If you have a whiteboard, you are more than familiar with ghosting. Even with cleaning agents it can take a few passes to get a whiteboard clean if you are using a melamine surface, and most of the whiteboards in circulation have a melamine surface.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if you can find a surface that you could wipe once and be squeaky clean? Well I have found one, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
First I want to go over why you would need a gigantic magnetic whiteboard. The reason is simple: a giant whiteboard will help you make better decisions faster. You see, business at its core is merely organized knowledge. You can organize knowledge into training, software, or technology.
Your Options for a Whiteboard:
- Melamine – most economical and common markerboard surface. Tends to ghost and needs cleaning. Usually not magnetic.
- Porcelain – usually comes with a steel or aluminium backing, is magnetic.
- Ceramicsteel – pure awesomeness!
For a more in-depth look at the different surfaces, check out this Wikipedia article.
From my perspective, the easiest way to hash out the details on a topic is to stick it on my whiteboard and then sort through the information. This is why I believe that every office should have a giant whiteboard, especially those of the knowledge worker.
Let’s get back to the ultimate whiteboard surface that doesn’t ghost. It’s called P3 Ceramicsteel and it is made by PolyVision (they also make interactive whiteboards). This is a serious heavy duty surface that can be written on with dry-erase, semi-permanent, water-soluble, permanent marker, pen or crayon without damaging the surface. A dry cloth, standard eraser or cleaner easily removes writing. Their warranty states,“virtually indestructible, with the highest scratch, damage and abrasion resistance on the market. Resistant to chemicals, fire, stains, bacteria, scratches and graffiti. Lasts a lifetime or we replace it.”
I can’t claim to have discovered this wonderful surface. Kevin Kelly wrote a post about it in his blog. He is a pioneer in the field of shift thinking (how the world is evolving), co-founder of Wired, and his blog gets over 1/2 a million unique visitors per month.
I jumped on the opportunity to purchase a zero ghosting whiteboard surface, and I immediately phoned the manufacture, tracked down a distributor, and ordered a 6×4 board to replace my melamine one. Now I hear porcelain is a pretty good surface as well, and it is certainly more widely available. However, since cermaicsteel is the ultimate surface and you can buy distributor direct (it’s not even available in the store, it’s technically a purely commercial product distributed to large institutes, corporations, and schools), it actually works out more economical to buy cermaicsteel.
My Ceramicsteel Whiteboard
Heavy duty doesn’t even cover it. This whiteboard means business. They are sturdy as it gets. I am keen to see how I can setup my lighting to film my web videos using my new board.
And even though I got the low-gloss version (which is not as ghost resistant as the ultra-gloss version), so it would be more suitable for filming my web videos, it is still pretty much a zero ghost surface.
Along the way, I have also learned a key bit of information: water-based and low order dry erase markers cling more aggressively to markerboard surfaces. Through testing on my melamine board, I discovered that Expo markers ghost more than Quartet, and I feel Quartet are much better quality (thicker ink layer and more legible).
So there you have it, the ultimate whiteboard surface. FYI – I got my 6×4 cermaicsteel markerboard from American Visual Display. The total cost shipped was just over $250 dollars and it took about 5 weeks for my board to arrive. I called (866) 583-4268 and spoke to a Chris who was very helpful. Remember, they are a distributor, so they may not be able to deliver to your residential address; in this case you can have it delivered to your local post office for pick-up.