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Old 23-07-2007, 16:02   #1
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Vinyl Headliner - Different Types?

I'm replacing the headliner in this ever-longer boat restoration, since so much mold and mildew has grown on it. It is vinyl glued onto thin plywood (which is then screwed onto furring strips). The price of vinyl is amazingly high, but I'm told that is because it is "marine grade". Does anyone know whether this stuff differs from rolls of vinyl that are not listed as "marine" (and are much cheaper), and, if so, how?
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Old 23-07-2007, 19:28   #2
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Jeff, I'm sure there are different grades and I know there are different qualities. The real cheap stuff tends to either go brittle or ooze uncured plasticizers, not good.

But I would expect that any padded flooring material you can buy in rolls (i.e. the vinyls that replace linoleum) would be great for the job. You probably could buy a "roll end" from some flooring distributor and get it heavily discounted, too.

I guess in theory a real marine grade vinyl would have loads of arsenic or other anti-mold compounds in it. If there's any space in between the vinyl and the plywood backer, that space will be a haven for mold. You probably should glue the vinyl down 100% to the backer, so there's no space between the two materials, either adding a mildecide to the glue, or getting a non-water-based glue or one designed for damp places. There's got to be such a thing, mildew likes some glues more than others.
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Old 23-07-2007, 20:13   #3
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You'll probably find that "marine grade" vinyl can tolerate UV a lot better - it's suitable for seat covers in outdoor areas like cockpits. It might be better than you need for headlining.
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Old 24-07-2007, 22:26   #4
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I wouldn't waste the money on "marine grade". Not sure what that means. Generally, vinyl is classified by its weight - so perhaps they are referring to a heavy, Naugauhyde type of product. The headliner you are describing is not structural, and in fact you're going to get a smoother, better looking finish the thinner the vinyl is. to get a nice finish where the edges fold under, you want to avoid layers of thick material. It helps if it has a little bit of stretch. Buy whatever you like the look of and don't worry about it.
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Old 25-07-2007, 03:00   #5
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Whatever vinyl headliner you choose; back it with 3M “Thinsulate” (or other mildew resistant Olefin/Polyester type insulation). Spray tacking in place, using 3M Foam Fast Adhesive 74 or High Strength Adhesive 90, and then press firmly against the overhead fabric. Use the thickest insulation that space permits.
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Old 25-07-2007, 14:58   #6
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Sailrite has a few headliner, I just got samples from them. I also used oxiclean to clean my carpet headliner. No rubbing at all, and it almost looks like new.
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