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Headlining very often sags due to a number of possibilities. It could be due to poor maintenance, overheating, or simply an old car. The overheating and lack of upkeep of this part of the car will make the fabric slump.

You should not worry as it can be quickly and effortlessly fixed if you use the best headliner adhesive. This article will provide you with a full buying guide and then reviews of the best headliner adhesive available!

What Is Headliner Adhesive?

First of all, a headliner is a fabric that covers the interior ceiling of a vehicle. Headliners serve many purposes including not only providing insulation against outside temperature, and reducing noise and vibration, but also enhancing the look and feel of the vehicle’s interior.

In the event of a car crash, they’re also able to provide some cushioning for passengers. Most headliners generally have a two-piece setup consisting of a knit fabric attached to a board via melted polyurethane foam. This fabric-foam composite is then fastened to the vehicle’s interior fibreglass roof.

One common problem with headliner adhesive is its sagging.

Headliner Sagging

Sagging occurs due to a combination of heat, humidity, and ageing. These variables, unfortunately, degrade the polyurethane foam, oxidizing it and weakening its bond with the headliner fabric.

Though, this failure is typically more common with old vehicles. If the sagging is minor, you will probably be able to repair the headliner fabric without having to remove it entirely.

But more often than not, the damage will be so severe to the foam that your only option is to peel off the entire fabric and replace the foam with an adhesive.

To repair a sagging headliner, the most effective and popular method is to glue it back into place. But, you cannot simply use any ordinary adhesive. You will need a specially designed adhesive; the headliner adhesive.

Headliner adhesive products are special in that they have high-strength capabilities which are used to repair loose or detached interior components.

They are able to tolerate high or low temperatures, which other ordinary glues or adhesives would not be able to. Along with this, they provide a strong, very long-lasting bond by soaking deep into the pores of the material’s surface.

Many of the best headliner adhesives will work on a wide array of materials such as fabric, rubber, plastic, and foam. This makes them the ideal adhesive for repairing sagging headliners.

Headliner Adhesive Benefits

As you probably know already, headliner adhesives offer many great benefits if you’re experiencing headliner sagging in your vehicle. Their top benefits include:

  • Affordability – Why should you have to spend hundreds of dollars replacing a sagging or damaged headliner if you could repair it all for a cost of less than £15? Headliner adhesives are a very affordable means of achieving fantastic DIY results. 
  • Easy to use – Headliner adhesives are easy to apply and you won’t need the help of a professional to get the job done.
  • Long-lasting results – High-quality headliner adhesives provide long-lasting results that can last for years without needing to be reapplied. Whereas other methods of repairing sagging headliners may only offer a temporary fix (using thumbtacks, double-sided tape, etc.).
  • Multi-Purpose Use – Although headliner adhesives are primarily designed to fix sagging headliners, you can also use them on other parts of a car’s interior, such as repairing other loose or detached upholstery components.

Headliner Adhesive Buying Guide

When it comes to selecting the best headliner adhesive, there are a number of factors you should consider, to ensure you do purchase the best adhesive for car headliner. These factors include:

  • Type
  • Temperature resistance
  • Durability
  • Cost
  • Compatibility
  • Toxicity
  • Ease of use

Let’s take a look at these factors in more detail!

Type

When selecting a headliner adhesive, you will typically have a choice between the two main types; aerosol spray adhesives and liquid adhesives, which differ mostly in the way they are applied.

Aerosol Spray Adhesives

Spray-based headliner adhesives are generally a lot easier to use than liquid adhesives. The adhesive is usually contained in a 0.5kg aerosol can with a spray nozzle.

This nozzle allows to adhesive to be applied easily, smoothly, and evenly on large surfaces, thus negating the need for use of a spray gun or roller.

While aerosol spray adhesives are generally less durable than liquid adhesives, they are certainly strong enough for headliner repairs.

Most aerosol spray headliner adhesives are designed to be capable of withstanding temperatures as high as 93 degrees Celcius (200 degrees Fahrenheit).

Liquid Adhesives

In contrast, the liquid headliner adhesive is capable of providing a more concentrated distribution and is, therefore, better suited for jobs that require the utmost precision. These types of adhesives are incredibly durable and provide a very strong bond.

Liquid headliner adhesives can be used as packaged or with a spray gun or roller for easier application and distribution, though having to buy those accessories will certainly increase the cost of your headliner repair.

Temperature Resistance

After selecting your type of glue for headliner, a key consideration is the headliner adhesive’s ability to withstand both low and high temperatures. For example, a rubber-based adhesive has a low heat tolerance and should therefore be avoided.

You will want to focus on finding a top-grade spray adhesive that is designed to withstand temperatures ranging from -18°C to 93°C (0°F to 200°F).

You should always check the product description to make sure it meets your requirements.

Durability

You certainly will not want to waste time and energy fixing your headliner for it to then sag or fall off again after a few weeks or months. 

Therefore, you should opt for an adhesive that is known for its strong holding power and durability to save yourself the trouble of constantly having to make repairs.

Ensure you look for the best headliner adhesive spray that meets the durability requirements needed for effective headliner repairs.

Cost

You must consider the amount of money you are willing to spend on the best headliner adhesive. It’s likely that you will require more than one can of headliner adhesive if a larger portion of the headliner needs to be coated.

Buying an adhesive will always be cheaper than taking your vehicle to a mechanic for the headliner to get fixed. You can easily afford to buy the cans, especially during emergencies.

Compatibility

Of course, not all glues will work the same way or stick to everything as many people believe. For example, many types of glue will be unable to form a strong bond to plastics or rubbers that have high plasticizer or oil content.

You must make sure the best headliner spray adhesive you purchase is compatible with the fabric of your headliner and its surrounding areas.

Toxicity 

Another important factor when looking for a best adhesive glue is one that won’t harm the material of your headliner or pose a health risk to you or your passengers.

Toxic chemicals used by some products available in the market can cause corrosion, staining, or other significant damage. You should opt for an environmentally friendly adhesive that has little to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

I would also recommend looking for products that are approved by your country’s respective environmental protection agency (EPA) if you care about the environment!

Luckily, most of the best headliner adhesives use natural, non-toxic ingredients that are designed to not harm you or your vehicle’s interior roof upholstery.

Ease Of Use

As already mentioned, best glue for headliner are available as a spray or a liquid. The spray adhesives are typically easier to apply and distribute, especially if the job requires covering an extensive area.

However, liquid adhesives are able to offer more precision, making them suitable for repairing smaller tears. If you’re new to using adhesives, you will find spray adhesives easier to use, while if you have some experience, you will have no issue applying the liquid adhesives.

The 9 Best Headliner Adhesive Reviews

Now let’s take review some of the best glue for headliner available on the market, as can be summarised in the table below:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue

The 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue is the best spray adhesive for headliner and was invented to be an extremely versatile, fast-drying spray adhesive that bonds a wide range of lightweight materials.

Its permanent bond provides fast results to keep projects moving ahead. The photo-safe spray formula is easy to dispense and apply directly onto surfaces and materials where needed, with no soak-in or yellowing over time.

It’s capable of bonding paper, cardboard, fabric, insulation, plastic, metal, wood and much more. The 3M super 77 is repositionable while providing long-lasting strength, and allows for a bond time of 15 seconds to 30 minutes.

A customer review states “This glue really works for head liners highly recommend.”

ProsCons
Spraying canVOC ingredients
Long-lasting strength
3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue Pros and Cons Table

Permatex 81731 Super Weatherstrip Adhesive

The Permatex 81731 Super Weatherstrip Adhesive is a superior adhesive, the best glue for car upholstery, ideal for rubber, metal, auto carpeting and fabric-backed vinyl upholstery.

Permatex Super Weatherstrip Adhesive is a headliner adhesive brush on ideal for many applications and allows for repositioning parts after contact is made.

As well as being waterproof, it also withstands extreme temperatures and resists gasoline, kerosene, antifreeze and most solvents.

ProsCons
Works of lots of automotive materialsNo spray nozzle
Withstands extreme temperatures
Strong bond
Permatex 81731 Super Weatherstrip Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

Camie Fast Tack Upholstery Adhesive

Camie 313 Fast Tack Upholstery Adhesive is specially formulated to bond foam to foam, as well as foam-to-fabric, wood, particleboard, cardboard, metal and fibreglass.

It has a web spray pattern that is clear, offering low soak-in and instant tack. The Camie 313 can develop flexible bonds that are either temporary or permanent.

A review as recent as February 2022 states that this adhesive was used for the headliner and has held great, from following the easy instructions.

ProsCons
Instant tackFew reviews saying doesn’t adhere well between foam and fabric
Temporary or permanent
Web spray can
Camie Fast Tack Upholstery Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

3M 08090 Super Trim Adhesive

3M Trim Adhesive is a fast-acting, high-strength, aerosol contact adhesive for automotive repair and restoration projects. This trim adhesive creates a long and secure bond between materials such as vinyl, insulation, foam, padding and rubber to impervious metal surfaces.

This easy-to-apply aerosol spray is suitable for installing new headliners and car hood installation pads are common uses for this adhesive. The trim adhesive is resistant to both heat, moisture and plasticizing oils and is a fast-acting product ideal for emergencies.

It should not come into contact with skin or eyes as it causes severe irritation. It may also cause allergy or asthma symptoms when inhaled. This adhesive cannot be used on certain materials like polyethylene and polypropylene.

ProsCons
High-strengthVOC warnings
Fast-acting
3M 08090 Super Trim Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

Locite MR 5426 Spray Adhesive

The Locite MR 5426 Spray Adhesive is a high temperature and high strength adhesive suitably designed for bonding fabrics, foam, carpet, rubber, plastic, and other material. This is due to the high temperature and high strength resistance.

It is an aerosol spray and has a solvent odour due to the chemical type SIS Copolymer. It is able to maintain its high strength at extreme temperatures as high as 75 degrees Celcius.

The Loctite headliner adhesive is not only resistant to extreme temperatures, but also water-resistant. However, it is quite expensive as compared to other adhesives and may leave stains after application.

This spray headliner adhesive retains effective properties that are in contact with automotive fluids like motor oil, antifreeze solutions, and alcohol. It is not recommended for parts that are in contact with gasoline and also for applications in oxygen-rich systems.

ProsCons
Resistant to extreme temperaturesMultiple reviews about it not holding
Water-resistantExpensive
Locite MR 5426 Spray Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive

Given that this brand has been formulating adhesives since 1923, you know they’re reliable. The Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive is a tried-and-tested formula that delivers amazing results in all manner of applications, modern or otherwise.

For starters, the adhesive is a natural, water-based and infused formula with natural latex, making it acid-free and non-toxic. The Tear Mender forms a strong bond with fabrics, leather, and other materials that is waterproof, UV-resistant, flexible, and permanent.

Drying takes less than three minutes and curing doesn’t require heating, ironing, or the use of solvents. Hence, why this adhesive is perfect for clothing, projects around the home, in your workshop, along with the repairing of sagging headliners.

Unfortunately, it’s a liquid adhesive rather than an aerosol spray adhesive, which makes it more difficult to apply if you’re not experienced.

ProsCons
Acid and toxic-freeNo spray nozzle
Strong bond
Tear Mender Instant Fabric and Leather Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

3M Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive

The 3M Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive has high strength and fast tacking and is suitable for a whole variety of materials which include laminate, wood, concrete, metal, plastic, paper, cardboard, insulation, fabric, melamine, polyethylene, polypropylene, and SBR rubber.

The adhesive is versatile, fast-drying, contact-type spray glue that bonds strongly to a wide range of projects both large and small, from crafting to construction. It offers a permanent bond and is easy to dispense while holding the spray can upside down.

The spray formula is easy to dispense, offers a variable-width spray pattern, and applies directly onto surfaces and materials where needed while offering excellent extreme temperature and moisture resistance.

ProsCons
Suitable for many materialsHas to be sprayed upside down
Fast-drying permanent bond
3M Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

Aleene’s 23473 Fabric Fusion Permanent Adhesive

The Aleene’s 23473 Fabric Fusion Adhesive offers a permanent bond between fabrics and other embellishments. It’s non-toxic, machine washable and stays flexible after washing.

Fabric Fusion features a clear, low odour and non-stringing formula, making it easy to work with and easy to wear, and won’t string when you apply it.

Although it’s not specifically designed for headliners, it could be a cheap option to use for repairing small areas of headliners.

ProsCons
Non-toxicNo spray nozzle
Permanent
Aleene’s 23473 Fabric Fusion Permanent Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

Gorilla Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive

The Gorilla Heavy Duty multi-purpose spray adhesive bonds strongly to fabric, leather, plastic, foam, wood, glass, and metal (just about every surface in your interior).

This Gorilla spray adhesive is water and UV-resistant and meets the new VOC standards. It has a wide pad spray nozzle that allows for a controlled fine mist and therefore, even applications.

You only have to wait several minutes before putting the headliner back up. After the headliner is up, you have an extra 10 minutes to reposition it for better alignment. 

Gorilla’s Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive is well-suited for both interior and exterior use. However, it’s noted that it’s not particularly effective on vinyl and rubber materials and has a low flashpoint.

ProsCons
RepositionableNot for vinyl and rubber surfaces
Meets VOC standardsFew negative reviews for headliner
Gorilla Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive Pros and Cons Table

Headliner Adhesive Tips

When it comes to the process of using the headliner adhesive to repair your car’s torn or saggy headliner, there are a number of helpful tips for using headliner adhesive safely and effectively.

It’s important to be aware that some adhesives contain toxic ingredients that can be harmful to your health, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected from them by always wearing protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask.

I recommend that you roll down the car’s windows to improve airflow and also help air out the smell of the adhesive. Don’t apply the adhesive on a wet surface as water can sometimes impede the bonding unless stated otherwise.

If your car’s headliner fabric is sagging near the edges, you might be able to apply the adhesive without having to remove the roof handles, clips, lights, and other items that hold it in place.

Warm temperature causes adhesives to dry quicker than cooler weather, while extreme temperatures can cause them to perform poorly. Carry out the headliner repair in an area (e.g. your garage) that has a moderate temperature.

The adhesive can sometimes get onto the sun visors and other parts of your upholstery, which can leave a sticky, sometimes coloured, mess. To prevent this from happening, you should cover the surrounding areas with pieces of paper. 

Whenever using adhesive spray, you should apply the spray moderately and evenly across the surface, and take great care not to spray an excessive amount of the adhesive on the headliner board as it could damage the fabric.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the best adhesive for car headliner?

The Permatex 81731 Super Weatherstrip Adhesive is one of the best adhesives for car headliners, as it is a superior adhesive ideal for rubber, metal, auto carpeting and fabric-backed vinyl upholstery. This adhesive is waterproof and able to withstand extreme temperatures.

Is Gorilla Glue good for headliner?

Yes, the right Gorilla adhesive could be used effectively for headliners. For example, the Gorilla multi-purpose spray adhesive is water and UV-resistant and meets the new VOC standards. This glue has a wide pad spray nozzle that allows for a controlled fine mist for headlining projects.

Can you use Super 77 for headliner?

Yes, the 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Permanent Spray Adhesive Glue is perfect for use on a headliner. This adhesive was invented to be extremely versatile and fast-drying that bonds a wide range of lightweight materials. Its permanent bond provides fast results.

How do I get my headliner to stay up?

The best way to get your headliner to stay up is to glue it back into place with a specially designed headliner adhesive. These products are special in that they have high-strength capabilities and can tolerate high or low temperatures. Along with this, they provide a strong, long-lasting bond by soaking deep into the pores of the material’s surface.