Making Great Ice: Summer Maintenance

Now is the time to make sure your sand floor is ready for ice installation in the fall. If you noticed any dark patches coming through your paint during the season, you may have had a small brine leak.Check the lines in the area and fix any leaks found there. Then you should remove any contaminated sand and replace it with clean sand. It is a good idea to make sure all the pipes are sitting in their saddles properly. They should be sitting level and not sunk or protruding too high. Once you have done this, break up the sand from all the old paint and level the sand so that just the tops of the pipes are showing. If you have divider boards, it is a good idea to make sure there is no area where the water has left a cavity under the sand when it melted. To do this, tamp along the edge with a broom handle. Anywhere you see the the sand caving in, refill with new sand. Once you have made sure you have enough sand on the floor, level all the sheets by dragging the sand back and forth till the floor is level and you have just the tops of the pipes exposed. It is very important to make sure the sand is as level as possible so you don’t have to carry extra ice to make it level in the fall. Once you have prepared the sand floor, you are ready for installation. A sand floor can be as good as a cement floor, and it provides access to fix pipe problems without having to remove the cement. Check List:
  • Remove all contaminated sand
  • Fix any leaks
  • Level all pipes in their saddles
  • Break up old sand and paint
  • Level entire floor
Remember: When you start installation, you want to soak the sand down about an inch from the surface. The reason for this is to create an area from just below the pipes to the top of the pipes that will freeze and provide you with a solid foundation to build your ice on. If you do not follow this step, you will have areas where the water leaks through the sand causing you many problems in your ice installation. Make sure you seal effectively when starting installation to build up the ice so you won’t break through to the raw sand when you start flooding. Have a great summer preparing your floor for next season. By Jamie Bourassa, the Canadian Curling Association’s Head Ice Technician