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Summary
  • To ensure the paint sticks to the bed liner, you must thoroughly clean, sand, and prime the truck’s bed liner.
  • Apply around three coats of bed liner paint for the best look.
  • Some ways to make bed liner paint last for a long time include cleaning the bed liner regularly, covering the bed liner with a bed mat, and using anti-UV spray.

Truck beds can accumulate wear and damage, especially if you often use your pickup to transport cargo. Even when they’re secured, items and equipment can still scrape the surface when you load and move them around the truck bed.

Applying bed liner paint is a great way to protect your truck’s cargo space, but how exactly does one go about doing that?

What Is Bed Liner Paint?

Bed liner paint gives truck beds an extra layer of protection against wear, damage, and the elements. It’s also resistant to corrosion and UV radiation.

It’s available in tin cans and aerosol spray paints. You can use it to cover the entire bed or just touch up small areas and hard-to-reach nooks where dirt and moisture accumulate.

Bed Liner Paint Application Guide

truck bed liner in need of paint
Truck beds can accumulate wear and damage, especially if you often use your pickup to transport cargo.

You don’t need to be an expert to apply bed liner paint on your truck bed. You can do it yourself if you have the right tools, items, and know-how. Let’s look into what the process usually involves.

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What You’ll Need

Prepare the following items before getting started to ensure a hassle-free application:

  • Paint for bed liner
  • Chemical-resistant gloves
  • Respirator
  • Acetone
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper (150-grit)
  • Primer (non-lacquer-based)
  • Acetone
  • Disposable rags and towels
  • Power drill
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray

How to Prepare Your Bed Liner for Painting

Before applying the paint, you must take measures to ensure it’ll stick to the bed liner and last a long time. That includes thoroughly cleaning the space and priming it for paint.

  1. Vacuum the bed liner to get rid of any dust, dirt, and other debris.
  2. Wash the surface thoroughly with soap and water. If there’s dirt or grime that soap and water can’t remove, you can use chemicals like trisodium phosphate for deeper cleaning.
  3. Dry the surface. You can also use an air nozzle to blow around the bed, bolts, and holes.
  4. Cover the parts of the bed liner you don’t want to paint with masking tape. Do the same for the drain holes as well.
  5. Sand the areas of the bed liner you want to paint to help the primer stick. Sand off rusty parts down to the bare metal.
  6. Apply a non-lacquer-based primer to the bed liner to reduce the odds of the paint flaking off or getting easily scraped.
  7. Spray the bed liner with acetone. Let the acetone sit for a few seconds before wiping it off.

Wear chemically resistant gloves and a respirator before sanding and applying the primer to your bed liner. They’ll help you avoid inhaling dust and chemical fumes.

How to Apply Paint on Your Bed Liner

Once the bed liner is primed, it’s finally ready to paint. While painting a bed liner is a relatively simple process, it’s important to know how to do it properly for the best look. Follow these steps for a long-lasting, durable bed liner paint job if you’re using roll-on paint.

  1. Prepare the paint by mixing and stirring it using a power drill and a paint mixer.
  2. Pour the paint into a paint tray. Let it pool at the bottom of the tray to make it easier for the roller to absorb it.
  3. Dip your paint roller into the tray and let it absorb the paint. Don’t use the roller until it is entirely coated.
  4. Apply the paint on vertical surfaces first, like the bed walls. Start painting from the bed floor closest to the cab.
  5. Use a brush to cover corners and other hard-to-reach spots.
  6. Recoat areas that look like they need another layer of paint. Wait 10 minutes between each coat.
  7. Apply around three layers of paint for consistent results.
  8. Let the paint dry and settle for  two hours or more before removing the masking tapes.

Bed Liner Paint Maintenance Tips

Knowing how to apply bed liner paint is one thing, but making sure it withstands the test of time is another thing entirely. Here are some tips to help you keep your bed liner paint in great condition.

See also  A Beginner’s Guide to Truck Bed Liners

Clean Your Bed Liner Regularly

While bed liner paint is durable enough to last years, it can still crack and flake if enough dirt and grime accumulate on its surface, so cleaning it regularly is a must.

Cover Your Bed Liner With a Bed Mat

Using a bed mat to cover your bed liner provides a cushioning layer between your cargo and the bed liner. This will protect them both from scraping each other.

Bed mats also help prevent damage by evenly distributing cargo weight across the bed liner.

Don’t Load Sharp Objects on Your Bed Liner

Sharp objects can easily scratch and scrape the bed liner paint. If you need to transport something sharp on your truck bed, make sure it’s well-cushioned and its pointy edges are well-covered.

Repair Any Damage as Soon as Possible

When your bed liner paint gets cracked, scratched, or damaged in any way, dirt and water can build up inside it, expand the damage, and expose the bed liner. Repair damage as soon as you see it to stop this from happening.

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Use Anti-UV Spray

While bed liner paint is UV resistant, prolonged sunlight exposure can still cause it to fade, discolor, and flake off. Parking in shady areas prevents this, but if you want to go the extra mile in preserving the paint, consider investing in anti-UV spray.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you paint a wooden bed liner?

Yes, you can apply bed liner paint onto wooden surfaces. You can use it on metal and concrete surfaces as well.

How long does bed liner paint last?

Bed liner paint lasts indefinitely if it’s well-maintained.

What are the best temperatures to apply bed liner paint?

The best temperatures to apply bed liner paint are 50-90°F (10- 35°C).

Applying the paint when it’s too cold causes it to dry slowly, leaving the surface wet for a long time and trapping more dirt. On the other hand, applying the paint when it’s too hot causes it to dry quickly, resulting in poor adhesion.

Can I spray the bed liner without sanding it first?

No, it’s not a good idea to spray the bed liner without sanding it first. If you don’t sand the bed liner, the primer will have a difficult time sticking to the surface. Skipping sanding also leads to uneven and bumpy surfaces.

What sandpaper grit should I use for the bed liner?

It’s strongly recommended to use 150-grit sandpaper to give the paint a nice, smooth finish without scraping or damaging the surface.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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