When selecting a new paint, durability, color, and environmental effects may be your top considerations. But with specialized paints – such as whiteboard, chalkboard, and magnetic – you can consider giving walls, doors, desks (and more) new functions.
These paints allow you to turn any flat surface into a space worthy of note-taking and display.
Go White and Go Green
From classrooms to nurse stations, using whiteboard paint in your facility can actually add a couple of green elements. Old chalkboards and whiteboards can benefit from a coat of whiteboard paint. "We have the ability to go over badly stained chalkboards and whiteboards," explains Patrick Glynn, manager of coatings divisions for MDC Wallcoverings, a distributor of IdeaPaint's Tabrasa, a whiteboard paint product. "There is a significant green factor in not removing the chalkboards and preventing them from going to a landfill."
Restoring the products by adding a new surface also saves money, as the old, dilapidated boards are recovered with paint instead of being taken down and repaired or replaced.
The paint is also less expensive than buying a traditional whiteboard. "We compared it to whiteboards," says Glynn. "Tabrasa is generally about a $3.50 square foot price, where whiteboards range anywhere between $8-12."
Whiteboard paint products can be used on essentially any flat, smooth, primed surface. "The end result you want is a writing surface that’s smooth, so you want to make sure that the drywall or whatever substrate you are going to be painting is as smooth as possible with the technique of scuffing/sanding, then you would prime it before putting the whiteboard topcoat over it," Glynn explains.
Maintenance is essentially as easy as application. "The cleaning and maintenance of the product is generally a microfiber towel," he says. "And for stubborn stains you might use water. There are no abrasive products used."
Fun and Functionality
Magnetic primer and chalkboard paint are two other alternatives that provide fun functions when used separately, but also work well when used together. "Chalkboard paint and magnetic primer create fun yet functional surfaces in and around offices, break rooms, conference rooms, schools, and daycares," says Jenny Thavenet, assistant brand manager for Rust-Oleum Brands, a manufacturer of these specialty paints.
"Magnetic primer can transform almost anything into a surface that attracts magnetics – just paint like any other primer, then put on a top coat in the color of your choice," she explains. "Chalkboard paint creates a writeable, erasable surface almost anywhere. It can be applied directly over magnetic primer, creating a magnetic chalkboard with just paint."
As with whiteboard paint, there is minimal prep work required before applying chalkboard paint or magnetic primer. "It’s important to clean surfaces and let them dry," Thavenet says. "If painting bare wood or metal, prime the surface first."
Treated surfaces also require no special cleaning procedures – a wipe-down with soap and water is as complex as it gets.
When it comes to the application of whiteboard, chalkboard, and magnetic painting products, the sky (or the ceiling) is really the limit. "We even have applications where some people in the school market have coated their desks," Glynn says. "We tell designers to just imagine where you want to have a writing surface and it really leads them to be creative and think outside the box. It’s really up to the imagination of the end-user and designer." B
Kylie Wroblaski (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor of BUILDINGS.