Laminate ceilings are a new way to utilize the benefits of laminate technology. Laminate has some benefits over wood as well as some disadvantages.
It's very easy to install and can be done by anyone with basic skills and tools. These easy to install panels are very DIY friendly and by doing the work yourself you can save a lot of money.
Very easy to clean when used in the kitchen. Other areas of the home normally do not require a ceiling to be washable. In the kitchen grease and smoke can stick to ceilings leaving them dirty and dingy. The ability to clean with a mild detergent and a damp cloth are a huge plus in the kitchen. Cleaning wood ceilings is very difficult if not impossible.
The stability of laminate means that there will be minimal expansion and contraction of the material. Wood has a tendency to expand and contract quite a bit with the seasons. In the winter months wood can contract up to 1/4 inch per 8 feet depending on humidity. Laminate will not expand more than 1/2 inch over an entire ceiling.
Laminate is attractive and with the newer technologies the look is becoming more "wood like". The design layer is where the picture of the wood is applied to the backing. Not only are they more realistic, but the colors and wood selection is large as well.
To view Armstrong's video on their WoodHaven line click here. Opens in a new window.
Laminate does not look like real wood but it's very close. Laminate design has come a long way and is getting much better with new technology but nothing can match real wood. Some come close but the imperfections in wood does not come through in laminates.
The cost is comparable to wood. The price is offset by the fact that laminate does not need to be finished. Wood ceilings need two or more coats of protection. The cost of finishing can be as high as the hanging of the wood itself.
Laminate ceiling materials in retail stores are limited due to it being a very new use of laminate material. The hanging of laminate is by clips that are screwed into the ceiling. Like with all laminates it cannot be be nailed through because it has to float.
Manufacturers are limited right now but as this technology gains momentum there are sure to be more companies jumping on the bandwagon. As of right now there are only two companies who make this ceiling material, Armstrong and BHK.