Painting the Perfect Screen for $100
January 26, 2011
FOUR Reasons NOT to Paint your own Screen
Since this article is about creating the perfect screen for $100, it may seem odd to finish with reasons you might not want to do this. But it is important to think through all of your options. For many people, buying a screen will be the better alternative. Here are four reasons not to paint a screen...
1. Ultimate quality. Some people want the best, and are willing to pay for the best no matter what. Especially if you are budgeting $3,000 to $5,000 and up for a high quality projection system, you will want the best possible screen available to go with it. Though the paint we recommend here does a great job, it is most appropriate for first time home theater buyers who want to limit their investments. It does not match the brilliance of, for example, our Stewart Studiotek 130. It has higher gain and more brilliance than the Studiotek 100. Putting our painted test board up against the Studiotek 130, the 130 wins hands down. If you want to get the best picture possible from a top quality projector, you want either the Stewart Studiotek 130, or a similar product from Da-Lite, Draper, Vu-tec, and other companies that manufacture high performance professional screens.
2. Convenience. There is also the matter of convenience to consider. All screen manufacturers make fixed frame products that snap together in under an hour. This is MUCH easier and quicker than the messy sanding and painting required for the DIY screen discussed here. If you do the painting right, between the prep work and allowing primer and paint to dry between applications, it will take several days of mess to get it all put together. You can get nice looking screens with frames that snap together from companies like Carada and Elite. They cost more than the DIY solution discussed here, but they are much less than what you'd pay for screens from top quality producers.
3. Do you want a fixed frame? The fact is, you may not want a permanent fixed frame screen on your wall at all. If your viewing space is a living room or multi-purpose room, having a big screen staring at you when not in use can be annoying. Many people prefer electric screens that descend from the ceiling when you want to use them, and retract and disappear when you don't. For a room that you use for social entertainment, and things other than just watching movies, the electric "disappearing" screen is much easier to live with.
4. Is there a move in your future? If you are going to move, obviously you can't take your painted masterpiece with you. If you buy a snap-together fixed frame screen, you simply take it down, pack it up, and reinstall it in your next house or apartment.
So our $100 painted screen is not for everyone. It is great for the person who loves DIY projects and gets a kick out of creating excellent home grown solutions. It is great for those who have a dedicated wall, who don't mind a fixed screen on the wall, and won't be moving soon. And it is great for those who want a beautiful screen for not much cash at all. In the end, it is just one more option in your search for the best home theater experience you can afford.
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