Skater’s Guide to Winterizing a DIY Skatepark

Not every skater has the luxury of a year long, sunny California zip code. Some have to contend with the brutal winters of the Northeast and Midwest. If you are one of those who have to contend with the snow and slush, you'll need to winterize your skate spot before Mother Nature dumps a load of the white stuff on your half-pipe. Here's how:

Winterizing Concrete Skateparks

First things first, concrete skate spots need to be winterized just as much as wooden ones. The best way to do that is to clean the concrete and then seal it. Multiple layers of concrete sealant will help to protect your skate obstacles from rock salt damage as well as freeze-thaw related cracking. I'd suggest that you consider applying a penetrating sealant first and then top it off with either a polyurethane or epoxy sealant. One penetrating sealant that you may want to try is Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator. You can typically pick up a 16 ounce bottle for $16 at most home improvement stores. Devcon makes a decent epoxy concrete sealant but expect to fork over $300 for a large tub of the stuff. I should also mention that some sealants sometimes take a day or more to dry and must be applied under certain weather conditions, so be sure to read the labels.

Winterizing Wooden Skatepark Ramps

Does your skate spot have wooden ramps? Then there is more winterizing work to be done. Hopefully you created your ramps out of pressure treated wood and placed them on concrete pads or footings to keep the wood from making contact with the dirt. If you didn't, you may want to consider storing the ramps for the winter. If the ramps are too big to store or move, the best that you can really do at this point is clean, seal and cover them with a tarp. Depending on what else you used to build your skate ramps you may want to invest in a high quality, multi-surface, waterproof sealant. Personally, I like the Thompson's Water Seal Advanced Multi-Surface Waterproofer. Like other sealants, it takes a while to dry and must be applied when the temperatures are above freezing.

Winterizing Metal Coping and Grind Rails

Metal coping and grind rails must also be winterized. In most cases all that is needed to winterize your coping and rails is a coat of automotive wax and wax sealant. There are other instances, however, where you may want to apply a powder coating. I'd suggest that you consider powder coating the coping and rails if they have extensive scratches or have already started to rust. Remember that if rust is present, you will need to remove it with a stiff wire brush or sandpaper before applying the powder coating.

My children are skaters and I have a history of completing DIY projects.

More from this contributor:

Skaters Guide to Building a Small Concrete Bowl

Skater's Guide to Building a Mini Concrete Block Stair Set

Skater's Guide to Building a Concrete Grind Ledge

Skater's Guide to Building a Fun Box with a Grind Rail

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Updated Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011