Painting the Headliner

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January 2002 - I'll be adding pictures to this page over time, since I'm painting bit by bit. I started with the Aft Cabin, using Interlux Single Part Polyurethane Off-White
Topsides paint with
8 oz. of Flattening agent per quart.

Compared to the old yellow look, this is pretty nice! I didn't paint the little buttons, but used finishing washers over the Stainless Steel screws. Kinda Industrial looking!

I added the picture above on 1/26/02, after adding the VHF Shelf. I also added the fluorescent light fixture, which is just AWESOME. When you flip it on White the whole aft cabin is illuminated, and on Red it is just the right brightness to let me see, without wrecking my night vision. I motored back from dropping the rig in with the red light on, and was exceptionally pleased. I'm going to build the Nav station under this area, so it will work out just right. (Fluorescent lights might interfere with electronics, but I've only heard of it happening with a Loran...)

June 2002 --
Time to paint the main cabin. I can't wait! The dingy yellow look makes me claustrophobic.

The molded headliner on the C&C Landfall 28 has a nice space around many edges, making it simple to slide masking paper up along the edges.

No need to paint under where the panels will go. I'll work on the panels after I replace the handrails on deck. At that point I'll have rebedded everything but the dorade boxes and hatches, and hopefully that will seal the boat up before 2002's predicted El Nino winter.

Well, I didn't rebed the two housetop winches and cleats (above) but after looking at it for a year I just don't think it's necessary. The housetop isn't cored in that raised area, and the liner is attached directly to the cabin top with epoxy, leaving a thick, solid structure. So the headliner shell is acting like an enormous fiberglass backing plate, and I don't see any point in replacing those puny washers with big fender washers.
Besides, it doesn't leak and nothing budges when I grind the winch, so why mess with it? There's no core there...

November 2002 --
The two panels that go under the forward Dorade Boxes were ruined by water damage. You really can't see from the picture, but the wood panel is warped and rotted, and the port side is actually in two pieces,
held together only by the vinyl covering.
I've fixed the boxes, but still need to replace the panels. After quite a bit of research, I selected Foam PVC plastic panels from Tap Plastics.
This stuff is great!
It's light, flexible, and can be worked easily.
After tracing the old panels onto the sheet (below) I cut them out using a saber saw on low speed.

The saber saw cut the Foam PVC like butter, and
a wood sanding block made the edges smooth.
I rounded them over by hand, and used the old panel as a template to drill the screw holes.

Each panel took about 45 minutes to form.
If I had to do it again, I'd seriously consider replacing ALL the panels with Foam PVC and painting the fiberglass liner to match, so that I wouldn't have to make the panels match the liner!
This was EASY! (Sanding the edges left a few marks, but they can be erased with an Acetone wipe. )

To the left, you can see a close-up from 12 inches away.

The existing headliner has a textured look, that is
kinda-sorta like a non skid finish. Painting it smoothed it out a bit, but I still need to make the new panels match the other panels and the existing liner.
I did some experiments, and came up with this idea... I'm sure that there are other ways to get the job done, but I found one and ran with it.

The first coat of paint on the Foam PVC panels has a nonskid additive. It's just sand, but the 'nonskid additive'
is a little bit better than cheap sandbox sand as
the grains are more uniform.
( In my experiments, the Interlux Nonskid additive didn't work at all... )

Below, you can see how it looks. If I hadn't experimented, this would freak me out since it's WAY too rough.

After having the panels down for over a year, I really miss seeing all the holes
and bolts and stuff.


(Gee, it's never done that before! After 8 years, maybe Black and Decker has come up with a better palm sander for the same price.
Off to Home Depot...)

The trick is to wait for the paint to cure, then sand it down with 80 grit on a palm sander. On my first pass, I didn't sand aggressively enough in some places and it still came up looking like nonskid, so I had to do it again. So there's three coats of paint on this. No big deal.

Here's looking up at the galley.

I like the finishing washers instead of the old buttons.

Rather than make new curtains, I took the old ones and brutally bleached them, then dyed with RIT Navy Blue -- the darkest Blue they make. Because of the synthetic fabric, they came out looking like bleached Denim, which is what I was looking for...

I painted the trim around the galley hatch a light gray.

To the left is an original vinyl covered panel, after painting...

To the right is the foam PVC panel after painting.

Close enough!