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Old 12-12-2001
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Fixing Headliners

Are there some materials or procedures you can suggest for solving a headliner problem?

Steve Meadows responds:
You may need to determine if the headliner/hull liner went in before the boat was decked. If so, you may have grave problems. There are several types of headliner installations. You should determine which you have.

  1. Foam-backed vinyl or fabric glued directly to the underside of the deck.
  2. Suspendedómaterial stapled to battens (deadwood) generally running athwartship.
  3. Suspended panelómaterial glued or stapled to a precut plywood panel and then fastened to deadwood.

For the foam-backed type, it is common for the foam to oxidize and crumble, causing the foam to release from the deck. You may have some luck using an aerosol adhesive such as 3M's General Trim Adhesive or similar. Keep in mind, if the foam is crumbling, and you try to glue it back up, you will get a lumpy result. You may want to just take down the existing headliner and have one of the other systems installed.

For a suspended system, you need to determine if it is installed with a blind tack system of overlapping panels or if it is just stapled to battens and then trimmed with a teak or wooden battens. If it is blind tacked, it is difficult to repair or replace a panel in the middle. It is similar to repairing a tongue-and-groove floor.

For the suspended panel system, you need only remove the damaged panel and re-glue or replace the material. Good luck to you.

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