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If you are planning on getting a dartboard, something else you might want to consider is getting some sort of backing. Without a good backing, that wall is going to end up peppered with holes, almost like you blasted some bird shot at it. This will lead to expensive and time-consuming repair jobs.
Therefore, today we want to talk about how to protect your wall from darts, and yes, there are plenty of easy, effective, and inexpensive ways to do so.
What Types of Darts Are the Most Likely to Damage a Wall?
There are of course different types of darts out there. The most common types include metal-tipped darts (these can be steel, silver, or tungsten), plastic darts, and flat magnetic darts.
In terms of the severity of damage that these darts can cause, you don’t have to worry much about the plastic ones. These are light and not very sharp. If you throw one at the wall with maximum force, it might make a little dent or groove, but that’s about it.
In terms of magnetic darts, these won’t make holes, but they can make little dents. Those magnetic heads can be pretty heavy, and if you throw these darts hard enough, they might cause some damage, although generally not enough to worry about.
The real problem is with metal darts. These darts, whether tungsten, silver, or steel, are sharp and heavy, and they can make holes in walls even if you don’t throw them very hard. Therefore, if you have a real dartboard with metal darts, you absolutely want to look into getting some wall protection.
The Best Way to Protect Your Wall: Dartboard Surrounds and Backboards
Hands down, the best way to protect your walls from those darts is by using a specialized dartboard surround or backboard. A real dartboard surround will generally have a wooden frame, with a mat that is made of something like cork, sisal, felt, or anything else of the sort, really anything that has the ability to stop darts from penetrating, while also protecting the darts from being damaged.
Not only do these specialized backings and surrounds protect both your walls and darts, but they can also look very nice too, even professional. Now, these surrounds, especially the higher-quality ones, aren’t exactly cheap, but the old saying holds true here. You get what you pay for. If you want to prevent having to fill holes in your wall after just a couple of weeks, a nice dartboard surround is probably your best bet.
Going back to the cost for a minute, yes, these dartboard surrounds are more expensive than any of the DIY options we have listed below, but then again, you can find decent ones starting at around $50. Sure, they can cost several hundred dollars for the nicer ones, but if you just need one for basic use, you really don’t need anything super special.
Should you decide that this is the way you want to go, make sure to check my guide to the best dartboard surrounds.
10 DIY Solutions to Protect Your Wall from Darts
If you don’t want to spend a bunch of cash on a professional backboard or dartboard surround, there are plenty of DIY solutions at your disposal. Let’s go over some of the best methods for protecting your walls from darts using materials that you can find around the house or purchase on the cheap from local hardware, lumber, and even dollar stores.
#1: A Piece of Plywood
One of the best and easiest solutions to protect your wall from darts is by using a simple piece of plywood. Plywood is strong and thick enough so that darts won’t pass through to the wall behind, but also soft enough so that it shouldn’t damage darts, at least not very much.
Moreover, plywood is super cheap to buy and depending on where you look, you could even find a decent piece for free. All you have to do is attach the plywood to the wall using any method of choice, whether strong adhesive or some nails. It’s simple, easy, and affordable.
#2: A Wooden Board
Although plywood is the preferred solution over a real wooden board, this is still something that you can use. Of course, real wood is harder and heavier than plywood, so it is a bit of a challenge to mount on a wall. Moreover, real wood is of course more expensive too.
That said, real wood is much more solid and much denser than plywood, which should therefore offer your wall with added protection, although you should try to avoid using hardwood, as a hardwood board backing may be too hard for the darts. Darts may not stick in hardwood, and they might get damaged too.
#3: An Old Door
If you have any old doors laying around your house, this would make for a perfect way to protect your walls from darts. Now, you do want to avoid hardwood doors, as these may damage your darts, but other than that, any particle board, plywood, or softwood door will do just fine.
The advantage here, besides the fact that old doors are free, is that you don’t have to do any mounting. Simply prop the door up against the wall, and then mount the dartboard on the door. Sure, you can try to secure the door to the wall, but in all reality, it’s really not necessary.
The next option at your disposal, and perhaps the cheapest one, is some basic cardboard. It’s a convenient option to consider because cardboard boxes are plentiful and chances are that you have at least one laying around, not to mention that it’s super lightweight too, thus making it very easy to mount.
Just make sure that the cardboard is fairly thick, or else the darts will still penetrate right through to the wall behind. No, cardboard may not look fantastic, but it works well enough.
#5: Ceiling or Floor Tiles
Something else you could try using, although it is a little out there, are some floor or ceiling tiles. Now, if you choose to go this route, you do need to make sure that they are relatively soft tiles, like softwood, plywood, or anything similar.
You definitely don’t want to use ceramic or porcelain tiles, as the protection they will offer your wall will actually be too good, or in other words, those types of tiles are so hard and solid that they will damage your darts. That said, some old tiles you have laying around could be the perfect solution.
Another super simple solution that you can go with is a thick piece of Styrofoam. If you order lots of packages or you just bought some new appliances, chances are that you have some large pieces of Styrofoam laying around. If you don’t, Styrofoam boards are very cheap to purchase.
Styrofoam does make for a rather perfect backing because it can be quite thick, so darts won’t reach all the way through to the wall, yet it is soft enough so that it won’t damage your darts. That said, Styrofoam can make a mess with prolonged use. It will start to fall apart.
#7: A Cork Board
If you want a backing for your dartboard that looks nice and works well, then a corkboard is a great option to consider. Cork is not overly cheap to purchase, but it does look nice, and it lasts for quite some time too.
After all, dartboards themselves are often made with cork, which is for this exact reason. Moreover, cork is very lightweight, especially when compared to its overall density, which means that it is also quite easy to mount.
#8: A Carpet
Although it’s definitely not the first choice on the list, a thick piece of carpet can work quite well as a protective measure for your wall. Now, just make sure that the carpet is not too thin or soft, because darts won’t be able to stick in it, plus they might penetrate through to the wall behind.
Also, a carpet that is thick enough to offer adequate protection for your wall is going to be heavy, so mounting can be a challenge. That said, if you have some spare carpet laying around, it’s something to consider, especially if you want to save some money.
#9: Old Clothes and Towels
Although putting a bunch of towels or old clothes on your walls won’t look nice, it’s absolutely a cost-effective option.
Clothes will last for quite some time, but the challenge is layering enough of them to ensure that they offer your wall good protection. This is not one of the best options at your disposal, but it can work in a pinch if you don’t have anything else. It’s a temporary solution to use until you can find something better.
#10: Dartboard Cabinets
If you have plenty of money to spend and you want the best possible protection for your wall, as well as something that looks awesome, then a professional dartboard cabinet could be right for you.
For a real dartboard cabinet, you will need a lot of room and a dedicated space, but the fact of the matter is that this is something that is suitable for a real game room. It will offer your wall great protection and it looks really nice on its own, but of course, the question of price is a big one.
Why Is It Important to Use One of the Above Solutions?
There are a few reasons why it is important to use any of these solutions. Let’s take a quick look at the biggest reasons why some sort of backing for your dartboard is called for:
- Darts, even the metal variety, can still get damaged. If they hit a really hard wall or hit the floor, those tips can bend. Darts with bent tips are 100% useless. A backing will allow darts to penetrate or bounce off without damaging them.
- On that same note, unless you like the look of a wall that has been peppered with birdshot, you need a backing to keep it in prime condition. No one wants to have guests over when the wall looks like it survived a war.
- Most important of all, the damage that the darts can cause to walls can be very costly and time-consuming.
“Solutions” to Avoid
There are a few things that you want to avoid doing here, so let’s take a quick look:
- Never use a hardwood backing. Hardwood is heavy, expensive, and it will damage darts.
- Although using old clothing and towels is possible, it really is a last resort.
- You also want to avoid using any kind of hard tiles. Anything that will damage a dart should not be used.
- If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, you probably want to avoid a professional dartboard cabinet.
The bottom line is that any of the solutions we have discussed here today will work just fine. Just keep in mind that the whole you get what you pay for saying does apply here. For the best results, we recommend a real dartboard surround, a professional backing, or even a real cabinet.
That said, any of the DIY solutions discussed today work as well.