Which whiteboard surface is best?
We have spent 30 years developing whiteboards and selecting the best materials and surfaces to suit our products and designs. We look at how well they perform as a writing surface, how well they clean and how magnetic receptive they are.
Our two main product ranges are based around ThinkingWall® and our custom printed whiteboards. These vary slightly in specification. They are both rigid panel whiteboards, but a world away from the flimsy, stain-prone options you might find from an office stationery supplier.
ThinkingWall® premium quality whiteboard
ThinkingWall® is our premium architectural panel solution, and features the same hard wearing writing surface throughout the ThinkingWall range. It is available as custom sized bespoke wall panels as well as being used in our range of mobile and freestanding whiteboards.
The ThinkingWall® writing surface is designed to be very hard wearing, easy to write on and easy to clean. We use a slight off-white colour which makes writing easier to read compared to a very bright white.
The surface is semi-gloss which enables ink to be easily wiped off with a soft cloth or cleaning spray. Whiteboard surfaces need to be glossy and smooth so that marker pen ink dries on the surface ready to be simply wiped off, rather than soaking into any bumps or textures which are more difficult to clean. Although gloss surfaces will pick up reflections from lights in the room, we try to balance this by not using a super high gloss finish like glass.
The ThinkingWall material contains metal content which makes it receptive to magnets and means we can produce a frameless finish for a clean, simple and modern look without leaving sharp edges to the whiteboards.
We regularly test a variety of different drywipe markers to choose the most suitable for our boards. Have a look at our posts on the best whiteboard pens on test and cleaning and refurbishing your whiteboard.
One key function of the wall mounted ThinkingWall whiteboards is the ability to join multiple panels with only a fine seam between each therefore creating whole wall whiteboards to suit any wall space.
The ThinkingWall whiteboard material is not suitable for printing but we do have an alternative product range if this is required.
Custom printed high quality whiteboard
For our custom printed whiteboards we use a high quality polyester based drywipe finish. As with the ThinkingWall whiteboards we have tested and developed this over a number of years so we are confident in its performance for writing and cleaning.
The printing is encapsulated beneath the drywipe finish rather than direct printing to the surface which gives a very smooth wipeable finish. Direct printing can leave bumps and ridges where the ink is applied to the surface which can hold marker pen ink making them more difficult to clean.
Our custom printed whiteboards can be magnetic receptive if required and use metal content within the surface finish allowing magnets to hold to this. They are frameless with edges finished to match the face and without leaving sharp edges to the board.
All whiteboards are made to order allowing great flexibility in size and design, with larger sizes being possible by butting a series of frameless panels together.
Glass whiteboards are available in a wide range of colours and typically back painted, so the colour shows through on the face. They are frameless so with the choice of colour are often used as a modern alternative to a traditional framed steel whiteboard.
They have a high gloss finish which works very well as a drywipe surface and cleans easily but it does make the surface very reflective.
Glass whiteboards can be made magnetic receptive with the addition of a metal layer behind the glass face. They are usually less magnetic receptive than other whiteboards so high strength neodymium magnets are needed. As the metal layer is behind the glass it means the magnets need to be much higher strength with a larger magnetic field in order to ‘pull’ through the glass to the metal behind.
Glass whiteboards are usually available in a range of standard sizes although some manufacturers offer custom sizes. They are typically frameless so multiple whiteboards could be mounted side by side to create a larger whiteboard wall however they would only be butted together rather than joined leaving slight gaps between each.
Vitreous enamel steel whiteboards
These are typically made from enamelled sheet steel so are very receptive to magnets. You will often be able to use lower strength and cheaper magnets rather than high strength neodymium magnets needed for other whiteboards.
The whiteboards surfaces are usually very hard wearing, write and clean well however as they are manufactured from steel need a frame (typically aluminium) to cover the sharp edges. This does lead to them looking more traditional and institutional.
Aluminium framed whiteboards are typically available in range of standard sizes and joining multiple boards together is not usually possible.
Whiteboard paint and whiteboard wallpaper
Whiteboard paint and wallpaper is often used where large whiteboard walls are required. Its advantage is you can cover any size or shape of wall with a drywipe whiteboard surface although the quality of the drywipe finish is very dependent on how well the paint is applied to the wall. In our experience it is often very labour intensive and needs to be applied to a very flat smooth surface in order to be effective and easily cleaned.