The best spray on bedliner ... of course, the main use for it, is as the name suggests – a bed liner for your truck. It helps to keep things from sliding about, keeps the bed in good condition, stops it from rusting, and it can even help reduce noise.
But a quality spray on bed liner can be used in all manner of places, it doesn’t even need to be automotive related. I’ve seen spray-on bedliner being used for such purposes as a wooden planter coating, floor covering, waterproofing, roof covering … it really is a universal product. Maybe we should ask if there’s something that it can’t do!
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Different Uses #2
Putting aside the bed of your truck for a moment, many people use a bed liner to seal underneath their vehicle – on the chassis, running components, under the bodywork like fenders for example, they also use it to protect their bumpers from damage, and in extreme cases, apply it to the outside of their vehicle and bodywork to make it … utilitarian.
The key to making it work properly for you is preparation of the surface to be coated. Yes, preparing it properly is a pain, it takes some time and a lot of elbow grease, but skimp on the prep, and you’re just wasting your time in every other area.
If you’ve ever read reviews where people complain about the bed liner chipping or flaking away, it’s usually down to poor surface preparation – if you were going to paint some bodywork of your car, you’d spend hours flatting the paint, wiping down, giving the new paint a good bonding surface and that’s before you even touch the paint gun.
I think that part of the problem with bed lining is that because it’s a rough textured finish, people assume they can just shoot it on to anything – it doesn’t matter because it’s meant to be rough!
Assuming that we’re looking to line the bed of a newish truck – it of course needs to be cleaned out, anything within a 15’ radius (at least) of the bed that you DON’T want coating, even with overspray, should be masked off. If the bed is dirty and greasy, give it a wipe down with alcohol or paint thinner so you can clearly see the condition of what you’re dealing with.
The whole area needs to be treated with an abrasive pad (some kits include them) to take the gloss shine off the paint, which allows the bed liner to stick. Deal with any rust spots – I would clean the rust off, then give it a light coating of some primer – likewise for any bare metal – don’t shoot the bed liner straight on to bare metal.
Once you’ve thoroughly abraded the paintwork, you need to go back over it all with a cleansing wash like alcohol or thinner. I find it useful to use an airgun to blow dust & debris away from all the nooks and crannies.
Some kits come with a supplied paint gun, some even allow for some minor adjustment of the spray pattern and how thick you can lay it down – if you’re unsure, try a tester piece first. Slow & steady wins the race … you’re not competing for the fastest time to cover your truck, so take things slowly, allowing for a little overlap.
Don’t try and run four liters through your paint gun in one go. I find that cleaning the gun after a liter or two gets best results, which helps to keep an even finish on the end product.
If you don’t remove the masking while it’s still wet, run a sharp blade around the edge first – it will give you a clean, crisp line to the bed liner and make the removal so much easier.
The Best Spray-On Bedliners Reviews
1. Herculiner HCL1B8 Brush-on Bed Liner Kit
If you don’t have an air compressor in your shop, then the Herculiner kit is probably the one for you – no need for paintguns, everything to apply the kit comes in the box – 1 gallon of ready to use coating, application brush, 2 paint rollers and an abrasive pad (it’s very likely that you’ll need more).
This is a tough, polyurethane coating that’s textured. They say it’s 5x thicker than other roll on liners, if that’s true, then it’s also going to need more effort to get it on the truck neatly. The texture comes from rubber granules which helps to give it a non-slip finish – great in theory, but can be a pain to apply without all the granules clumping together.
The Herculiner Brush-On Bed Liner Kit can be applied to pretty much any surface – wood, metal, concrete and so on, and once it’s cured, it gives a hard wearing finish that won’t crack, chip or flake, even in extreme weather. One gallon is just about enough for two coats of a 6’ truck bed.
2. Custom Coat Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit
Aside from an air compressor, this kit comes with nearly everything you need – 4 x 750ml coating, 1 x 1-liter standard hardener and a reasonable quality spray gun with adjustable regulator attached (which means you can vary the spray pattern).
The spray gun fits on the supplied bottles of coating (no messing with decanting to another bottle for spraying) and you literally just add the hardening solution, shake vigorously and then shoot it on whatever it is you’re coating – it’s simple, easy and fuss-free.
With a unique formula attached that it helps protect against corrosion, damp, salt damage, extreme temperatures. It’s also waterproof and flexible – which should mean that it won’t crack or flake off, even in extreme weather. There’s no need to wax after application, and it will work on most OEM vehicle finishes (providing the prep is right!).
The Custom Coat Urethane is a great kit, I like the fact that the spray gun is adjustable, and providing you clean the gun through regularly, it’ll work great.
3. U-Pol Raptor Black Spray-On Truck BedLiner Kit
Mix, shake & shoot. Sounds pretty easy right?
This bedliner kit is similar to the Custom Coat – altering the droplet size from the (supplied) paint gun will give you a tighter grain finish, and the final results look very professional.
The U-Pol Raptor Black is completely stain and scratch-resistant, will protect against UV damage and also helps to deaden sound, although that’s not going to be a huge benefit in the back of an open truck. With that said, using it as an underbody seal would make a huge difference to noise being transmitted through to the cab.
It’s a urethane mixture so shouldn’t have a problem with flaking or chipping off, whether that’s in extreme cold weather or super hot. Again, the spray gun fits the bottle of coating, so once mixed (lots of shaking) just attach the spray gun and go nuts … after you’ve decided just how to set the nozzle. We highly recommended using between 60 and 80 PSI.
4. Linerxtreeme Spray on Bedliner Kit
This is the most expensive option here, but you are getting 3 gallons and a ‘free’ spray gun with the kit, so it’s pretty economical and cost effective. 3 gallons is enough to cover up to 100 sq ft, there’s plenty there and no worries about running out.
It’s an epoxy / urethane mix with incredible toughness and anti-UV protection, has a semi-gloss finish and looks great when applied correctly. It’s flake & chip free and anti-scratch, although as with all the products here, you can’t drag a sharp lump of metal across the top of it and expect it to survive without a blemish.
If you’re looking for quality weatherproofing product, be it for the truck bed, flower bed or whatever, then the Linerxtreeme is a great product that works for so many applications.
5. POR-15 49701 OEM Bed Liner
I’ve used POR-15 products on restorations for years, they all seem to be a great product, that always does what it’s meant to, the OEM bed liner for trucks I’m sure will be the same.
The rubberized coating remains permanently flexible, as a result, it’s never going to crack and flake off. It’s completely waterproof and stain resistant, and offers excellent protection for your truck bed, or wherever you’re using it.
I like that it’s a gloss finish, although that may be a little ‘showy’ for some. The best thing about the POR-15 bed liner is that it’s water-based which makes clean up easy and quick, and you don’t need to wear a full NBC suit to apply it. Great brand, great product.
Some of these products can be a bit nasty to breathe in, and of course if you get it on your skin, it isn’t just going to rinse off. Therefore, you should always wear protective gear when you’re applying a bed liner, even if it’s outside.
As I mentioned earlier, over spray is a thing, and bed liner over spray is worse than regular paint, so if you can’t spray it outside (which in itself can bring a world of complications), then cover everything in your shop that you don’t want covered by airborne particles of bed lining – seriously – this stuff will go everywhere.
Always remember to let the finished product cure properly, whether that’s just drying out or actually going through a curing process. Rushing the job or loading stuff on top of it before it’s hardened will just cause damage, and make the hours you’ve spent prepping the vehicle a complete waste of your time … patience is the key.