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What is an Ironing Board Top?

By R. Kimball
Updated May 16, 2024
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An ironing board top is a flat surface that is used for ironing. It can be made out of metal or wood. It generally has a rounded rectangular shape that is slightly narrower on one end than the other. Ironing board tops can be part of a unit that is portable with legs below, attached to a door or other stationary position on hinges or permanently located on top of a cabinet or other piece of furniture.

Most ironing board tops have padding and a heat safe cover on which clothing, fabric or other linens can be ironed. The typical size of an ironing board top is 42-54 inches (about 106-137 cm) in length. Custom ironing board tops can be even larger.

Metal ironing board tops frequently are made out of aluminum. They have holes across the flat aluminum surface that allow heat dissipation during an ironing session. A metal ironing board top benefits from a thicker padding and cloth cover in order to reduce the heat that is built up while a user is ironing on it.

Wood ironing board tops are heavier than their metal counterparts. The wood top should be made of plywood or solid wood pieces. Particleboard can break apart over time because of the repeated introduction of steam on the ironing board top during use. Plywood that is 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) thick is a good thickness for the wood top, because it will be lightweight enough that most people can lift it.

Many people who iron on a regular basis make custom ironing board tops. These tops either fit on top of a regular ironing board, can be placed on a piece of furniture or are permanently affixed to furniture or a wall. These custom ironing board tops typically are made larger than standard ironing board tops to afford the user more space to iron. This additional space might accommodate a larger piece of fabric, and a custom top also can be used as a cutting board.

These custom tops are fitted with cotton batting and cotton muslin on the ironing portion of the board, and the batting and muslin is then stretched over the back side of the board and stapled into place. Whenever the board top needs a new cover, fresh muslin can be placed on top of that which is already covering the ironing board top. Many users place a cutting mat on top of this ironing board top in order to use it to cut fabric on a bigger, more stable surface.

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