Can I Use Regular Fabric For Headliner? (Explained)

After a while, your car headliner will wear out. These are some of the things that we can’t prevent. A worn-out headliner can lower the aesthetics of your vehicle’s interior.

If you are planning to redo the headliner, one of the questions you have probably asked yourself is – can I use regular fabric for the headliner?

Of course, you can. The good thing about the headliner is that you can use any material you deem fit. You can use regular fabric, suede, Alcantara, leather, and any other material you can get your hands on.

Out of all these, the regular fabric is the most affordable, readily available, comes in various colors, and can last for many years if installed correctly.

Because of these reasons, in today’s article, we will discuss in detail the use of regular fabric for headliners.

can i use regular fabric for headliner

Regular vs. Upholstery Fabric

When you walk into a fabric store or an auto detailing shop and ask for regular headliner fabric, they will understand what you are looking for.

However, there is a difference between regular and upholstery fabric. For those of you who aren’t familiar with fabrics, you must know the difference between these two so that as you shop, you can know which material you are looking for.

Regular fabric is commonly used in curtains, duvet covers, and pillows. It is a bit lighter and has got many uses. Upholstery fabric, on the other hand, is stiffer, thicker, and heavier.

Both are available in different colors. However, when it comes to durability, upholstery fabric lasts longer than its counterpart. That’s why it is used in furniture and other items that need a strong material.

The other perks of upholstery fabric are that it’s abrasion-resistant, easy to maintain, and looks better.

You can use either material on your car headliner, but we would recommend upholstery fabric because of the reasons we have listed above.

Knowing this is important because not every fabric store you visit will explain the difference between these two. And, wouldn’t you like to install a fabric on your headliner that looks amazing and is durable?

Where Can I Get Regular Fabric for Headliner?

The best place for you to get fabric for the headliner is at a fabric store. There you will find a wide range of fabrics available in different colors and patterns.

Ensure that you explain to the store attendant that you want a regular fabric to use on your headliner. They will give you several options to choose from.

The other place where you can shop for fabric for your headliner is online. A quick Google search should reveal many stores that sell fabric. You can also buy some from eBay.

If there is an auto store near you, give them a visit. A store that sells mostly auto interior parts and accessories should have headliner fabrics.

We recommend getting headliner fabric from an auto store because you are more likely to find one that is already attached to the foam. This will help you skip the padding process when installing a DIY fabric headliner.

What are the Alternatives for Regular Fabric?

If you don’t want to use regular upholstery fabric for your headliner, there are a couple of alternatives. The first is vinyl which looks exceptionally well and is quite durable.

We have upholstery leather which looks luxurious. The only drawback is that leather is heavy, and it may sag sooner than regular fabric.

You can also use Alcantara or suede. There are plenty of materials that you can use on your car headliner. But out of all these options, the regular fabric is the lightest, and it won’t sag easily.

What Can I Use to Glue Regular Fabric on My Car Roof?

If you are performing a DIY headliner installation, you will need to glue the fabric to the roof of your car. There are many types of glues that you can use for this purpose. We recommend finding one that has a high-strength adhesive.

It should be able to bond with a wide range of materials ranging from regular fabric, vinyl, upholstery leather, and Alcantara, as well as plastics, rubbers, and foam that may be used alongside the fabric.

Also, another thing you need to know is how much glue you should use in installing regular fabric as your headliner. In a small car, a 16-ounce would be enough.

In bigger vehicles such as SUVs and minivans, you will need at least two cans. When shopping for the glue to use in sticking the regular fabric, use glue specifically made for fabrics.

Examples include;

  • Permatex Heavy Duty Headliner Adhesive
  • 3M 08090 Super Yellow Trim Adhesive

How Much Does Professional Headliner Replacement Cost?

There are two ways you can install a regular fabric as your headliner. You can do it yourself or hire an expert detailer to do it for you.

The latter will cost more, but it will save you time and effort. You are also assured of a professional installation.

The biggest problem with installing a headliner by yourself is that the fabric may not adhere to the roof if you do it wrongly. And it can fall off after a while.

When you hire an expert, they will do a better job. The final finish will look flawless and will last longer. They can also help you pick the best fabric.

If you want professional headliner replacement or restoration, it may cost you at least $200 in a standard-sized sedan. In an SUV or minivan, the cost goes higher to about $350.

Depending on the materials used and the detailer’s experience, they can ask for up to $500. You should always ask for a quote from various detailers and compare them before hiring one.

Why Does a Headliner Sag?

Headliners sag when the glue used to hold them to the roof weakens. This mostly happens after years. A leaking roof can accelerate the sagging of the headliner.

Therefore, it is essential to repair leaking roofs as soon as possible. When washing your car, avoid getting water on the headliner as this may cause sagging. Do not attempt to de-attach the headliner not unless you are replacing it.

Fixing a sagging headliner is a simple DIY process that should only take a couple of minutes. There are a couple of methods you can use.

First, you can stick it using fabric glue. Or, you can use double-sided tape.

Though the latter offers a quick fix, its level of adhesion isn’t as strong as fabric glue. If you have neither type of glue in your home, blowing the sticky adhesive with a hairdryer can heat it and allow you to reattach the headliner to its original position.

If you are looking for another quick fix, use thumb pins.

Is Foam a Necessary Component of the Headliner?

As you replace the fabric for the headliner, you may also be wondering what to do about the foam. Headliners contain some foam which gives them a uniform appearance and a soft touch.

If the foam in your headliner is worn out, you can always replace it. Getting your hands on some foam should be easy.

What Causes Wrinkles After Installing a Headliner?

After a DIY headliner replacement, some wrinkles may appear. This is often because you did not pull the headliner tight to the sides when installing it.

Ensure that you do not leave any material tucked together when you install fabric on your headliner. Wrinkles can be removed using a blow dryer.

Do Regular Fabric for Headliners Come in All Colors?

The other reason why many people prefer to use regular fabric when redoing their headliners is that it’s available in all colors.

You can get it in white, brown, black, or other colors that you wish to have in your car. For uniformity purposes, you should check the color of your carpet and match it with that of a regular fabric.

Alternatively, you can switch things up and get another color. This can spice up and refresh the look of your vehicle’s interior.

Can I Find Headliner Fabric Specifically Made for Cars?

As mentioned earlier, regular fabrics work just fine as car headliners. However, you can also find a headliner fabric that is specifically made for cars. Such headliners are mostly available in auto shops.

These don’t just come as naked fabrics. They also feature padding and foam. Automotive headliner fabrics are specifically made for cars.

As a result, they are easier to install, and clean and can improve the aesthetics of your car’s interior. An automotive fabric headliner has got better sound-deadening properties.

Is Replacing a Headliner Fabric Necessary?

Absolutely. If your headliner is in terrible shape, then it will impact your interior aesthetics. If it’s completely worn out then, it can affect the vehicle’s insulation.

Headliner fabric is bound to grow old after a while. When that happens, it’s only necessary for you to replace it. Replacing headliner fabric is a simple and affordable procedure. Therefore, there is no reason for you to drive around with an old headliner.

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