How To Shop For A Bed Liner

Newly Sprayed Truck Bed Liner - linex spray in bedliner cost

When you’re shopping for a new truck you’ll have a ton of different options and upgrades to consider. Trucks are no longer cheap utility vehicles anymore. They’re now high-end all-in-one do everything vehicles that can regularly out price many top end luxury cars. After you’ve “invested” in a new truck, one important option you need to consider is what is the best bed liner for you and your truck. Here are some things to consider and information about some of the different types of bed liners out there. 

The first and the most likely type of bed liner that most people see and most dealers install are the plastic drop-in bed liners. These are inexpensive and, well, that’s about it. The look cheap, are cheap and actually do more damage to the bed that they’re supposed to be protecting. Road sand and dirt get between the bed and the liner and act as an abrasive that will wear the paint in the bed down to bear metal in a very short time. Other debris like leaves and sticks can also get under the plastic drop in liner and this will trap moisture and cause corrosion.

Drop-In Bed Liners
Factory Installed Drop-In Bed Liner

For more information on LNE-X vs the Drop-In, look here, here, and here.

DIY Roll-On Bed Liners

The next type of liner is the do-it-yourself roll-on liners.  These usually dry very hard, and the texture is a result of the nap of the roller.  It also takes time for these to fully cure, so if they’re applied too thick on horizontal surfaces, they can run and drip.  We’ve fixed many of these when the owner gives them a try as an inexpensive option, only to find out that fixing one of these is much more expensive than just doing it right the first time.  Here are some examples of some DIY roll-on’s to give you an idea of what they’ll look like so you can judge for yourself if this is a look you’d want.

How To Shop For A Bed Liner - Sub-Par Roll-On Bed Liner
Sub-par roll-on liner application
How To Shop For A Bed Liner - Terrible Roll-On Bed Liner Application
Example of roll-on bed liners
How To Shop For A Bed Liner
Terrible roll-on bed liner application

Cartridge Type Spray-On Bed Liners

The next type is the cartridge type of spray-on bed liner system.  These are also basically DIY systems in that they only require an air compressor and the spray gun that comes with the kit.  I will, however, point out that many shops and even some dealerships in the area have started to spray this as an alternative to their drop-in plastic bed liners.  I’ll still categorize this as a DIY system because that’s really all it is and the end product is very poor.  They take a day to dry and several days to fully cure.  They do look good at first, but they’ll start to fade and even turn a powdery gray in a short about of time.  The other disadvantage to these products is that they’re a solvent based material.  This means that each coat that’s laid down has to let the solvent evaporate or “off gas” during the curing process.  Because they have to off gas, they can usually only lay down a couple passes at most before applying the top texture coat.  If they spray more coats than a few, then as the top layers dries, the bottom layers would continue to off gas causing bubbles to form.  Most of the cartridge systems, therefore, can only be sprayed to a thickness of about 10 to 20 mils. 

Polyurea Hybrid Bed Liner

This gets us to the last and best type of bed liner and this is the high temperature and high pressure polyurea products.  There are several different manufacturers and the chemistry behind each one is different.  Some have more or less elasticity, hardness or tensile strength. LINE-X has invested in a lot of research and development testing to formulate many different materials to provide the best protective coatings for many different applications.  LINE-X started with truck beds and has spent the last 25 years perfecting our products and this is what makes LINE-X the leader in high performance spray-on bed liners.  Our preparation procedures are second to none and our standards set the bar.  Not even the major car manufactures can compete.  We’ve tested the factory bed liners from several manufactures and they’re regularly sprayed to half the thickness of our standard bed liner.  They also don’t spray around and down the edges to eliminate the easy peal points.  Many don’t even properly prepare the painted surface of the bed so their spray-on material will simply peel off.  LINE-X has also set as our standard to remove the accessories in the bed so that the material can be sprayed properly to fully protect as much of the bed as possible.

2016 Ford F150 Factory Bed Liner Removal and Replacement with LINE-X – Courtesy of Tools In Action

Don’t Settle For Less Than LINE-X

LINE-X has also set as a standard that all franchises spray to about 120 mils or about 1/8th of an inch think in the main wear surfaces of the truck bed.  If the franchise fails to do so, then we will be held responsible for any warranty issues that would arise.  Spraying the best material to 120 mils is also what makes our bed liners so tough.  Many others that claim to be “just like LINE-X” spray to about half our thickness in order to keep their material costs down.  We know this because we use an ultrasonic thickness gauge to measure and check our work and make sure that we’re within standards.  We also use this thickness gauge on other bed liners that comes into our shop from the local body shops in the area when they need someone else’s old bed liner to be repaired.  We also get customers from our competitors that realize that they didn’t get what they paid for and come to get the best in business. 

When you shop around for a bed liner be careful and do your research.  If the shop says that they spray LINE-X or the same material as LINE-X, they’re lying.  Run away.  Only a LINE-X franchise can purchase and spray LINE-X material PERIOD!!!  Ask to see the spray booth.  If it’s a blow-up booth like a kid’s bouncy house, then run away.  If they’re spraying in a carport, run away.  If they’re spraying in a service bay that does not have a full ventilation system, run away. 

Ask how thick they spray and then ask how they measure the thickness of the bed liner.  If they don’t say that they use an ultrasonic thickness gauge, run away.  If they say that they use an ultrasonic thickness gauge, ask to see it.   

Don’t just call around to get pricing.  Go visit the shop.  If the shop is a dump, then that’s usually a good sign of the quality of work that will come out of the shop.  If their primary business is something other than protective coatings, then you’re probably getting your bed liner sprayed in by the window tint guy.  Run away.  If the company’s web site has logos for all the major spray-on liners, then they’re probably not spraying any of them.  No one is a dealer or franchise for more than one company. RUN AWAY!!!

One main difference between LINE-X and the others out there is that we stand behind our work with a NATION WIDE LIFETIME warranty.  This warranty is backed by the local franchise, the national network of over 600 independent franchises, as well as by LINE-X corporate.  If your local shop closes, you still have a warranty.  If you move to another state, you still have a warranty. 

Ask For LINE-X By Name

When buying from any dealership, you can always ask for LINE-X by name.  We can spray the bed liner for all the dealerships and they can then roll this into the financing of the truck.  Just remember that “just like LINE-X” is NOT LINE-X so ask for us by name.  If you don’t get a warranty badge in the bed of the truck and a warranty certificate from LINE-X then you didn’t get LINE-X. 

Ask For LINE-X By Name
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