How to install replacement boat headliners

Written by brenda priddy
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How to install replacement boat headliners
Replacing a boat headliner is more difficult than replacing a car headliner. (motor boat. power boat image by L. Shat from

Replacing a boat headliner can be a difficult process because the headliners inside a boat are usually too large to fit through the doorway. Consequently, it is necessary to cut the original headliner into pieces small enough to fit through the doorway, and install the new headliner in a similar fashion. Installing a new headliner is not difficult, but it will likely take three or more days to complete.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Craft drill with ceramic cutting blade
  • Eye protection
  • Dust mask
  • Sanding wheel
  • 1/4-inch plywood
  • Measuring tape
  • Table saw
  • 1-inch screws
  • Power screwdriver
  • Insulation paint
  • Insulation ceramic beads
  • Paintbrush
  • Formica boards

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  1. 1

    Cut the original headliner into sections using a craft drill and ceramic cutting blade. Wear eye protection and a dust mask when cutting the headliner.

  2. 2

    Sand the exposed portion of the cabin roof with a powder sanding wheel until smooth. Avoid wires, so that you do not damage any of the equipment or electrical systems in the boat.

  3. 3

    Measure the length and width of the cabin ceiling, or measure the original headliner. Cut a sheet of 1/4-inch plywood to match this measurement and shape. Cut the plywood into 3 x 3 foot panels. Screw the plywood to the ceiling with 1-inch screws placed every 18 to 24 inches along the sides of the boards.

  4. 4

    Place 1 to 2 cups of insulation beads into a gallon of insulation paint. Paint the plywood with the insulation paint and allow it to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Cut panels from Formica to fit over the plywood sheets. Screw the Formica to the plywood using 1-inch screws. Do not screw the boards into the areas of the plywood that already have screws. Stagger the screws so that they are between the plywood screws. Place a screw about every 24 inches along all sides of each Formica piece.

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