Chalkboards 101 - Chalkboard FAQs – billyBoards

Chalkboards 101 - Chalkboard FAQs

Everything you wantedto know about chalkboards but were afraid to ask!


Q.  My chalkboard does not erase clean.  Why not?
A.    Chalkboards have a toothy, jagged surface, like a sandpaper or a sidewalk. That is what creates the drag that makes the board work with chalk.  Just as writing on a sidewalk with sidewalk chalk cannot be erased with an eraser, you cannot cleanly erase a chalkboard that has not been "chalked-in."

Chalkboards need to be "chalked in" to work properly.  To chalk in your board, turn a piece of chalk sideways and spread chalk over the entire board.  Then erase the chalk, leaving a layer of chalk dust on the board.  That layer of dust is what you write on.  When you erase, you blend dust into dust.  That's how chalkboards work.

If you don't want to "chalk-in" your board, you don't have to.  Just be aware that the board will not erase cleanly - you'll have to wash it down to get it clean.  Our higher quality boards (Faux Slate and Porcelain) are extremely durable for washing down to clean.  Cheaper boards will wear out with repeated washings.

You are probably expecting it to erase like a dry-erase board, which no chalkboard ever does, not even the highest quality.

You cannot cleanly erase a chalkboard that has not been "chalked in."

Q.  What is the difference between the 3 different grades of chalkboard?
A.  Our Standard chalkboard is a factory applied painted surface, meant for chalk usage and erasing only.  Repeatedly washing it down to clean will wear the surface off. NOT meant for use with wet-erase markers!

Our Faux Slate surface is a high pressure laminate - very durable! You can repeatedly wash it down without harming the chalkboard surface. It is the BEST surface for wet-erase markers - can be used with chalk as well.

 Our Porcelain chalkboard has a magnetic receptive surface - will hold magnets. The BEST surface for chalk - but can be used with wet-erase markers as well. Extremely durable - can be washed down repeatedly without harming surface.

Q.  How do I clean the chalkboards?
A.  The best way to clean the chalkboards (either Faux Slate or Porcelain) is with a non-abrasive damp cloth.   You may also use a little Windex or the Mr. Clean Magic eraser VERY lightly to get rid of wet-erase marker ghosting.

Q.  How do I hang my frameless chalkboard?
A.  Our 1/8" frameless chalkboards come with frameless mirror clips. Our 1/4" EZ Hang frameless chalkboards come with "Z" brackets. Our 1/2" Elite series frameless chalkboards come with screws and screw caps.

Our frameless chalkboards are not intended to be suspended. We do suggest using a construction adhesive such as Liquid Nails to glue the chalkboard to the wall, in addition to the mirror clips or the screws. This will keep the board flat against the wall, as well as more secure. Otherwise, you might observe some bowing of the board on the wall.

Q.  What is the best wet-erase marker to use?
A.  We recommend sticking with a name brand marker such as Sanford Expo Bright Sticks, Chalk Ink, or our own brand - Zig Illumigraph.  Other less expensive markers from China have had some erase-ability issues.

Q.  What is the best chalk to use?
A.  We recommend a good quality soft chalk such as Prang.  We do not sell chalk. It can be purchased at an office or school supply store such as Staples, or on-line. Other chalk manufacturers put a coating on their chalk to keep it from breaking during shipping.  That coating also keeps the chalk from writing well on chalkboards. Go figure!

Q.  Can I drill holes in frameless chalkboards to hang?
A.  Yes - you can safely drill holes in the chalkboards to hang without harming the surface.  We recommend putting masking tape on the board where you plan to drill - to be sure the drill bit does not scratch the surface before it "grabs", and drill from the front of the board.

Q.  Are the chalkboards returnable?
A.  Please see our "Return Policy" on our "Home" webpage.  We will take returns for damaged or defective items only.   All chalkboards are custom made for YOU! We do not have a warehouse large enough to store the hundreds of combinations we offer. MEASURE CAREFULLY!

Q.  How long does it take to get a chalkboard once I place the order?
A.  We run-to-order . . . we do not ship from stock.  Consequently, we need several days in house to produce your chalkboard item.  We ship from the Chicago area - shipping time depends upon your location.  Rule of thumb:  7-10 business days.

Q.  I don't know what size to get.  What do you recommend?
A.  Honestly, I've never seen your house (or restaurant, or shop, or whatever), so I haven't a clue!  Our chalkboards come as small as 4"x 6" and a large as 60" x 120".  Without seeing your space, I have no idea!  You need to MEASURE your wall space carefully, and then call us with specific measurements.

Q.  I want to match my existing cabinets.  Which frame do you think I should use?
A.  Again, honestly, I haven't seen your existing cabinetry, so I can't say.  Please don't ask my opinion - my opinion doesn't matter - I don't have to live with the frame choice, you do.  We have a wide variety of frame colors to choose from.  If you are looking for an exact match, I suggest you order an unframed chalkboard and have it framed locally, where you can see frames "up close and personal," so to speak.

Q.  Do the sizes include the frame?
A.  Yes - our sizes include the frames, and are measured outer edge to outer edge. Your actual writing surface will be a bit smaller, depending upon the width of the frame you choose.  (eg.  A 24" x 36" chalkboard with a 2" frame will have a writing surface of 20" x 32".)

Q.  Do you sell "real" slate?
A.  Real slate is a stone product - it hasn't been used in schools for over 100 years. No- we don't have stone chalkboards.  We do have porcelain chalkboards - which is what was used 50 years ago in schools.  They have a dull matte black finish and are magnetic receptive - actually, the perfect writing surface for chalk!

Q.  Do the chalkboards come with hanging hardware?
A.  Yes - our chalkboards come with hanging hardware - but we do not attach it to the back.  We send the hanging hardward unattached so that you can attach it to the board to hang the way you like - either portrait or landscape style.  Our boards come with either "Z" brackets or "D" rings, depending upon which frame you choose.

Q.  Are the published sizes width by height or height by width?
A.  Since we do not attach the hanging hardware to the boards, it doesn't matter.  You can attach the hardware to hang either vertically (portrait style) or horizontally (landscape style).   You can tell us in the Comment Section on our Order Form which way you intend to hang your chalkboard if you'd like.

Q.  What makes your chalkboards different from someone else's chalkboards?
A.  We select our surfaces based on quality and function - how well they write, erase, wash, etc.  Unlike other companies, we do not select product surfaces based on price. The owners of this company are intimately involved with customer feedback.  We hear unfiltered feedback from our customers - not information filtered through layers of management.  Therefore, we know our products to be of high quality - made here in the U.S.A.