarp for a backyard ice rink comes with perks.
Whether it’s cold poundings of winter or mild breezes of fall, the tarp stays in place. It keeps its shape and does not break down in changing temperatures.
Using a tarp for your backyard ice rink has a few drawbacks.
Here’s the best tarp you can buy: Heavy Duty Poly Tarp by Xpose Safety
A rink liner is a layer of material that covers the ground and the sides of your ice rink frame. It prevents water from leaking out and protects your grass from freezing. It serves as a waterproof layer that keeps the water in and the grass out.
Without a liner, you have to rely on natural snow or frozen ground to form the base of your rink, which can be inconsistent and unreliable.
You would ideally need a liner for an outdoor rink; if you want to have a smooth and durable ice surface. A liner is a tarp or plastic sheet that covers the bottom and sides of your ice rink frame. It prevents water from leaking out or evaporating, and protects your grass from freezing.
A liner also makes it easier to install and remove your ice rink, as you can simply roll it up or fold it when not in use.
Also read: How to a Create Backyard Ice Rink
Liners need to be protected by following these steps:
Yes, it is possible to make backyard rinks without liners. The procedure is very similar to that of a tarp. Follow these steps to create one:
Creating an ice rink without a liner requires effort but offers a cost-effective way to enjoy outdoor ice skating.
I’m a big fan of rink liners for making a backyard ice rink. They have many strong points.
The top one is that they’re made just for ice rinks. This means they work the best for keeping your ice solid and smooth. Another great point is their quality control. Since they’re built for ice, they help keep your rink in top shape longer than a tarp would.
The last point is about durability. Even though these liners may cost more upfront, they last longer because you can use them again and again.
It’s like getting a better tool that pays for itself over time by lasting longer!
Using a rink liner for a backyard ice rink has some drawbacks.
Here’s the best liner you can buy: Iron Sleek White Plastic Ice Rink Liner
When deciding between a tarp and a rink liner for your backyard ice rink, there are several factors to consider.
Choosing between a tarp and a rink liner for a backyard ice rink depends on the climate and weather conditions. If you live in a cold enough climate with consistent freezing temperatures, you may be able to build an ice rink without a liner by packing the snow.
However, in milder climates, it’s important to be patient with the ice formation or consider not using sprinklers at all. It’s generally recommended to install an outdoor ice rink during autumn when temperatures are lower and more stable.
When choosing between a tarp and a rink liner for a backyard ice rink, it’s important to consider the size and shape of your rink. You want to make sure that the plastic liner or tarp you choose is slightly larger than the dimensions of your rink.
It’s recommended that the liner or tarp is at least 5 feet wider and 5 feet longer than the size of your rink. This ensures that you have enough coverage and protection for your ice surface.
So, think about how big and what shape your rink will be before making your decision.
When considering the budget for your backyard ice rink, it’s important to think about the cost of both a tarp and a rink liner. A high-quality tarp can be more expensive initially, but it may last longer than a cheaper option.
On the other hand, a rink liner might provide better value in terms of maintaining ice quality over time. It’s also worth noting that using a liner can help save on water costs by eliminating the need for multiple fills.
Ultimately, your budget will play a significant role in determining whether you opt for a tarp or a rink liner for your backyard ice rink.
In summary, both tarps and rink liners have their ups and downs when it comes to backyard ice rinks.
Ultimately, the best option depends on factors such as climate, budget, and personal preference. Consider your needs carefully before making a decision!
Yes, you can use a tarp for a backyard ice rink.
Yes, you can use a tarp as a rink liner. Tarp is a common choice for a rink liner because it is easy to use and creates a smooth surface for your ice.
Yes, but it is not easy or recommended. Without a liner, you have to rely on natural snow or frozen ground to form the base of your rink, which can be inconsistent and unreliable.
The size and thickness of your ice rink liner depend on the dimensions and shape of your ice rink frame, quality and durability of the material. Generally speaking, you should choose a liner that is at least 4 feet longer and 4 feet wider than your frame, so that you have enough material to cover the sides and corners of your rink. You should also choose a liner that is at least 6 mils thick, which is equivalent to 0.006 inches or 0.15 millimeters.
The best thing to use as a rink liner is a tarp or plastic sheet that is specifically designed for ice rinks. Liners that are made from heavy-duty polyethylene which are waterproof, UV-resistant, and strong enough to withstand harsh winter conditions. Make sure they are large enough to cover your entire rink area.