Whiteboards have been replacing chalkboards for the past four decades in today’s classrooms, office and churches. While whiteboards were first introduced back in the 1960’s, they did not become especially popular until about 20 years ago when the health risks of chalk dust began to be noticed. The first whiteboards were made of a melamine surface. They looked very nice before they were used, but the erasability of this surface was far from ideal. As a result, there have been great improvements made in whiteboard technology. Here’s a overview of the different types of whiteboard surfaces in use today.
1. Melamine: This original surface is still sold today. Melamine is essentially a paper surface that is applied over a press-board surface. These boards are relatively inexpensive, but also can be scratched quite easily and begin losing their erasability almost with their first use.
2. Painted Metal: With this type of whiteboard, paint is sprayed onto a steel or aluminum surface. As a result, these surfaces last longer than melamine. They also tend to be smoother, which helps the erasability some, but does not eliminate the ghosting. These surfaces are still able to be scratched very easily.
3. Hardcoat Laminate: This type of surface is relatively new to the market and therefore less common in churches today. One of the advantages is that the surface generally has a lifetime warranty against such factors as staining and ghosting. However, scratching is still very possible with this surface.
4. Porcelain: This is by far the most durable surface. It is created by heat as a ceramic mixture is fired onto a steel surface. The result is a surface that resists scratching , does not stain, erases magnificently, and almost always carries a lifetime warranty.
From a cost standpoint, the price of each board increases as you move to each higher quality level of surface. I almost always recommend to churches either a hardcoat laminate surface or the porcelain surface. I’ve not seen churches satisfied over the long term with either painted metal or melamine surfaces. Some involved with church furnishings will choose to go with melamine because of cost considerations, but I encourage you to think hard in before doing so. Be sure and check with save your church money before your purchase, as often you may be able to move up one quality level for the same dollars because of the church-friendly pricing they offer.