Typically, rink tarps are very suitable for backyard ice rinks. They are made from a medium- or heavy-duty form of plastic - polyethylene, or simply 'poly'. Apply your rink tarp up and around your rink boards.
Most poly tarps are three-ply. The middle layer is constructed of woven nylon, which is then sandwiched by a top and a bottom layer of watertight polyethylene.
Tarps are very durable, resist water, wear and tear, and are used in mild as well as cold temperatures.
Poly tarps are:
Select a white tarp for use in an outdoor or backyard or outdoor ice skating rink. If you think the tarp will still be in use into the springtime, then a clear poly tarp makes a good choice.
Tarps are made from a very durable material as are the ice rink liners.
You need to choose the right plastic that is best suited to the requirements and conditions for which it is intended.
If you decide you need a long-lasting plastic, then choose a rink tarp instead of a plastic ice rink liner. Both rink tarps and ice rink liners are readily available in the USA and Canada.
White tarps come in medium duty (10x10 weave, 8 mil thick) and heavy duty (14x14 weave, 12 mil thick). Both are very adequate for the job, and should last several seasons. You can also find ultra heavy duty white tarps up to 20+ mil thick, for a price, of course.
Tarps are reinforced around the edges, with grommets installed anywhere from 18 inches to 36 inches apart.
This makes for a bulky edge with holes in it, which is why you are well-advised to purchase a single ice rink tarp that is big enough for your ice rink.
Some people have been seen scattering 10 small tarps over the space intended for the ice rink. We don’t recommend it.
With enough patch tape, you could fasten two tarps together covering the grommets. We don’t recommend this either. There's no guarantee that the job would be leak-free. The worst time possible to discover that leak is when the temperatures are finally below freezing and you're trying to get your rink filled with water so you can finally start skating on your backyard rink. Another very bad time is during a brief thaw, as your rink begins to empty itself...
If you are hoping to get a jump-start on the skating season and want to set up your rink just before the weather is completely frozen, purchase a SINGLE white tarp that is 3-4 feet larger than the projected size of your backyard ice rink. Here’s why:
You will have averted a LOT of problems and headaches by using one large tarp.
No matter the strength or thickness of the tarp, the chances are good you may encounter a leak eventually, whether in the first year or the fourth. See Ice Rink Liners for various repair methods.