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Are All Whiteboards Magnetic?

Are All Whiteboards Magnetic?

Thu Aug 29 2019
By: Mike P

If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time interacting with whiteboards, you might have noticed that not every whiteboard is created equally. In fact, there are a few dry-erase surfaces that don’t possess any magnetic properties whatsoever. As bizarre as it may seem, non-magnetic whiteboards do exist for a reason, and that reason is to cut costs.

Non-magnetic whiteboards are typically manufactured using one of two primary materials: medium-density fiberboard (otherwise known as MDF), or particleboard. Both MDF and particleboard are both pressed wood products, with MDF comprising primarily of pressed wood fibers vs. particleboard’s sawdust composition. Chances are you’ve run into both materials when shopping for affordable cabinetry and out-of-the-box furniture. Neither material is going to break the bank for manufacturers, which in turn makes it the perfect solution for those that need a cost-effective dry-erase board.

The board’s actual dry-erase properties come from the melamine surface that lines the front of the pressed board. Melamine is an organic compound that, when combined with formaldehyde, forms a resin/plastic with dry-erase properties. Virtually all non-magnetic whiteboards rely on melamine for their dry-erase capabilities, and oftentimes this material is added after the wood board has already been pressed.

With that being said, there is a chance your whiteboard isn’t magnetic and also isn’t made with melamine. If that’s the case, then you’re most likely using a board made of paper and film laminate. A good indication of whether or not you have either a laminate or melamine board is whether or not your board has custom print. Melamine boards are always plain white, while paper and laminate boards can accept custom prints. Regardless of this distinction, paper and laminate boards are still assembled in a similar manner as melamine boards.

“Great to know, but that still doesn’t explain why some whiteboards aren’t magnetic!”

To explain why your whiteboard isn’t magnetic, we need to take a look at how magnetic dry-erase boards are made. Most traditional magnetic whiteboards are backed with a steel sheet to provide even magnetism across the surface of the whiteboard. Additionally, porcelain and painted-steel whiteboards have the added benefit of being fired directly onto a steel surface, making the surface itself both magnetic and erasable.

Since melamine/paper and laminate boards do not have any sort of steel backing or face, they consequently lack magnetism. So to put it simply: if your whiteboard isn’t made with a steel back or porcelain face, it’s not magnetic.

Need to find a magnetic whiteboard? Magnatag is home to the internet’s most extensive collection of magnetic dry-erase boards.

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