Ideas for building a rink on a tennis court or any hard court

Hard sports courts or tennis courts present many different challenges when building an ice rink.  The repeated concern is that customers do not want to drill into their hard court…quite understandable! Since every hard court scenario is different, Iron Sleek will try to present you with some ideas to build a rink on a hard court or on a tennis court.  A few good pictures can tell the story best.
Below is an ideal scenario.  Grass on all 4 sides.  It is ideal because you can use Iron Sleek brackets right into the lawn to secure the rink. 
Boards on the lawn with court on the inside.
Be sure to protect the liner from a possible sharp edge where the court meets the lawn.  8″ LPS does a great job to handle that.
Do not want to use the full Tennis court?  Use the sleeper method.  Lay a 2 by 12′ or plywood down on to the court with the Iron Sleek Hard court bracket.  Reach back with sleepers to spike down or secure against fence.
Secure it outside the Sports Pad!
Use the hard court bracket and secure against fence.
Completely on a hard court.  If you do it this way, be sure to find a way to either sleeper back to something secure or to weigh down the rink.  This rink still need supports for the tall backboards.  A hard court bracket alone is not enough to sustain the leverage of a 42″ board.  You would still need Iron Sleek Outriggers.
If all else fails, you can use sand bags.  Sand bags are the least preferred method on a hard court rink.  A freeze thaw scenario will cause the boards to drift and this can likely cause the liner to over stretch.  An overstretched liner will eventually fail.  Also, sand bags are much too heavy to handle.  I recommend saving your energy for fun versus tossing heavy sand bags around.  I would avoid sand bags if at all possible.
Hopefully some of these strategies can apply to your hard court rink.  One other thing to keep in mind is that if you are building this rink every year, it may not be such a bad idea to have some reusable pilot holes to secure the rink.  We have many customer who take that approach.  Please feel free to give us a call to discuss your project.  We are happy to help out.

How to cut an Iron Sleek Poly Steel Board


An awesome feature of the Iron Sleek Poly Steel board systemis that boards can be cut in the field by our customers to custom fit their project requirements.  This is a very unique capability that is easily accomplished with our board system.  It is very useful for rinks that have borders or for optimizing size in a backyard.  Below is a description on how to cut an Iron Sleek poly steel rink board to your desired length. 
Iron Sleek Poly Steel Boards are standard 48” long from the lap joint edge to the board edge.  It is very important to understand that the lap joint is not part of the length of the boards.  The lap joint section of the board should not be cut.



Step 1:  Determine the target length of your board and make note of the deviation from the standard length of 48”.  For example if the boards target length is 45”.  The deviation is 48” minus 45” which equals a 3” deviation.
Step 2: Mark the deviation on the poly boards and the Poly Steel Channels before disassembling both opposite of lap joint.



Step 3: Sketch a straight cut line on poly panel.


Step 4: Mark the deviation on steel channel.
Be sure to mark both steel channels

Step 5: With the board panels already marked and the steel channels already marked.  Disassemble the channels from the boards.

Step 6: Cut the marked panel with a circular saw using a wood cutting blade.  For best results you can use a table saw.

 Step 7: Cut the 2 marked rails with a reciprocating saw, chop saw, or hand hack saw.

Step 8: After all the pieces are cut, you can chamfer or route cut edge of poly panel and file off sharp corners on the cut edge on steel channel.

Step 9:Now simply reassemble board components.  Be sure to not spin out black mounting screws when reassembling.  Your board should be your desired length.  For this example it will be 45″

Check out this basement shooting lane.  With the this ability to cut we were able to wrap around our customers basement to optimize the provided space.  


Backyard Rink, Time to tear it down for Spring!


Everyone’s rink setting, configuration and climate is unique.  Please consider the points below as general guidelines for tearing down your rink. 


1)      The Meltdown.


I usually leave my rink alone and let nature take its course; however, if you want to speed things up, here are a few things to keep in mind. 


There are 2 reasons to hold off on draining your water.   First, exposed water on a rink picks up kinetic energy from the wind to instigate the melt down.  This makes a huge difference.  Moving water melts ice so puddles on top of your ice will help to melt it, even at night.  Keep the water in the rink.  Second, the water temperature will rise faster than the ice temperature.  Ice gets stuck at 32°F until it gains enough heat to convert to water.


b)      DARK COLORS. 
This is the only time your white Iron Sleek liner is going to work against you.  Since you have already had a season as manager of your rink, you know quite well that a leaf burns its way to the bottom of a rink.  Consider placing a dark colored tarp on ice sections to gain solar energy.




2)      Water Removal.


The key here is to get the water away from the rink and not to flood you or your neighbor’s home.  Water under the liner for an extended period of time can trick the grass into becoming active.  A liner covering active grass can suffocate the lawn.  Here are a few pointers to not kill your grass and to not flood anyone’s home. 


a)       PUMP IT OUT.
The best way to remove water is with an electric or gas pump that has a discharge hose.  Your local home improvement store usually rents them out.   As a reference point, a 30 GPM pump will empty a 20×46 rink in 2-3 hours.  With a pump arrangement, you have full freedom to direct the water to areas that are suited for drainage…like the city sewer.  If you cannot reach the city sewer, you will need to direct the water toward a safe and convenient draining area.


b)      SIPHONING. 
Siphoning is slow but it works well.  With siphoning, you will have some flexibility on directing the drainage.  My warnings are that it will take several hoses to get a decent flow and that starting the suction takes some strong lungs.  A benefit of siphoning is that the low flow rate gives the ground a better chance to absorb the water. 


c)       OPEN THE RINK. 
At the high water corner you can open your rink to let all of the water flow out.  This is the fastest way to drain your rink.  I have done it this way for years, but I did notice that is has some negative effects.  Over flooding the grass can damage the grass roots.  Also, repeated flooding can lower your ground’s grade.


d)              OTHER POINTS.


          Do not open the rink on the low water corner.  Water will eventually flow under the liner.


          Do not puncture holes in your liner.  We have seen customers do this just to find out that they flood their grass root and had some dead spots on their grass. 


3)      Remove Ice Chunks.


Even after having pumped out your water, you may still have some ice chunks on your liner.  We recommend removing one section of boards to slide the remaining ice out.  See below on how to remove boards and brackets.  Do not attempt chipping out a full sheet of ice.  That is a job for a Bobcat.  To put this in perspective, a 20×46 rink could have 35,000 lbs. of ice in it!  




4)      Liner Removal and Disposal.


Getting the liner up is critical because you do not want to suffocate active grass!


If you need a piece of liner to cover your lumber, now is the time to cut that piece out.   


Cut the liner into manageable strips.  If you do not approach this properly, it can cause a lot of unnecessary headaches.  Keep it manageable for you and for your recycling service team.   You will not regret this step.  If the liner is too difficult to dispose of, recycling will leave it behind and it will be your problem. Roll up the strips and bring to your blue recycling bin.  Iron Sleek liners are 100% recyclable. 


5)      Remove your Containment Boards.


a)       Unscrew the Iron Sleek brackets from the boards.  Leave the brackets in place and unscrew the boards from the Iron Sleek brackets. DO NOT PULL UP THE BOARDS WITH YOUR BRACKET ATTACHED.


6)      Remove your Iron Sleek Brackets.


Note: Do not use any leverage tools for this (no sledge hammers, no crowbars)


a)       To remove an Iron Sleek bracket, tip the bracket forward and backward a just a bit to loosen the dirt.  (NOT SIDE TO SIDE)


b)      After the dirt is loosened, pull the bracket STRAIGHT UP out of the ground.


c)       Remove dirt from the bracket and fill divots in the grass. 




7)      Storage.


a)       The best place to store your boards is in a temperature and humidity controlled environment.   A garage, basement, or shed typically work well.  If you must store your boards outside, make sure you put them in a place that is relatively flat and dry.  I store my boards outside under a liner, near my rink site to reduce lifting.  I occasionally have a board rot out, but it is rare.


b)      You can gather your brackets and put them on a shelf in your shed or cover them outside.  They are steel so their properties will not degrade but to prevent rusting, covering them is a good idea.  If you have rink topper, keep it out of the sun. 


Improvements for next winter start now. 
Click here to read blog on rink improvements for spring.