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Ask Dave: My carpeted ceiling fabric is drooping. What can I do?

Dear Dave,
We are always in the process of upgrading our 2005, paid-for, well-built, Class C GT Jamboree. Until COVID we had been full-timers for 15 years. My husband has ripped out the carpet and put in new vinyl wood floor, which is holding up well. Replaced the shower and the bathroom toilet and sinks and painted the cabinets, which are holding up very well.

I have replaced the shades and recovered the valances in the bedroom. He has replaced the refrigerator guts twice and put a stainless steel front on the refrig. The old TV came out and he made a deep cabinet there. The microwave has been replaced with a microwave convection oven. I made all new drapery. The awning has been replaced once, as has the AC unit. As a mechanic he has kept up on any working truck parts. The engine has 109,000 miles.

Many times we have looked at new RVs and none are as well-made as ours, which has taken us all over North America.

Our big problem right now is we cannot figure out what to do about the carpeted ceiling. I tried to figure out a way to take it down and replace or cover with a vinyl, and I could not find such a product. I painted the ceiling in the bedroom with coat after coat of paint, which did cover up a few old water stains. But I am concerned about the heaviness of all that paint. It looks better but I am not happy with the outcome. I am about to start replacing the countertop and taking out the old propane cooktop and oven in the galley, but I do not know what to do about the ceiling in there. Do you have any information on any product or way to replace that carpeted ceiling? —Sheryl

Dear Sheryl,
Wow, that’s a lot of work! You do have several options for repairing or replacing the ceiling material. First, let’s take a look at what the roof is made of.

The roof construction of RVs is a composite of an exterior membrane, either rubber, fiberglass, or aluminum laminated to a luaun (plywood) substructure, framework with block foam insulation, another luaun membrane and then the interior material. So, underneath your “carpeted ceiling” is a wood substructure which I believe you discovered in the bathroom.

RV manufacturers typically use three different materials for the headliner or interior ceiling of an RV. Cheap models use a vinyl-coated plywood to save the cost of another application of headliner. Others use the type of material you are describing, often a brand called Ozite. You can still get this material at various RV suppliers such as RecPro here.

This company even has kits that include the appropriate adhesive since you want to use one that does not break down the material.

One other material used for the headliner is a padded vinyl which helps with sound deadening and is easier to clean than the Ozite. The disadvantage is the padding can break down and the weight makes the material pull away from the luaun. We had this situation with an older Winnebago my father had. Rather than try to pull it all apart and reapply another product, we reapplied the existing material.

Since it was a one-piece material, we cut a line in the middle of the sagging area across side to side about every 6 feet. This allowed us to pull the fabric down some and get a vacuum hose in to suck up all the loose padding that had deteriorated and crumbled. We then applied more adhesive spray inside and use a thin sheet of paneling, pulled the fabric tight at all ends, which meant some of the fabric stretched and overlapped. Then we used adjustable foundation poles to apply pressure for a couple of days. When the jacks were removed, we trimmed the excess overlapping material off and installed a thin wood strip over the cut that matched the wood stain in the unit. It looked factory installed! You will notice some manufacturers use a one-piece material while others use 4′-6’ pieces with a similar trim at the seams.

Another option would be to remove the existing fabric and either paint it like you did in the bathroom, or install new material. You will need to clean the luaun wood very well or maybe install a new piece over the existing wood, fastening it with screws. At the edge that meets the cabinets, you can either loosen the cabinets and tuck the wood underneath, or bring the new wood to the edge and use a piece of small quarter trim. I do not think the paint would be too heavy.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club.

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Bob p
8 months ago

I was energetic like that 50 years ago, now I just get rid of the HEADACHES and buy something newer. Lol

DW/ND
8 months ago

We had the same problem in 1994 Class A Winnebago Vectra. After examining the way it was factory installed – I decided it would be very difficult to reattach it. (I hadn’t tho’t of cutting it as Dave described) I had some snap caps made to match the material. I also tightened the vinyl then used regular panel edge plastic strips slide under the factory dividers then stapled the fabric and strips and covered them with another panel edge strip. All match. I installed the snap caps equally spaced across the ceiling divided sections. I have also installed strip lighting. I have many pictures available – you can contact me thru Diane @ Rv Travel.

PS; I also replaced the counter tops and wallpapered the bathroom among a few hundred other mods!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
8 months ago
Reply to  DW/ND

Yep. I’m here. Have a good afternoon/evening, folks. 🙂 –Diane