There are several methods for maintaining the ice. There is the flood method, spray and squeegee method, spray-spray-spray-spray, Hand Resurfacer and the Zamboni method. Below are descriptions of each approach. We leave the decision to you, the “rink manager,” for what works best for you and your rink.
The Flood –The flood method is simply that: flooding. To flood the rink you'll need to have large hoses and above-average water pressure. You'll need to get the entire rink completely covered with water before any of it starts to freeze. Do not use the flood method on smooth ice, you'll wreck it.
Spray and Squeegee – Again, simply spray water onto the ice surface and squeegee it out to the spots that need the most attention. DON’T try to squeegee areas that have started to freeze. You'll end up with mounds of frozen slush, which will have to be chipped or scraped off later when they freeze.
Spray-Spray-Spray-Spray – The name says it all! The trick to spray coating ice is "wet ice is done ice." In other words, start spraying a spot on the rink until it's glossy and then move on. Put the layers of water on as thin as possible to get a "Nice" glass-like finish and also to prevent cracking or "lifting."
How water freezes will help explain lifting. Water normally freezes from the top down and it also expands as it freezes. Therefore, if you put too much water on the surface and it starts to freeze, you will wind up with three layers: base ice on the bottom, then a layer of water, then a top layer of fresh ice. As the water in-between the two ice layers starts to freeze, it will also expand. But it can only expand up into the fresh ice, which causes the lifting of the fresh top ice layer. The result is a bumpiness and often unevenness (which is known as "shale ice”). To remedy this situation, you can apply thin layers of water that will freeze solid with no expansion and give you the glass like finish you’re after.
This method, however, is also the most time-consuming. A 44' x 88' (13.4m x 26.8m) rink will take anywhere from a half-hour to 1-½ hours of spraying or more, depending on the temperature and ice condition you have to start with, to get the ice back to glass. That’s why we recommend the NiceIce® ice resurfacer. See below.
NiceIce® Resurfacer – The NiceIce® ice resurfacer is the best and most economical method of resurfacing any ice rink. My personal backyard rink is 44' x 88’ (13.4m x 26.8m). It takes me a whole 12 minutes to put on a fresh coat of ice -- as opposed to the hour-plus it used to take me when I would spray coat a new layer of ice. Not only did I cut down my time by 80%, I also used less water and wound up with a much better ice surface to skate on. I usually put two coats on. The second coat takes less time than the first and provides a surface that rivals indoor ice quality.
The single biggest detriment to ice is the air contained within it. Do you remember skating out on the ponds and lakes? How when you made a sharp cut you'd get a big groove in the ice? The groove gets formed because too much air is contained within ice, allowing the skate to easily dig in and groove out the surface. Your base ice is basically the same as pond ice until it gets resurfaced and layered a couple of times. When you use our patented NiceIce® resurfacer, you will be laying down a very thin, fast-freezing layer of deoxygenated water that will then become your skating surface. You now have the same ice surface that is laid down on the indoor rinks -- and sometimes better.
Hard, deoxygenated ice is good, fast ice and will not get chewed up as much. It requires less maintenance time so you can have more skating time. The NiceIce® resurfacer is also great when Mother Nature doesn't cooperate like we would appreciate. When she dumps snow, rain, sleet or slush, it has a definite tendency to mess up a rink surface very quickly. The NiceIce® resurfacer can lay down approximately ¼" (0.635cm) to ½" (1.3cm) of ice in an hour, depending on the outside air temperature which usually takes care of even the most severe rink surface in a maximum of 3-4 hours of walking.