Wondering how to choose the best classroom whiteboards or a whiteboard for other use? Check out these buying tips from EVERWhite, which manufactures and sells dry erase whiteboards to school districts, colleges, universities, health care facilities and businesses.
Consider the following factors when you need to know how to choose classroom whiteboards, or dry erase boards for other uses:
Guarantees vary widely from one whiteboard to the next, and one manufacturer’s version of a “surface guarantee” may be completely different from another manufacturer’s version for dry erase whiteboards.
It is impossible to look at a dry erase surface the day it is installed and know whether or not it will look discolored two years later, so the key to protecting your investment and ensuring that you won’t have to replace your whiteboard is to read the details of the guarantee. Some surface guarantees cover scratching, but not staining, while other guarantees cover only workmanship defects.
It is hard to find a whiteboard with a true lifetime surface guarantee that covers staining, but they do exist. You can rest easy when purchasing a whiteboard with a genuine surface guarantee, because it is an indicator that the whiteboard will have a long life.
The fact is, if marker residue is left on the dry erase board without daily cleanings, staining will often occur unless the surface is exceptional.
Dry erase surfaces which are porous retain marker pigments. That leaves behind a discolored look known as “ghosting” or staining. The result is an unsightly whiteboard with remnants of writing from the past, and the reduced contrast makes it difficult for students or others to read the writing on the board. Many whiteboards are replaced after fewer than 10 years on the job, simply due to staining.
Can you prevent staining? That depends on the type of whiteboard you purchase.
Melamine whiteboards inevitably stain. Daily cleanings can prolong the life of such boards, but even with strict maintenance, the surface will not last very long with daily use. This surface material is meant for light usage, and it is commonly found in dry erase boards designed for home use.
Porcelain whiteboards are higher in quality than melamine and make up the majority of whiteboards currently used in classrooms. They vary significantly in quality, and the purchase price does not necessarily correlate with the quality of the surface. Since there are so many different “recipes” that can be used to manufacture porcelain, the surface pores of porcelain can vary greatly, and these surface pores are what allow staining to occur. Since a glossy board has fewer surface pores than a whiteboard with a matte finish, as a general rule, the glossier the surface, the longer it will last without staining.
Yet another type of whiteboard is a hardcoat laminate. Fewer brands of this type of whiteboard are available. Hardcoat laminate boards are nonporous and do not allow marker ink to penetrate, so they do not have to be cleaned often to prevent staining. The downside of a hardcoat laminate surface is that it is more susceptible to scratching, so it should not be used in environments where vandalism is a problem.
Check out this comparison of whiteboard surfaces.
Before ordering a whiteboard, make sure that it is not too large to fit through stairwells or doorways necessary to transport it to the classroom where it will be installed. If you think this could be a problem, you can usually order the whiteboard in two separate sections that can fit through narrow spaces. The sections are then connected via an H-channel.
Whiteboards are commonly sold as wide as 20 feet, but custom sizes are available.
To determine the right height of classroom whiteboard installation for each grade level, check our our Best Mounting Heights for Whiteboards guide.
EVERWhite offers non-printed, pre-printed and custom-printed whiteboards in widths ranging from 1 foot up to 20 feet. Most commonly used in schools are 4×6 and 4×8 boards (4 feet high by 6 feet wide, and 4 feet high by 8 feet wide). EVERWhite also offers 5-foot-tall whiteboards with a matte surface that is ideal as a projection surface. The 5-foot boards are available in 5×6, 5×8, 5×10 and 5×12 dimensions.
In some cases, old whiteboards or chalkboards can be resurfaced with whiteboard resurfacing panels.
Most dry erase resurfacing panels are self-adhesive, and they simply adhere onto the surface of an old chalkboard or whiteboard, transforming it into a new whiteboard with little effort, but at least two people are required for the installation process.
If your old board has a frame that is in good condition, resurfacing it can be an easy and cost-effective option.
There are many others factors to consider when buying whiteboards, such as:
Whiteboards are commonly used as projection surfaces. If you intend to do a significant amount of projecting, a matte surface will provide the best viewing. The matte surface reduces glare, so people watching the presentation will not experience eye strain, and so items projected are not “lost” to the glare caused by shiny surfaces.
EVERWhite’s ULTIMatte® boards have a matte surface, and are 5 feet tall, giving them 20 percent more room for projecting as compared to 4-foot-tall boards, and offering better sight lines.
Do your whiteboard homework before you buy so you get the boards that are right for your school’s application.
See more about options for classroom whiteboards.
Dan Griffin is general manager of EVERWhite, a US manufacturer and seller of whiteboards and tack boards used for teaching, coaching, planning, collaboration and tracking. Along with his expertise in the use of whiteboards, Dan excels in leadership, product development, business operations, continuous improvement and product marketing. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus on Marketing, from Temple University.