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Buying a new or used truck is always a hassle. I was never set on driving my pickup or jeep for the sake of joyrides. Like most vehicle owners, I have one concern: functionality. Read this article for those contemplating getting a full-body truck or jeep bedliner applied first. It seems like a shame that previous truck beds were wasted away under the mistreatment and abuse of hard labor and constant use were it not for the advent of truck bedliners. It appears that the practice of protecting truck beds has been around since the fifties with wooden planks until 1983. Until a little company called ArmorThane formulated a sprayable chemical mixture that was much easier to apply than previous versions.

USA Today released an article covering the circulating trend of car owners applying bedliner to their entire vehicle. Although a popular trend, many are reluctant to invest in such an endeavor. Many are afraid of committing to what could be a smart move on their part due to potential mistakes in product or service choices. 

Auto paint is higher priced than Polyurea (bedliner). However, few people recognize that it can cost the same or even less to have a bedliner applied to the exterior of your truck than a new paint job. Applying a bedliner is much easier, whether the bedliner job is done at a shop or if you were to do it yourself. Auto painting requires much more attention to detail than applying a bedliner. Good automotive paint is typically well over $300 per gallon. Maaco, a popular chain of paint shops specializing in bodywork and overall paint jobs, can charge thousands of dollars for a complete paint job on any vehicle. Some estimates I have had were over 12,000 dollars. Even more unfortunate is that Maaco is not considered ultra-high quality. 

Based on national averages, USA Today gave out a price estimate of 5,000 dollars for a custom bedliner job for a full-size vehicle. Auto-paint can be twice that! 

Things To Consider When Choosing A Bedliner Applicator

First off, it’s always important that you are purchasing a quality product. Only Polyurea/polyurea hybrids are high-quality bedliners; typically, urethane, polyurethane, and epoxy blends do not carry the high-strength specs necessary for proper protection. 

The main difference between Polyurea and Polyurethanes becomes evident at a molecular level. The molecules fuse differently, where Polyurea is much more durable than a Polyurethane and Polyurea blend. All can be applied yourself, but most DIY bedliner deals, especially the cheapest ones, are inadequate. They are typically made from higher-cost urethanes but in low quantities to appear lower-priced.

After some calling around, I found that Rhino Linings of Casper, Laramie, and Riverton in Wyoming are dissatisfied with Rhino products for exterior jobs. Some phased out full exterior applications entirely. ProTech in Montana said they advised against doing an entire Rhino exterior job as the liner is too thick when applied and could prevent the assembly of truck parts after the disassembly necessary for application. This seems strange as the Rhino should be applied as necessary to function in door jams, etc. Unfortunately for ProTech, Shane at their shop isn’t well acquainted with his own Rhino products or the application of Polyurea in general. I also got many of the same types of answers from Line-X applicators. The only company that seemed to know what they were talking about and was ready and willing to spray anything and anywhere I requested was ArmorThane. This is not surprising since ArmorThane has been around for over 30 years and paved the way for spraying the entire vehicle in a bedliner.

Therefore, calling several dozen bedliner spraying experts all across the nation has generated varying responses. Most of those responses were quite depressing, except for each ArmorThane professional I spoke to. 

Despite exterior bedliner being a conservative alternative to auto paint jobs as a satisfactory method of preserving your truck, few shops know what they’re doing. I recommend if you want to go forward with a full-body bedliner, or any bedliner for that matter, you should give ArmorThane a call.