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Art Accessories: Porous versus Non-Porous Chalkboards

Porous Versus Non-Porous Chalkboard

While browsing for chalkboards, you may have encountered these two terms: porous and non-porous. To put it simply, a porous surface is anything that allows water or air to pass through. You can also think of it as having “pores” — small areas where chalk or paint can accumulate and settle into.

This means porous chalkboards are prone to ghosting, which is when chalk marks remain on the board even after cleaning. If you’re using liquid chalk markers, steer clear of porous chalkboards. The ink can seep into the pores and permanently stain your board!

Non-porous chalkboards, on the other hand, are designed specifically for liquid chalk markers. These boards are resistant to ghosting and are much easier to clean, so you can erase your past work and start on a new project ASAP. And the chalk ink completely wipes clean, so the surface will maintain its matte black finish for a long time!

How to Check If Your Chalkboard Is Non-Porous

Chalkola Chalkboard

If you’re using a chalk marker to write a checklist or advertise a special, you want to make sure that you can erase what you’ve written or drawn. As a rule of thumb, liquid chalk can be removed from non-porous surfaces like glass, metal, whiteboards, and other surfaces that don’t allow air or water to pass.

But what about chalkboards? Some chalkboards are made of paint and wood, both of which are porous and will absorb the colors from your marker. If you’re not sure what your chalkboard is made of, it’s recommended to test it first. Here’s how:

1. With a chalk marker, draw a small dot or line on your chalkboard.
2. Wait for at least 24 hours.
3. Wipe your board a few times with a wet towel.

If the mark goes away eventually, good news! Your board is non-porous and you can use it over and over again. However, don’t fret if you have a porous surface. Sealing the chalkboard with an acrylic spray or other aerosol sealer will make it perfect for showing off creations that are easy to clean.

How to Clean Chalkboard

Want a chalkboard you can use right away? Our Rustic Chalkboard Sign is made with magnetic porcelain steel and is guaranteed to be non-porous. No need to prep or seal the board — simply unbox and start creating!

How to Remove Ghosting from Porous Chalkboards

How to Clean Chalkboard Ghosting

Accidentally used your chalk markers on a porous chalkboard? You’re probably dealing with ghosting — a term for the stubborn outlines left behind by liquid chalk. Ghosting occurs when the ink seeps into the “pores” of the board and becomes hard to reach. But don’t worry; your chalkboard isn’t ruined. To clean up ghosting from a porous surface, just follow these steps:

1. Prepare a foam eraser and a window cleaner or natural chalkboard cleaner.
2. Spray the eraser with the cleaning solution.
3. Scrub off tough stains and marks using the foam eraser.
4. Wipe the board with a dry microfiber towel.

You can also watch our video tutorial on how to remove chalk marker ink.

If all goes well, your chalkboard should be good as new. However, some stains may be especially tough to remove. In this case, you may choose to refinish your sign with chalkboard paint or buy a non-porous chalkboard.

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