FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Finishes, paints and coatings

FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby kevindford » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:33 am

Thinking about the internal headliner for the cabin of a Grumman design in white smooth FRP. This is my first foray into plastics so a few newbie Q's"

Does this exist in approx 5'x10' (the dimensions from the galley bulkhead to the connection to the front of the trailer)?
Is there a product that I can glue to 1x2 ceiling spars? How far apart should they be?
Or will any plastic product need to be mounted on plywood?
Is there a product that can conform to the bend of the roof without breaking? (A 5' radius or so)

Is there a product that can do all these things?

Thanks for your input-
Kevin
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby Wildfire » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:47 pm

I skinned my ceiling with aluminum. Only held in place with the corner trim down the sides, the trim on each end, puck lights and the ceiling fan.

Used 0.032", rolled it up and put it inside the trailer through the door cut out. Wasn't as big a pain in the neck as it sounds.

I've never seen the FRP bigger than 4x8, but I've never looked either.

Good luck.
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby LMarsh » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:11 am

I've used smooth FRP as ceiling panels in my last 3 builds. On my first I used that whiteboard type laminated hardboard, which was cheaper, but it wore through in a couple spots from packed up items rubbing against it so I wanted something more durable and with color all the way through the material. The FRP is kind of heavy and is 0.09" thick, but one of my local building suppliers stocks it in 4x10 sheets in smooth or pebbled. I can order it in other colors and sizes, but always only 4' wide. Free freight if I wait for their next shipment and include it with their order. Other manufacturers may offer it in 5' but I simply cut the ten footers in half and joined them together with a union type trim piece (readily available too). You can even get FRP in large rolls or pay to have them precut the sheets. I did not use a backer of any type and my spars are a foot apart. Space the spars closer for more support but once it's bent to a curve it's pretty rigid. My only concern were my joined edges near my kids bunks. I was a bit worried pushing or kicking too hard against it might pop the sheet out of the trim. I insulated my roof cavities with foamboard so that should help support it from behind. I also glued the trim pieces on but I didn't use the proper glue. I don't think much, if any, adhesives actually chemically bond this stuff. Overall my ceiling is pretty solid now, but better planning would have been to place spars at the joints. The adhesives I used were for plastic panels like shower and tub surrounds or stuff specifically mentioning FRP. I tried several types and they all seemed decent when going to the wooden spars. Two non porous surfaces is different than going to wood for some reason. Glob massive amounts on because the curves never seem to match up quite as planned. These glues take time to cure and harden up pretty good. Holding the sheets in place was a pain. Afterwards I put tons of generic adhesive/sealant on the back along every edge, spar, and joint. I used end cap trim to give the wall edges a nice clean look but I guess you could caulk it too. I do the ceiling first and then the roof. I also wish I had remembered to thoroughly rough up the back side for better adhesion. Another suggestion would be to ask the manufacturer what adhesive they recommend. I did not use any physical fasteners though I was tempted to, but they wouldn't look good. The roof vent will help hold it once the inside trim flange is screwed on and the screws for my ceiling lights help a bit too.

My build thread:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=65949


There are other options for ceiling material but most are thin and easily bend. Probably not much in 5' wide though. Regardless of the material the ceiling is one of if not the most difficult part of the build for me. Maybe it's my designs or large ceiling area, or my technique, but whatever it is I loath that part of the build.

Lucas
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby kevindford » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:16 pm

LMarsh wrote:I've used smooth FRP as ceiling panels in my last 3 builds.

My build thread:
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=65949


There are other options for ceiling material but most are thin and easily bend. Probably not much in 5' wide though. Regardless of the material the ceiling is one of if not the most difficult part of the build for me. Maybe it's my designs or large ceiling area, or my technique, but whatever it is I loath that part of the build.

Lucas



Hey Lucas- thanks for the comments- I looked through your build journal, and what you did is exactly the look I'm going for. The clean, glossy plastic is a beautiful contrast to the stained wood.

Would you mind sharing a few more pictures? There are some pics with broken links in your journal- would love to see a few more shots, and any of install.
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby LMarsh » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:44 pm

Okay, the links should be fixed and I posted some additional photos in my build journal but I don't have any more of the ceiling. I usually forget to stop and take photos as I'm working so I've missed a lot of steps (I asked my wife to stay on top of photo documenting the build, but she hasn't taken any in almost 2 years of the build...), but I can easily take some of the current state of the interior and send them to you or just post them in this thread. I've been busy remodeling my sons bedroom, where its warm and avoiding the frigid garage as much as possible, so its just about going out there, taking the photos, and uploading them.
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby LMarsh » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:36 pm

I guess I did use some fasteners on the ceiling panel front and back edges. They'll be hidden once the interior is finished.

152599

152602


It was dark out when I took theses so they're not great.

152600

152601

152603
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby kevindford » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:02 pm

LMarsh wrote:I guess I did use some fasteners on the ceiling panel front and back edges. They'll be hidden once the interior is finished.


Nice, thanks for the additional pics. Where did you source the frp from? And would it roll up tight enough to pass through the door/hatch?

Thanks-
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby kevindford » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:15 pm

Wildfire wrote:I skinned my ceiling with aluminum.


Yeah, I like this look too- will go for it if I can't do frp.
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Re: FRP or other plastic for cabin headliner

Postby LMarsh » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:59 pm

I went to a local building supplier (Henrietta Building Supplies) in the Rochester NY area who sells Nudo products. They used to carry some some other brand too. The big box stores might be able to order more than what they stock, I've never asked. FRP is basically all the same as far as I can tell, I've used maybe three different brands over the years. Sometimes I call the manufacturer myself if my supplier doesn't give me the answer I'm looking for. I made special arrangements to order sheets that are very thin that the supplier claimed they couldn't get, but that isn't for my teardrop. Also some people recommend just using the back side of the pebbled FRP panels, if that is all you have available, but it doesn't look the same. The sheets I got are smooth and glossier than the backs and also have a protective plastic film on them.

You can bend FRP really far and with some man handling I don't see why you couldn't roll it up to fit through your door. Its pretty hard to break this stuff. I normally use 0.030" on a weekly basis, but the 0.090" is what I got in smooth 4'x10' sheets for my teardrop. I think that is a pretty standard thickness regardless of the manufacturer and while I haven't tried breaking any of the 0.090" I think it bends about the same as the 0.030" which I have to stand on to break, even in thin strips.

I even used strips of FRP to bend around my side profile to smooth out my curves. After tracing and transferring the shape a few times it really helps get the profile into the right shape for bending the plywood and aluminum to without any having high or low spots or other problems where the material has problems bending to the shape.
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