Whiteboard Materials pic

What materials are used to make whiteboards?

Here at red17 we sell thousands of whiteboards a year to our valued customers and thought that we would share and inform about the different types of materials used to make whiteboards and how those materials create differences in style and functionality.

The manufacturing of whiteboards has evolved over the years but generally hasn't change too much, with the majority of whiteboards being made from 3 distinctive types of materials - Melamine, Steel or Glass.

Let's dig further and explain how these materials are used to make whiteboards.

Plain White example of a whiteboard


Melamine is a resin based product derived from infusing a paper base material with a plastic resin to form a coating material which is then applied to a hard substrate board such as MDF (medium density fibreboard).

Whiteboards manufactured from melamine are generally cheaper to make than the steel varieties. They are not intended for heavy use as their clear topcoat which overlays a plastic or hard wood base will eventually start to wear away over time, often resulting in a grey shade.

The amount of resin used and deposited onto the base material to produce the whiteboard surface will primarily determine the overall quality of the whiteboard; - the more resin used, the better quality and longer lasting the whiteboard surface will be.

Also you may have noticed on some whiteboards that no matter how much the board is cleaned you can still see some writing, this is referred to by many as “ghosting” and is the sign of wear and tear associated with melamine resin boards.

Melamine Whiteboard example


There are three main types of steel based whiteboards:

  • Polyester Laminate Coated Steel
  • Enamelled Steel & Porcelain Steel
  • Tempered Glass

Whiteboards made with steel are generally heavier than melamine whiteboards, some sturdier than others. Overall however they are typically scratch and dent free and can be subject to a substantial amount of heavy use before any wear and tear appears.

Polyester Coated Steel

Polyester coated steel whiteboards or steel laminate whiteboards are similar in construction to the melamine types with a coating applied to a steel substrate and again the performance of the board will very much depend on the amount of coating used.

Here at red17 we sell high quality laminate whiteboards which are less porous and more resistant to staining than many low quality products found elsewhere in the market place. We also offer cheap whiteboards but without the reduction in quality of materials used and therefore any reduction in performance.

Enamelled Steel & Porcelain Steel

These types of whiteboards often are the most expensive, have the most durable robust surfaces and sometimes carry a lifetime warranty.

Porcelain whiteboards are produced by 'firing' ceramic onto a steel sheet base in a kiln, whilst the enamel surface is made up from nickel, cobalt and glass, which is 'fired' to 1700ºf.

These heavy duty quality whiteboards are often used in industry and education for frequent use and for many years. They are highly resistant to scratches and do not absorb permanent maker ink or dry erase pens. The steel substrate allows for the use of magnets.

Tempered Glass

Glass whiteboards are the most recent addition to the wide range of whiteboards available today. Increasing in popularity these whiteboards are made from tempered glass and are available in many colours and sizes.

The dry wipe surface is easy to erase maker pens due to the non-porous glass surface and easy to clean functionality. At red17 we sell a range of magnetic glass whiteboards which are made from tempered glass with a steel sheet applied to the back.

Being used by business, offices, eateries and schools these glass boards look very much at home whatever the environment, with their sleek look and chrome wall fixings.

Example of a Glass Whiteboard

In Addition:

Alternative steel based whiteboards are painted ones. These surfaces are made up of multi-layers beginning with a white base coat followed by a clear coat which has dry erase properties. Whiteboards of this type are not so durable and can be susceptible to marking and scratching.

Produced by simply applying paint to a steel sheet or sometimes aluminium, creates a dry wipe white faced board that can have a wide range of quality. Painted steel surfaces allow the use of magnets, whereas painted aluminium ones do not.


Whiteboards are a great alternative to traditional chalkboards. They have grown in popularity over the years due to their multi use ability, not only can they easily be wiped clean they can also be doubled up as video and overhead projector screens.

We sell whiteboards across the UK to offices, schools and homes, so check out our full range of whiteboards available through our online store with bulk buy discounts and free delivery options.

Whiteboards Montage

Read more: QUIZ: How Much Do You Know about Whiteboards?

Shop here:

Man writing on whiteboard