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First Time Building a Backyard Ice Rink – Day 2 Construction

AllThumbsDIY - Outdoor Backyard Ice Rink

Snow on the ground? Check. Snowing? Check. Temperature in the low teens? Check. Ground frozen solid like a tundra? Check. Getting dark? Check. Time to build a backyard ice rink? Yeah!

DIY Backyard Ice Rink posts
* Day 1 – Initial Planning
* Day 2 (you are here)
* Day 3 – Filling with Water
* Day 4 – Second Layer of Ice
* Day 5 – Skating Time
* Day 6 – Finally Ready.

Materials (2015 prices)

QtyItemUnit PriceToNote
122″ x 8″ x 10′$9$108Perimeter framing
24′ x 8′ x 1/2″, 3 layer plywood$21$42Used as Gusset plates; cut in 2′ strips
34′ x 8′ x 1/2″, 3 layer plywood$21$63Used as height adjuster for retaining walls
12″ Deckmate screws, 5 lbs$29$29
1Scrap 2″ x 2″ x 3′ wood$0$0You can find these free in the rear section of the lumber section (used as skids)
1Simpson Strong-Tie SDS25212MB 2-1/2″ x .250 structural screws, one box$24
  • (12) 2″ x 8″ x 10′ @ $ 9 = $ 108 plus tax
  • (2) 1/2″ x 4′ x 8′, 3 Ply Plywood (cut in 2′ strips) @ $ 21 = $ 42 plus tax (to be used as Gusset plates and/or bottom retaining walls)
  • (3) 1/2″ x 4′ x 8′, 3 Ply Plywood (cut in 4′ strips) @ $ 21 = $ 63 plus tax (to be used as retaining walls)
  • 5 lb box, 2″ Deckmate screws (drill bit included) = $ 29 plus tax
  • Scrap pieces of 2″ x 2″ wood (you can get them free at local box retailers near sheetrock dept. or their junk piles (to be used as temporary corner braces)
  • If scrap pieces are not available, purchase two 2″ x 3″ x 8′ studs (of any wood variety)
  • Box of Simpson StrongTie Strong Drive Structural Screws #SDS1/4X1.5G-RC50 RC50@ $ 15 = $ 15 plus tax
  • (4) Simpson Strong Tie ML24Z ZMAX Galvanized 12-Gauge 2-inch by 4-inch Medium L-Angle @ $ 2.50 = $ 10 plus tax
  • Roll of 6 MIL thick, 20′ x 100′ poly sheeting = $ 100 plus tax



  1. I need 16 Gusset plates to join 2 x 8 studs together (2 Gusset plates per joinery) so I grabbed 2 sheets of 2′ x 1/2″ plywood and marked 6″ wide lines then cut them using my circular sawallthumbsdiy-backyard-ice-rink-day-2-guesset-plates-fl
  2. NOTE: I use 60 Teeth Freud D0760X Diablo Ultra Finish Saw Blade ATB 7-1/4-Inch
    to minimize splintering. Lower teeth blade is good for quick ripping but it generates lots of splinters and rough edges (no good for the plastic liner). I wouldn’t use higher-teeth blades either as it would be slow to rip and the blades will most likely bind to wood
  3. With studs lying on their sides, I joined two pieces together as close as I can then attached one of the Gusset plates using 2″ deck screws. Do not overdrive (sink) the screws which will result in screw tips protruding on the opposite side.
  4. After joining 4 studs together, I flipped them to the other side and repeat the step #3 above
  5. Repeat steps #3 and #4 to join studs for other sides of the rink
  6. Stand up joined studs on their edges
  7. Using a framing square, join two corner studs with a Simpson Strong Tie Simpson Strong Tie ML24Z ZMAX Galvanized 12-Gauge 2-inch by 4-inch Medium L-Angle (15 brackets per box) using Simpson Strong Drive Structural screws
  8. Clear any debris + snow from the inside of the empty rink to get rid of any sharp objects that may puncture the liner. I also had to shovel out the snow (if it melts, it can create voids, increasing the chance of cracks)
  9. Carefully roll out the liner, making sure to leave the extra 12 inches on both sides, then cut with a sharp knife allthumbsdiy-backyard-ice-rink-day-2-rolling-out-the-plastic-sheeting-fl
  10. Working one side at a time, carefully unfold the plastic liner. If the temperature is really cold, you may want to pick another time because any creases in the liner may crack (like mine did)
  11. Carefully staple the very ends of the liner to studs/plywood sheets using a stapler + T50 staplers
  12. I had to stop at this point because my garden hoses were frozen solid and it was getting too dark / tool cold

NEXT POST: First Time Building a Backyard Ice Rink – Day 3 Filling the rink with water