How To Winterize Basketball Hoop? – (Portable & In Ground)

Last night we experienced a blizzard. This morning when I went out to check the condition of my portable basketball hoop, it brought a big smile onto my face

This is because I winterized our basketball hoop few days ago & now, it is standing in it’s place with no damage done

Sadly few moments later, one of my neighbors came with a half broken backboard on his hand. His hoop got shattered yesterday

I asked why he hadn’t winterized the hoop before. In reply, he said he had no clue whatsoever how to do it. Therefore, I decided to write this article how to winterize a basketball hoop

Winterizing a basketball hoop is a smart idea if your location sees a lot of snow fall in winter season. Your hoop base will crack if water freezes or a strong wind can just blow your hoop away

Either way you will land in trouble & it can cost you extra bucks to repair the damage. With In ground hoops, there is no way these bad things can happen, still you’ve to do some work

Basketball hoop winterizing tasks can involve securing the base & then protect from rust. It can also be like draining the base & disassemble the hoop. Then there are In ground hoops too

So depending on the basketball hoop type (portable or in ground) & whether you want to take down the hoop or leave in outdoors, steps can differ. So keep on reading this complete beginner’s guide to winterize basketball hoop

Portable Hoops


# In case of leaving basketball hoop in backyard:

This is the case where some people might want to play hoops during cold winter months. So they are not going to disassemble the hoop

Rather than that, they will look to winterize the basketball hoop in a way that gives them the option to use hoops anytime they want

It can be done in a few steps:

  • Secure the hoop base with
    a. Water
    b. Sand or
    c. BaseGel
  • Secure from windy storm
  • Protect from rust

Secure the hoop base

A. Water:
If you have a water filled base system, there is some work to do. Water tends to expand in freezing temperature and your base can crack then. By adding antifreeze into water, you can get rid of this problem


What is antifreeze?
One type of additive that can be used to lower the freezing point of water based liquid. It increases the boiling point of the liquid. Basketball hoop base antifreeze does the exact thing


Why mix antifreeze with water?
If you don’t know, water is an efficient conductor of heat and it has good properties as a coolant. Adding antifreeze into water creates a coolant mixture. It prevents a rigid enclosure (like basketball base) from cracking because of expansion when water freezes


What kind of antifreeze do you use in a basketball hoop?

You should only use non-toxic antifreeze for basketball base. This is due to toxicity of anti-freeze

Antifreeze containing ethylene glycol & methanol are most hazardous. A small amount of antifreeze can cause life threatening complications in your blood, nervous system & kidneys. Propylene glycol is found less dangerous

Antifreeze actually tastes so good that children & pet can easily be attracted. So you should keep it out of their sight & reach. When you’re using them, you have to be careful. If it spills somehow, you should clean it up immediately

You can purchase:

1. Camco Antifreeze
2. Camco RV & Marine Antifreeze

While they both are safe & affordable, you should also use chlorine bleach in your water. Because, unwanted stuff can start growing inside water and it will smell bad then


How much antifreeze does it take to keep water from freezing?

The common ratio of using anti-freeze and water is 50/50. That is more than enough for a 35 or 40 gallon base

With that being said, it all comes down to where you live & how cold it gets there. Based on this you can add more. I have seen people using only 1 gallon of Antifreeze for the whole base

Here is a video demonstration of putting antifreeze into portable basketball bases

B. Sand:
Sand is lot heavier than water so makes your basketball hoop more secure than ever. Just remember one thing. It is difficult to move it around when you are using sand for basketball base. If you have been using sand to fill the base for quite some time then you should be very familiar with it

Assuming, you are using water till at this point. But now you don’t want to take risk with antifreeze then we recommend draining the base first and fill with sand

There are couple of ways to do it:

1. Draining water from the base is easy. Just lay the hoop on it’s side, open the base hole and now you can drain out water with ease

2. You can siphon it out with siphon pump

3. Also you can use a hose and let gravity do the work for you. We don’t recommend to suck on it



C. BaseGel:
It is true if you fill the base only with water, there is always a chance for base leaking, freezing or evaporating. Many prefer sand for this reason and it brings more stability

But there are people who don’t like sand because it literally takes out the ease in transportation. They are not too sure about antifreeze either so what they can do is just add basegel into water

It gives the same amount stability like sand. BaseGel is cheap and lasts for several years. It is for all weather use. So you don’t have to bother about those messy situations anymore

Get your BaseGel here


Secure From Windy Storm

A strong wind can shake your basketball hoop unit & in the worst scenario, it may fall over. Apart from properly securing the base with water & sand, this is what you can do:

1. Check all the nuts & bolts. Tighten them up if there are loosened

2. Use strapping method to protect from heavy wind. You will need Liberty Ground Anchor & Ratchet Straps to make sure it works perfectly

Ground anchors should be placed on both side of the base and then the strap should be hooked onto the anchors

3. Lower the pole of your hoop. Doing so will give your hoop stand more strength to withstand the impact of wind

If you want to secure your portable hoop from wind, we recommend to check out this guide: How To Keep Basketball Hoop From Falling Over?



Protect From Rust

In wet season the cold temperature, snow, ice can combine altogether & deteriorate your backboard, pole, rim, net material. The hoop unit can get rusted if not taken proper care. Here are few things you can do:

1. Routine Cleaning

2. Repaint the surface by removing all the loose paintings

3. Get a heavy duty, durable barbecue cover. This all weather resistant, dustproof cover will protect your hoop from impacts of wind, sand storm, sun & rain. They are easy to clean as well. You can use a duct tape to secure it

4. If some areas of your hoop are already rusted then you can apply a rust protective

5. Remove the net when there is no play. Otherwise it can deteriorate if dealt with harsh weather condition

Rusted Hoop
# In case of taking down the hoop:

If you are not going to shoot hoops during rainy season which most people do then it will be better to disassemble the hoop & store in a covered place

This can be done in a few steps:

1. Remove the backboard & rim attached to your hoop. It will come handy in the next step

2. Remove the pole. With no backboard and rim are attached, it is not as heavy as before

3. Empty the base unit

4. Now store all the components properly in your garage. There will be nuts & bolts for different parts. So put them separately in a small box and place it right beside that particular unit

Portable hoops are moveable. Whether you choose to dismantle the hoop or not, bringing it under the cover is always the best idea to winterize basketball hoop

In Ground Hoops

Basketball hoop for outside has concrete installation. Unlike portable hoops, they don’t have any plastic bases. Instead, they are perfectly secured deep into the ground

So there is no way your in ground goal can fall over or blow away by wind. Besides, there is no risk of base leakage or water freezing

Still your backboard, rim & pole are left exposed to the weather elements. If they continuously encounter with heavy rainfall, it can also deteriorate the materials

Two things you can do here:

1. One is removing the backboard & rim. If it seems a herculean task to you then skip this one & do the second

2. Protect your hoop unit from rust. Task of rust prevention involves regular cleaning, repainting the surface, purchasing waterproof cover & applying rust preventative. It is advisable to remove the net. Also keep the hoop at it’s lowest height adjustment

Final Thoughts

No doubt storing indoors shall increase the lifespan of your basketball hoop. But disassembling the whole unit might feel troublesome & time consuming so if you ask me I would suggest you to leave it outdoors

For portable hoops fill the base with sand, bring the hoop at the lowest height, wrap with a cover. You can give your base extra security through the strapping method. Apply rust preventative or repaint if needed. You can also do some routine cleaning

For in ground hoops, do as it’s written in this article

You can also check out our basketball hoop maintenance guide and get more valuable information

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Water inside my hoop base is already frozen. The base is yet to crack though. Is there anything can I do to prevent it from cracking?

-If your hoop base is not broken, try to take off the hole plug. Then pour some road salt (salt is generally spread to melt ice on areas where there is a lot of snow & ice in cold season). It will help in lowering the freezing point

Finally when the ice is melt into liquid just drain the base & fill with sand. It will eliminate the risk of base being cracked. You can also use antifreeze with water or just BaseGel


2. Should I use sand or water to fill my base?

-There are many who face a dilemma whether to put sand or water in basketball hoop. Water is a good choice if you think about getting advantage in transportation

But it tends to freeze in winter and also if there is any leakage in the base you might not notice it

In contrast, sand provides more support to your goal and you can use them for all year around. If your preference is water, you need to add antifreeze in winter season

  • Updated October 11, 2020
  • Blog
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