The Must-Knows and Must-Haves of Bedliner Application.

The Must-Knows and Must-Haves of Bedliner Application.

Sponsored by U-POL

There are many bedliners available on the market today, ranging from drop-in bedliners to sprayable products. If you opt for a two-component sprayable option, you’ll want to make sure you take the necessary steps to get the most durable, protective finish for your job.  Proper preparation is key whether you are applying product to a pristine surface or making a repair to an existing one.

When preparing or repairing an area, begin by removing any loose material present. Then clean and degrease the surface. Note: Cleaning and degreasing also holds true for new panels to ensure that all organic and petroleum-based contaminants are removed for proper adhesion.  Once your work area is cleaned and degreased, below are general sanding guidelines for various substrates, keeping in mind that there may be slight variations in recommendations by the bedliner manufacturer:

Surface Types and General Sanding Guidelines*:

Surface TypeSandpaper Grit
Bare Metal80 – 180
Aluminum/Galvanized180
Rigid Plastics (ABF, SMC, Fiberglass)120 – 180
Flexible Plastics (TPO, EDPM, PP)180 – 320
OEM E-Coat180
Paint or Previously Prepared Bedliner220

*Be sure to follow your bedliner manufacturer’s technical data sheet for detailed instructions.

Types of Surface Preparation Products:

Once the surface has been properly abraded, reclean the area before applying bedliner (all substrates).  For larger exposed areas of bare metal or new panels, a full two-component primer system such as an epoxy primer, is recommended before applying bedliner.  Some epoxy primers may be applied directly over surface rust and can also be applied wet-on-wet, thereby eliminating the need to sand the epoxy primer prior to your bedliner application. In general, epoxy primers also improve intercoat performance and further extend the life of the protective bedliner coating.

If you are applying bedliner to a painted metal surface and experience “rub through” areas after sanding, it is recommended that you apply an etch primer containing phosphoric acid, which will create an anti-corrosion barrier, help to prevent rust from forming, and provide a suitably primed substrate for the bedliner to bond to. Applying an acid etch primer with phosphoric acid will also promote paint adhesion on difficult substrates like galvanized steel and aluminum. Some acid etch primers can also be directly top-coated after application, thus saving an additional sanding step before your bedliner application.

For rigid or flexible plastic components like bumpers or side cladding, or hard to reach painted areas that are difficult to sand such as internal corners, an adhesion promoter is recommended before applying the bedliner, to ensure proper adhesion.

Application of a Two-Component Bedliner System:

Once your surface has been properly prepped, it is time to select your bedliner and type of application method. Many manufacturers offer multiple kit sizes and colors – for example, black, white, and tintable kits, which can be used with solvent-based toners from a mixing bank. 

How much product is needed for my application? 

Although products may vary from one manufacturer to another, one should estimate that it takes one activated quart of material per every running foot of coverage at approximately an 18-mil build (2 coats).

For smaller applications, some manufacturers offer convenient aerosols, or liter and quart kits, which can be used on a multitude of areas, including roll bars, running boards, grilles, wheels, or fender flares. 

What’s the best way to apply it?

Generally, most bedliners can be applied with an applicator gun, a roller, brush, or an aerosol.  Some manufacturers include the application equipment as part of their two-component kits, or sell guns and rollers separately. In the end, the product choice and application method are yours, and depends on your application preference. View a demonstration here.

You May Also Like

What Causes Fuel Pumps to Fail?

Like most vehicle components, natural wear and tear is the unavoidable cause for parts replacement. Fuel pumps are often out of sight and out of mind for most shop visitors. That’s because they are an as-needed repair and not typically a part of ongoing maintenance. Nevertheless, if you diagnose fuel pump failure, customers will want

Like most vehicle components, natural wear and tear is the unavoidable cause for parts replacement.

Fuel pumps are often out of sight and out of mind for most shop visitors.

That’s because they are an as-needed repair and not typically a part of ongoing maintenance. Nevertheless, if you diagnose fuel pump failure, customers will want to know what caused it to go bad. You can provide additional service value to them by explaining the likely culprits.

Protecting Your Vehicle in the Winter

Depending on where you live, autumn is an idyllic time of year with bright colors and mild temperatures. If there is one downside though, it means that winter is on its way, which means frigid temperatures, snow, ice and difficult road conditions. The lifespans of cars and trucks are increasing all the time, so protecting

A Closer Look: Standard® Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) is used on most new vehicles and requires a different approach to diagnosis and service. GDI technology has been an integral part of helping to improve fuel economy while reducing emissions, and can be found on more than half of the U.S. fleet. In fact, the use of GDI engines has

Overcoming Supply Chain Issues in Today’s World

Many legislative and environmental mandates have affected the collision repair industry over the last decade. To comply with such mandates, vehicle manufacturers continue to design vehicles with increasingly advanced electronics, ranging from Advanced Driver Assistance Systems that increase safety, helping people with everything from parking to driving, to the recent push for electric vehicles. They’ve

Two Lubegards Are Better Than One

Lubegard Synthetic ATF Protectant and Instant Shudder Fixx work better, faster and longer together to stop torque-converter clutch shudder (TCC shudder). Both products are effective on their own, but when used together they not only provide a long-term solution for TCC shudder but also offer complete protection for transmissions. Since the 1980s, lockup torque convertors

Other Posts

High Oil Consumption?

A common question an OEM oil supplier like ENEOS sees is how to tell when oil consumption becomes excessive? Since a few factors could be involved, here are some of the potential implications. How much is too much?First, because of wear, vehicles are more likely to consume engine oil as they age. Common culprits that

The Value of Replacing the Water Pump and Timing Belt Simultaneously

Water pumps have long been considered the heart of a vehicle’s cooling system. Although its sole function – pumping coolant from the radiator through the engine – seems simple, it’s a crucial process to keep engines running at optimal temperatures. Unfortunately, some drivers can overlook this – along with proper care for the part. On

Fill Your Customers in About Total Vehicle Filtration

If you’ve ever wondered what one of the biggest threats to a vehicle’s engine is, the answer is microscopic particles. If these tiny specs of dirt and dust aren’t filtered properly, they will quickly accumulate inside the engine, which can cause significant damage to many parts. Worse yet, this can lead to complete engine failure.

A Closer Look: Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS)

Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) Overview: Advanced Driver Assist Systems have been quite the industry buzz over the last several years. We have seen new business opportunities arise, and even a new segment of mobile technicians focusing on ADAS calibrations. While ADAS may seem relatively new, automotive service professionals have been servicing Driver Assist Systems