All You Need to Know About Projector Screen Paint

Outdoor projector screen paint on rooftop wall

Projector screen paint is a specialist type of paint designed to transform a regular wall or surface into a high-quality projection screen for use with a video projector. You can turn any indoor or outdoor wall into a projection screen using projector screen paint instead of buying a traditional projector screen.

From outdoor movie nights to high-quality video presentations in the office, a projector screen has a lot of use cases in a wide range of scenarios. In fact, Smarter Surfaces offers a variegated range of projector screen paints tailor-made for different situations and light conditions.

In this post, we will discuss different types of projector screen paints, their key characteristics, and the ideal conditions for using them. By the end of it, you should be able to pick the right product for your projection needs.

Key characteristics of a projector screen paint

Projector screen paint changes the characteristics of a wall or a smooth surface in a way that makes the surface suitable for projection. The ability of a surface to reflect projected images is measured based on a number of technical factors.

1. Gain value
Gain value is the ratio of light reflected by a projection screen and the light reflected by a standard white matt surface when measured from a certain angle. So, if at a 90-degree viewing angle, the gain value of a surface is 1.1, it means the said surface reflects 10% more light than the standard white matt surface.

A higher gain value ensures that the projection screen emits a brighter image and it is suitable for bright viewing conditions in the presence of high ambient light. For example, the gain value of the outdoor projector screen paint by Smarter Surfaces is 1.26. That means, it emits 25% more light than a standard white surface and hence it is suitable for use even in the daytime.

On the other hand, projector screen paints designed for darker rooms should have a lower gain value lest the image is too bright or lacks contrast. For instance, the smart black projector screen paint has a gain value of 0.2. It is specially designed for high-contrast projection in dark rooms.

2. Suitable light conditions
As we have already explained while talking about gain value, not every projector screen is suitable for every situation. A bright white projection screen may not be the best choice for a dark room as the image is likely to be whitewashed. Similarly, images projected on a dark grey screen will be hardly visible in a medium to high ambient light environment.

Ambient light refers to any source of light other than the light projected upon the screen. It can be classified into low, moderate, and high – the higher the amount of ambient light, the higher the required gain value and reflectivity for successful projection.

3. Gloss measurement:
You can determine the reflective abilities of a surface by measuring its gloss value. Gloss represents the amount of light reflected by a surface. It is measured from different angles with the help of a gloss meter.

Gloss is measured in Gloss Units or GU on a scale of 0 GU to 100 GU. 0 GU represents a perfectly matt surface and 100 GU represents a perfectly reflective black glass standard surface.

A matt surface absorbs more light thus creating better contrast between the white light from the projector and darker colours. For instance, the Smart Ultra High Contrast Projector Screen Paint creates a 6 GU surface with a gain value of 0.32 for maximum contrast between the brighter and the darker parts of the projected image.

Home theatre on high contrast projector screen paint wall

4. Sound absorption
Every surface has a sound absorption property that is represented by the sound absorption coefficient. Ideally, the paint should not change the sound absorption coefficient of a surface.

All projector screen paints by Smarter Surfaces are tested to have no effect on the sound absorption coefficient of a surface. It is an important quality because a lot of work goes into optimizing the acoustic performance of a room or a hall and you would not want it to be jeopardized by the paint.

5. Safety of projector screen paint
The presence of toxic chemicals in paints is quite common. Hence it is very important to pick paints that are environmentally friendly and certified as safe for use. Only a few brands like Smarter Surfaces are completely transparent about the contents of their paints and the certifications they have earned.

The projector screen paint range by Smarter Surfaces exceeds all safety and quality standards in the USA and in the EU. The paints are free of solvents, PFOA, PFOS, and isocyanites. The VOC content is less than 0.09% which is well within the recommended limits.

The above points should help you choose the right projector screen paint for your specific needs. If you are unsure about your requirements, you can book a free video consultation so that our product advisors can look at your wall, understand your needs, and offer personalized advice.

Addressing Your Queries – Insights About Projection Screen Paint

Can projection screen paint be applied to any surface?

As long as the surface is smooth, you can apply the projector screen paint on it. The surface smoothness required for successful usage of a projector screen paint is between levels 3 and 4 according to the EU standard and between levels 4 and 5 according to the EU standards.

Can I use any type of projector with a surface coated in projection screen paint?

You can use any projector with a minimum lumen output of 1500 on a white projector screen in the presence of moderate ambient light. The required lumen value goes up to 2000 for the high-contrast paints and 2500 for the black, outdoor, and floor projector screen paint.

How do I properly prepare the surface before applying projection screen paint?

The steps to preparing a surface for the application of projector screen paint vary based on the nature and condition of the surface.

For instance, if you are about to apply projection paint on an interior wall which has been recently painted, all you need to do is lightly sand the wall to ensure smoothness. However, if the wall is not painted or the paint is flaking out, you will need to scrap the old paint off the wall, sand it, apply two coats of smart white primer and let it dry before applying the projector paint.

We have detailed application guides for each product along with application videos.

Does projection screen paint come in different colours or finishes?

Well, projection screen paints typically come in white and various shades of grey. Nevertheless, Smarter Surfaces manufactures a clear projector screen paint which is transparent. You can use it to turn a wall of any colour into a projector screen.

Can I apply projection screen paint on a textured surface?

It is not recommended that you apply projector paint on a textured surface. A textured surface may diffuse and scatter the light resulting in grainy and distorted images.

How many coats of projection screen paint should I apply for optimal results?

You should apply 2 coats of paint with a gap of 2-4 hours in between coats.

How do I clean and maintain a surface coated with projection screen paint?

  • You can clean the projector screen wall with a damp cloth but without detergent.
  • You can use a mild detergent to clean the floor projector screen.
  • The projector screen paint is not touch-resistant – hand fats can dissolve the paint over time reducing its performance and longevity. The touch restriction doesn’t apply to the smart interactive projector screen paint.

Are there any alternatives to projection screen paint for creating a projection surface?

Yes. You can try the low-sheen whiteboard wallpaper to create a projectable wall.

Is projection screen paint suitable for use in a commercial setting?

Yes, why not? You can use projection paint to turn a regular office wall into a projection screen (use the clear projector screen paint, if you want to maintain uniformity of colour in the office). You can use the wall for presentations, reviewing promotional videos and ads, or for recreational activities.

How long does it take for projection screen paint to dry and cure?

The paint dries within 4 hours and it takes 24 hours to be ready for use.

Can I use projection screen paint outdoors for events or outdoor theatres?

Smarter Surfaces has an outdoor projector screen paint specially designed for outdoor events. The paint is weather-resistant and capable of producing high-quality images even in the daytime. Creating an outdoor projector screen is a simple process.

Higher image quality on ultra high contrast projector screen paint

If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to our product advisors anytime.