You can use a bed liner kit to apply an attractive finish to your truck bed. A bed liner in a can will save you hundreds of dollars over getting a professionally applied finish. If you choose to apply your own bed liner, here are several tips and ideas.
A bed liner kit consists of the actual coating material plus the preparation materials and the application tools. The most widely available kit is by Herculiner. Herculiner advertises that their coating is 5 times as thick as other do it yourself bed liner coatings. Another kit is by Magnaliner.
Most people will apply bed liner paint with a roller or a brush, but many of these materials can be sprayed too. See the manufacturer for nozzle recommendations. But really, I don’t think you can tell the difference in appearance of the roll on coating from a spray on job.
You can put together your own kit. Read about the materials you need at our article.
Why a Bed Liner Kit?
If I wanted a bed liner on a new or very late model truck, I would get an estimate from a professional installer like Rhino or Line-X. Here’s why. These companies control the design and manufacturing of their coating material and the material seems to be more durable than what you can apply yourself. Plus they guarantee their work. So if there is a problem, they’ll fix it. You must remember, these coatings are permanent. You want this job done right spray on bedliner.
Also, the professional coatings go on thicker than most bed liner in a can products. The thicker coating is more difficult to penetrate. There’s less chance of scratching down to the metal.
But, a professional application may cost you $500 – $700. That may be justified on a new truck but certainly not on an old one.
Also, the advantages of the pro spray on bed liner may not apply to your situation. The durability of the liner you install yourself may be good enough for you. If you aren’t going to be throwing concrete blocks in your truck, your bed liner kit may be perfect for you.
One good reason to install a bed liner is to improve the appearance of a truck bed that has damage from abuse or rust. The bed liner kit is perfect for this.
The biggest reason to use a bed liner kit is to save money. My sons just installed a bed liner using a bed liner kit in our 1980 Plymouth Arrow Pickup. The total cost for this job was about $150. This bed was not banged up a lot but it was scratched and scraped over most of the surface. It looked pretty sad.
The boys sanded the surfaces aggressively then applied a chemical rust converter to the rusty spots. Then they applied primer to the bare spots. Then came two coats of bed liner paint and it looks great. It really looks like a professional job. You can’t tell it’s a bed liner in a kit. It looks like a spray on job.