This first post will be updated with any new information and as a summary for what was discussed so far.An Index as added to the bottom of this post with various highlights throughout the thread. Also there is a new thread that was created just for the purose of showcasing people's laminate screens.
This thread started out as a quest for a material over the 4x8 size that is common and readily available. If you want a larger screen though, finding a substrate larger than that can start to become tricky, but we have found some solutions
As the thread progressed, laminates were suggested by some members and the thread became more about laminates at that point than about finding a plastic substrate. Laminates come in sizes up to 5x12 and are readily available at any Home Depot or Lowes.
The laminate posts really start around post #36
for anyone that wants to skip over the substrate talk.
There are numerous laminate manufacturers, currently Wilsonart is the primary manufacturer that is being tested and having color analysis done. Other companies will be tested and color data collected as well, but the goal is to identify a suitable white, and ideally three shades of gray. These colors and manufacturers must be something that is readily available in any part of the country. Other sources will be investigated as well, such as Pionite.
The plan is to come up with a clearly defined set of options for a white and gray one step screen solution that are both easy to get and put up, as well as provide a better than average screen. The number of options are intentionally being kept low as to avoid people from becoming over whelmed with a situation where there are 40 different manufacturers and people recommending 300 different laminate colors that would put us right back where we are now with too many options and not enough data on any of them.
Currently Designer White has passed all tests and is being used as screens by several members.Here is a summary of the main details discussed in this thread.Availability
To order Designer White, go to any Lowes or Home Depot and tell them you want Designer White D354-60, then the size sheet you want. It comes in 4x8, 5x8, 5x10, and 5x12 sheets. (The grays are also available in the same sizes)Performance and Data
Ericglo recommended Designer White and Clarence ordered a sheet and did initial testing.
Below are some of Clarence's screen tests, to see other screen shots and to read his entire comments click here
Clarence explains in his post what he is pointing too. Plus there are other screenshots and he has detailed comments about Designer White and Wilsonart as a screen material.
He has numerous posts in this thread along with other screen shots showing a digital projector
image instead of the CRT projector he normally uses.
Ericglo did some comparison tests with other Wilsonart samples and provided that information in posts #69
Here is one of his test shots, to see the rest and his comments, click on the post numbers above:HD NET zero degrees
Both Ericglo and Clarence have provided a wealth of valuable information. If it wasn't for those two laminates may have remained in the archives, and I for one am grateful they shared this information and brought it back to everyone's attention.
It was decided more detailed color information was needed so a dialog was opened with Wilsonart, who put me in contact with their color lab. They provided color analysis, which has now been checked and tested for accuracy.
Here is the data of the Wilsonart samples. This is the official data.
Next is a graph of the data. We can see the characteristics of each sample.
More data and graphs are in post #220
It can be seen that the preliminary data is indicating these are pretty close to neutral. Once the final data is completed this graph will be updated, and the screen performance testing of the grays will begin.Color CodesWilsonart Colors
(<--Click to see samples)
Designer White D354-60 - Already in use as screens
Fashion Grey D381-60 - Data and testing still in progress
Platinum D315-60 - Data and testing still in progress
Dove Grey D92-60 - Data and testing still in progressFormica
(still being researched)Pionite
(still being researched)Durability
As a screen material laminate may be the most durable material that can be used.
One member inquired about its suitability as an outdoor screen, so the Wilsonart samples were put through a series of torture' tests. First it was soaked in warm water for 24 hours to see if it would peel, bow, or show any signs of damage when exposed to water, and there were none.
Next the wet samples were placed in the freezer to see if after getting wet and then frozen they would crack or become brittle, again no damage whatsoever.
The only thing I know for certain that will damage it is heat. I know this because my wife ruined a table that had a wood laminate top when she placed a hot pan directly on the laminate. So you can make a screen out of laminate, go throw it in a lake if you want, and if a blizzard or ice age happens to hit, all you have to do is wipe it off and start watching movies again! Just don't do your ironing on it or use it for a hotplate!
If you have kids and they decide to touch your screen and get gooky little hand prints all over it, just grab some Windex or your favorite spray cleaner and wipe it off this is probably the most durable material anyone could use as a screen.
General Purpose grade is .322 pounds per square foot = 10.3 pounds for a 4x8 sheet.
Postforming grade is .260 pounds per square foot = 8.32 pounds for a 4x8 sheet.
Vertical grade is .186 pounds per square foot = 5.95 pounds for a 4x8 sheet.
For larger sizes just do the math...Paintable
We were also hoping laminates could be used as a paintable substrate for those that want a painted screen solution. I know laminate can be painted from my reading through home remodeling sites, but they made it sound like a long involved process requiring sanding and special primers.
Rfisher demonstrated that is not the case. To change the color of it as a countertop yes, but as a screen it will not get the abuse a counter top or table top gets so no special primers were required. This of course decreases the durability, but it is doubtful a person is going to actually hose down and then freeze their screen anyway. Further paint testing is being followed up on in the RGB Paint Mix Experiments & Discussion thread.
This was a good discovery because it opens up laminates as a viable large substrate for those that want a paint solution but can't find a substrate over 4x8 in size. It also means that the grays may be an excellent material for advanced top coat paint methods which will utilize the gray as a pre-made durable base color. That will be explored in a separate thread as well. We are trying to keep this thread strictly to laminates as a single solution.
In conclusion laminates were used in the past but were never widely explored or accepted until now. It is a readily available material in larger sizes that is also able to be painted. This makes laminates an extremely good choice for a stand alone one step screen or something that can be used as a screen immediately while it is decided if a paint option is the desired route, and if so what mix.
Cutting and mounting Laminate
You can cut laminate material with a circular saw, saber saw, backsaw or utility knife. The saw blade should be a fine-tooth blade. Put a strip of masking tape where the cut line is to be made. This helps prevent chipping and makes the line easier to see.
When using a power circular saw or saber saw, cut from the back side of the laminate. These saws cut on the upstroke. Cutting from the back will help prevent chipping. On hand saws, cut from the front side at a low angle.
Important: Always cut the sheets of laminated plastic slightly oversized to allow for trimming and if you are going to drill any mounting holes. You can cover the extra with the trim border for a nice professional finish.
There are also special laminate cutting blades available to use with utility knives. Use a straightedge or a steel square to guide the knife for a smooth and even cut. Be extra careful to make one straight line. Sometimes the straightedge can slip and cause the blade to slip and go off the line. Just be careful and make a single score first. Don't try to go too deep with the first scoring, during the second pass you can apply more pressure and the blade will stay in the first scored groove better than if there was no score line at all.
Once you have the laminate scored, snap it on the scored line by lifting the shorter end and applying slight pressure. It should snap cleanly. As stated before, make the score a little bigger than what you want for your screen incase of chipping.
You can also cut laminated plastic sheets with a fine-tooth hand saw. If you own a router that will also work. Use an edge guide and you can get a very precise line cut. HG57 brings up a good point to file the edge down to remove any sharp spots. Even though it will be covered with trim, you don't want to get cut from a sharp edge while hanging it.
Here is one possible mounting solution, there are many options, go with whatever is the easiest and suits your needs.
Here is the easy way! Mirror Clips...
And the price is right too... $2.46 for a pack of 4.
This is a littler slicker, but is $8.46 for 4. Spring loaded Mirror Clips
Spring-loaded top clips allow mirror to easily be removed for painting or wall-papering
Here is a slick mount:
Hang-man has a metal cleat, Clarence came through again
It even has a built in level...
If anyone wants to mount their laminate on pegboard
, that can be done too, but it is a little bit of overkill. Still there may be some situations where someone may want/need to do this, but I would use one of the above methods first.
Clarence and HG57 also have a very good idea for a manual masking technique
where they use magnets on the back side of the laminate to hold the mask in place on the front. This is an excellent idea and very easy solution that anyone can implement.
Below is the original post, to skip this you can go directly to post 36 where the laminate discussions really start.
I posted this information in the Polywall thread too, but that thread is so big it may be hard to find in there.
I spoke to Parkland Plastics, and they stopped making their sheets in anything over 48" widths. That really puts a bind on screens larger than that size. My projected image is 54x96, 52x92 would be okay too but I didn't want to go smaller than that.
I have a temporary screen up on my wall, but it is lathe and plaster and not what I want for my permanent screen. For those that have larger screens, what are you using? I would prefer a light weight plastic if that is possible rather than fabric.
What are others out there using?
____________________________________________________________ __Index and Highlights
Laminate Manufactures and Color Tests
Unless otherwise stated, here is the equipment used for the tests and color analysis
Equipment used for data testing
Matchrite CF58 spectrophotometer
Photo Research 1505D ½° spotmeter
Photo Research 504 photometer
Rube Goldberg goniophotometer
Weston 756 photometerWilsonart data
This is the post with the color and gain test data that was done for Wilsonart.Wilsonart Glossometer data
This was added when people were asking about the various finish types and why the -60 matte finish was chosen.Color Swatch Comparison
This is a color swatch comparison of the Wilsonart laminates being talked about in this thread. These are strictly for a visual comparison to get a mental idea of what the data values in the previous post actually look like.
This is the data available for Formica laminates
. There are no gain tests that have been done yet.Additional data
.Formica color dataColor Charts and comparisons
This is a set of charts and graphs showing first some common paint colors as compared to commercial screens. There is a brief discussion of commercial screen colors and characteristics.Laminates from the past
Clarence posted some good links about laminate screens that people have used in the past. Laminates have been around for quite awhile and were not discovered' in this thread. He also has a list of the screens he has used over the years and his rating of their performance.
Clarence's links for other laminate threads and a rating of various screens.Additional Testing
Here are some links to some of the testing others have done.
Ericglo ran a couple of rounds of testing comparing samples of various laminates to his screen.Round OneRound TwoMech's Fashion Grey tests
Mech is using a Fashion Grey D381-60 screen and has some really nice images and tests that he conducted.Durability test
This was covered above, but I figured it should be added to the index as well.
Here is one site
that can give a general idea of typical prices. Everyplace I have checked it was $1.60 a square foot. Home Depot adds a $15 handling fee for laminate sheets. Some Wilsonart distributors do not have this extra fee so it is worth shopping around. The cheapest anyone has found it was in Maryland. Delivery time seems to very from one Home Depot to another, but typically it is two weeks tops. Most get their delivery every Thursday, so as long as you have your order placed Monday morning it should be in the following Thursday. Again this could vary from store to store.
Wilsonart is also carried in all Lowes home centers, and there is a store finder on the Wilsonart website
.Constructing: Building the screen and what to buy
Originally Posted by davedeal
Also check into vertical grade "VG" as it is much thinner and cost less but still has the same characteristics for our application. Only difference is VG is not rated as high for impact strength.
The first thing to discuss is there are a couple different types of laminates. There is Vertical postforming standard grade laminate which is denoted by the number 335. This is a thinner laminate and used for cabinet sides and not typically used for counter tops. The surface is identical in every way to the thicker countertop laminate. It is lighter and less expensive.
Vertical postforming laminate would be designated like this:
Example will be for Designer White- D354 -60 335
For the regular countertop laminate it would be D354 -60 107. Most of the time if you do not specify which grade you want, you will get the slightly thicker countertop grade general purpose laminate. Both will work just fine.
Update: Verical grade laminate is .7mm thick (0.028) and as such it would work best with a backing or mounted to the wall. If a frame is intended with the laminate attached to the frame then the general purpose grade is stiffer at 1.22mm (0.048) and would not require a backing.
Since this is a sheet material there are usually a lot of questions about how to cut it to the desired size.
show some of the ways it can easily be cut to size.Mounting and BordersBorder tape and options
There are various options for constructing a black border ranging from velvet wrapped wood, to some interesting border tapes'.
Clarence's found a nice looking velvet ribbon
and here are a links to that post.
Here is a direct link
to the company he talks about.Craftech's Border Trim MethodFrench Cleats
This is one method to mount the screen to the wall and will work for any screen and not just laminates. This was also covered above in the main section.Professional grade framing
This is a link to some professional grade framing options. These are more expensive, but still cheaper than going to Michael's or any other place that makes custom size frames. These are a little thinner than the 2 ½-3 inch frames most people use, but some people may like this ready made option.
Bud provided some very good information and links in post 701
that deal with different adhesives.Masking
There are various masking methods throughout the forum, all of which will work with this type of screen. HG57 and Clarence came up with an idea for using Rare Earth Magnets
. This could be used for other screens, but they work especially well with the laminates (both the vertical grade and general purpose thicknesses will work) Magnets can be attached to the back of the laminate and then masking panels can be made with additional magnets or metal strips. Since the surface of the laminate is virtually indestructible this works without any damage to the screen. It would still be recommended to wrap any metal strips with a thin cloth to prevent any potential scratching.Metal Frame
Below are some links to a couple of very nice light weight metal frame options.http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8413918http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8528306Peg Board option
This is an overkill method, but will work.
Clarence's Frame option (posts 412-420)
Clarence has some very nice posts on frame and border construction.http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=8534224&&#post8534224http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post8536701http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=8537251&&#post8537251Issues and Hot Spotting Concerns
Mech did some testing for hot spot issues and has some nice posts
on that topic.
There was some discussion about the differences between Designer White and Fashion Grey. Below is a post discussing reflective coatings
and how the color can change the overall specularity of a screen even though the surface coating remained the same.
Here is a quick primer on screens
, hot spotting and other common items. These even pertain to commercial screens.Screen Shots
Below are links to various posts throughout the thread with screen shots of the various laminates in action.Clarence's shots with a JVC D-ILA G15HG57's Pionite 813 Ice in the suede finish...additional screen shotsMidLife's Formica screenPuck's HT roomkevphol's Dove Grey screen
Windycitystyle's Dwsigner White screen (Posts starting at 954
)Mech's Fashion Grey screenRound TwoRound ThreeSkyjunkie's DW screenRoll Call
A Roll Call'
was done for people to answer up with what laminate they are using and what their opinion and impressions are.Laminate Screen Showcase
This thread was created specifically for people to show their screens and Home Theater setups while the testting and tech talk remains in here. It is definitely worth checking out.AccessoriesRemote blinds and curtain systems