Sunday, January 27, 2013

Headliner Upgrade

When we first purchased our boat it was functionally sound with regard to all the systems. We had a complete survey, top to bottom, and verified that the sails, rigging, engine, electrical, plumbing and hull were all in good to excellent condition. However with a boat of this vintage, there were cosmetic upgrades which begged to be made.

One of the most obvious asthetic improvements to be made was replacing the original headiner. While not terribly shabby, there were areas of mildew staining around two of the salon ports and parts of the headliner had lost contact with the hull in the quater berth area, behind the nav station and in the liquor cabinet. Because of the way the original headliner had been installed, it was virtually impossible to replace it using the old upholstery system. Further research led us to Randy Spicer at the Yacht Docktor, who specializes in woodwork, as well as headliner replacement. He suggested going with a panelized headliner. The advantages to this approach is the headliner is designed in several removable panels, making access to wiring and coach-roof hardware simple and allowing for piece-meal panel replacement, should it ever be needed.

Installation of a panelized headliner involves installing furring strips to which each of the individual panels will be attached. These furring strips are glued and screwed into the underside of the coach roof.
The individual panels are made from quarter inch marine plywood, cut into panels to match the coach roof pattern for the cabin. These panels are then padded and upholstered. Industrial grade velcro strips are mechanically attached to both the furring strips with the matching hook side attached along the borders of the upholstered panels.
Wiring holes and dorade vents are marked and cut out of the appropriate panels. After the panels are attached to the furring strips, all lights and trim hardware are installed to the panels. In the case of dorade vents, the screened teak trim covers were installed. The same was true for the mast and hatch trim pieces.
The individual headliner covers for each of the book shelf cubbies were fabricated using the same technique.

Headliner that was used behind the nav station and liquor cabinet was replaced with teak plywood and teak strips.

The following are some photos of the finished headliner and some of the details.


Starboard salon---

Cabin hatch---

Mast detail---


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Wow, looks great! I'm sure this improvement makes the interior look so much brighter, cleaner and newer!

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Yes, Ken and Cheryl, it does all of the above. We had this done within six months of owning the boat. I'm sorry I didn't save the before photos for comparison. The real selling point is that the panels do come down to allow access to the wiring and deck hardware on the coach roof, itself. To remove all the panels would take about 90-minutes with the same amount of time required for putting them back up. The great thing is that you only have to take one panel down if that's the only area you need to have access. Very handy.

Anonymous said...

Are you still really happy with the new headliners? we have a Cal39 and are looking to replace the current headliner soon (within a few years) any problem with the velcro? would you do anything different? lighter material than the plywood etc?

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Yes, the headliner upgrade has worked out beautifully. The upholstered panels are 1/4" marine plywood and therefore aren't particularly heavy. Going with anything lighter may not have the structural rigidity to conform to the curves of the coach roof. Industrial grade Velcro was used to attach the upholstered panels to the underlying furring strips. The largest individual panel is about 14" x 78" and, upholstered, weighs in at less than 2 pounds. If I were to guess, I would put the entire weight of the upgrade, including the furring strips at around 20 to 25 pounds. I've had several of the panels out for rewiring lighting, changing cabin top hardware etc., which has proved to be a real advantage. While the industrial grade Velcro makes removing the panels a bit of a challenge, it also keeps them firmly in place. Additionally, where the panel ends meet the bulkhead trim pieces, these pieces have been kirfed to fit over the upholstered ends. While not cheap or easy to do, the finished headliner has been a success and I'd recommend it to others.

Jackie & Peter said...

After reading your blog we're now inspired to replace the headliner in our 1978 Cal 39 Inti. We've owned the boat since 1991, completely refit it in 1997, new engine in 2007 and continue upgrading on a regular basis... we love our boat! Our fall 2017 project list will include a total paint job, new interior upholstery and a new headliner. We will do the upholstery and headliner ourselves. Any other advise on the headliner? Can you advise what material you used? Thank you...Peter & Jackie