For those contemplating getting a full-body truck or jeep bedliner applied, read this article first. Buying a new or used truck is always such a hassle. I was never set on driving my pickup or jeep for the sake of joyrides. Like most owners of utility vehicles, I have but one concern and that concern is functionality. It seems like a shame that previous truck beds 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 chemical mixture that was sprayable and 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 find themselves 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 choice.
However, few people recognize that it can potentially cost the same or even less to have a bedliner applied to the exterior of your vehicle than a new paint job. The process of applying a bedliner is much easier, whether the bedliner job is being done at a shop or if you were to do it yourself. Auto paint is higher priced than Polyurea (bedliner). Good automotive paint is typically well over $300 per gallon. Auto painting requires much more attention to detail than applying a bedliner. Maaco, a popular chain of paint shops specializing in bodywork and overall paint jobs, can charge several 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 the fact that Maaco is not considered ultra-high quality by any means.
USA Today gave out a price estimate of 5,000 dollars for a custom bedliner job for a full-size vehicle based on national averages. 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 again, most DIY bedliner deals, especially the cheapest ones, are inadequate. They are typically made from higher-cost urethanes but at such 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 that they advised against doing an entire Rhino exterior job as the liner is too thick when applied and could prevent 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, it seems as if Shane at their shop isn’t well acquainted with his own Rhino products or the application of Polyurea in general. I got many of the same types of answers from Line-X applicators as well. The only company that seems to know what they are talking about and 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 to spraying the entire vehicle in bedliner.
Therefore, calling several dozen bedliner spraying applicators all across the nation has yielded varying answers. Most of those answers quite depressing, except for each ArmorThane applicator I spoke to.
Despite exterior bedliner being a prudent alternative to auto paint jobs as an effective 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.