What Is Cover Stock?

by Ann Deiterich; Updated September 26, 2017
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Cover stock is paper of a specific thickness. It is sometimes called card stock. Because of its thickness and durability, cover stock is the best choice for projects that need to stand up to some wear and tear, like postcards, business cards, menus, rack cards and spec sheets.

Types

There are a few different types of cover stock. For instance, there is Bristol Cover Stock and Index Cover Stock. Also, cover stock can come "coated" (with a smooth surface) or "uncoated" in its original rough surface.

Selection

Selecting the right paper for your project can mean success or failure. There are as many paper weights as there are projects to print.

Weights

Paper weight can be confusing. Basis weight is determined by the weight of 500 sheets in the standard size. Different types of paper have different standard sizes. Cover stock's size is 20 by 26 inches, and typical basis weights are 65 and 80 pound. The standard size of Index stock is much larger (25.5 by 30.5 inches), and 90 and 110 pound are typical basis weights. Despite their different basis weights, both of these stocks have about the same thickness.

Opacity

In addition to durability, opacity is one of the main features of cover stock. Because of its thickness, there is rarely any "show-through"—the ability to see reverse-side printing when viewing the front.

Colors

Cover stock is available in several colors. You can find it in light pastel and neutral shades as well as black.

Finishes

You can also choose cover stocks that have either gloss or matte finishes. A clay coating applied during the paper-making process adds sheen to the sheets.

About the Author

Ann Deiterich has been a writer since 1984 in business-to-business communications, specializing in TQM, business/financial topics, office management and production efficiency. As an environmental proponent, nature and science are her areas of interest. Deiterich holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Albright college and has three expert rating certifications including Grammar, Words/Phrases and Advertising Skills.

Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of courtney r