Choosing the Right Tack Board Material

Cara Porcella

Cara is a whiteboard enthusiast and writer born and raised in Massachusetts. Her favorite MyWhiteboards product is the custom printed calendar, and when she's not working, she loves bass fishing, reading, and spending time with her cats.

natural tan tack board surface with neon sticky notes

When you think about “tack board material,” you probably imagine a speckled roll of tan cork. While natural cork is the most common tack surface, tack boards and bulletin boards are now available in a variety of bright, punchy colors, materials, and fabrics. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing different tack materials. If you are interested in a durable tack board or bulletin board to hold papers, memos, and notices, it’s a good idea to decide which material best suits your environment.

Natural Cork

Almost everyone on the planet is familiar with natural brown cork. This material is produced by harvesting the bark of cork oak trees, which mainly grow in Mediterranean regions like Portugal and Spain. Although traditional cork tack boards are a relatively new invention, humans have been using cork bark in various applications for thousands of years, most commonly in wine stoppers and floating devices. It was even used in ancient Greek footwear! In 1925, George Brooks, an American living in Kansas, created the first patent for the cork board. His patent for the product expired in 1941, allowing anyone who wanted to create their own version of the modern day corkboard to do so.

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Natural cork boards are great for anyone who wants a classic and functional tack surface. Cork is a buoyant, hydrophobic material harvested from the phellem layer of tree bark, and it is also naturally resistant to fire (making it a great décor choice in offices and education facilities!) This material is also biodegradable and renewable, making it an environmentally conscious choice. However, like anything else, natural cork has its downsides. For one, natural cork can sometimes show visible thumbtack holes. Cork can also dry out and become brittle over time, and can’t be disinfected with heavy duty cleaning agents such as bleach. Despite these issues, natural cork is a universally loved material used by schools, colleges, workplaces, and more.

Colored Cork

If you prefer your tack surface to be self healing and provide a pop of color to a room, colored cork material is your friend!  Premium colored cork material such as Plas-Cork (manufactured by Forbo) is the perfect solution for those seeking more color from their traditional corkboard. Although Plas-Cork sounds like it has artificial plastic elements in it, it actually doesn’t. Plas-Cork material is made with natural cork, linseed oil, rosin binders and dry pigments, which are mixed together and set on a jute backing.

plas-cork colored tack board

This material comes in an array of colors ranging from neutral tans and grays to bright red and yellow. Plas-Cork is denser and more durable than traditional natural cork, and won’t crack or become brittle over time. It’s also self healing, which means that it won’t show thumbtack and stapler holes even after years of use. Plas-Cork is naturally resistant to bacteria as well as being ecologically sustainable, making it ideal for offices and educational facilities. It’s also great for areas with high humidity, as it won’t warp. However, we don’t recommend Plas-Cork for interior locations that require heavy duty cleaning agents such as hospitals and healthcare facilities, as this material should only be disinfected with a neutral pH cleaner between 6 and 8.

Burlap

Burlap covered bulletin boards are another way to add color to your interior space. Each bulletin board is crafted with a class A rated Berwick pattern burlap fabric laminated to a 1/2″ piece of fiberboard. Like Plas-Cork colored corkboards, burlap fabric tack boards are self healing and don’t show evidence of thumbtacks and staples. This material is made of strong 100% post-consumer recycled polyester and available in a wide range of colors.

Burlap weave fabric tack board

If you are looking for a frameless tack board, burlap is an excellent choice because frameless fabric wrapped square and radius edge tack boards are available. Of course, you can also get a traditional wood or aluminum framed burlap bulletin board as well. This material is an excellent choice for hospitals and medical facilities, as this fabric can be cleaned with bleach and other strong disinfecting agents. Guilford of Maine’s fabric covered tack boards are also acoustically rated and help to absorb noise and echo.

 

Vinyl

There is another type of tack surface that’s similar to burlap in that it sits on top of 1/2″ fiberboard and comes in many colors, and that’s vinyl! This surface is self-healing, water repellent, and available in many classic colors. Like burlap tack boards, vinyl tack boards are available with a frameless option with either square or radius edge corners. Our Koroseal vinyl tack surface is also perfect for hospitals as it can be cleaned with bleach and heavy duty cleaning agents. This type of surface is also easy and quick to clean due to its water repellent nature and can be dried off in a pinch.

Oak Framed Burlap Weave Vinyl Tackboard

Which Tack Board Material Should You Choose?

Tack boards are available in a large selection of shapes, surfaces, colors, and sizes. Ultimately, the best tack board surface is the one that works best for your intended location. It’s crucial to take into account what you’ll need to clean your board with. For everyday and casual use, a basic natural cork board or a colored cork board will most likely suffice, but a vinyl or burlap covered tack board will better suit higher traffic settings like hospitals and schools. If you need guidance on choosing the right tack board, contact us at 866-366-1500 today!