The cargo bed on your pickup truck is built to handle tough jobs. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s immune to wear and tear. All it takes is one deep scratch to ruin a paint job. Before you know it, you’ll have to deal with some extensive corrosive damage.
To avoid all of that, you can apply a spray-on bedliner. Bedliners are meant to keep the bed of your truck safe from many forms of damage. A spray-on version takes that protection up a notch to keep your cargo bed looking pristine for years to come.
Before you jump the gun, it’s important to know that your average DIY solution isn’t going to cut. This is a truck modification that will affect your truck’s look and performance, so you shouldn’t take the decision lightly!
Top 5 DIY Spray-In Bedliners 2020
1. U-Pol Raptor Black Urethane
2. U-POL Raptor Tintable Urethane 8-Quart Kit
3. Herculiner HCL1B8
4. U-Pol 0820V Black Urethane
5. Custom Coat Urethane Kit
- Top 5 DIY Spray-In Bedliners 2020
- 1. U-Pol Raptor Black Urethane – Best All-Around Product
- 2. U-POL Raptor Tintable Urethane 8-Quart Kit – Best for Customization
- 3. Herculiner HCL1B8 – Best for Easy Application
- 4. U-Pol 0820V Black Urethane – Best Choice for Quick Drying
- 5. Custom Coat Urethane Kit – Best for Universal Protection
- How Do Spray-On Liners Work?
- What Are the Benefits of a Spray-On Bedliner?
- Frequently Asked Questions
1. U-Pol Raptor Black Urethane – Best All-Around Product
Overall, the quality of the spray does not disappoint. Preparing it is as simple as adding the hardener and shaking the bottle. Once you have that done, just attach the gun and get to work! It’s thick enough to apply evenly with one pass. Yet, you can also build coats to get the level of protection you’re after.
The Raptor bedliner does a great job of protecting your bed once it cures. The finished solution is resistant to abrasive damage, stains, water, and more.
2. U-POL Raptor Tintable Urethane 8-Quart Kit – Best for Customization
The solution is compatible with most bedliner tints. However, it doesn’t include any tints whatsoever. There’s not even a basic black tint. Without a separate purchase, the bedliner will come out white rather than black.
That said, the bedliner has a lot to offer. It’s a well-made formula that resists UV damage very well. The color stays vibrant for much longer than some other options out there. You might not even notice the eventual light fading that might come with age if you go with a lighter shade.
All in all, Raptor has done it again! The spray-on bedliner is well worth the investment. Just make sure to pick up some pigment!
3. Herculiner HCL1B8 – Best for Easy Application
The formula is very unique compared to other spray-on bedliners. It doesn’t utilize a separate hardener that you have to mix in with the solution before applying. Just stir the can and start applying. There’s a good amount of aggregate in the liquid bedliner. As a result, the finished product is going to have a noticeable skid-resistant texture.
This bedliner is certainly a unique option. While it might not be for everyone, it’s far more accessible to those without access to an air compressor. It’s easy to apply and can provide a protective finish that lasts.
4. U-Pol 0820V Black Urethane – Best Choice for Quick Drying
The biggest draw of this Raptor bedliner is its quick drying time. Once the hardener is mixed in, it starts working quickly! You must start applying the product immediately before it starts curring in the bottle. If you work fast, you can reap the benefits quickly, too. It takes less than an hour to be dry to the touch. Depending on the thickness of the coat, you might be looking at only 15 minutes.
If you’re in a pinch, this bedliner is a great option. There’s no need to protect the application for a day or two. By the time you clean up, the bedliner will be dry enough to ensure proper curing.
5. Custom Coat Urethane Kit – Best for Universal Protection
This is a flexible bedliner. Rather than drying stiff like some other options, it has a bit of give to it. The benefit of that is a tighter seal and more protection. When cured, the material does a fine job of preventing water penetration. It blocks out most of the harmful UV rays its exposed to as well. Best of all, the flexibility of the bedliner can dampen sound as you drive. It stops vibrations from traveling, making your ride a much more comfortable one.
Thanks to its simple application and impressive protection capabilities, this is a fine bedliner worth considering.
How Do Spray-On Liners Work?
To put things simply, a bedliner is a protective layer that sits on top of the bare metal of the cargo bed chassis. They offer the protection you need to keep your truck damage-free.
Spray-On vs. Drop-In Bedliners
There are two main types of bedliners available. Drop-in liners are your basic factory liners offers by manufacturers. You can get them aftermarket as well, but getting them installed on your truck is a bit trickier.
Drop-in bedliners are typically more affordable, but they are prone to experiencing a litany of problems. The biggest is their susceptibility to cracking. Because the entire unit is molded as one piece, there are a lot of vulnerable spots to worry about. When a crack occurs, water can seep inside and get trapped between the body of the truck and bedliner, leading to massive corrosion problems. Not only that but repairing cracks and holes is nearly impossible. Aside from replacing the entire bedliner, there’s not much you can do to restore the protective qualities.
For those reasons, spray-on units are considered to be much better. A spray-on bedliner conforms to the shape of your bed. Thus, there’s no need to worry about getting the right shape or size. Spray-on systems also adhere to the truck itself, virtually eliminating gaps and many other common problems associated with drop-in models. On top of all that, they’re easier to repair. Just apply another layer!
Types of Spray-On Bedliners Available
There are a few different types of spray-in bedliners available. The difference between them comes down to the chemical compounds used. The two most common that you will encounter are aromatic and aliphatic.
Aromatic spray-on liners are the most affordable of the two. The “aromatic” moniker refers to the shape of the compound used. It’s a ring-shaped compound that’s often used in adhesives and other types of protective coating. The benefit of aromatic liners is that they cure very fast. There’s no need to wait for hours before you can use the cargo bed.
The downside is that they are prone to losing pigment faster than the alternatives. While they are cheaper, you may need to replace them a lot sooner.
Aliphatic liners, on the other hand, are renowned for their longevity. They come in a wide range of colors, too. Thus, you can customize the look of your truck more. The compounds are straight or branched. As a result, they respond much better to UV exposure than aromatic options.
The main disadvantages of an aliphatic liner are cure times and price.
How Spray-In Bedliners Are Applied
Applying a spray-on liner is not an easy task. But, the results are well worth it. This upgrade is unique compared to other aftermarket modifications because a lot of the grunt work is going to involve preparation.
The goal is to ensure that the product sprays on evenly and creates a strong attachment with the metal underneath. You must clean the surface of the cargo bed thoroughly using grease-cutting soap or acetone. This removes any wax or protective coatings that could affect adhesion.
After that, the metal underneath needs to be scuffed up. Typically, this is done using a sander. This step creates tiny grooves that the bedliner can fill, strengthening the bond even further.
Once the prep work is all done, it’s just a matter of masking off the cargo bed to prevent overspray and applying the product. Some spray-on bedliners include primers or other preparation steps, so make sure to read the instructions before you get started.
The cool thing about spray-in liners is that you can build up the product to get the right thickness. Most will need to have at least a few layers to provide adequate protection. But, you can certainly add extra if you plan on doing tougher jobs.
What Are the Benefits of a Spray-On Bedliner?
Bedliners have been around since the 1950s. Back then, most cargo beds were bare metal, opening up a can of worms when it comes to damage. While you can still get bare metal beds, most manufacturers these days provide factory bedliners.
These accessories have a lot to offer. They protect your investment and make your job easier, no matter what you’re doing. Here are some key benefits of a spray-in bedliner.
Protection from UV Damage
Every vehicle is at risk of UV damage. However, truck beds tend to get the brunt of it because they are constantly exposed to the sun! Exposure to high temperatures can lead to paint damage, coloration issues, and more. If you have a standard drop-in bedliner, you can also expect to experience cracking and warping.
Spray-on liners are still affected by the sun. But, they do a much better job of blocking those harmful rays. In fact, tests have shown that spray-on compounds can block up to 80 percent of UV rays.
Corrosion is your truck’s worst enemy. Exposure to water and air can lead to serious rusting issues. It’s not just a cosmetic concern. If left untreated, corrosion can eat away at the metal and affect the cargo bed’s structural integrity.
The great thing about spray-on liners is that they provide a tight water seal. It gets into every nook and cranny, which is in stark contrast to traditional drop-in units.
Speaking of getting into every nook and cranny, spray-on bedliners allow you to get the perfect fit regardless of the make and model of your truck. Compatible drop-in liners can be difficult to find. This is especially true if you have an older truck. Not only that, but they tend to waste valuable cargo space. Spray-on bedliners are like a second skin that fits snuggly every time.
Did you know that many spray-in bedliners are designed to be slip resistance? They often have a texturized finish that improves your grip. This doesn’t just benefit you when you’re loading cargo up. It can also make your haul more secure as you’re driving.
Instead of sliding around on a smooth bed, that cargo will have to contend with that slip-resistant texture. This can prevent items from falling out of the bed and causing issues on the road.
Easy Maintenance and Repair
Taking care of a spray-in bedliner is a cinch! All you need is some light soap and hose to wash it down. You can even use a stiff-bristled brush or pressure washer to get rid of tough grime.
What’s even better is that you can easily repair issues. Instead of tossing out the entire thing because of a crack or light scuffs, just apply another layer on. Just like that, the bed looks brand new!
Who doesn’t want their truck to look its best? While pickups might take care of dirtier jobs, that doesn’t mean that you have to drive around with a damaged bed! Spray-on liners give you a sleek, clean look. It makes the truck look more complete. If you get a colored bedliner, you can even spice things up and show off your personality! The choice is yours.
Last, but certainly not least, a spray-on bedliner can protect the value of your investment. Buyers pay attention to those small details. There’s no doubt that they will take a look at the bed. A scuffed-up cargo bed filled with cracks and corrosive damage is only going to drive the cost down.
However, a freshly applied spray-in bedliner could increase its value. Remember, these bedliners cost more than drop-in units. As such, they’re a hot commodity that you can use as leverage during a sale.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are spray-in bedliners worth it?
Spray-on bedliners are absolutely worth the investment. Of course, the value of an upgrade is always subjective. However, the number of benefits it provides greatly outweigh the upfront costs. It can protect your ride. What’s not to like?
2. Does a spray-in bedliner void warranty?
When installed correctly, a spray-on bedliner should not void your warranty. The specific warranty details can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it’s a good idea to read up on them before applying the bedliner.
That said, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler have all come out and said that these liners do not affect their respective warranty policies.
3. Does a spray-on bedliner prevent rust?
One of the biggest jobs of a spray-in bedliner is to prevent rust! These products create a thick protective layer that stops moisture from making contact with the metal underneath. Thus, rust cannot form.
4. How long does a spray-on bedliner take to dry?
How long a spray-in bedliner takes to dry depends entirely on the formula. The manufacturers of the product should provide that information on the packaging.
Aromatic bedliners dry very quickly. Meanwhile, aliphatic formulas can take upwards of 24 hours to fully cure.
With the best DIY spray-in bedliner, you have everything you need to keep your truck in good shape. It’s a simple aftermarket upgrade that can make a world of difference. Whether you’re hauling uniform boxes or loose gravel, a high-quality liner will keep your ride protected wherever you go.
Thanks to these DIY solutions, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for that protection. You can get the job done at home in a single afternoon!
Bedliner technology has evolved quite a bit in the last few decades. Even now, manufacturers are coming up with new formulas that offer more safety from the elements and physical damage. For now, those newer formulas are reserved for custom shop applications. However, we’re sure it’s only a matter of time before it makes its way to the DIY auto market!