The bed of your truck is fragile. the tough and rugged exterior can handle a lot. But chip away at its gritty exterior and you will find with it can wear down with time. If you’re wondering how to spray on bedliner do it yourself, rest assured it can be done in a weekend or a single day if done right. And they are very much worth it. Why?
Live near the sea? Rust will eat it up.
Rain and snow? Danger Will Robinson.
A small scratch can start out as a harmless flaw but after weeks or months, it will turn into a Freddy Kruger’s face. #lifehappens.
So, adding a truck bed liner is a great and common fix to this problem. They will make your truck’s bed look cleaner for a long time. They will also add a layer of protection against rust that can create all sorts of problems down the line.
Do it yourself spray in bedliners are a great way to get his done. You can take it to a shop and within a few days or one week, they’ll get it done.
Typically you will pay about $450-550 for a shop to spray in a truck bed liner.
But what if you want to do it yourself? How much does it cost? Is a complete kit ideal? Can I just buy some rattle cans? How long does it take? Can you do it outside? Do you need to buy a huge kit or can you get some spray cans and do it in one afternoon?
Spray In Bed Liner Do It Yourself Requirements:
- Clean up
- Tape and mask
- Remove tape and mask
- Crack a cold one
Simple right? Well, to do a great job it’s not as simple as that. The good news is that anyone can do it with the right know-how. Materials are inexpensive, they are readily available, and with some patience, almost anyone can do a great job.
Things To Consider Before You Begin Your DIY Spray-In Bedliners
- Aliphatic or a kit will last longer but costs more. Ideal if you already have an air compressor, spray gun, and aptitude. Polyurethane will give you a longer-lasting and more professional looking finish.
- The process is more complicated but the finish requires almost no upkeep. But you would have to store unused materials. But hey, tell your friends to buy some beer and come over for a good ol’ fashioned bed liner party. No? Just me?
- Aromatic is a simple ready to go spray-on (rattle can). It is much cheaper but it will fade quicker. Aromatic doesn’t require any other special equipment either. It dries much quicker than Aliphatic coatings.
- For a one-time job, rattle cans may be best. You can buy enough for your bed and you can dispose of the spent bottles. You may have to reapply after some years but the out of pocket expense is minimal. Just shake and spray!
- A color is an option with multi-use. There are color choices. Everyone chooses black but if you want to have a periwinkle blue bed liner go for it. It is a free country. Also, consider a matte glossy finish. Matte will hide scratches better compared to glossy.
- Opting for UV protection can make a truck bed liner last years instead of months.
Truck Bed Liner Parts list
- Hose, soap, sponge, and towel
- Masking tape
- Roll of plastic wrap (18 inches wide)
- Bed liner spray kit or set of rattle cans (refer to directions for coverage area on each can)
- Second fresh towel
- Plastic coverall, respirator, goggles, and gloves
- Bucket or bowl
- Spray-on bed liner kit
- Air compressor
- Electric orbit sander
- Primer or;
- Bonding agent
- Nylon Cup Brush & electric drill
- Brush set (if not using a spray)
Preparation for a do-it-yourself spray in bedliner can be a lot of work but good prep saves you time if done correctly the first time.
Take out things like tie-downs, any hoops, hooks, straps, or any additions. Anything like bolts or temporary looking should be removed. If it looks like it can be taken out, pull it. Put them all in that bucket you have and if there are a lot of similar parts that are not interchangeable then label the parts and the locations with some tape.
If there are large holes after removing these parts you can carefully neatly cover them with tape.
Give your bed a thorough cleaning. You might as well clean the whole truck while you’re at it. Use any soap you have handy. Industrial soaps are ideal but this is not crucial. Wet, scrub, rinse, and dry. Drying in the sun is fine if need (you can save your arms for the sanding).
Tape off the truck bed. Buying quality tape is important here. You don’t want to have a cheaper tape lose its stickiness through the prep process and have ugly leakage.
It will leave an ugly fading curve instead of a crisp straight line. Tape the entire perimeter of the bed about an inch AWAY from where you want the actual liner edge to be.
Add plastic masking film or masking paper to protect the rest of your car. Run the sheeting along with the existing tape and connect using a liberal amount of tape and close the 1-inch gap you previously left.
THIS WILL BE YOUR LINER EDGE. Using more than you need will ensure you aren’t going to accidentally spray through a crack in the plastic. Once the bed is completely protected comes the fun part…
Sand and more sanding. Wet sanding is ideal. That way you aren’t breathing in paint or metal dust (unless you’re metal like that).
Simply use wet-use sandpaper and dip it in a bucket a couple of times a minute. Use higher grit sandpaper, around 240-400. Use a sanding sponge or sandpaper to get into all ridges and corners.
It’s a pain in the butt, but, it is a crucial step you must do right for an ideal finish. This simple process can make the DIY spray in bed liner last for years longer than if you don’t do this step. The pros don’t skip this step ever.
You can also use a sanding sponge or if you have an orbit sander that would be ideal. That way you’re not getting a workout sanding for hours and hours, but instead, the sander gives you more of a sensual massage in the process.
Give yourself a couple of inch buffer from the tape edges so you don’t risk damaging the masked off area. You can get closer but (from my experience) you will have to re-tape pretty much all of the edges afterward.
If you have one, go over the bed with a cup brush to get all the nooks and crannies. This can really make an ideal bonding surface for the gooey mess that follows.
This will make the prep time minutes instead of hours. Bless all those who brace this endeavor using just sandpaper.
After sanding use the air compressor to blow all the sanded bits out of the bed. If not, a broom or cloth will work. Make sure the bed has a clean surface free from sanding dust.
Any debris left over will inhibit the chemicals from forming an adequate bond. This is something you discover months or years down the line.
Pro Tip 1: Check if your air compressor has enough power for applying the liner (45-90 PSI is your ballpark).
If you have sanded down too much and you have a lot of bare metal in your bed then you need to use a primer. Bare metal can give you other problems with the liner.
Pro Tip 2: Preparation is paramount. The liner needs a solid and consistent surface to adhere. The more imperfections you more chance the liner can come off or not seat as well.
Truck Bed Liner Application Process
If you are using rattle cans skip to where you see the bodysuit.
Measure and mix the resin, pigment, and catalyst per the manufacturer’s directions (Watch the video in 1.5x).
Next, clean the spray gun and lines if you can. Getting a clean spray will ensure a more even and level surface.
Most bed liners are urethane-based so you will need a urethane remover. Buying one for your gun is great and the junk can also be used to clean up the bed liner when you’re finished.
Put on your bodysuit, respirator, goggles, and gloves. The bed liner is not easy to get off your skin, hair, and eyes. Proper preparation is the easiest way to keep it off.
A cheap $5 plastic coverall and some gloves are a cheap investment. Showering with bed liner in your hair is never sexy. Breathing the stuff isn’t recommended by your doctor either.
Ideally, you want to look like you’re going to get soil samples at Chernobyl or you’re guest-starring in an episode of Breaking Bad.
Apply the bonding agent if you have chosen to use one. It is never a bad idea. It dries in a few minutes and it promotes a good seal between the truck bed and the bed liner spray.
Apply the liner with lots of thin coats. Make multiple passes waiting however the number of minutes between coats based on the manufacturers’ recommendations.
Make multiple passes until the recommended coat is achieved. It may be hard to do this. I always want to layer it on thick because it seems like I am not making progress.
But wait, have some patience because gooping it with thick layers can cause uneven coats and droop. This will cause you to spend more time removing the bad portions and reapplying it. This is precious time wasted and more time than you could possibly spend contaminating the bed causing more repair time.
Do it thin the first time. You can always add more layers. 20 really thin layers will almost ALWAYS come out looking much better than 5 really thick layers with much less time spent. Remember that.
If you are using a brush on application, take a brush and simply use it evenly over the entire bed.
Pro Tip 3: Access to a closed room with proper ventilation will provide optimum drying. Also give the drying longer than recommended. It is an easy way to leave a finger smudge that will take hours to smooth out.
Once the liner has been drying for a few minutes it is safe to remove the tape. Pull the tape off consistently in the angle and speed.
Pulling the liner away when it is still wet will leave a nice clean line. Continue removing the rest of the tape and masking material. This is important for creating a clean line with no rework needed after the fact. You can spend a lot of time trying to cut away a sharp line when it can be done easily if you time it correctly.
Just like with the prep be very wary of where you are pulling the material away. It is very easy to touch the still wet liner and make a nice and ugly mark. It will be an eyesore that only you will notice.
Pro tip 3: Any build-up can be cut away with a utility knife go slow. It’s easy to remove material. It’s much harder to add it.
Pro tip 4: Any blemishes can be touched up with a black paint marker.
Also, you can use Urethane remover to take care of some spots. This requires a steady hand and an artist’s touch though. It is very easy to make a small mistake and turn it into a larger mess. Use this process sparingly if you can.
Re-attach any racks, bolts, or other accessories you took off before. They should be in the place you placed all of them. You DID put them in a container for safekeeping, right? RIGHT???
Drive to the nearest liquor store and buy a 6 pack in celebration of a job well done. Spray in bed liner’s do it yourself is easier said than done but with patience, they can be an easy and fun project.
Reward yourself. The beer won’t drink itself. Your future self will thank you.
Any job done is worth doing right. A truck bed liner can be the highlight of a truck or a blatant eyesore that will haunt you till you sell the thing or get it done right. Pay for a bed liner do it yourself or let it sit. Fortunately, you know how to spray on bedliner do it yourself.
Do a good job the first time you will feel nothing but joy and with the right tools and the right mindset, you will get it done!