REALTORS® serving Calgary and area

Dec. 18, 2013 | Cody Stuart

How To: Backyard Skating Rink

Regardless of which side of the recently resolved NHL lockout you come down on – those being "Yay, hockey's back" or "Boo, I'm never watching again" – there's really no better way to show your excitement or disdain than by building your very own backyard rink. For those excited about the season, the rink will allow them to live out their own NHL fantasies, and for those less enthusiastic folks,

having a sheet of ice out back provides the perfect hockey outlet that in no way contributes to the bottom line of NHL players and owners. Luckily, CREB® Now has put together a helpful guide on how to install your very own backyard arena.


1>> In your yard, measure out the size you'd like to make your rink and mark it with boards or clear the snow for your chosen area. It's important to ensure you choose your location because it's level, not necessarily just because it looks flat. This will save you trouble in the long run of having an uneven ice surface.

2>> Using plastic sheeting picked up at any home or renovation store (vapour barrier sheeting is recommended as it has a good thickness —around six millimetres — and will be less likely to tear during the rink building process), lay down the sheeting in your chosen location on a day with temperatures below zero. Backyard rinks can be made without plastic sheeting by creating a snow base, but the consensus is plastic allows for a smoother ice surface especially when a Chinook wind can melt the base. Another plus about using the plastic sheeting and sideboards method of a backyard rink is you can set up your rink earlier in the seasons saving yourself set-up time in frigid January temperatures better spent skating.

3>> Boards from 2" x 4" to 2" x 10" can be set up on the border of your rink both to help contain the ice and to keep pucks from bouncing out of the rink resulting in a delay of game to search for the snowbound puck.

4>> With your plastic down and your boards up, make sure the plastic is set over or stapled to the boards so water can't escape. To keep the liner from billowing in the centre use bricks or wood to hold it down but make sure to remove them before the water freezes.

5>> Flood the rink with water using either a hose or 55-gallon drum repeatedly spraying or pouring until three to four inches of water sit in your rink.

6>> Once you've reached your desired thickness of ice, you can ensure a smooth surface by using hot/warm water as a final coat. The warm water will melt any protruding bumps and fill any holes or divots in the ice.

7>> For the hardcore rink builder, floodlights can be purchased for a reasonable price from your local hardware or home renovation store for extended skating hours.

8>> A blue line can be created on your rink by using blue tape and coating it with a thin layer of ice before flooding the rink.

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