Headlining Refurbishment

By David Preston

Don't despair if your headlining is falling down around your ears!

 It's a common age related problem where the foam backing on the fabric has broken down, causing delaminating. It can be a messy job but with some patience you will get a great finish. 



This E Type Jaguar headlining is a good example:-

Once you have removed the headlining you have two options, replace with new foam backed headlining and this would be the easiest opinion but often it's not possible to match original fabrics. This was the case here and the fabric was a good quality with some thickness so it was thoroughly cleaned and once dry bonded to some new laminated foam backing with heat resistance spray adhesive which needs to be done in a well ventilated area, heat resistant adhesive is critical as other adhesives can cause polymer migration (that's a story for another time)

If you cut the foam larger than the fabric and lay the fabric on the face of the foam, you want the laminated face of the foam underneath and the outer face of fabric uppermost fold the fabric back on itself and spray an even coat of adhesive on the exposed foam and fabric, allow the solvent to flash of and when tacky the fabric can be carefully rolled back onto the foam and gently pressed together with the palm of a clean hand, repeat the process on the other side.

While the headlining and foam lamination are drying it's a good time to clean the roof by removing all the debris of the foam and as much of the old adhesive as possible. Once a clean and bump free surface is achieved you are ready for the next step to mask the surrounding trim to prevent overspray when applying the adhesive to the roof in even passes one side to the other covering all the surface and let it flash of then a second coat overlapping the first will ensure an ever coverage.

The next stage is to cover the back face of the newly bonded headlining with the spray adhesive as the roof.

The final stage of bonding the headlining to the roof requires some patience and careful planning,  the job is easier if you have an assistant and between you pass the glued headlining into the car making sure the glued surfaces do not make contact !. With the E type my assistant was in the front and held the lining central with enough to tuck under the panel in front of the windscreen.

I was on my back in the boot making sure the lining was central and had surplus to go under rear and side panels, once happy I pressed the centre rear in contact with the roof using the palm of my hand and carefully working forward and out to both sides.

E Type Jaguar Headlining Refurbishment

Once all the lining has been pressed into contact you can work your way around the edges with a pallet knife to tuck the headlining under the surrounding trim.

On some cars things such as sun visors, handles, courtesy lights and rear view mirrors will need to be removed and re fitted after, exercise extreme caution if you need to cut any access holes for wires and light fittings if replacing the material, the last thing you will want is an unsightly cut or worse still missing material around said item!


In Conclusion


Plan your job beforehand, make sure you have all the necessary materials (Trim-Fix will be happy to help here if you are having difficulty), tools and a suitable work area, follow all the health and safety advice on adhesives, and wear your PPE .( Personal Protective Equipment).

If you need an assistant make sure they are aware of your plan of action and the tasks they will need to perform.

Tackle the task in stages and take your time.


By following this guide and you will add value to your pride and joy with the bonus of both saving money and having the satisfaction of personal achievement.


Measure twice cut once!

David Preston.