We’re in the process of making a backyard ice rink.
It’s not going so well.
There are two methods of making a home ice rink. The first involves laying out a plastic liner the size of the rink and then filling it with water and letting it freeze. We made a rink a few years ago using this method, and it worked well. It used a tremendous amount of water, and a leak in the liner meant that the ice filled most of the backyard right up to the house. We spent time chipping the ice out and carrying it to the front in the spring to keep the water off our foundation.
The second method is to stomp the snow down in a nice flat area and then wet it into slush, let it freeze, add more water, let it freeze and so on until the ice is built up. That’s what I tried this year.
I made the snow as flat as I could manage and started flooding. I spent 3 hours hosing water into the snow, and the snow kept sucking it up for a lot longer than I thought it would before it was wet slush as it was supposed to be.
As it turns out “as flat as I could manage” is nowhere near flat enough, and nowhere near level enough. The water runs to a few areas that are obviously low spots and pools there. I have been out for at least 3 hour long flooding sessions, and much of the surface isn’t built up at all, because the low areas aren’t filled yet. This means that much of the surface is still lumpy.
With the liner method, all the time is put in up front, a day to fill the big pool. But when it freezes it’s pretty much done. I liked that.
This rink is going to need at least 3 more flooding sessions to get it smooth enough to skate on properly. It will likely take the same amount of time that filling the liner would, but it’s spread in 1 hour blocks over the course of a few weeks.
Next year, I’m using a liner.
[EDIT: I did use a liner the next year. See article here.
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