Whiteboards are productivity staples in any working environment, whether for school, the workplace, or your new work-from-home office. And while searching for a dry-erase board is simple in theory, there’s a lot to consider to ensure that you get years of use along with a high-quality writing experience.
One big consideration you need to make is finding the best whiteboard surface that suits your needs. With so many options on the market, narrowing your search for the one perfect writing surface can be a challenge. But don’t worry—we’re here to help.
The Difference Between Whiteboard Surface Types
Your writing experience varies depending on the type of surface you choose. While the market offers a wide range of options from custom glass dry-erase boards to wall-mounted boards with magnetic compatibility, some kinds are better than others for specific needs.
Porcelain or Ceramic Whiteboards
Porcelain or ceramic dry-erase boards are a little high in the pricing spectrum but offer high-level durability and scratch resistance, both of which are crucial in extending their lifetime. These are magnetic dry-erase boards by nature as they come with steel backing. Moreover, by being scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and resilient to leftover streaks, you can wipe off dark-colored ink with little worry about leaving unwanted streaks that could compromise the look of your whiteboard.
Painted Steel Whiteboards
Painted steel whiteboards are made with an acrylic enamel surface, allowing for a beautiful, clean finish at a mid-range cost. A downside to this option is that acrylic enamel isn’t the most robust material on the market. As a result, rubbing a painted steel dry-erase board against a sharp metal can cause scratches. While not a problem in office spaces, these whiteboards aren’t ideal for mounting in high-traffic areas, such as industrial sites or classrooms.
Melamine or Plastic Whiteboards
Melamine surfaces are made of plastic with a pressboard backing. These are low-cost, non-magnetic options that are useful when you only need a dry-erase board for a short period. One big downside to melamine whiteboards is that they aren’t permanent marker-compatible, which means that you need to use a dry-erase marker at all times. They’re also not stain-resistant and are susceptible to leftover ink streaks, so you need to clean the surface very often.
Glass whiteboards offer incredibly smooth writing surfaces that are easy to maintain due to their non-porous properties, which allow you to easily wipe off dry-erase or permanent marker ink. While they tend to cost higher than painted steel or melamine, they are the most durable options on the market. Apart from being resistant to stains, ghostly ink streaks, and scratches, they offer a clean aesthetic due to a naturally frameless build. Glass whiteboards are color-customizable and come in both magnetic and non-magnetic surface options.
If you’re torn between two whiteboard surfaces, take a look at these comparisons to help you make the big decision.
Porcelain vs. Glass Whiteboard
Porcelain and glass whiteboards rival each other in the durability department. With extremely strong, scratch-resistant and streak-resistant properties, they’re writing surface companions that resist stains and can last decades.
A key difference between the two is flexibility. Porcelain options offer no room for customization as they’re made with pure-white opaque ceramic that can’t cleanly obtain a tint of color. They’re also backed by steel, which means that you can’t achieve a clean, frameless look. In contrast, glass is a naturally transparent material, allowing tints of color to shine through without compromising the surface’s quality. Glass can also exist on its own without a frame, allowing manufacturers to cut it in all shapes and sizes and bring in magnet compatibility.
Acrylic vs. Glass Whiteboard
Acrylic whiteboards look comparable to glass in that they’re transparent, so if you hang one against a yellow wall, it will take on a similar tint. They’re lightweight, impact-resistant, and are relatively durable compared to other mid-range materials on the market.
But a big difference between acrylic and glass is that acrylic doesn’t have the same ink streak-resistance as the latter. This means that using a dry-erase marker on an acrylic white board may leave unwanted streaks that can be difficult to clean up. So if you need a dry-erase board for a brainstorming room, the constant writing and erasing will make the surface messy. In contrast, glass has absolute streak-resistance and is compatible with both dry-erase and permanent markers.
Porcelain vs. Melamine Whiteboards
Melamine whiteboards are coated in a plastic material, which doesn’t contain the same resistant properties as porcelain. As a result, they can easily scratch, erasing ink may leave ghostly streaks, and they’re certainly not permanent marker-compatible. But melamine options aren’t all that bad. If you only need a whiteboard for a one-time event or to keep for a few months, the low cost of a melamine dry-erase board may be a no-brainer.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for quality, durability, and a whiteboard that can last a decade, porcelain is ultimately a better option. Apart from being resistant to scratches, porcelain is also magnetic and has decent streak-resistance.
Whiteboards vs. Glassboards
While whiteboards and glass boards offer the same primary function in that you can freely write on them with dry-erase markers, everything else about them is slightly different.
First, whiteboards made with non-glass surfaces are generally framed, which gives you less aesthetic flexibility. But an upside is that they’re made with opaque materials, making it easier to see and photograph writing. In contrast, while the transparent surface of glass whiteboards may take a little getting used to, their diverse customization options can bring workspaces and classrooms to life.
What sets the two dry-erase boards apart is porosity. Most standard whiteboards are porous, which means some liquid ink can seep into the surface, resulting in ghostly ink streaks that can stain when left uncleaned. Meanwhile, glass boards are completely non-porous, so anything you write won’t trickle beyond the surface. As a result, they allow for a super-smooth and seamless writing (and erasing) experience.
Custom-Printed vs. Colored vs. See-Through Glass Whiteboards
Glass whiteboards are see-through by default, which means that if you place one against a blue wall, the board will be tinted with the same color. Generally, most workspaces opt for a see-through glass whiteboard for its simplicity and professional look, perfect for conference rooms and other corporate functions.
But if you find that your wall is a little too messy for a see-through whiteboard or if you’re looking to spice things up with some color, a colored glass whiteboard is a wonderful alternative. Essentially, color is printed behind the tempered glass, allowing the front to retain its full functionality. You don’t lose any resistance, and the writing experience is just as smooth.
Meanwhile, a custom-printed glass whiteboard takes the customization level up a notch by printing your preferred image behind the tempered glass. It’s a smart alternative to bringing art and function together while saving wall space. And like plain colored options, custom-printed glass boards retain their full functionality.
How to Choose a Whiteboard?
Knowing what considerations you have to make when choosing a whiteboard can make it a lot easier to land on a decision, especially if you’re purchasing one to use in the long run.
Consider The Whiteboard’s Function
One consideration you can make is how you intend to use the whiteboard. For example, if you plan to set one up in your home office, then you might enjoy a custom option that screams your personality, such as a glass whiteboard featuring your favorite color or image.
Meanwhile, if you intend to use the dry-erase board in a professional setting, a clean, glass surface with no borders offers an aesthetically elevated yet highly functional appeal. In contrast, if you plan to install a whiteboard in a classroom, opting for a colored glass whiteboard with a marker tray can bring in some fun and function in learning.
On the other hand, if you move around a lot, opting for a lighter surface, such as acrylic, could be better. There are many possibilities and use cases for whiteboards, so let their intended function factor into your decision-making!
Measure Your Space
Some whiteboards come in standard sizes, so it’s important to ensure that they fit the space you intend to place them in. For example, if a board measures 4×8 feet, you want a little more leeway in your wall to successfully place a wall-mounted dry-erase board. And if you want to place the whiteboard in an odd area, such as an attic wall that may have an irregular edge, then opting for a custom-cut glass option will accommodate your space.
Decide on Magnet Compatibility
If you forecast that magnet compatibility will be essential in your whiteboard usage, opt for a magnet-compatible option, such as a magnetic glass whiteboard. Using magnets will save you time from using double-sided tape for important documents.
Look Past The Present
High-quality whiteboards offer the benefit of longevity. The glass dry-erase board you buy today will likely still be with you 20 years from now, so you don’t have to think about getting a replacement every few years. If you only need a whiteboard for a quick gig, then you can certainly save money by going for a low-quality plastic option. Otherwise, choosing a longer-lasting board is a no-brainer.
Reasons Why You Should Choose a Dry-Erase Custom Glass Whiteboard
Glass whiteboards are incredibly versatile and have a place in almost any setting—whether home offices, conference rooms, classrooms, and even outdoor exhibitions. But beyond their versatility, you’ll come to find that a dry-erase custom glass whiteboard offers more than meets the eye.
- Marker accommodation—you can’t deny most whiteboards’ dry-erase compatibility, but many surfaces can’t accommodate permanent and wet-erase markers. In contrast, glass surfaces can brave these markers without losing form, function, and lifespan.
- Customization—cut the glass into irregular shapes, change its color, or turn it into a painting in disguise. Your imagination’s the limit when it comes to custom glass whiteboards! Alternatively, customization can be beneficial for color-coding whiteboards for brainstorming ideas and getting children’s attention in classrooms.
- Reliability—nothing else can top glass whiteboards in the reliability department. They’re quick to install, resistant to scratches, stains, and other unwanted elements, and you don’t have to worry about regular maintenance and upkeep.
- Easy to clean—cleaning is a huge pain point for traditional whiteboards, as the unwanted ink streaks that seep into porous surfaces can turn a pristine board into a muddy affair. In contrast, custom glass whiteboards are so easy to clean that just wiping the ink off is enough to make the board look brand new.
- Seamlessness—you can mount a custom glass whiteboard vertically or horizontally, or even sideways if you’re feeling adventurous. As these whiteboards are seamless from edge to edge, you don’t have to worry about dismantling a built-in marker tray to change the board’s orientation.
Glass Whiteboard Accessories
You can use a range of accessories with your glass whiteboard. These simplify the writing experience so you can focus on your productivity.
- Markers and pens for glass whiteboards—there are a lot of writing materials compatible with glass whiteboards. From dry-erase markers to liquid ink markers, chalk markers, and even window markers, the sky’s the limit with material as great as glass.
- Marker holder for glass whiteboards—glass whiteboards are seamless and frameless. But you can stick a magnetic marker holder to the board to hold your writing materials and erasers. Keep in mind that this only works for magnetic glass whiteboards.
- Strong magnet for glass whiteboards—you don’t want important documents falling off the board, so use strong magnets made specifically for glass whiteboards.
Glass Whiteboard Installation Ideas
There are so many ways you can customize your glass whiteboard. But the fun doesn’t end there. Amplify your experience by installing in unique ways—starting from these ideas.
Glass Whiteboard on Wheels
These are great for teams that love to work outside of meeting rooms, as they can simply push the glass whiteboard to their location of choice. They’re especially wonderful for outdoor functions, similar to bulletin boards.
Glass Whiteboard With Stand
Installing a glass whiteboard on a stand is a great way to save wall space. If you don’t want to sacrifice wall decor for a whiteboard, this installation idea will give you the best of both worlds.
Framed Glass Whiteboard
While glass whiteboards are seamless by default, you can install them on a frame to spice things up. Work with the manufacturer to figure out what kinds of frames can hold the glass in place. One fun idea is to use picture frame-inspired borders on a custom-printed glass board, giving the illusion of a painting.
Frameless Glass Whiteboard
Frameless glass whiteboards are clean and chic. They’re great to use as-is if you love the clutter-free look.
Glass Whiteboard on Wall
Glass whiteboards and walls are two peas in a pod. It’s a no-brainer installation strategy that allows you to write with ease, whether standing or sitting. More importantly, having the board on the wall invites participation from students or co-workers.
Hanging Glass Whiteboard
Hanging glass whiteboards are desk essentials—especially if you work inside a cubicle. Simply attach metal hooks to the top part of the whiteboard and hang them on your cubicle wall. It’s an opportunity to get a personal whiteboard without damaging company property.
Choosing How to Install Your Glass Whiteboard
With so many options, here are some things to consider when deciding how you want to install a glass whiteboard.
Evaluate Your Space
Do you have enough wall space for a wall installation? Or do you often work outdoors, where a glass board on wheels is more practical? Decide what you’ll use the whiteboard for and evaluate your available space (and needs) to figure out an installation method perfect for you.
Decide on The Whiteboard’s Location
Depending on where you want to place the glass whiteboard, some installation methods are better than others. For example, if you’re setting one up for an outdoor event, then a whiteboard with a stand may be the better option.
Consider Your Budget
Custom frames are lovely but can be costly. If you don’t want to spend more than the cost of the whiteboard, then a standard, seamless glass whiteboard may be a better fit for your budget.
Check Office Rules
Before opting for a wild option like a hanging glass wardrobe, check your office rules first. Some workplaces don’t allow workers to install large objects, such as whiteboards, even if they don’t damage company property.
Should I Get a Wall-Mounted Whiteboard or a Freestanding One?
A freestanding whiteboard is easily moveable, offering all-around flexibility. But keep in mind that you can eventually remove a wall-mounted whiteboard and turn it into a freestanding version sometime down the line. So, evaluate your needs now and in the near future to help you decide which is the more practical choice to make.
Tips For Mounting Your Glass Whiteboard
Glass whiteboards are notorious for carrying quite a bit of weight. More often than not, they’re impossible to install alone, so consider getting extra hands to help out. While the process seems complicated, it’s actually pretty simple. You have to drill holes, install wall anchors and standoffs, attach the glass board, screw everything in—and you’re done!
- Ask the seller if they offer mounting services upon delivery, which can help save you time and energy.
- If your seller doesn’t offer mounting services, you can get the help of professionals experienced in glass installation.
- Mark key areas in the wall to indicate where each end of the whiteboard should go, where you should drill, and more. These markers will guide you through the mounting process, so you don’t get lost along the way.
How to Remove a Glass Whiteboard From the Wall
Start by unscrewing the glass whiteboard. That will allow you to remove the actual whiteboard, detaching it from the wall. After, remove the remaining screws and attachments to get rid of the mount.
While there are various surfaces on the market, the best whiteboards are made of glass because it’s durable and can last a lifetime. It’s also fully customizable, so you can completely transform your writing experience to suit your needs and preferences.
How to Clean Glass Whiteboards?
Glass whiteboards are so easy to clean that wiping off dry-erase markers with a whiteboard eraser is enough to completely remove the ink. You can also use alcohol and similar spirits to remove permanent ink, as they easily slide off the smooth surface. Meanwhile, use a glass cleaner, such as Windex, for a more thorough clean once in a while.
Think a Glass Whiteboard Might Be Right For You?
Starfish Signs and Graphics is ready to work with you to create the perfect whiteboard for your space. Check out our product page for more information on custom glass whiteboards and the area we serve.
Ready to get a custom-designed whiteboard for your office? Contact us today to get started!