Quick Ways to Fix a Sagging Headliner Without Removing it

A sagging headliner can make your car look old. The sagging often occurs because the glue that holds it back loses its strength over time. A permanent fix to this problem would be to have an expert replace the whole roof lining, which of cause would be a bit time consuming and costly.However, if you want a quick solution,there are some proven tips on how to fix a sagging headliner without removing it, that you can use.

Are you still wondering what exactly a headliner is?The headlining or headliner is the fabric you see carpeting the roof of your vehicle. It is basically made of a press board, a thin foam, and a special fabric.Also known as the “car ceiling,”headliner materials become loose over time due to several reasons.

What causes the Headliner to Sag?

A floppy headliner can be as a result of several things, but in general, it happens because the adhesive used to keep the fabric firm on the backboards has weakened or lost its stickiness.This comes about due to:

What causes the Headliner to Sag

  • Contact with water that causes the glue to weaken
  • Not keeping your car under a shed or exposure to heat
  • Time–meaning the older the adhesive gets the more it deteriorates

The Tools You’ll Need when Sticking your Car’s Headliner Back

Well, you do not need complicated tools to fix the ceiling of your car that is sagging, a glue and few pins can do. However, depending on the method you want to use to execute the job, the excellency you to achieve and for better lasting results, you will need a few basic things, such as the below:

  • A glue gun
  • Steam cleaner
  • Special pins
  • Staple pins
  • Hand tools

The Quick Methods You Can use to Fix a Sagging Headliner

A more permanent solution would be to have the headlining of your car replaced by a professional, which of cause can take a whole day.However, that’s not to say there is nothing you can do to fix the problem on your own.With the above-mentioned accessories, there is a lot you can do to place back your car’s drooping headliner without having to remove it. So how do you go about it?Follow the below simple hacks:

Fix a Sagging Headliner

1. Gluing the Headlining Material Back in Place

A partially sagged headliner shouldn’t be complicated to fix at home, during your spare time. All you need is get a powerful glue and stick it back. It is as simple as that, you also do not need many tools for this option other than a glue gun (which of cause is also not a must-have if you prefer pins).Nonetheless, in some cases, you may need a wire brush to help clean the surface where you will be applying a new adhesive if need be.

Gluing the Headlining Material Back in Place

After that ensure the glue is well distributed both on the headliner material and the frame, then stick the fabric back to its place. A good sign that you have done the job well is if the ceiling regains if evenness,is firm and with no bumps; otherwise, you may want to check and reapply the glue to the areas that appear bumpy as it means there is no glue there.

2. Use Pins to Firm it 

If you do not have enough time for gluing, the next quick fix to help hold up your car’s headliner would be to use pins. They are easy to apply, requires no tool and you don’t need a whole hour to hold up your headlining material with pins. Talking about the best type, any thumbtack from your bookstore or hardware can work, so they don’t have to be something special.

All you need is simply hold back the headliner material to ensure it fits well on the backboards, then with the other hand, place a few pins and firm them with your thumb.

The good thing about pins is that you can arrange and space them in a manner that creates an appealing design to enhance the interior appearance of your car. In other words, no special expertise is needed here, just keep the pins firm and your ceiling should stay in tack.

3. Using Staple Pins and Hair Spray

It is common to question whether this does really work, but there is good evidence that staples can successfully help to fix back a flopping car ceiling!What you will need is a staple gun and you are good to go. However,important to remember is that a paper stapler may not do the job well, so be precise and use a staple gun.

After that, now it’s time to use the hairspray and spray accordingly on all the spots that you have stapled. What this does is it melts the adhesive that was initially used to stick both the material and the board together to give it back its glumness.

Wait for a few minutes to allow the surface to dry, then you can remove the staple pins. Of cause, this is not a long-lasting fix.After sometime the ceiling may need similar repair, however, for a quick and less expensive solution, this would sort you out.

4. Use Clear-headed Twist Pins

If this is the first time you are hearing about twist pins, these are small metal pins,which are specifically designed for attaching things on boards, so you know they will work quite well. They have as harp pointed end and a head that is twist-able, which helps to keep the item firmly attached.

Like with thumbtacks, you can use these twist pins to improve the look of your car ceiling by arranging them to make an amazing pattern. Most people seem to prefer twist pins for this work because they do not penetrate the backboard as ordinary pins do, and because they tend to offer a better lasting solution. 

5. Use the Double Sided Tape

The next quick solution to help reattached a falling headliner is using the double-sided tape. The way this tape is made is that it has adhesive qualities on both sides so that it can join two surfaces at the same time.

When fixing your headliner, all you need is place the tape strategically on all the loose points, spacing them according to the need and place back the material to fit. As it is obvious, you will want to apply some pressure on the tapes to make sure they stick well on the backboard. The good thing with this method is, if you get a good quality double-sided tape, the fix will stay longer as it does stick well both on the roof’s frame and the headliner material.

Again, like twit pins, using the double-sided tape is loved by most car owners because, unlike thumbtacks that make holes both on the fabric and the backboard, this method does not piece of break the material.

6. Revive the Adhesive with a Steam Cleaner

In most cars, the only thing that holds the headliner in place is the installed glue. Unfortunately, with time, exposure to heat, or other weather elements such as water, the adhesive becomes hard and less sticky. The first sign you know this has happened is when you begin seeing protrusions on the ceiling above your car, or from the edges of the headlining frames.

With a steam cleaner, you can try to revive the adhesive by heating it to melt the glue beneath the headliner and it will regain its stickiness. In the process, ensure to aim the steam cleaner on all the sagged spots.Then use a paint roller to press the fabric back, so that there is uniformity after you are done with the repair task.

This technique sounds obvious but it is one of those that leaves the roof of your car looking great as it was before, with no crevices or wrinkle. Regarding whether the heat from the steam cleaner is safe on your headliner fabric or backboard, the answer is an obvious yes, because you are not to overheat the glue and it is nothing regular to result in heat inflicted deterioration.

How Long Can these Fixes Last?  

Each method mentioned above can be a great solution when you don’t have spare time or cash to do a complete restoration on your headliner. You can also expect the fixes to give you good service depending on the method.

For instance, using the steam to revive the original glue would be a long-term fix that can go up to a year. Nonetheless, good maintenance practice on the repaired roof and the car, in general, would be necessary, which means you should avoid exposing your car to excessive sun heat, water or anything that can deteriorate the potency of the glue.


With this guide on how to fix sagging headliner in car without removing it, you will be free from the embarrassment and the abstraction that a floppy ceiling is likely to cause. Whether you are a do-it-yourself car enthusiast or not- all these fixes are no brainers, meaning anybody can handle. However, you may want to decide on the method that does appear to have a higher chance of working best for your car’s situation.

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