Liner Lingo

Whether you are a beginner rink-builder, or a seasoned pro, you may find some useful information below about Rink Liners. Remember, a Rink Liner has one single job to do – hold water so that it freezes into a solid block. And maybe secondly, to continue to hold in melted ice during a thaw, so that it can re-freeze when temperatures drop. It’s not complicated, but there are a few points that you should be aware of.

Critically Important

Use a white Rink Liner. We cannot overstate the importance of this. Dark colours attract sunlight, and it is remarkable how a rink will deteriorate in areas of darkness. Use a solid white Liner with no patterns, and during the winter, remove leaves, twigs and other debris, as the sun will burn a hole in places where debris remains or was flooded into the surface.

If you want to preserve a Liner for a second year of use, keep the kids off the rink when the warm weather begins. When your rink begins to deteriorate, a skate blade will break through and slice the Liner, no matter how thick the plastic.

If you do want to reuse last year's Rink Liner, make sure to use a good patch tape to patch all slices and holes. It is amazing how many litres of water will leak through a single slice, resulting in "shell" ice, or a frozen surface with air underneath that crushes when stepped upon. Do consider using a new Rink Liner each year to avoid these problems.

Somewhat Important

Know what gauge liner you are buying. Some Rink Liners are advertised at 6 mil but are actually thinner than advertised. All RinkMaster liners are 6 mil. We are sometimes asked why we don't carry super-heavy duty, like 8 mil. The trouble is the cost goes up quickly, and the benefit is marginal. The fact is, the enemy of the Liner is the skate blade, and any gauge in this range is no match for a sharp blade.

So what is a “mil”? A mil is a unit of measurement that is one-thousandth of an inch. A one-thousand mil liner would be one inch thick. For a better comparison, a swimming pool liner is approximately 30 mil.

Do not confuse "layers" with "mils". More layers may be better for plastics used in food processing, but for Rink Liners, it makes no difference. In fact, some manufacturers will fill the middle layers with lower grade materials and only virgin resin on the outer layers. All RinkMaster Rink Liners are manufactured using only virgin resins throughout.

What is UV protection? UV protection can be thought of as sun-screen for plastic. It is an additive that is part of the plastic that helps protect the Liner from breaking down due to sun-light. Eventually Rink Liners will deteriorate due to sunlight. This is why it is important to store your Liner in a dark place if saving it for a second season. All RinkMaster Rink Liners are UV-protected, as are most in the industry.

Be careful when purchasing a Rink Liner that is “seamed”. Seaming is a process to join two sheets of plastic to create one continuous sheet. The problem is the seaming process can create a point of weakness in the Liner.  RinkMaster Liners are always one full sheet with no seams, including our 60 foot widths.