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Old 23-08-2009, 19:49   #1
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Headliner Foam and 3M Adhesive Spray

The headliner covering most of the ceiling in the aft cabin has fallen down. The boat is 22 years old so I suppose it's not suprising. There is a layer of dark foam between the headliner and the fiberglass. When the headliner fell down, some of the foam stayed on the fiberglass and some on the headliner. Am I correct in thinking that I have to remove all the foam before trying to glue the headliner again? I've been scraping it with a small nylon brush. It comes off in very small pieces and makes a terrible mess. I probably also end up inhaling some of the particles. Is there any glue that would stick to the foam so that I wouldn't have to remove it?

For glues right now, I have a 3M heavy duty adhesive spray for liners and I also have a can of rubber cement. Will either of these work well?
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Old 23-08-2009, 19:53   #2
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foam rubber is made of latex..dont want to breathe it ....probably the 3m spray glue on the surface of the new foam would be adequate if the can says it can glue latex foam.....goood luck.....
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Old 23-08-2009, 21:41   #3
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Spray glue is a real mess, no matter how hard you try the overspray leaves a nasty residue everywhere. This goes triple so in the confined spaces in a boat.

You can buy contact cement in a gel that works great. You can easily brush it upside down and the gel does not drip. Far more effective and easier than the spray.

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Old 23-08-2009, 23:48   #4
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If you want to put on new foam backed vinyl, the contact cement or 3m Trim adhesive will work. If you want to try to make the old vinyl stick, you need the 3m Supertrim adhesive. Mask everything well with newspaper, as overspray makes a real mess. Yes, you will need to get rid of the old foam, as it has basically turned to powder. Very messy job--try to talk someone else into doing it for you. Ventilate well, as the solvents will make your liver quiver.
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Old 24-08-2009, 01:31   #5
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What has been eluded to here but not said specifically is that your existing headlining is at the end of its life. No amount of glue is going to save it. The problem is that the foam has become brittle, and as soon as you glue a bit, it breaks elsewhere. This is fairly standard and 22 years is better than average.

What you will have to do is to remove it all and replace. You need to get all the old foam and as much of the glue as possile from the deck head. There are special wheels to go on an electric drill to remove it, or you can use a large brass wire wheel.

This is a REALLY messy job, and you need to clear your boat as much as possible beforehand, and have a good vacuum cleaner! You also need to cover up completely, wear mask, goggles, gloves etc when doing it, as it is inevitable that a small amount of fibreglass dust will be released during the process.

I was very carefull removing the old headlining so that I could use it as the rough cut-out for the replacement - this made the job a lot easier.

I did the prep work, but employed a professional to put the new lining in place.

There are threads on here about replacing head lining - have fun
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Old 24-08-2009, 18:11   #6
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Ok, I now have a respirator, a plastic tarp, and a portable vacuum. My question is, does the foam serve any purpose? The headliner looks fine from the outside. Can I just remove all of the brittle foam and glue the liner directly to the fiberglass?
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Old 24-08-2009, 18:44   #7
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there may be more condensation problems without the foam stuff in there than without it--and with it, winters are warmer inside the boat just a bit.....
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Old 24-08-2009, 18:47   #8
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The foam hides a lot of the imperfections in the fiberglass, so your headliner is going to look pretty lumpy if you can get it to stick.
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Old 24-08-2009, 19:04   #9
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Can you spell PITA? I wish I had gone to upholstery school as a kid. That's a skill that I could have used a lot over the years.

You can short cut it and get the job done and that's what I do a lot.

You can remove it all and do it properly and then it lasts another 22 years...

I agree the foam is toast. I agree the foam served the purpose to provide a smooth interior. One option is to get the whole liner down and then find a replacement for the foam. Very thin fiberboard and maybe even a cardboard howver whatever is used needs to tolerate moisture well. Glue the old liner to teh new material then glue the whole thing back in.

There are upholstery materials that incorporate the foam and you may consider replecing the whole thing.

Our liner is a material bonded to a board. The boards are screwed in to wood stringers. Other than being ugly they have held up well for 28 years.
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Old 24-08-2009, 20:18   #10
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Talbot, and others, have it right. You need to completely remove the old stuff.
I used a varying sequence of scraping, heat gun, and even paint remover (not to be left on long) to get the last of the glue off. It needs to be clean.

The material I replaced the open cell foam backed vinyl with 12 to 15 years ago was a closed cell solid foam headliner that I have not seen in the Defender catalog in some years now. I believe it was made in France.

Sailrite has several headliners that could be suitable. They suggest using spray advesive, but I didn't like it. I then tried liquid contact cement, but the fumes were pretty bad . I can't remember if the spray adhesive was as bad, but it probably was. In addition, the liquid would start to dissolve the vinyl.

I then learned about 3M water based contact cement. Not sure if it is still available, but it is worth looking for. I got mine from Carquest or NAPA. Have to get a gallon, and it costs more than double what the solvent based contact cement, but it goes twice as far. But the lackof dangerous fumes makes it a winner.
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Old 24-08-2009, 22:59   #11
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The headlining can be an important part of the insulation for the vessel. I replaced my foam with a felt backed carpet. This provided significantly better insulation, and looked good as well.

Best system is a false ceiling with the new roof divided up into small segments and each segment screwed individually up. This enables access to the bottom side of through-deck fittings such as winches, genoa treack, cleats etc.
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