Chalkboard vs. Whiteboard

Chalkboards or Whiteboards: What’s The Big Difference?

When we were approached to discuss the differences of whiteboards vs. chalkboards, it seemed like a dubious task. You write on one with chalk and the other with dry erase markers, right? If that was the extent of the relationship between chalkboard and whiteboard writing surfaces, this would be an incredibly short blog post. As experts in the field, let us shed some light on the subject. For this discussion, we will refer exclusively to CeramicSteel whiteboard and chalkboard writing surfaces.

Modern conference room with long tables, mobile seating, digital screen, and chalkboard walls

Similarities Between Whiteboards & Chalkboards

  • Yes, whiteboards and chalkboards are both writing surfaces that share the same basic function – facilitating information-sharing.
  • The most prominent feature of both surfaces is their simple reusability for this purpose. Both CeramicSteel whiteboards and chalkboards can be used over and over for 50 years or longer when cared for properly, and unlike other writing surfaces, CeramicSteel whiteboards and chalkboards don’t ghost or stain after use.
  • They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often custom designed to fit the modern space.
  • There is a basic selection of standard colors available for both chalkboard or whiteboard surfaces, and both can be produced in custom colors as well. These colors all allow for high-contrast markings, whether chalkboard or whiteboard, offering the greatest viewing quality possible.

Modern office meeting room with long meeting table, mobile meeting room chairs, and large meeting room whiteboard against opposite wall


  • Safe, clean and environmentally sustainable, both whiteboard and chalkboard CeramicSteel writing surfaces are Cradle-to-Cradle Bronze Certified and emit no VOCs.
  • In addition to responsible manufacturing, CeramicSteel whiteboard and chalkboard writing surfaces are resistant to stains, scratches, fire, bacteria and chemicals.
  • They’re both durable and long-lasting writing surfaces ideal for environments requiring high-performance material.


Differences Between Chalkboards & Whiteboards

Whiteboards are also known as dry erase boards. This describes the act of writing with dry erase markers and easy removal of marker ink using a dry eraser or cloth.

  • CeramicSteel whiteboards will also tolerate permanent marker and other inks. To get rid of permanent marker, a trick is to write over the marking with a dry erase marker and erase – it’s as simple as that. Permanent marker and ink can also be easily removed using a solvent cleaner. Despite its ability to withstand a variety of writing tools, chalk is not compatible with whiteboard surfaces. The dry chalk doesn’t adhere to gloss surfaces like it does to a matte surface.

Hand holding a dry erase marker plotting a line between two points on a X-Y graph

  • Chalkboards, on the other hand, are specifically designed for use with dry chalk sticks. Dry chalk can be easily erased from CeramicSteel chalkboards with a dry felt eraser. Chalk doesn’t stain or ghost, but it can leave behind a “chalky” appearance after heavy use between cleaning with a wet cloth.

Can You Use Dry Erase Markers On Chalkboards?

  • Because CeramicSteel chalkboards are smooth and nonporous, chalk pens or wet chalk can easily be used to write on the surface, too – it just requires a wet erase with soap and water. While dry erase markers, permanent markers and other inks won’t damage CeramicSteel chalkboards, they aren’t recommended; these tools don’t provide enough contrast against the chalkboard’s dark surface for clarity.

Hand writing in cursive on chalkboard

Other Uses For Chalkboards

  • As a dark, relatively matte surface, chalkboards absorb light. As a result of this nature, chalkboard surfaces aren’t ideal for projecting – a process wholly based on the projection of light. While it’s possible to project onto chalkboard surfaces, and it has been done, it’s not recommended when a quality image and clear communication is the bottom line.
  • When projecting is a priority, whiteboard surfaces or dedicated projection surfaces are the best option. The light-colored surface reflects light, creating a clean, crisp image.  PolyVision CeramicSteel whiteboard surfaces have a variety of gloss levels for optimal visibility in any environment. Lower gloss levels produce less glare for more frequent users of projectors.

Two people standing at a graph display on a whiteboard, holding dry erase markers, while one of them fills the graph out

  • Finally, if attention to detail is what you’re after, chalkboards are the surface of choice. Biology professors across the globe sing the chalkboard’s praises for its forgiveness with shading, line thickness and scrawling minutia when creating intricate diagrams for their lectures. This allows for chalkboards to display more detail in their drawings, as compared to the more bold lines seen on dry erase boards or whiteboards. Whiteboard markers only offer one shade level regardless of pressure or ink layering and are typically bulky in nature, providing a less authentic writing experience for small hands learning penmanship.

Chalkboard drawing of an animal skull cross-section with naming indicators

Whiteboards or Chalkboards: Which Should I Choose?

When it comes down to brass tacks, CeramicSteel whiteboards and chalkboards are both premium writing surfaces with an environmentally responsible manufacturing process and safe, healthy composition for any setting. Understanding the quality helps make the selection process easier. All that’s left is to decide which surface best meets the needs of your space – will you require a projector? A whiteboard is your best option. If you’re teaching penmanship, or a cool, retro look fits your space – a chalkboard is right up your alley.

Either CeramicSteel selection can always be made with confidence, just be sure to follow the recommended cleaning and care instructions and use the recommended accessories to maximize performance.



  1. Georges Putzeys says:

    April 18th, 2019 at 6:27 PM

    Ik zou het niet beter hebben kunnen uitleggen! Unieke producten die de ganse europese markt veroverd hebben sinds 1971! Proficiat en nog veel succes!

  2. Johan says:

    April 19th, 2019 at 2:25 AM

    Interesting article, just wanted to add that we noticed in ASIA that more and more dry erase chalk pens are used on chalk surfaces. No need to wet erase with soap or water … might be a revival of the chalk surface since contrast is excellent, no dust, more eye comfort and no disturbing light reflection …. some§thing worth to think about.

  3. adminPV says:

    April 24th, 2019 at 7:27 PM

    That’s an excellent point, Johan! Thanks for the insight from Asia!

  4. Dennis Guidera says:

    April 19th, 2019 at 12:39 PM

  5. madhu says:

    March 23rd, 2020 at 7:52 AM

    According to me Blackboards are very very effective teaching tool , as we all know that when kids are born they can only see grey. If a child in 1 week can learn to recognise the surrounding world so fast . that means the grasping power has to be more effective when the kids see anything written on blackboard.
    please let me know if i am correct
    i want to prove that blackboards are the most effective and the only perfect way to teaching and learning process
    As a kindergarten teacher for 19 years i have seen the difference .
    i have thought through blackboard then white board and now smart boards.
    Thank u

  6. Phil says:

    May 25th, 2020 at 3:38 PM

    The blog points out the sustainable nature of steel as a material in both whiteboards and chalkboards. This is an essential consideration for all materials. It is important, therefore, to think about the writing medium and how it is erased. The vast majority of products used on whiteboards are markers – made of plastic, which is inherently unsustainable, even if some companies now claim to recycle it. Chalkboards tend to be used with chalk – an inert substance that is usually not even packaged in plastic. In addition, the same cloth or felt chalkboard eraser can be used and cleaned over and over, whereas dry-erase erasers tend to build up quickly with ink and then get discarded. Chalkboards are the clear winner when considering these characteristics.

  7. Daneele Mavis says:

    July 3rd, 2020 at 5:56 PM

    I’m more used to working with the whiteboard! However, when I went to school myself, we had a chalkboard and I feel nostalgic for the chalk and the process of erasing written with a wet cloth. But now whiteboards undoubtedly have priority in large areas of teaching and working process. Although I would certainly agree that chalkboards will be a priority for something. Thank you for the informative article!

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