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A Paint-On Truck Bed Liner: My Personal Experience


Dan is a "backyard mechanic" who has always done his own auto repairs whether on motorcycles, boats, cars, or even motorhomes.

My do-it-yourself bed liner.

My do-it-yourself bed liner.

Choosing a Bed Liner

A few years ago, I sold my old, beat-up Nissan pickup for a "new" (12-year-old) Ford Ranger. My new ride was in astonishing condition for being 12 years old, and I wanted to keep it that way as long as I could.

I work in the building trades and use my pickup all the time for carrying things—it is not a toy for me. I don't usually carry large or heavy items, but what I do carry will still scratch and scar a truck bed.

My new Ford Ranger had a plastic bed liner in it, but I hate those things. They are slick, often collect moisture underneath them, and, in my opinion, don't look good.

I checked out the preferred bed liner (at least in my area): a Rhino Liner. At around $400 and up, it was beyond my reach. A Line-X bed liner was also available, but also spendy. Auto parts stores sold several do-it-yourself spray on liners, but I was not impressed with any of them. An online search yielded a paint-on bed liner made by a company called Grizzly Grip. It appealed to me, and even came in many different colors, and I eventually purchased an application kit.

Applying the Grizzly Grip Paint-On Bed Liner

Applying the Grizzly Grip was a little tedious, but straightforward. Because the surfaces had to be extremely clean for adhesion, I washed the entire bed area twice with xylene, a rather harsh chemical. I used what I call "surgeon's gloves" for protection—they didn't last three minutes before the xylene ate through them! Figuring any damage to my skin was already done, I finished the job without either gloves or damage, but I would really recommend a better pair of gloves. Thin latex didn't make it.

I wanted the liner to cover part of the top of the sides, so I masked the area off and then removed the tailgate. That was easy to do and made painting the tailgate much easier.

Applying the DIY paint-on bed liner consisted of rolling it on with small paint rollers supplied with the kit. Corners and small areas required "daubing" paint in with an old paintbrush. I let the truck sit overnight and applied a second coat the next day.

The corner treatment on my pickup.

The corner treatment on my pickup.

Initial Finished Product Experience

I was initially quite disappointed with the appearance. I had carefully picked a shade of green that was a little darker than the paint. But once I applied to the truck, it was so dark as to be almost black, and the texture was a little rough. Though I carried no loads for two weeks or so, I could tell early on that materials would stay put better even than paint, to say nothing of the plastic liner the pickup came with.

I understood the curing process required moisture, and might take a long time in the deserts of Idaho. What I didn't know was that the color would change with curing. Over the next few months the color gradually lightened to what I expected, particularly where rain or snow might accumulate. The upper half of the sidewalls are still quite dark, but I don't find it objectionable.

Finished Product Experience After Three Years

I have now had the liner installed for about three years. There has been a little chipping, notably on the large galvanized bed bolts and the top inner corner of the tailgate where I rest long pipes. The rest of the bed is nearly perfect, although dirty in the pictures. The material is rather soft and rubbery; indeed it has ground rubber in it to give the rough texture. I suspect that heavy loads, particularly those with sharp corners, could cause considerable damage by gouging. I always take extra care when transporting such loads, though, and have had no trouble.

Overall I am very pleased with my do-it-yourself bed liner. At a cost of a little over $100, it was considerably cheaper than what professionals could provide. It doesn't have the quality in my opinion, but has done an excellent job for me. In another 10 or 20 years, I may re-paint it.

Liner chipped from galvanized bolt.

Liner chipped from galvanized bolt.

Chips on tailgate, along with a cause.

Chips on tailgate, along with a cause.

Tailgate. Chips on the edge are visible.

Tailgate. Chips on the edge are visible.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Dan Harmon


Normancharis from CA on July 04, 2018:

Thanks. It's helpful.

Lewis Burton on September 15, 2015:

If you read Spray-Lining & Coatings Reviews you'll see Complaints from competing applicators of Line-X or Rhino only or some polyurea jobbers. I read no Spray-Lining Coatings Complaints on quality of their product, dealers or applicators. Rhino has complaints like, "Say No To Rhino Linings". Complaints of Line-X are about their dealers or applicators only, not the vendor. Considering the power of social media today when polyurea products and services yield positive or even neutral reviews without complaints, this could mean a lot.

Lewis Burton on September 14, 2015:

Grizzly Grip and all other DIY bedliners are urethane or polyurethane. They work OK but they're not professional grade. For my shop I did much research on this. I used Rhino Linings and Line-X which seem to be the big bedliner names. But then I stuck with this bedliner known as, "Spray-Lining & Coatings" DIY bedliner formula. My shop sent out spray on bedliner jobs. Line-X was more expensive, my cost was over $425 per full sized bed. Rhino was $340 but the applicator wasn't as good. I charge $500. My son's a college student who did reports on polyurea manufacturers and polyurea hybrid technology. He learned that high grade bed liner is made of polyurea. He showed me that no DIY roll on or spray on truck bed liners except one was polyurea. The one called Spray-Lining & Coatings is a polyurea hybrid that's applied with a simple spray gun or troweled out. That's under $130 bucks a bed, thicker than Line-X and Rhino and my truck customers see its actually a better quality job. I charge $350 to $400 retail price.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on September 26, 2012:

Oh yes. The plastic liners that slide in are probably good for a lifetime and the professionally sprayed ones nearly as long.

The one illustrated here isn't as tough but with a little care will likely be in good shape when you finally get rid of the pickup. Mine has now been there for over 5 years now and is still in very good condition.

Lyla Burns on September 26, 2012:

I didn't even know you could get a pain on truck bedliner, that's really cool! The only bedliners in Huntington Beach that I've seen have been put in there. Is there a difference in durability between the two? http://tuffskinbedliner.net

jennHarv912 on November 04, 2011:

You should check out a DualLiner, they are really one of the best options out there. I got mine from www.DualLiner.com and it has kept my truck good as new for a couple years now.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 17, 2011:

I doubt that it's that bad, but yes, it is a nasty chemical. Once my gloves dissolved, however I might as well finish what I was doing; my hands were already covered in it.

doc_benzene on October 17, 2011:

You do realize that xylene is a carcinogen and that handling it without gloves probably knocked 2 yrs off your life.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on August 31, 2011:

You're more than welcome. A good bedliner is something I've always wanted and the one I ended up with fits my needs perfectly for a low cost.

mabmiles on August 30, 2011:

Glad to find this interesting hub!Thanks for posting.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on May 27, 2011:

I had one of the drop in plastic liners and hated it. It was slick and everything slid everywhere and collected water under it so I always felt like I needed to remove it and let it dry.

To each their own, though - I hope you are happy with your liner.

Sarah Hill on May 27, 2011:

It looks like you did a pretty good job. I got mine from BuyAutoTruckAccessories.com and have been pretty happy with it. I wanted the drop-in plastic bed liner so mine was a bit different, but whatever gets the job done for you!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 26, 2010:

Yes, the color turned out well - it was one of the deciding factors in choosing the bed liner I did.

As for spray-on bed liners, I haven't tried one as I don't have a spray gun appropriate for the task. I would have some questions, though:

How rough is the finished surface? I wanted a fairly rough surface to prevent sliding loads and am not sure how a spray gun would do that very well.

How thick would it be? Bed liners need to be pretty thick - without many many coats how would that work out? Does it need a special high dollar spray gun?

What about overspray? I've never painted without some overspray, on the floor if nowhere else, but it also gets on walls, ceilings and light fixtures, etc. Can it be cleaned up reasonably easy? Will overspray in the air drift to another part of the truck (hood?) and still be wet enough to stick? That could get ugly!

Safety? Does it require a special mask to wear while spraying?

I just don't know. The bed liner I used wasn't hard to paint and roll on, but (discounting extra masking efforts) it was certainly more difficult than spraying would be. If you put one on, let me know which way you went and how it turned out.

Autoaficianado from California on July 26, 2010:

Great job with the hub, wilderness! Great choice color for the bed-liner, as it compliments the paint job of the truck well. I'm contemplating whether or not I should use a spray-on or paint-on bed-liner for my own truck.. What are your thoughts?

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 05, 2010:

They really are nice, aren't they? Protection for the bed, good looks and they really do help the sliding problem a lot.

ethernetgoldmine on July 05, 2010:

I have a spray in liner on my 2000 Ranger, it helps keep some things from sliding around and is quite tough.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 04, 2010:

Well, I've seen it used for undercoating and even a garage floor, too! Thanks for the comment and compliment.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 04, 2010:

Hey, Congrats on your hubnugget nomination, wilderness. By the way, I have NO TRUCK and no need for a bed liner, but the hub was clear, with lots of useful info. Great job.

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on July 04, 2010:

Money, Pamela & Ripple - thank you for the comments. I've been out with family the last few days and didn't even know I'd been nominated!

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 04, 2010:

Announcement: This hub is a Hubnugget Wannabe! Please check it out now and join the Hubnugget fun! https://hubpages.com/hubnuggets10/hub/The-hubnugge...

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 04, 2010:

It looks like you explained painting the truck liner very well, not something I would tackle but many would. Congrats on your nomination.

Money Glitch from Texas on July 03, 2010:

Congrats on being a nominee in this week's HubNuggets Wannabes contest. Good luck to you!

Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on June 07, 2010:

As I say, I'm happy with it even though it isn't nearly as tough as the rhino liner. Thanks for the comment.

lxxy from Beneath, Between, Beyond on June 07, 2010:

Thanks. I'll keep this in mind--may need to buy a truck or two for the biz.

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