At one point the only way to protect a truck bed was a drop-in hard plastic liner. While effective, they were somewhat unwieldy to handle and had the bad habit of trapping moisture underneath, possibly causing corrosion of the truck bed they were trying to protect. But then pickup truck bed liner paint hit the market and changed everything. Now truck owners had a choice in bed liner options, plus the universal nature of the coating meant it could be used on nearly every single year, make, and model truck, SUV, and even cars for the creative. Here’s how to paint truck bed liner at home and get the protection your hard working pickup needs.
First you will needs a few supplies from your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store or NAPA Online:
- Bed Liner Coating Kit
- Bed Liner Coating Spray
- Masking Tape
- Masking Paper
- Paint Prep Spray
- Disposable Shop Rags
Start out by giving the truck bed a good wash. If you have a pressure washer even better. You want to remove all the dirt, crud and junk from the bed including all the corners and seams. Let the truck bed dry thoroughly before moving on with prepping the surfaces.
NOTE: Paint on truck bed liner does not stop or repair existing rust. Any corrosion covered by the bed liner coating will continue to grow and get worse over time. Remove rust with a wire brush and treat it with an appropriate rust converter coating.
Prep The Truck Bed For Paint
Once the truck bed is fully dry you are ready to start prepping the surfaces for coating. The goal is a clean but slightly rough surface for the truck bed liner paint to adhere to so it will last a long time. You will be using truck bed liner spray paint and spray cleaner, so make sure to do all your work in a well ventilated area.
- Using the Paint Prep Spray clean the interior truck bed panels. Use a disposable shop rag to wipe down the areas where Paint Prep Spray was applied. Work in small areas roughly one square foot at a time to ensure thoroughly cleaning.
- Apply masking tape to any areas you don’t want coated in bed liner. This includes the top of the bed rails, hardware you may need to access in the future, tonneau cover mounting clamps, or anything else you’d prefer not be covered in a thick tough coating. Use the masking paper to protect the truck cab, rear window, tail lights, outer bed sides, and anything else that might be affected by overspray or splatter.
- Grab the scuff pad included in the Bed Liner Coating Kit (or a normal Scotch-Brite pad if you prefer) and sand all of the non-masked inner truck bed panels. Remember that the goal of this paint prep is to give the truck bed liner coating something to grip.
- Once all the surface areas are sanded clean them all again using the same Paint Prep Spray and wiping technique from Step #1. Now you are ready to start applying the bed liner coating.
Apply The Bed Liner Coating
- Using the Bed Liner Coating Spray apply two coats of paint to the bed vertical surfaces (such as the bed walls) along with any corners or joints. Use the Bed Liner Coating Spray to paint any areas that would be difficult to reach with the roller. Wait 10 minutes between each coat of paint.
- Open the 1-gallon can of Truck Bed Coating and pour enough coating into the roller tray to coat the bottom of the tray.
- Dip the paint roller into the coating in the tray and coat the entire roller with coating.
- Starting at the bed floor area closest to the cab begin rolling on the bed liner coating, reloading the roller as necessary. Work from the front of the bed to the rear to prevent having to step over any previously painted areas.
- Recoat any areas where you can see the original truck bed paint or that appear thin. An ideal application should have three coatings across all truck bed surfaces.
- Let the bed liner coating dry for one hour before removing the masking tape and masking paper.
Now that you have a freshly coated you can stand back and enjoy not only the fresh look but the knowledge that your truck is ready to work. If the coating is ever scratched or damaged, simply touch it up using Bed Liner Coating Spray.
While most people started out using bed liner paint for trucks, some soon realized that having a tough yet easy to apply coating could be useful for other things. It is popular as a vehicle undercoating (but can take some time for proper prep). Some custom car tuners have coated entire vehicles with truck bed liner coating! Hot rodders found that a good layer of truck bed liner on the underside of painted fenders (like on a Ford Model A) can prevent rocks from denting the finished paint up top. Off-road enthusiasts have coated their entire Jeep floors in truck bed liner for the ultimate easy to clean interior. Need to repair an interior trim panel but don’t know how to match the wrinkled surface? Use truck bed liner! While the main application may be protecting truck beds, the sky is really the limit when it comes to handy uses for truck bed liner paint.
Check out all the bed liner products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to paint on truck bed liner, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of his many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.