According to Checkatrade, the average full headliner repair cost is £225. Prices range from £100 to £350 and include materials and labour costs. If you own a premium vehicle, you can expect to pay more for a full replacement. 

While that may sound expensive, a headliner replacement is often worth it in the long run. This interior lining is more important than you might think, both in terms of efficiency and safety. On top of that, you can delay the repair cost until it is more convenient for your budget with a short-term fix.

However, we do not recommend repairing a medium or large section of a damaged headliner. This will need a full replacement.

By the end of this article, you will understand:

  • What your car's headliner does
  • Why it's important to repair your headliner
  • 5 cost-effective fixes for small repairs



A headliner, also known as car roof lining, attaches to the bare fibreglass on the inside of your roof. It is a compound of materials, containing layers of fabric, foam and glue, and is designed to make your car quieter, more comfortable in hot and cold weather and more aesthetically pleasing.

Old age, poor maintenance or extreme heat can affect the headliner and cause it to 'sag'. There are several ways to fix this, and you should make sure you do so whenever you notice a problem. This will keep your car safe, as well as fuel and energy-efficient.


What Is a Car Headliner?

Also known as a car roof lining, the headliner is attached to the inside of your roof. It covers the bare fibreglass and makes your car:

  • More aesthetically pleasing
  • Quieter
  • More comfortable in hot and cold weather

A headliner contains several materials. The most common layers used are:

  • Tricot knit fabric
  • Melted polyurethane foam
  • Backing board

These are held together with glue and then secured to the inner roof. 


grey interior headliner of car in good condition

An example of a good quality headliner.


Over time, the lining can detach from the backing board. This is known as 'sagging', and is caused by:

  • Extreme heat or humidity
  • Old age
  • Poor maintenance

If your car has a sunroof, the headliner is at greater risk of sagging. Moisture can leak into the roof and speed up the deterioration of the lining. So, why is it so important to fix this when you notice it?


Why Do I Need to Repair or Replace a Sagging Headliner?

Your car's headliner is not just for appearances. Manufacturers design their lining with head impacts in mind. If your roof lining is sagging and ineffective, you're at greater risk of injury in an accident.

On top of that, your car is much less fuel and energy-efficient if your headliner isn't sealed properly. Bare fibreglass can conduct more hot or cold air into the cabin, reducing the impact of the air conditioning or heater. This means you will need to use it for longer and use more fuel in the process.

In short, a sagging headliner can make your car less efficient and cost you more money in the long run.

Here are 5 quick and easy repairs you can do yourself if you have a small issue with your headliner.


Headliner Repair Options

The following are cost-effective, short-term fixes and are NOT alternatives for a full headliner replacement. If the foam is rotten or missing, your headliner is sagging in multiple places or the damaged area is a medium to large size, we highly recommend seeking professional help.

We also don't recommend completing a full headliner replacement yourself. Some vehicles have a sunroof or modules which need covering, complicating the process. You can compromise the safety of your vehicle if you need a big repair and don't do it properly.


Pin or Tack Your Headliner

You can use whatever pins you have handy, whether that's sewing pins, drawing pins or safety pins. Gently press them into the fabric to secure it against the other layers and ensure the headliner is secure before letting go.


  1. Speed. You can remove the sag in just a few minutes.
  2. Works For a Small to Medium Sag.
  3. No Experience Needed.



  1. Aesthetics. While pinning may be quick and effective, it is also a very ugly fix. If you care about the appearance of your car, you might want to consider a prettier repair.



A sagging headliner is usually caused by the layer of glue drying out, so replacing that is the perfect fix. Specialist headliner adhesive is cheap and easy to find, but you can also use a hot glue gun. Just be careful and avoid dripping the glue on your skin or your car's upholstery.


  1. Simplicity.
  2. Quick. You might need to wait a few minutes for the glue to dry but you can still fix a small to medium sag in no time.
  3. Aesthetics. If you completely seal the fabric back onto the foam, passengers won't even notice the repair. That makes it a great option if you take pride in how your car looks.



  1. It Won't Always Solve the Problem. If the foam has rotted away, you won't have anything to stick the fabric back onto. On top of this, you may also have to remove the old glue if the fabric isn't sticking down completely. This isn't the easiest task.
  2. May Be A Very Large Repair. If one section of your headliner has rotted foam or a lack of glue, other areas may have the same problem. If you have to make more than one glue repair in quick succession, a full headliner replacement may be a good investment.  


Staple Gun and Hairspray

If you don't feel comfortable using glue but want a more aesthetic fix than pinning your headliner, consider using a staple gun and hairspray. The staples are much less noticeable than big drawing pins and this fix is a lot more permanent than some of the others. Plus, you can create an even better finish by carefully removing the staples once the hairspray has set.



  1. Presentation. 
  2. Longevity. While this is still not a permanent fix, it lasts a bit longer than some of the other methods. That can make it a great option for drivers of older cars which aren't worth investing much money in.



  1. Time-consuming. Waiting for the hairspray to dry and then removing the staples means this headliner repair takes a lot longer to complete.
  2. More Expensive. If you don't have the required materials or can't borrow them for free, sourcing both a staple gun and hairspray can make this a more expensive fix as well.


yellow and black steam cleaner, bulky cleaning machine on wheels with nozzle

If you already own a steam cleaner, it might make your headliner repair much easier!


Steam Cleaning

If the fabric layer has peeled away from the foam because of dry glue, it might be easier to re-use the old glue rather than replace it. If you already own a steam cleaner, this is the perfect headliner repair for you. Gently apply steam to the affected area and then press the fabric down with a paint roller. Once the glue sticks the layers back together, move on to the next section and repeat as many times as you need to.


  1. Effectiveness. No matter how big or small the sag, steam cleaning is a great solution. It's also great for the aesthetics of your car.
  2. Longer Lasting Solution.



  1. Expensive. Sourcing a steam cleaner isn't cheap, especially if you don't have access to one yourself. It might not also be worthwhile if you don't have another use for it.
  2. Time-consuming. This repair requires the most patience because it may take a lot of time to melt and restick the glue.
  3. May Not Always Work. If the glue is too dry, steam cleaning it may have no effect.


Double sided tape  


Double-sided Tape

If you can access the inside of your headliner, double-sided tape is a great repair method. Just stick one side of the tape onto the fabric and peel away the backing to stick it onto the foam as well. Make sure it is firmly attached and that the tape holds the two layers together before letting go.


  1. Ease. Double-sided tape is the quickest and simplest fix.
  2. Aesthetics. As the tape is attached to the inside of the fabric, there should be no evidence of your headliner repair.



  1. Doesn't Work on Dry Glue. If your headliner is sagging because of dried glue, the tape won't stick at all.


Make sure you choose the right method for your situation and research the suitability of your repair before you begin. The last thing you want to do is make the problem worse. Most importantly, only complete a headliner repair if a small section of your lining is sagging.

You should get a professional opinion for anything more severe and book a headliner repair for the best long term resolution.