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Headliner in microsuede or similar.

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Hello Jon.


I have an E61 that I want to cover the headliner in with microsuede or similar. I have bought some that is 3mm foam and scrim backed and started to trim my A pillars with and was happy with the results.

However, when I went to tackle the main headliner I am having no end of trouble with tackling internal corners as the material just wants to pucker and crease. It doesn't seem to have a lot of stretch in it like some more traditional headliner material does

I was wondering if you could recommend a suede material to me that was better to work with, as it all kind of looks the same online and even though it says its suitable for  headliner I get the feeling that its suited more to flat van like headliners. I don't really want to be repeatedly ordering material that isn't suitable.


I did take the headliner and material I had to a local trimmer who had a small test go at it and although he got it to stick without creases said it wasn't nice to work with, and couldn't guarantee he could get the whole headliner looking that nice and didn't want to take on the whole headliner for that reason.



Any advice on glue, material or methods would be very much appreciated. I was thinking of a material that wasn't foam backed or taking the backing off and gluing that first then the material over it. My thoughts there is I may get the glue bleeding through.



How much roughly do you charge for a headliner recover in terms of labour?


Or if its too long winded to get into I could call you and speak on the phone if that's better?



Many thanks


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It was mate, and thanks for the time too!


After we spoke i had a rough play around with the material i had left just to find the limits of it really as in stretch, heat, how much glue it would take without the backing before soaking through etc etc and i was reasonably happy.


After your advice I actually managed to cover the hard part of the liner at the front near the sunvisors with the backing on, again just to see how the material could be worked, but coming "back out" of the sunvisor recess, the material wanted to pucker all the more and it was nigh on impossible to try and pre stretch and baggy the material out like you said  with the backing on.


I cut the material in half and tried again on the drivers side without the backing, and used a glass globe to manipulate the material and try and pre stretch it which worked better. On that side i managed to get in and out of the recess pretty good, so i'm happy working with it. I didn't use a brush on adhesive in the very corners yet as i was just practicing and thought if i did that i would have a hell of a time getting the material back off! Suffice to say the spray glue grabbed it well so with the brush glue on the actual attempt it should hold better, or the idea, indefinately.


The material also took the spray glue well with the backing off with no bleeding, I had to blast a fair bit at it to bleed through, and also with the heat gun it was suprisingly resilient. I actually crapped out at the end with the heat when i couldn't really get it to discolour or burn so i'm happy with that too.


The only real downside i've had is finding som material with the backing already off that is supposedly automotive grade. I can find loads but can't be sure its the same stuff so i've had to order another 3m of the backed stuff and will peel that off slowly, plus i need now to wire brush the headliner board completely clean, but a quick try with that says it won't be too difficult.


I haven't sent you any pics or such yet, pretty much because all i have are 2 practice pieces, one with and without backing stuck on the front bit of the liner! Rest assured as i get going properly i'll send you some over and be in touch.


Thanks again for the time and advice mate, much appreciated.



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Hi Jamie

Its good read that you are "testing" as advised. Seeing what you can get away with doing etc.

Its quite refreshing to see someone doing important preparation and while it helps a great deal, when you come to put the finish material on you will be drawing on all your preparation experience which you may have tweaked a little, to get the finish you want.


As you mentioned, some parts are easy to cover and some are just a right pain in the bottom.

Once you cover the harder parts and look back at some of the easy parts you covered prior, you will then think that the are even easier to cover!


There are lots of different corners, undulations and compound angles when covering but after doing the work your currently doing you can just look at a part, extract the hard areas to hit and then plan your attack and start to finish will be in a set process which you have subconsciously planned out in your mind.

Understanding what the material will allow you to do is part of the prep and its sounds like your doing it nicely.


Ive been covering "items" for a good few years now and while I find it challenging and love doing it, there will be times your tested! with the added fact that what your covering costs £££££ adds the extra pressure. But its all good

If you need anymore help just call!






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Cheers John.


I finished the project last night and installed the headlining. Although there's no doubt you'd be able to pick holes and faults in my work I'm always less than happy if something doesn't look right, and I think in this case the small faults I know are there are easy to live with.


The practice runs did give me some good pointers, although one area I was ill prepared for but managed to "save" was the fact with my practice runs I was inevitably trying one area around the sun visor at one time. When I finally went to cover it properly in one go, I did one side, then the other side and then in front of the sun visors trying to chase any creasing out of the material I ended up with a baggy section right in the centre front of the headlining that was ultimately too baggy to completely irradicate all of the material into one smooth section.


Seeing as thee area is only about 60mm from the front edge of the headliner to the map lights, I simply cut the material and joined them, then ran a small folded piece of material over the join, so although its not factory, it looks nice and neat and is somewhere completely out of your field of view too which I was fairly happy with.


I used some brush on contact adhesive in the corners of the sun visor recesses as you said, but I didn't want to chance brushing it onto the material side of the bond, only the headliner, I used the spray for the material side as I had more than an inkling it would bleed through easily there and ruin my work.


Although it turned out well, another area I was surprised at was the hump in the centre of the roof that houses the centre reading light, it took some manipulation and heat to get it to sit nicely but I'm happy with that too.


I have some pics on my phone that i'll transfer over and post up. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts warts and all as I'm always looking for ways to get better at things. Suffice to say your advice was very welcome.


Cheers John



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The main thing is that you have had a go.

If done again im sure you would do some things differently.


Be good to see the pictures when you get a chance


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