interior repair - ceiling falling down

vyperdrivevyperdrive Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Chevrolet
my 89 cavalier,like many late models has a problem with the ceiling fabric coming down and being annoying. I have tried staples because there is a hard cardboard type material above the fabric but the staples just fell out over time. I am worried about using longer more powerful staples because I do not want to puncture the roof metal(if this is possible).

Does anyone have a suggestion for fastening the interior ceiling fabric?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Headliners are tricky, there's really no easy fix that I can think of except pulling it out and getting one from a wrecker. On some cars, the entire liner comes out in one huge piece, with the backing. Don't know about yours. What has happened is that either the adhesive or fastening agent has given up.
  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    Id also like t hear suggestions. My gfs 93 escort is doing the same (previous owner smoked which ate the adhesive)

    She was quoted at one place like $150 to fix it.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,609
    ...but kinda tacky, is to just get some thin wood strips, and stick them up under the plastic trim around the door openings. It'll hold up the headliner, and give it a look kinda like older cars, where the headliner was stitched to the ceiling.

    It's been my experience that those 1-piece foam headliners can be pretty unpredictable after about 7 years. That's when the one on my '80 Malibu started falling down. But then the headliner in my grandmother's '85 LeSabre, though, is just starting to let loose in a few places. Come to think of it, the '79 Newport I used to own which was 18 years old when I bought it, started to let go about 3 weeks after I bought it.

    Ryan, for $150.00, I'd probably get it done, but a lot of places around here want more like $300-400! I don't know how much the junkyard would charge for something like that, but chances are a used headliner might start having the same problem. Plus, you have to bend them to get them out, which may damage an otherwise good headliner.
  • csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    I was quoted $100 for a headliner. I got rid of the car before having it repaired.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Sagging headliners are usually caused by disintegration of the foam backing of the fabric. Repair requires removal of the fabric, scraping all the backing foam off, spraying the cardboard liner with adhesive, and reattaching the fabric. Or use what I did on my last beater, thumb tacks. Gave a very cool '60's button tufted retro look until I sat on one of them one day.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I saw one guy who ripped out the headliner and bought some very thin, very dense black foam and trimmed it neatly and just glued it to the metal roof. You know, it looked very very good. Tedious work though.
  • seeligseelig Member Posts: 590
    i did the headliner in my '79 280Z by removing the trim pieces, then the molded piece that makes up the headliner. pulled the old material off, and with wire brush, i brushed off the old foam. then using some cheap lacquer in a spray can, gave the thing a couple coats to seal it. then took the foam backed material i got from an upholstery shop and sprayed it with 3M 90 contact. you also spray the headliner piece. before i layed the material into the formed piece, i spread some high tack weatherstrip adhesive (learned that one from an upholstery guy) in the really tight forming areas. once the fabric is layed in place and pushed in place using a soft sponge (dry), you just trim along the edge.
    3M 90 is available at most hardware stores.
    if you don't want to pull the headliner out, you might be able to do like some, and pull the trim off above the door and shoot some in from the side. let set up for a bit and then stick. it'd be wise to cover things up below though just in case.
  • xfilesxfiles Member Posts: 132
    The best way is to remove the entire one piece headliner, then you have a choice of either getting another one from the wrecking yard (for about $10-20) or re-upholster the existing one.
    Either way, there is a fair amount of work removing it, and if you have gone that far I suggest you put new cloth on.

    To reupholster, buy contact cement, and foam backed cloth for the ceiling (or vinyl). Pull off the old material from the headliner while it rests on a table. Next clean the headliner with varsol ro remove as much old glue as possible. Next lay the cloth over the top of the headliner and cut the material with a few inches hanging over the edges all the way around. After cutting the cloth, roll back one side, and lightly spray the cloth (so as to not to soak through) and the foam headliner board and after it is tack dry lay the cloth down and with your hands spread it evenly. Then roll back the other side and do it the same way. The exess material around the edges you now cut so as to leave about 2 inches for bending around the edges and to be glued to the backside. To wrap the cloth around sharp corners and avoid ripples in the cloth, make a few v-cuts into the cloth on the excess portion hanging over the edges. This releases the tension in corners.

    The other option is see an auto unpholsterer. They would likely recover the headliner for about $50-75, and either you remove/install or they can do this also for an extra charge.

    If this sounds like too much work/cost, then remove the plastic trim along the side of the roof, clean the ceiling and spray contact cement on both surfaces "lightly", then join and put the plastic trim back in place. Working upside down will not be easy, unless its only a small area. Any overspray is easily removed with varsol.Odourless varsol works best and will not affect seat cloth, carpets, or plastics...but testing is always the best choice. I've removed gum, etc on limousine seats using great!
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    before you spend any money; for 1.19 @ Walmart you can go to the sewing sept. and purchase "twist pins" used for holding slip covers and mattress pads in place.They have a corkscrew type pin that keeps them in tight. We had a Ciera and a Calais as well as a Marquis that had this problem. Eventually I had the Calais headliner replaced for 95.00, but the pins looked pretty good for that kind of money.
    Read about this in "The Tightwad Gazette" so I can't take credit, but I do know they work better than glue staples etc.
  • urchin34urchin34 Member Posts: 70
    I had the same problem with older Toyota. I got estimates from $150-350 to replace. I yanked the outer fabric and scraped the foam myself. Paid $95 to then have entire headliner replaced. This was about 3 years ago. Well worth it when you consider the joy of not having it hit your head and the increased resale value.
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