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OK -- I have seen this in at least two van-build type threads as well as scattered elsewhere. However, I can only find a couple of them. And it would be useful to consolidate the discussion in one place.

I want to cover the exposed metal -- left over after putting on my sheets of wall cladding -- with fabric or fabric and insulation.


  • [dirt]Bag End covered exposed metal with Low-E and then covered that with cotton/poly fabric from JoAnn
  • Advanturing covered wall panels and exposed metal with fabric sourced from Van Sepcialities

It looks like in both cases 3M-90 was used as the adhesive.

I would like to cover exposed metal with the wrappable/conformable/moldable automotive fabric that I have variously heard described as "trunk liner," "trunk carpet," "speaker box cloth", "needlepunch" and Flexform. In a couple of places I'd put it over Low-E first.

In any case, it needs to be unbacked so that it is conformable. And it needs to be non-woven (ie, won't ravel). Regular Indoor/Outdoor carpet would not be thin enough to wrap tightly to curves.

QUESTIONS:

  • Are there any show-stoppers to using this material (whatever it is)?
  • Has anyone done this (posts?)
  • What exactly should I be looking for in my google searches?
  • Any recommendations for sources for material?
I can get "speaker cloth" at a shop aboaut 35 miles away or $14/yard (ouch!). I think I found the same stuff online but since I'm not really sure what I'm searching for I haven't bought.


Other suggestions?


Thanks!
 

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I've been thinking about using Tolex. That is the stuff that a guitar amp is wrapped in. Comes in a bunch of colors and textures. It is really similar to the texture of the "wallpaper" in a VW Westy.
 

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Perfect Fit is where I bought my panel covering and headliner material. They have a wide selection of materials.
 

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Adhesives for Wall Covering

Revisiting this topic, I was curious what adhesives were preferred for attaching things like Hull Liner and Indoor/Outdoor carpet to walls, metal, etc.

Looking for options to the Spray Adhesives like the 3M 90 which would require masking of surfaces you don't want to get overspray on. What have folks used successfully?

There is a product on the Lowes website, DAP Weldwood Contact Cement that looks promising
https://www.lowes.com/pd/DAP-Weldwo...Adhesive-Actual-Net-Contents-32-fl-oz/3819177

Gorilla Glue polyurethane adhesive is another at Lowes, though it seems rather pricey. Unless the coverage is superb, as they mention 3X expansion on the label.

Feedback on these and others that worked well would be appreciated.
 

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Gorilla Glue expansion is not something you want. That's expansion as in foaming to fill gaps. Even if you could spread the stuff uniformly, your fabric will end up lumpy. I suggest checking whether 3M has its 90 formulation available in a bottle so you can brush it on the metal while still using the spray formulation on the back of the fabric.
 

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I used Foss hulliner and Weldwood Landau top contact cement from Perfect Fit.

I had tried 3M 90 but found the Weldwood far superior and easy to spray or brush on.

The hulliner is very easy to shape, like around the header over the sliding door.

I glued the liner onto 3mm (⅛”) ply for the walls and ceiling, but where I covered the metal I used stick on Velcro. The male side glued to the metal in strategic places was perfect for holding the hulliner. Sometimes I want to get behind the fabric to run a wire or antenna.
 

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Weldwood Landau top contact cement from Perfect Fit.
I had tried 3M 90 but found the Weldwood far superior and easy to spray or brush on.

I don't see any bulk package less than 1 gallon for Weldwood Landau Top & Trim High Heat Resistant Contact Cement to get the adhesive in brush-on form. Did you buy the 1 gallon can and use spray gear instead of the aerosol can package?
 

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Yes. I used a half gallon. I bought the cheapest spray gun Harbor Freight sells. Also Perfect Fit sells a similar spray gun that works well.

Since then I have been using the rest of the glue wherever I need can bract cement.


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I've been researching this myself. I've seen really good results with 4-way stretch carpet over an underlayment of peel-and-stick ~3mm closed-cell foam. The foam evens out the micro surface details and provides a really nice feeling backing, and somewhat insulated thermal barrier, for the carpet. I'm still trying to find a US vendor for the foam which is very similar to a wetsuit material. I've seen it applied over reflectix, which was applied directly to metal, to negate the "crunchy" feel and sound. Although I'm not sure the reflectix really provides any Rvalue in that application.
 

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Sleep pads for backpackers. Reviewers state the "war surplus" GI issue pads are not worth the money for sleeping, but great for insulation. Cheap. My neighborhood outfitter, 1971, sold 1/2" thinsulate/thinsulite from a 54" roll. Cheap for a great product. I have no real idea what insulation material is used in "soft-side coolers".
 

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DAP weldwood will be the best glue for upholstery work, sprays or brushes easy and is good in high temps. Only bad is its expensive and flammable when wet so some places wont ship it. You might have to tape off areas in the van you dont want glue on.

Fabric I would suggest is the trunk-liner it will be super stretchy in all directions, hides uneven surface, blends together very well and cheap. Bad things about it, it can be pulled too far/thin and you might be able to see through it, stuff sticks to it like lint and fuzzy stuff, glue might soak through if applied to heavy and not very many colors.

It looks like Advanturing is using an auto tweed fabric. Which would be good as well, blends together well, lots of colors but more expensive and not quite as stretchy. You can see in a couple of his photos he has to use multiple pieces sometimes. It will fray too unless cut with a hot knife.
You can use foams too for a better feel but if your not going to touch it then why bother. Its also a one time shot, the foam tends too rip if you try to reposition anything.
 

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I use 3M contact cement to install Tolex on guitar amps and cabinets. I have yet to see any peel off. I have not tried it on painted metal, but I don't see why it would be different.

You gave me an idea, I think I'll put Tolex on the exposed ceiling ribs of my van. Now to decide on a color/texture; like a Marshall JCM? Maybe a Fender Twin Reverb? Or a little wilder, like the Python on a Splawn? The choices are unlimited.
 
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I use 3M contact cement to install Tolex on guitar amps and cabinets. I have yet to see any peel off. I have not tried it on painted metal, but I don't see why it would be different.

You gave me an idea, I think I'll put Tolex on the exposed ceiling ribs of my van. Now to decide on a color/texture; like a Marshall JCM? Maybe a Fender Twin Reverb? Or a little wilder, like the Python on a Splawn? The choices are unlimited.

Don't mess around. Go for a leopard print. :D
 

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Alas, there is no leopard print Tolex! 3 different kinds of snakes, alligator, crocodile, buffalo, elephant, ostrich, ZEBRA, but no leopard for some reason. I'm inclined to go with white python, but the shape and size of the ribs, it might freak me out if I'm half awake and looking at the ceiling.
 

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Really curious if anyone has done any research on the most healthy/least toxic and yet effective adhesives for doing this kind of glue work. I'd really like to choose such a product.
 

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Really curious if anyone has done any research on the most healthy/least toxic and yet effective adhesives for doing this kind of glue work. I'd really like to choose such a product.

Generally, any toxicity is over and done with once the adhesive dries. Have good ventilation while working, or wear a good filtered mask if opening the doors and letting the breeze through isn't good enough.



I'm sure that there are such adhesives out there and some Googling ought to turn them up.
 

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There's a combination of adhesive and fabric I recommend avoiding. I used Polymat 777 to adhere vinyl fabric to both wood paneling and bare metal surfaces in my conversion. It seemed to work well initially. On my first extended road trip across Nevada with outside temperatures exceeding 100, the vinyl on my sliding door metal came loose and wouldn't re-stick. The adhesive had become gooey and stuck better to my fingers than the surfaces.
After returning home, I re-read the application instructions on the adhesive can and found a reference to "bond failure" due to "plasticizer migration" into the adhesive. I looked up plasticizer migration and found a reference that described adhesives "turning to goo" due to it.
I've stripped off the remaining vinyl that's coming loose, laboriously removed the gooey adhesive with LOTS of lacquer thinner (and an appropriate face mask/ventilation/impermeable gloves) and will apply a different fabric that doesn't have plasticizer.
I don't know if ALL such combinations of adhesive and fabric will fail as mine did, but I recommend caution and lots of research before applying vinyl with spray adhesives.
 
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