Spray on bed liners finish the looks of a pickup bed probably better than any other bed coating option. Especially now that the bed liner coating color can match the paint of your pickup. However, bed liners come with several problems. If you’re thinking of getting a spray liner or already have one, here are a few ideas to consider.
Permanent may not always be best. Sure, it’s a plus to get a liner that lasts as long as the truck, especially with a life-time warranty. But that in no ways means you get a liner that can’t be damaged. See, the guarantee just means the liner will be repaired.
Repair means a respray with all the accompanying hassles and time spent. And in the meantime you drive a pickup with a damaged liner and maybe chances of a damaged bed too. The real key to spray liner durability is the thickness of the coating. That means liner material can be torn away and worn away and still the damage may not get to the bed itself.
Another thought you may not want to think about is how that liner gets on the truck. The only way the liner paint will stay on is with proper surface preparation. That means the paint gets sanded very aggressively. It all but gets destroyed before the liner coat goes on. Picture this. You get this new truck with the carefully applied factory paint coating and then you pay this guy to take an air sander and sand the paint almost off. Then you spray a paint coating on over that.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just a painful thought. That’s what it takes to get that “permanent” liner.
Damage to truck beds comes as more than just scratches too. Dents may do more harm than scrapes can really. Dents certainly take more to repair than a few scratches. Dent protection is another way that liners pay for themselves. Spray coatings usually add nearly a full quarter inch to the bed thickness. That coat includes rubber texture material as well as fast hardening paint as well. That thickness absorbs bumps while warding off damage.
For looks a sprayed liner may be unbeatable, but for protection a cheap alternative avoids some of the problems built in with spray.
Cheap rubber mats protect from impact better and are easily removed. With permanent liners, really nasty hauling makes a mess of the bed and you have no choice but to either clean it out or leave it a mess. But with temporary liners, it’s an easy task to slip the mat in or out when you need it or when you don’t.
Another consideration with spray on bed liners arises when you get the price tag. A professional coating costs you big. That’s a real reason to look at other options or at least to carefully protect the liner if you already have one.