How to Roll on Bedliner Paint in a Pickup Truck

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Want to save money on a bed liner? Instead of a plastic liner or a professionally sprayed-on liner, try a DIY roll-on bed liner. You'll get great-looking results at a fraction of the cost

Step 1

Step 1: Wash
Remove the tailgate and set it on sawhorses. Sweep or vacuum dirt and debris from the bed and tailgate. Make sure any drain holes are clear. Scrub both the bed and the tailgate with a strong solution of TSP and water to remove oil, petroleum or wax-based residue. You may also need to use chemical removers and a scraper. (Follow the directions that come with the kit you select.) Rinse with plenty of clear water and wipe with a clean rag. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 2

Step 2: Mask
Using painter’s tape, carefully mask off all areas that aren’t going to be covered, especially at the back of the bed near the tailgate. Press the tape down firmly to form a good protective seal. Neatly cover the drain holes with tape or foam rubber weatherstripping to seal them.

Step 3

Step 3: Scuff
Thoroughly scuff all painted surfaces, including any surface rust, to ensure a good bond. Take your time and leave no glossy areas. Sand deep rust or corrosion to the bare metal with 150-grit sandpaper. Blow out or wipe down the bed to remove all sanding dust. Apply a coat of rust converter/primer/sealer over bare metal areas (Mar-Hyde is one brand, available through our affiliation with and let dry. Don’t use lacquer-based primer.

Step 4

Step 4: Wipe
Wipe the bed area with acetone. Wear chemical- resistant gloves and a respirator. Start at the front of the bed using the spray bottle. Let the acetone sit for a few seconds and wipe it off with clean shop towels, never using the same side of the towel twice. Wipe the entire surface of the bed where the material is to be applied. Let dry about 10 minutes. (Never use lacquer or alcohol-based solvents.)

Step 5

Step 5: Brush
Remove the lid and thoroughly mix the material using a paint mixer and power drill (make sure the temperature is between 32 and 95 degrees F). The material can be thinned up to 10 percent with xylene if it’s too thick to brush or roll. Occasionally stir the mixture while applying. Begin with the seams and corners, dabbing rather than stroking the material into them.

Step 6

Step 6: Roll
Once the seams and corners are covered, use the supplied textured roller cover and handle to gently apply the material to the front and side panels first, then roll the material onto the tailgate and the floor of the trunk bed. Apply a second coat of material along the taped edges before the first coat dries so the tape won’t tear when you remove it. Touch up any missed areas with a small brush. When you’re finished, discard the roller cover and wrap the brush in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out. Use xylene to remove any excess material while it’s still wet. Once the first coat has set up (usually in six hours) or isn’t tacky to the touch, apply the second.

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