Delamination Explanation…Reefer Trailer Liners

The interior linings in today’s reefer trailers are thinner and more puncture resistant than ever before. Versitex, a reinforced thermo composite made by US Liner is standard in Utility reefers today. Versitex, like ArmorTuf by Crane Composites is lightweight, durable and cleanable. Because the liners are so thin and strong, the mode of failure is delamination instead of puncturing the material.

So What is the Real Issue?       

As mentioned above, the failure mode is delamination and in these trailers it is caused by the impact of palletized products rubbing against the interior sidewalls of the trailer. Most fork truck drivers enter the trailer at the center and gradually work their way to the roadside or curbside wall with the pallet. The pallet and product will be firmly against the wearband and interior lining during the last 4’ to 6’ of the loading process. While this method is efficient for the forklift operator, it damages the bond between the interior lining and the foam insulation. The linings from years ago were thicker and heavier which transferred the impact over a wider area resulting in less delamination.

The delamination or breakdown usually starts in a small area, and over time expands over a larger area of the sidewall. The end result is an area of liner that is “bubbled” out from the insulation that can be easily snagged by rough edges of products or pallets being loaded.  Inevitably tears and cuts happen in the areas that are delaminated and bubbled out.

How can it be fixed?

Image of Badger Utility There are different ways of repairing the damaged areas, whether it is just bubbled out or if the liner is cut as well. Potential repairs include drilling holes in the bubbled out liner and re-gluing it back to the foam or using a food grade silicone to seal up the tear or cut. While these methods can work for the short term, they are more of a Band-Aid and will fail over time.

The most effective way to repair delaminated lining is to cut the liner around ¾ of the perimeter of the affected area, leaving the bottom untouched. Peel the delaminated area down to the area where it is still solidly attached. Spray liner bond on the existing foam or back of the liner and reapply the lining. The final step is to shore the refastened area overnight to allow it to dry. If there are extensive cuts and tears in the existing liner, it is recommended to replace the seriously damaged areas with new lining material while using the same repair description above.

This method has proven to be effective and stand the test of heavy use.  The service locations for Badger Utility have been using this method for years with great success.  The repairs hold up to heavy use and allow the operation to continue without jeopardizing the integrity of the trailer.


The video here shows an overview of repairs that have been done by Badger Utility Service locations to remedy the delamination issue.  For more information on a repair please contact one of our locations.  Our team can help you solve delamination issues or schedule an appointment to have it repaired here in one of our shops.

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