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Is chalkboard paint a good idea?

Chalkboard paint has become an increasingly popular decoration and functional addition to homes and businesses in recent years. But is coating your walls with paint that you can write on with chalk really a good idea? There are several factors to consider when determining if chalkboard paint is right for your space.

What is Chalkboard Paint?

Chalkboard paint, also known as blackboard paint, is a specialty type of paint that creates a chalkboard-style writing surface on any wall. It has a matte finish and is typically black or dark green in color. The paint is formulated with a porous texture that provides enough tooth for chalk to grip onto the surface and leave markings. Once dry, the paint can be drawn on with chalk just like a traditional chalkboard. Chalk markings can easily be erased with a dry eraser or cloth.

Pros of Using Chalkboard Paint

Here are some of the benefits of using chalkboard paint:

  • Creative self-expression – Chalkboard walls provide a fun way for family members to leave messages, drawings, and creativity on display.
  • Customization – It can be painted in any space and sized to fit your unique needs.
  • Fun for kids – Chalkboard paint allows kids to draw and express themselves without making a mess on permanent walls.
  • Cheap – At around $30-40 a gallon, it’s an affordable DIY project.
  • Visual interest – The chalkboard wall adds decorative flair and personality to any room.
  • Multipurpose – Use it for leaving notes, writing schedules and to-do lists, teaching kids, hosting parties, menu planning, and much more.
  • Easy installation – Chalkboard paint can be rolled or brushed onto any smooth interior surface.

Cons of Chalkboard Paint

There are also some downsides associated with chalkboard paint:

  • Permanence – Painting a wall with chalkboard paint is semi-permanent. It would require repainting the wall if you wanted to get rid of it.
  • Dust – Chalk can generate dust, which may exacerbate allergies.
  • Staining – Chalk dust can stain surrounding items like baseboards and floors.
  • Ghosting – Faint chalk outlines may be visible even after erasing the wall.
  • Chalk smudges – Chalk markings on a vertical wall can smudge easily.
  • High-traffic areas – Chalkboard walls in busy spaces may look cluttered or dirty quickly.
  • Difficult to paint over – Removing chalkboard paint requires vigorously sanding before repainting.

Is Chalkboard Paint Easy to Apply?

Applying chalkboard paint is relatively easy compared to some other specialty paint finishes. Here are some tips for properly applying chalkboard paint:

  • Surface preparation – Lightly sand and clean the surface, then apply painter’s tape around trim to protect it. Priming first is recommended.
  • Roller application – Use a high-quality mini roller with a smooth nap. Load the roller evenly and apply in a thin, even coat.
  • Brush application – Use a high-quality china bristle brush to cut in edges and reach corners. Maintain a wet edge.
  • 2-3 coats are best – Allow each coat to dry completely before adding another. Lightly sand between coats.
  • Dry 4+ hours between coats – Drying times vary by brand.
  • Smooth down – Lightly sand and then wipe down with a dry cloth when the final coat is dry.

Following the preparation steps and application guidelines on the chalkboard paint product will ensure optimal results. Patience is required when applying multiple coats, but the project can typically be completed over the course of 2-3 days.

Where are the Best Places to Use Chalkboard Paint?

Chalkboard paint can be used to transform many different types of surfaces in your home or business. Here are some of the best places to use it:

  • Kitchen – On cabinets, pantry doors, islands, etc. Useful for messages, menus, and recipes.
  • Bedrooms – Headboards, closets, accent walls. Great for organization and personalization.
  • Bathrooms – Add lists, reminders, and creativity to vanities and mirrors.
  • Offices – Desktops, shelves, and desks. Useful for notes and schedules.
  • Kid’s rooms – Walls, furniture, toy storage. Promotes learning and creativity.
  • Laundry rooms – Keep to-do lists and leave messages for the family.
  • Garages – Tool storage, utility rooms, and workshops.
  • Cafes – Menu boards, order counters, and tabletops.

Chalkboard paint works best on smooth, primed surfaces. Make sure the area will not be prone to moisture damage before painting chalkboard paint.

How Durable is Chalkboard Paint?

When properly applied, chalkboard paint is generally durable and long-lasting. Here’s an overview of how it holds up:

  • Lasts for years – Properly cured chalkboard paint lasts 3-5 years or longer.
  • Scratch resistant – It won’t scratch or peel easily under normal use and cleaning.
  • Heat resistant – Chalkboard paint won’t easily crack or peel from normal heat exposure.
  • Water resistant – It repels minor splashes and moisture when cured.
  • High traffic – Stands up well to daily use and erasing.
  • Easy touch-ups – You can spot paint chalkboard paint if it gets damaged.
  • Not abrasion resistant – It can’t handle rough scrubbing or abrasive cleaners.

Chalkboard paint is durable enough for daily general use. Take care not to scrub the surface too aggressively when erasing. Reapply 1-2 coats every few years to refresh it.

Is Chalkboard Paint Difficult to Clean and Maintain?

Cleaning and caring for a chalkboard wall painted with chalkboard paint is relatively simple:

  • Use a dry eraser – A clean microfiber cloth or eraser easily wipes away chalk dust.
  • Avoid abrasives – Don’t use abrasive sponges or scrub brushes which can damage the paint.
  • Use water sparingly – Only use a damp cloth to spot clean stubborn marks.
  • Clean regularly – Wipe down the wall every 1-2 weeks to prevent chalk buildup.
  • Avoid cleaning chemicals – Harsh cleaners can break down the paint over time.
  • Re-seal annually – Reapply 1-2 thin coats yearly to maintain the surface.

Proper cleaning and sealing will help chalkboard painted walls maintain their appearance and function for years. Avoid excessive water and abrasion for best results.

Is Chalkboard Paint Expensive?

Chalkboard paint is relatively affordable compared to many other specialty paints and wall treatments. Here’s an overview of typical chalkboard paint costs:

Item Cost
Chalkboard paint quart $15 – $25
Chalkboard paint gallon $30 – $45
Primer gallon $15 – $30
Paint supplies $10 – $30

With approximately $75-$150 in supplies, you can paint a sizable chalkboard wall area of 25-50 square feet. Paint costs may be slightly higher for premium or brand name chalkboard paints. Still, it remains one of the most budget-friendly specialty paint options.


Chalkboard paint offers an affordable, customizable, and functional way to add personality to your space. When properly prepared and applied, it creates a durable chalkboard surface that provides years of enjoyment. Keep the project organized by mapping out your design beforehand and taking care to neatly paint. Be diligent in cleaning and sealing the surface to maintain its integrity.

There are some downsides, like the mess and permanence of the painting. Overall, chalkboard paint can be a fun and practical addition to a wide range of home and business spaces with the right expectations. Take your time, follow the techniques, and get creative to make the most of your chalkboard painted walls or surfaces.