Detailed below, are probably the four most important decisions to make and do BEFORE ordering or starting to build your NiceRink.
Determining the best site for your ice rink
There are just a few items of importance to consider when choosing the best site for your rink. To start, THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ITEM would be to check the pitch, slope, levelness of your rink site. The pitch may be more important if you a) want a nice clean looking rink or b) don't want to end up filling your rink with 30,000 gallons of water. A site that has a pitch of 6" or less is best. A 6" pitch would give you 4" of water/ice on your shallow/high side and then 10" at the deep/low end. We have clients with 30" of water on their deep end, however that takes special instruction and would only be recommended for colder climates. The less the pitch it will take less effort to build/install the side boards, will use less water and take less time to get your base ice going. Secondly, locate your rink near an easily accessible water source. This will make it much easier when it's time to flood and resurface your rink. Third would be the distance away from the house. You want the rink to be close enough to enjoy having it in your backyard and not having to trudge across the field, although you want it far enough away from stray pucks in the case of any hockey being played. The rink should run parallel to the house if possible, to avoid pucks being shot directly towards the house. The last major point would be the size of your rink. The open space and slope you have will be the single biggest determining factor of how big you can make your rink. Budget and appearance will be the next. Let's do a quick recap and I'll go over the four major factors in more detail separately.
Pitch (Levelness) of the rink site
Access to water
Convenience of use
Size of the rink
Pitch of the rink site may be more important to some than others as previously mentioned. If you have a nice level site to work with, all the better. When your site is level the sides will be very easy to put up, as opposed to a little more effort when the site is not level. A NiceRink can easily be built on ground that is not level as well. That's why we created the NiceRink system of building a rink. Ninety Nine percent of yards will not be flat, as a yard that is perfectly flat does not have proper drainage away from the house and probably shouldn't have water added onto it because it may cause flooding problems in the spring. My yard had an 18" pitch, which is quite a bit, but we have clients that have built rinks with 30" of pitch with no problems. You just have to make your sideboards higher and stronger to support the weight of the water on the deep end. We go over that in detail on the instructions, or can help work you through it. My rink was 55' x 85', and with the 18" of pitch it used to take myself and a friend about 3-4 hours to complete the old way of stake & sideboard construction and about 30-40 minutes to lay out the liner. With the NiceRink Brackets and NiceRink Thermoformed Boards it only takes about 1.5 –2 hours to set up the boards! That's easily less than 50% of the time it takes to spray the rink to completion and get the ice surface you'll get from a single, time saving flood. The nice thing about filling a NiceRink liner to get a base is that your ice surface will always be level to start with, as water will always seek its own level. No more skating up, down and over hills!
Access to water is important, not when setting up because it's not –5 degrees out and your hose won't freeze up. Later in the season it will be to your advantage to have the rink close by, as the farther away the water is, the farther you'll have to haul your hose. When it's 10 degrees outside, you'll be glad you don't have to haul out 300' of hose every time you want to resurface. It's nice to be able to set your hose outside the house, hook it up and resurface. Two good items to have available are either a quality hose reel or large plastic bucket (muck bucket or garbage can). When you're done resurfacing you'll need to bring your hose back inside so it doesn't freeze solid. When the hose is brought inside, it will have some water left in it. If you have a hose reel, most of the water will be dispersed while winding it up, or if you have the hose bucket, the water that may drain out will be nicely contained within your container leaving no mess.
Convenience of use is why you are considering building your own ice rink in the first place, so make it as convenient as possible. Out the door and on the ice is best, but you have to consider windows, doors opening and viewing the rink from inside. My rink is about 20' from the house, which makes it great for viewing from the whole house. We can see everywhere on the rink from any facing window, which is nice when you can just let the children out to skate and easily watch the activity while warmly conversing with friends and neighbors. It's also nice to walk out, set the kids on the rink and hop back inside. Then if the kids get cold, hop out and back in again. Also you won't have to shovel a very long path to the rink, although that path gets well worn out without any shoveling anyway.
Size of the rink should be determined by several factors. The first factor is your available space. If you have the space and budget, go big. You'll enjoy your rink much more when you have more room, especially when you have skating parties (which I can assure you, you will). Everybody will have plenty of room to skate around without bumping into each other. If you're not sure if you'll use your rink enough to make it worth your while, start smaller. You can always decide to go bigger in a year or two, and continue to use the boards and equipment that have already been purchased. Besides space and budget, the people that will be using the rink will determine the size as well. When your rink is just for children, you can go smaller and be very satisfied, as they don't need a huge rink to make it feel huge to them. On the other hand, if you're an experienced skater yourself, you'll be able to cover a 30' span rather easily with one stride, which doesn't end up being really fun if you're an avid adult skater. The choice is entirely up to you, the "rink manager", but I can tell you I've heard time after time, "I sure wish we would've gone bigger!"
Also keep in mind when deciding size, that plywood and our NEW plastic boards come in 8' and 4' sections respectively. This means rinks with widths and lengths divisible by eight or four are the easiest to put up and will have less wasted material.
Ordering the NiceRink backyard ice rink liner is a very simple affair. After determining what RINK SIZE you'd like, add 5' to the length and 5' to the width to get your ice rink LINER SIZE. Examples: 35' x 45' rink requires a 40' x 50' liner, a 55' x 95' rink requires and 60' x 100' liner. This will give you 2.5' of liner around the entire perimeter of your rink to go up the inside edge of the boards to contain the water/ice. As mentioned in our NiceRink pricing, the sizes of liner available are dependent upon which liner type you select. NiceRink #1 material is available in widths of; 20'-30'-35'-40'-50'-60'&72' stock and then starting at 78' and every 6' thereafter by custom order. When the width of a NiceRink #1 liner is over 72', the width must be the 6' increment. For NiceRink #3 material, the liners can be ordered in most widths of 6' increments starting with 24' wide up to 198' (Minimum length 50 feet). The NiceRink "CheapSkate" material is available in widths of 32'-40'-50'&60' stock. (80' & 100' available by custom order) If you have any questions, PLEASE call us @ 888-NiceRink for help!
A Rink Buyer's Guide
What should I look for when shopping for the best value?
WHITE-WHITE-WHITE-WHITE! NiceRink liners are Ultra-White on BOTH sides!
To help keep your ice as cold as possible by reflecting the UV rays away from your ice
To save your grass! Clear or White/Black liners as well as "blue tarps" are known grass killers, BUYER BEWARE!
Liner warranty: NiceRink liners are warranted to hold the water when you get it. Some warranties on the market are for a 5 year "UV warranty". That's fine, but UV damage is not going to be the problem as the liners are covered with Snow and Ice during usage, so the UV doesn't affect the liner. You need a good strong liner to do the work, and add KickPlates if at all possible.
Does the system hold the boards for you? NiceRink's exclusive board holding brackets allow for the simplest install available.
Are the sides height adjustable? Does the system you're looking at have a system in place to adjust for the slope in your yard, or does the yard have to be perfectly flat for the system to work? NiceRink will simply adjust to slopes in a yard, by changing the board height in Bracket. Of course always checking the slope with a laser level BEFORE starting is the best idea to know what board height you need to start with, so you don't have to change out boards with water already in the rink. With NiceRink there's NO need to stack foam under any 2" PVC pipe sides to get them to the right height. NiceRink brackets will adjust to 14" of water without any additional support needed.
How Long has the company been around? NiceRink has been around 20+ years since 1991, along with our parent company being in business for 64 YEARS, since 1948. Simply put….NiceRink Knows!
Market Reputation? Did you get a referral to use a particular rink system? Do you know someone that had a working rink of what you're looking at purchasing? At NiceRink, we don't hide our rink system under snow banks in our pictures. We're proud to show the World's Best Backyard Ice Rink System!
Actual Photos of Rinks and Products: When looking at buying a rink system, make sure you know what you're actually buying. Do you see nice close up photos of what you're actually buying. What are the sides? What is the Bracket? How do they adapt to uneven ground? Do you see actual rink pictures showing customers rinks in use with the product being used and SHOWING the product? Don't buy what you can't see.
LASTLY, we're a Year Round Company here to help and our phones get answered and our emails get replied to. Everyone likes to score GOALS, Taking care of our Clients is OURS!
PLEASE call us @ 888-NiceRink for help!
"We are looking forward to a fun winter."D. French, Vermont