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Old 16-07-2009, 23:11   #1
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Head Liner Suggestions

I have removed the old head liner that was a vinyl fabric with 1/4 in foam under. This was glued direct to the underside of the deck area about 2'x5' that has a multi camber and a complex shape. I am looking for suggestions on a replacement material that can be glued back. Possibly some sort of carpet with a rubber backing...any suggestions.

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Old 17-07-2009, 02:15   #2
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I suspect that multi camber and complex shape (as well as ease (lack?!) of finishing underneath) made the foam backed vinyl a logical choice by the builder.......shame it perishes (got that T-shirt ).

Although not headling, on one boat for the hull sides I used carpet tiles (cheap nylon = durable onboard). Looked surprisingly good, even though the joins not invisable. I fixed them with carpet tape. A couple did lift, the cure was more tape The big plus for using tiles was that it made fitting easy, if I stuffed up the cutting of an edge I simply used a new tile rather than havng b#ggered up the whole thing

Not sure how carpet tiles would work (or look) overhead can of course get vinyl / lino floor tiles as well as on rolls, if you can't fit a headlining board, vinyl flooring might be thick enough to cover the underlying sins?

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Old 17-07-2009, 03:13   #3
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I lined mine with a fabric called 'hull liner' of all things - it's the stuff they use in caravans and motor homes. It stretches to any shape (within reason) and simply glues on with contact adhesive. I'm really happy with the look - and it is much lighter in feel and look than carpet. Mine is a light grey colour.
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Old 17-07-2009, 04:03   #4
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The trouble with a solid rubber backing is that you reduce the marginal insulation.

The rubber foam carpet will deteriorate in the same way as the existing pvc foam - i.e. about 10 years with the newer fireproofed foam

I used a felt backed carpet. This provides a significant insulation (noticeable difference on my boat) yet does not deteriorate. However, make sure the carpet is a lightweight one as some of the felt backed carpets will add a significant load to the boat.

I wish I had been able to create a false ceiling of hardboard/thin ply in squares that I then adhered the carpet to, and then screwed up as seperate tiles. Thus giving access to the deckhead. However, I did not have sufficient headroom to allow this. I employed a domestic carpet fitter and his mate. I used the old headlining as a template to give a relatively close initial cut before trimming, and divided the larger areas up into four sections with hardwood battens on the outside to disguise the joins.

I also looked carefully at the glue I was using, and at the time I did this, I was expecting to have the boat in some really hot weather, thus the temperature capacity of the glue was an issue. (The hotter before melting/the more expensive ) I eventually used a glue designed for car headlining. Much stronger than the glue between the felt and the actual carpet!
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Old 17-07-2009, 08:55   #5
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"Hull Liner" is readily available but you won't find it a Lowes or Home Depot. While it looks a bit like carpet, it is more like felt. It is not woven and has no backing. Makes it easy to stretch or form to irregular shapes.

Try this link for info HullBlanket Headliner Hull Liner Carpet Type - Conforms to Shapes

I replaced some of my vinyl/neoprene backed deteriorating head liner with hull liner about 4 years ago and no problems so far.

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Old 17-07-2009, 09:13   #6
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I used prefabbed wainscotting. It looks great and is very easy to work with. I used Primed because I wanted the white look, but I've seen other boats use stained wood which they coated with spar varnish and it looks amazing.
Make sure of course that you use this opportunity to make sure that you won't have any leaks liable to come thru the cabin top.
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Old 17-07-2009, 09:18   #7
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What about using thin lath glued to top to screw into, all covered with some super insulating material excluding the lath then covering all with a pleasing material? Just a thought.
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Old 17-07-2009, 12:22   #8

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I have several suppliers who offer a variety of headliners and hull liners. Are you looking for a factory replacement or something different? I have a headliner replacement scheduled so will be placing an order soon. pm me if you'd like to discuss options.
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Old 17-07-2009, 12:47   #9
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Hull liner varies a lot... depending on if you want thicker or thinner, fuzzier or smoother. We used "Landau Top Adhesive" in 5 gal pails in building new boats. The liner is relatively cheap and easy, it's a bit "bayliner-ish" but serves the purpose if you dont want to take the time to do Port Orford Cedar ceiling strips. It also hides imperfections fairly well like the foam backed products. ;>)
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Old 18-07-2009, 05:19   #10
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I had to replace mine as well, I took the oportunity to put 3/4 x 3/4 inch sq molding up and attached wainscotting. I have an older sailboat and it really looks sharp. Inexpensive, easy to install and you can put in some insulation n the gap iif needed.
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Old 18-07-2009, 07:45   #11
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Thanks for all of the great responses. The area in question is the underside of the aft cockpit seat. There is a bent teak trim piece that goes around 3 sides and is in good shape. A material that has a thickness of about 4mm such as what Sunspot Baby suggests will be ideal. According to the link it is suggested that a 3M General Trim Adhesive be used, has any body had this glue fail over time.

Other areas of the head liner I intend to fix firring strips with insulation between. At the Home Depot their is a material that is used for lining bath rooms it has a bubbly shinny surface and comes in white and a cream color. It seems very flexible responds to gluing although I would place teak battens over it so that I can remove panels as needed. My only concern is using a hard shinny surface will I have a condensation problem. The deck is constructed with a foam core.

Showing my ignorance here but what is wainscotting.
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Old 18-07-2009, 10:49   #12
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wainscotting is just pre-milled strips of wood. It often has a "bead" milled in the center of the strip. Used in old kitchens etc run vertically from the floor up maybe 3 ft or so... All you're doing is the underside of the seat? plain old contact cement should be fine. If you decide to use a spray product, use the "high strength 90" . It's really good.... the "77" aint so good...
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Old 18-07-2009, 19:38   #13
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It's been a dozen or more years ago now, so I don't know if you can find the closed cell pvc foam headliner that I used. Defender sold it , but I didn't see it in the latest catalog. Sailrite used to sell a number of headliners you might take a look at.

I used 3M water based contact cement (liquid) that I ordered from an auto parts store. IIRC, it cost about 3 times as much as solvent based contact cement, but went more than twice as far. No dangerous fumes as with solvent based, and didn't start to dissolve the vinyl like the solvent based contact cement did.
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Old 19-07-2009, 03:58   #14
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Have you considered industrial cork?


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Old 19-07-2009, 08:37   #15
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I'll be doing a headliner in the future and have been thinking of the possibilities.
One that I haven't come across but was wondering about is:
Take wood veneer and weave it, after that applying regular wood finishing techniques. It would be very pliable, however it would likely require battens. I was thinking of installing battens, then 1" (or so) breathable mineral insulation in between the battens, then the tight weave over top.
Has anyone seen anything like this?


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