In both public and private sector organizations, dry erase markerboards play a vital role in collaborative communication. They provide the ideal medium for problem-solving, brainstorming and other forms of creative expression, and are an indispensable visualization tool that Turns Workspaces Into Idea Places®.
A dry erase markerboard’s effectiveness as a communication tool is only as good as its writing surface, which is the primary medium for exchanging visual information. Not all writing surfaces are equal, and the quality and composition of the material used to make them directly affect the user experience.
Plastic, Glass, Porcelain
Manufacturers use a wide range of materials to create dry-erase writing surfaces. On the low end is melamine, a porous plastic laminate. On the high end are premium materials, such as glass and porcelain enamel steel, which, predictably, provide a significantly higher level of quality and durability.
If you’ve been tasked with selecting a whiteboard or evaluating writing surfaces, you may have read about an issue known as ‘ghosting’ or surface staining. A lot has been written on the topic, much of it accurate and helpful. Sometimes, however, information about ghosting on certain types of writing surfaces is incomplete and occasionally even misleading. To aid in your decisioning and help you separate fact from fiction, Claridge offers these key facts about dry erase markerboard ghosting.
#1: Ghosting Affects User Satisfaction.
Research shows that ghosting is today’s number one markerboard user complaint. Ghosting occurs when information written on the markerboard surface won't fully erase, leaving behind stray marks and stains that make the board look dirty and dingy. From the user’s perspective, ghosting can impact readability and eye comfort by distorting the contrast between the surface material and the marker pigment.
#2: Causes of Ghosting are Well Known.
There are two major causes of ghosting: 1) irregular use of the markerboard, which leads to the inevitable build-up of dust, grime and other environmental surface contaminants, and 2) use of cleaning solutions or methods not recommended by the markerboard manufacturer.
#3: No Surface is Exempt.
Improper care and cleaning can promote ghosting on any type of dry erase writing surface. Being porous makes low-end materials, such as laminates, paint, painted steel and wall coverings, highly susceptible. Premium-quality materials, such as glass and porcelain enamel steel, are not porous, and therefore effectively resist ghosting. If stains do appear to remain on these surfaces, following the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning instructions should easily remove them.
#4: Oil Is Not a Great Cleaning Agent.
It seems counterintuitive but most markerboard cleaners are actually oil-based solutions that subtly coat writing surfaces with a thin lingering film. Over time, the combination of oil, airborne grime and marker-pen residue builds up, creating conditions that promote and accelerate ghosting. When using oil-based products, the act of ‘cleaning’ becomes more like ‘smearing,’ thus leaving the surface never fully cleared. Changing solutions and replacing oil-soaked cloths and erasers can correct this problem. To clean glass and porcelain enamel steel, a commercial glass cleaner usually works best.
#5: Manufacturers Know Best.
Most markerboards come with best-practice directions for care and maintenance which, if followed, help minimize lifecycle costs and maximize your investment. Deviating from this time-proven guidance can have the opposite effect. Again, regardless of which surface type you decide on, you will be more satisfied with your markerboard’s performance by only using the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods.
Ask The Writing Surface Experts®
A properly maintained markerboard can provide years or even decades of dependable, ghost-free service. But long-term user satisfaction comes from choosing the dry erase writing surface that best matches your company’s needs, budget and aesthetic style. As The Writing Surface Experts®, Claridge offers more than 70 years of experience in helping companies and design professionals select and specify best in class writing surfaces.
For more information or to request a free Claridge Glass and LCS3 (Lifetime Ceramic Surface®) Porcelain® Writing Surface Kit, call 800.434.4610 today, or visit our website at ClaridgeProducts.com.