rotting foam backed nightmare that every owner must face sooner
than later... But what to do?
should have known something was up when the former owner said,
"the interior is in EXCELLENT shape...just excellent. Oh,
there might be a few spots where the headliner needs to be
tacked up...but really, it's in excellent shape."
Indeed. Just a few.
As stated in the title, it's not a matter of IF the headliner
will fall, but WHEN. Bring heat, moisture, and air, and the foam
backing behind much of the liner will turn to a black dust that
resembles dried toxic waste, with a seemingly endless supply,
depletion nowhere in sight.
Our headliner turned into such a mess, it was almost debilitating.
Every time we go down below to contemplate a proper fix, we are
met with the two walls of black, crumbling, glue-infused, brown
fiberglass. Why didn't Beneteau just go the extra few yards to
gelcoat this interior? It's a what-if question that holds little
For now, see some other comments via forums and posts. Also, see
the gray box below for a nifty, if costly, solution to totally
rid the problem once and for all.
Vinyl Solution Exchange
on Beneteau Forum
by Paul G. regarding Beneteau 390
I had a similar headliner and hull
liner problem with the vinyl-backed foam headliner in my 1991
Moorings 38. The glue and foam were mismatched by Beneteau in
the factory, causing the foam, over time, to turn to dust and
the headliner all fell down. The dust prevented gluing the old
headliner back up.
I took out all of the old headliner
and replaced it with a similar vinyl backed foam liner, 1/2 in.
thick. The hard part was getting all the foam/glue dust off the
hull and out of the boat. The stuff gets everywhere. This required
wiping the hull down with "Goof Off". And using a plastic
scraper to get the resulting goop off the hull. Definitely unpleasant
and sticky, and requiring a vapor mask and lots of ventilation.
I used the old pieces as patterns,
except where the cabin furniture had been bolted on top of the
liner during construction. We sewed the edges where necessary
for a finished look.
I put the new vinyl up with Weldwood Gel Contact Cement, gluing
it directly to the hull. This has held up well with no problems
through this past summer season in Florida.
I had to do the entire boat: aft
cabin, aft head, forward head, main cabin and forward cabin. Used
something like 25 yards of the vinyl. It is a time consuming job
but well worth it when finished
Fabrics sourced the headliner vinyl at $14.95
USD per yard plus shipping.
Foam Backed Vinyl $19.99 per yard
Foam gone? Unfortunately, foamless Vinyl adheres
I have a 1983 First 32 that
has the same problem, mostly in the aft quarter berth. Once the
foam backing has deteriorated, forget trying to re-glue it back
up. The vinyl will adhere closely to the fiberglass liner and
you get a wavy appearance (I did this in the galley area and head,
and will have to redo eventually). The solution is to buy new
foam-backed material and use the old pieces as patterns to recut
new ones. This is what I'm going to do for my quarterberth. The
material can be bought at www.sailrite.com, along with the appropriate
adhesive. The only part I will have to have done is to have a
canvas shop sew the "finished" edges. Its a big job,
but not something you can't do with a little determination and
elbow grease! FYI, I figured 8 yards of 54" wide material
(the only width, I think), at like $13/yard. So for $104 plus
glue, some expense at the canvas shop, and some elbow grease,
it'll be like new!
Solution? Go Wood!
Yeah, it's a Jeanneau Tonic but what a solution to
a nagging problem that EVERY 235 owner will face sooner
or later. The replacement of the area from the shelf to
the top appears relatively easy. It would also allow easy
repairs to the side or toe rail area if you make it removable.
It certainly won't hurt the appearance. Other options include
treated beadboard or more carpet up the verticle section
with reglued overhead.
More On 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.
Foam-backed vinyl or fabric glued
directly to the underside of the deck.
Suspendedmaterial stapled to battens (deadwood) generally
Suspended panelmaterial 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