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Discussion Starter #1
So just when I had decided that buying a screen would be easiest, I was in Lowe's today and they have 49" x 8' sheet of Formica white matte laminate for $10! I have decided a grey screen is best for my situation based on feedback from the forum, so the question is can I paint this laminate with BW?

Thanks,
Nick
 

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Technically yes, but why do you want to paint a sheet of laminate? The paint will not stick as well to the laminate as it will to a sheet of hardboard the same size (that should even be cheaper).
 

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I haven't found anywhere that carries any hardboard wider than 48" and for a 100" 16:9 screen I need at least 49". I would have to special order a sheet of MDF wider than 48" and that is well over $10. Even the 1/4" 4'x8' MDF is $15. Is there a different hardboard that is wider than 48" that I should be looking for?
 

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OK, I get it now. Since you will be using all of the sheet as a screen I would recommend actually measuring the sheet carefully, both for dimensions and for surface and edge condition before buying it.

It would be possible to paint over the white side of the laminate, but this is usually a melamine coating and I have found that the dried paint will scrape off fairly easily by just scratching it with a fingernail. Don't misunderstand, the paint won't flake off or come off by itself, it's just a more delicate screen that is more susceptible to damage than painted hardboard. If the back of the laminate is smooth (some aren't) I personally would prime and paint that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'll have to go back and check the back of the laminate. I did measure and the sheets were slightly over 49" which gave me some room for rough edging, and I suppose that if it really came down to it I could go with a smaller screen by an inch, but I haven't seen even the hardboard this cheap. Don't know if they have too much in stock or what, but it was on sale.

How smooth does the back need to be, similar to the front? If it is not smooth would going over the front with a light orbital sander with 60 grit sandpaper help the paint stick?

When I go back I might measure the hardboard as it may be 49" as well.

Thanks for the help!
 

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How smooth does the back need to be, similar to the front?
I would say similar to a sheet of regular hardboard or MDF, or drywall. Some laminate sheets I have seen actually have a cross-hatch pattern embossed on the back to aid in gluing it to plywood or OSB, I doubt that could be smoothed enough to make a screen.

If it is not smooth would going over the front with a light orbital sander with 60 grit sandpaper help the paint stick?
It would help, but I have never tried it so I'm not sure how much better such a surface would hold paint. To be on the safe side, I would still prime the white side before applying the BW. One of the primers jobs is to stick to surfaces better than regular paint and to provide a "sticky" surface for the paint to adhere to.

Thanks for the help!
Happy to be (hopefully) of assistance. :T
 

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It can be painted, but as Don said it is a bit harder because it is a non-porous surface. Basically you'll run into the same issue with any non-porous material, but it can be done.

First thing is you will need a good primer that 'grips' well. The most important thing is to let the primer setup and completely cure before doing anything or you stand a chance of having some issues. If you have a sander you can hit it with some low grit sandpaper to rough it up a bit. Anything to get a better grip with the primer. Once you have a primer coat down you can then paint it like anything else.

Also and as you guys are talking, I know of some people that have painted the back of laminate sheets as well. Either way if you take your time and prep it well you should be fine.

As with any painted option, it is going to be more delicate than laminate alone. Just treat it like you would any screen and you won't have any problems.
 

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I painted my Wilsonart Fashion Grey screen with Black Widow. The only thing between the laminate and the paint was a couple coats of Behr Matte polyurethane. It will stick to it just fine. But it will also scratch very easily.
 

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This is an excerpt from the Simple Substrate Screens thread. It's a bit off topic but since I saw some comments about laminates and melamine I thought it might be good to repost this for general knowledge...

[PIE]Melamine Melamine is similar to Do-Able, except it generally has a much higher sheen. There are many manufactures of melamine white boards. Currently there is no color data or gain specifications on this type of board. There are too many different manufacturers to assure a consistant color or surface sheen.

High Pressure and Low Pressure Laminates
Before moving on to vinyl and foam boards, a quick discussion on laminates.

There are two basic types, high pressure laminates such as Wilsonart and Formica for use as counter tops and other tough durable surfaces, and low pressure laminates for general cabinet work.

[img]http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l190/wbassett/HTS/Substrates/th_laminate_hpl_pic.gif[/img]


HPL-High Pressure Laminate: As mentioned, this is your typical counter top material. It is manufactured at 1400 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure, and 6 to 8 layers of kraft paper bonded with phenolic resin glue, then topped by a melamine plastic facing. It comes in two basic grades, vertical and horizontal.

When you purchase this laminate, it is generally not attached to wood. Attaching it to wood is an entirely separate process.

[img]http://i96.photobucket.com/albums/l190/wbassett/HTS/Substrates/th_laminate_lpl_pic.gif[/img]


LPL-Low Pressure Laminate: Also known as "direct pressure laminate" and commonly referred to as “melamine”, LPL is manufactured at 300-500 pounds-per-square-inch of pressure, the resulting product is a thin single melamine paper bonded to a substrate board. NOTE: “melamine” is the resin used to impregnate the paper covering and is not the resulting wood product. When you purchase this laminate, it is generally attached to particleboard which has voids in the end grain.

Durability: What's The Damage Resistance of Laminates? Wilsonart is a manufacturer of High-Pressure Laminates used for floors and countertops. They did some testing to show the potential for damage on various materials. Here are the results for Low-Pressure Laminate, vinyl surfaces, and High-Pressure Laminate:

TEST ONE - Impact Resistance

Laminate planks were laid on Wilsonart Flooring’s 2-in-1 Pad and placed on concrete. A simulated can weighing 396g (the weight of a 14 oz. can of Campbell’s chicken soup) was dropped vertically from a height of 36 inches (standard countertop height) so that the simulated can impacted the surface.

TEST TWO - Constant Pressure Resistance

Two inch square samples were subjected to static load in accordance with AST F970. Loads of 2,000 psi were placed on each sample for 24 hours. After testing, samples were allowed to recover for an additional 24 hours in a room conditioned at 22c / 50% RH before inspection. After the recovery period, samples were inspected for damage.

The reason why I digressed a bit was because I have seen people discuss these materials and speak as if they were the same and interchangable/generic. Granted the laminate concept is the same but the process is different as is the surface and durability. Also, the price, LPL is less expensive than HPL.[/PIE]

Just an FYI on what we are actually talking about is all :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good info. I do a good bit of workworking so am familiar with the differences. Ideally if I go DIY I'd like to find something similar to MDF in the 5' wide range that I didn't have to order and wasn't a 1/2 inch thick! No luck so far in finding anything though!
 
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