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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 06-28-2011
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sticky vinyl

I have vinyl headliner on my J/37 that is in good shape, but it is sticky to the touch. What causes this and is there something I can do other than replace the headliner? Thanks
DD
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Old 06-28-2011
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We had a section of headliner that was sticky last winter. I pulled it down to replace it and found that it had been getting wet from a leaky window. I think the long term exposure may have degraded the material. That's my present theory at least.
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Old 06-28-2011
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Sticky vinyl: The plasticizers, oily compounds in the plastic, are leaching out. This is the sign of uncured or improperly mixed plastic as it ages. You, and J/, got suckered with inferior vinyl.

Cures? None really, it is like rotting fruit, all you can do is throw it out. Or scrub with a solvent to pull off what you can, and wait for the rest to age and crack, postpone the replacement a bit.

If the "vinyl" is PVC, the plasticizers that ooze out can sometimes actually be toxic, causing a skin rash and possibly worse problems. Personally, I'd get rid of it if that was at all feasible. (With fond memories of Governor Nelson Rockefeller speaking at a PCB-contaminated building, offering to drink a glass of the harmless PCB oils in question. Yeah, go ahead, it's safe. :-)
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Old 06-28-2011
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Try armorall from an auto parts store, a good temporary fix for vinyl, plastic or rubber surfaces.

You may need to repeat the application every week throughout the summer but think of it as just cleaning the boat.
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Old 06-29-2011
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As a temporary measure you can use "Goo-Gone" to clean the stuff followed by a dusting with unscented Talcum powder (Talc is actually a mineral material). Frankly, however, replacement is the only long-term solution.

FWIW...
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Old 06-29-2011
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I appreciate the feedback. I will try your suggenstions on a couple of small spots to see how it works. I really dont want to replace the headliner; huge effort to do an entire boat when the old one has no wear or issues other than it is a bit sticky. I will test this weekend and let you all know how it goes. Thanks
DD
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Old 06-29-2011
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It is possible to paint vinyl. I've used the water-based leather restoration paint on vinyl door panels when restoring a car, and it worked beautifully. There's also some spray paint from SEM, which I have not tried.

I am wondering if an appropriate paint would seal the vinyl and stop the plasticisers from leaching out. Might be worth you looking into it, is all I'm saying.
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Mark,the problem is that the vinyl was improperly cured. Seal the outside, and the plasticizer will still migrate on the inner side. It is like a piece of rotting fruit: Put it in tupperware, and it still is going to rot inside the container. Except in this case, it doesn't need air or anything, it is going to keep bleeding plasticizer no matter what you do. And that will actually break the bond to whatever you spray over it, the same way that ArmorAll can cause paint to lift from vinyl and plastics as it "lubricates" the bond between them. (Apparently a problem for glued vinyls too, but not welded ones.)

Sure, you can delay the inevitable.
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