Bed liners are essential if you plan to do some major hauling or outdoor trekking with your truck. When doing any of those, it’s likely your truck bed can get dinged. Heavy loads and rocks can easily scratch the pickup bed. The elements can also weather the bed’s paint. Bed liners protect your truck bed by shielding it from contact, scratches, dents, and other environmental damage like rust and UV rays.
While some see bed liners as an unnecessary expense, many owners who value their trucks consider them a good investment. It’s easier and less expensive to get them than having to repair and repaint a truck bed. Still, having a bed liner professionally applied can get a bit costly if you get it done professionally. So, if you’re the handy type and don’t mind the work, you should try putting on a bed liner as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project.
We’ve rounded up six of the best DIY solutions for bed liners. Each of these has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. Read on to learn more about our top picks and find the perfect DIY truck bed liner that fits your purpose and your budget.
The Best DIY Truck Bed Liner Is: Custom Shop U-Pol Raptor Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit
If you’re looking for a truck bed liner that will offer the best protection for your truck, then the U-Pol Raptor Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit is the way to go. This DIY truck bed liner creates a tough and durable polyurethane membrane that can withstand even the harshest conditions. Plus, it is easy to apply and will give your truck a professional look. So, don’t hesitate to check it out.
What Are the Best DIY Truck Bed Liners?
If you’re looking for other alternatives to our top pick, here are the rest of our short list. Surely, you’ll find one that’s best for your situation.
|U-Pol 4 Liter RAPTOR Tintable Truck Bed Liner Kit
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|Custom Coat Tintable 1 Gallon Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit with Spray Gun and Regulator
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|Herculiner HCL1B8 Brush-on Bed Liner Kit - Black
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|U-Pol Raptor Black Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit w/Free Custom Coat Spray Gun with Regulator - 4 Liters
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|Rust-Oleum 342668 Automotive Truck Bed Coating - Black, 128 Fl Oz
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|Dupli-Color (TR250-6 PK Black Truck Bed Coating) - 16.5 oz. Aerosol, (Case of 6)
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|Seymour 20-41 Truck Bed Coating, Black - 12 Ounce
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The U-Pol Raptor Truck Bed Liner Kit is quite the amazing bed liner kit. It’s easy to use. Even beginners and hobbyist DIYers can coat the entire truck bed quickly and evenly. The kit includes everything you need, from the spray gun down to the liquid liner. Though you will need an adaptor to connect the spray gun to an air compressor.
All you need to do once set up is to spray it on the truck bed. Afterwards, you just wait for it to dry. There is no need to wax or polish after application. The finished shell has an excellent finish and is waterproof, sound-dampening, and abrasion and stain resistant.
Some customers did voice displeasure with the supplied spray gun. Because of this, U-Pol provides two packages with different spray guns. The spray gun in this kit is fully adjustable but another package contains one that is ready to use and has fewer adjustment options.
- Best for first-time users
- Easy to apply evenly
- Watertight and pliable
- Kit comes with adjustable gauge, regulator, and spray gun
- Needs an air compressor
2. Custom Shop Custom Coat Tintable Base Urethane Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit – Best for Multiple Colors
The Custom Shop Custom Coat Bed Liner Kit is available in various colors and sizes and is perfect if you’re looking for another hue for your truck bed. It is urethane-based and is made to cover things like truck beds, metal, concrete, and wood. After application, the liner provides a tough surface that shields against oxidation, rust, and UV rays.
You can use the available spray gun in this kit which comes quite handy if you don’t want to use a brush or a roller. Manual application is just fine. Just add the hardener, mix it with the liner base, and then spray. The resulting liner is dense, provides an excellent finish, and is protective. You can leave it alone without putting on wax or another layer of protection.
This kit is highly user-friendly. The product includes detailed instructions in the manual if it’s your first time working with it.
- Highly durable
- Obtainable in a wide range of hues
- A high-gloss end
- Ideal for novices
- Pricey compared to others
If you don’t have an air compressor for the spray-on options in this list, try checking this product out. The Herculiner Brush-on Bed Liner Kit outperforms many other brush-on and roll-on products. It’s ready to be used so you don’t need to prepare or mix anything. That’s less fuss and potential mess.
This kit can line most materials, including wood, metal, and concrete. It is a highly durable, water-resistant polyurethane paint. Additionally, its anti-skid composition guarantees better grip on the liner surface. It protects the surface from chemicals, salt, solvents, oil, stains, and rust.
Since the mixture is quite thick, just one application layer is required to cover a bed. Due to the paint’s adhesiveness, the paint will not peel, bubble, or chip even after one layer. A gallon can easily cover a six-foot pickup bed. So for good measure, you can lay on two thick coats with just one can.
If you’re getting the kit option, it already includes rollers for application. However, others report that the roller’s foam doesn’t handle the thick mixture well so getting another roller or brush might be ideal.
- Highly durable and water-resistant
- Protects surface from rust or chemicals
- Thick mixture
- Rollers that come with the kit aren’t well-made
4. U-Pol Raptor Spray-On Truck Bed Liner Kit w/Free Custom Coat Spray Gun with Regulator, 4 Liters – Best Spray-On Liner
This U-Pol Raptor Truck Bed Liner Kit is one of the best on our list particularly as a superior spray-on option. It comes with a gallon of total solution, which is plenty for most truck beds. It does require mixing the base with the hardener at a 3:1 ratio. The kit includes enough base and hardener to get a gallon total of solution, which is plenty for most truck beds.
The solution sprays easily and covers surfaces evenly. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a tough shell, look for another product. It isn’t as abrasion-resistant compared to other thicker solutions. The kit comes with a regulator and gun with an adjustable nozzle. It also includes detailed instructions so that you can apply the liner correctly.
- Waterproof and flexible
- Easy to use
- Provides exclusive adhesion
- Not as durable against scratches
- Needs air compressor
This roll-on bed liner is just as good at stopping rust as the other products in this line. You can brush it on or roll it on. After four hours, it will be ready to use. It has thick layers for added protection, and you can add more layers as you need for heavier-duty applications.
The final product has a textured finish that fits perfectly into grooves and edges for a more natural fit for your truck’s rugged look. This finish also adds more grip to your truck bed, so your load does not move around too much as you drive.
Rust-Oleum is more expensive than alternative bed liners for huge truck beds, but you get a top-notch product that is worth the extra cost. The only available size is in quart containers, so make sure you get enough product to coat your entire truck’s bed.
- Can be rolled or brushed on
- Thick solution provides textured finish for extra grip
- Excellent against corrosion
- Quite pricey
- Only available in one size and color
Dupli-Color Truck Bed Coating is a high-quality water-based roll-on bed liner that adheres exceptionally well to sanded paint, concrete, wood, and automotive plastics. It forms a textured, extremely long-lasting polyurethane finish. This bed liner works well for bumpers, wheel wells, and even outdoor furniture. Sadly, the puny size of the standard container it comes in hardly covers a pickup truck bed.
While it requires about the same amount of preparation as the Herculiner bed liner, it dries a little bit more quickly. However, the finished shell is typically not as thick. It does offer decent scratch resistance. The solution doesn’t dry out as long as it’s stored properly. So, if you do not use it all right once, you can save the remainder for another time.
- Extremely versatile
- Durable and scratch-resistant
- Gasoline and solvent resistant
- Finished shell is not as thick
Rounding up our list is the Seymour 20-41 Bed Coating. The product comes in spray paint canisters making it quite handy for quick spray-on jobs. You wouldn’t need to have an air compressor handy to get that sprayed-on look. Each 12 ounce can can cover up to 15 square feet for a single coating. This means that you will need a bunch of the product to cover a truck bed with multiple coats.
It promises protection against abrasion and corrosion and its textured finish helps give the surface some added traction. It’s also water and gasoline resistant. You can use it on truck beds, trailers, panels, and for quick touch ups on existing liners. However, since you only get so much paint per can, it’s likely that you wouldn’t have enough material to produce a thick and durable shell.
- Protects against abrasion and corrosion
- Water and gasoline resistant
- Comes as a spray can
- Small volume produces thin layer
- Not as durable
What You Should Know Before Buying DIY Truck Bed Liners
Let’s look at some key factors to consider when choosing a DIY kit for your project.
Urethane vs. Polyurethane
Urethane and polyurethane are the two most common materials for truck bed liners. Urethane is a cheaper material that creates a flexible shell. It’s not as durable as polyurethane. Polyurethane is pricier but its stiffer and firmer finish will last longer and provide better protection for your truck bed. So, it’s a matter of choosing between price and protection.
Application: Spray-On vs. Roll-On
As for methods of application, you can choose between spray-on and roll-on. Spray-on liners are easier to apply, but they’re more expensive and require you to have an air compressor. Roll-on liners are cheaper, but they can take longer with more effort to apply.
Number of Coats
Most DIY truck bed liners require two to three coats for best results. One coat can be sufficient depending on the product but not as durable as two or more coats. If you’re looking for the most protection possible, apply three coats of the liner. You may also have to consider the thickness of the shell that the liner creates once cured. Some thicker solutions may require you to have just one or two coats for maximum protection.
Some liners require that you prep the surface area before application, while others do not. For example, some liners require you to scuff up or lightly sand the surface otherwise, the coating may not stick. Others even need you to apply a primer first before the actual liner liquid. The preparation required can also vary depending on the product. Some kits require you to mix a base with a hardener while some are ready-mixed.
Liners may also have varying formulations that make them resistant to impact, abrasion, rust, water, sunlight, and chemicals. So choose the one that would best fit your scenario. For instance, if you’re going to use it for hauling, thicker liners with scratch resistance would be the way to go.
Drying and Curing time
Another significant factor you should consider is the drying or curing time. Some liners dry quickly, while others take longer to cure. If you’re in a hurry, choose a liner that dries quickly. However, remember that some quick-drying liners may not be as effective as those that take longer to cure. Keep in mind that while it may feel dry to the touch, the applied liner may still not be fully cured. Some products may take days to fully cure. You need the liner to finish the curing period before subjecting it to abuse.
Get Ready for Your DIY Bed Liner Project
Now that you know more about DIY liners for truck beds, you can make an informed decision about which to use in your truck. Keep in mind the pros and cons of each type of liner and choose the best DIY truck bed liner that suits your needs. With a little effort, you can have a truck bed that looks great and is protected from the elements.