6 Spray-In Secrets Installers Don’t Want You To Know

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Spray-in bed liners are as popular as ever, but that doesn’t mean that the spray-in industry is fully understood. The fact is, most people who buy spray-in bed liners are blissfully unaware of the following six spray-in bed liner secrets (none of which the spray-in installers of the world want you know know).

Commercial use warranty coverage spray-in bed liners

Neither LINE-X or Rhino Linings warranty their spray-in liners for commercial use.

Most spray-in liner warranties don’t cover commercial use.

Our own Tim Esterdahl posted an article about this very topic on PickupTrucks.com. Here’s what he wrote:

After obtaining and reviewing a copy of the product warranties from each manufacturer, we learned that LINE-X, Rhino Linings and Duraliner/Pendaliner do not warranty their products for commercial users

Unbelievable, right? With all the advertising that Rhino Linings and LINE-X do about “toughness,” it’s a little obscene to see that these companies don’t warranty commercial use in the fine print of their warranty policies…

Spray-in liners can stain.


Despite their reputation for indestructibility, spray-ins can and will stain. As Diesel Power Magazine writes, “paint or chemical spills could be [on your spray-in liner] permanently.” The LINE-X website says that their product “resists staining,” but neither Rhino Linings or LINE-X warranty their liners against stains.

Installers can do (or not do) whatever surface prep they want.

The grainy video above shows a truck owner literally ripping the LINE-X liner right off his truck bed, at least if the video description is to be believed. While LINE-X and Rhino Linings both have specific surface preparation processes, there’s no one making sure the installers actually follow the rules.

One LINE-X franchisee (Keith Giroux, LINE-X of Regina) wrote that there are four possible surface prep processes in a rather candid blog post here. Giroux says that chemical etching, scuffing paint with Scotchbrite pads, hand block sanding, and power sanding are all methods that can be used to prep a truck bed. Giroux writes that his shop uses Scotchbrite pads, then later says that they use a “power sanding method.” Could that be a Scotchbrite pad attached to a power tool?

Consider this as well:

  • A recent survey of spray-in bed liner installers found that about 30% of installers promised prep and install times of less than 4 hours
  • 70% of those surveyed needed at least 4 hours to complete an installation, and many needed more than a full day

While the total amount of time needed to prep and install a spray-in should vary a bit based on how many people an installer has working for them, how much experience the installers have, etc., there’s something off when 30% of installers can complete their job in half the time of the other 70%.

Spray-in bed liner installers can charge whatever they like.

No one wants to inhibit the free market, but it’s a bit odd to learn that spray-in installation prices can vary dramatically from one installer to the next. Here’s data from the survey we mentioned above.

Data taken from survey posted on DualLiner.com

Data taken from survey posted on DualLiner.com. Click for a larger view.

As you can see, an installer in Omaha, NE charged almost exactly twice as much as an installer in Nome, TX. How does that happen? Is one installer incredibly greedy, or is one taking a lot of shortcuts? Or both?

Installer customer service varies a lot too.

Installers can charge whatever they want, use any number of different prep processes they like, and as you might imagine, they can do customer service however they like too. While it’s easy to find online reviews of LINE-X and Rhino installers who’ve done a bad job – like in New Jersey, or Washington, or Ohio – or forum posts about problems with installers (like this one or this one), the real kicker comes from the installer survey we’ve mentioned a couple of times now.


10% of the bedliner installers we called didn’t answer the phone, despite 3 separate call attempts

If 10% of the installers surveyed can’t be relied upon to answer the phone, what does that say about customer service if/when there’s a problem?

Spray-in bed liner resale value sucks.

One of the main reasons people buy a bed liner (any kind of bed liner) is to protect their bed from damage. While some protect their bed to preserve their truck’s looks, others do it because they believe it will help their truck’s resale value. Spray-in bed liner installers don’t help, as they often talk about increased resale value in their “pitch.”

Even the LINE-X website claims that their liner “helps at trade-in time.”

LINE-X resale value

While the LINE-X website says that their product boosts resale value, they don’t mention that the “add” is only $50.

The trouble is, bed liners don’t help resale value! As I wrote a few months ago:

I did a little digging and found that most of the time, a bed liner is only a $50-$100 “add” when you look at trade-in or private party value online. I checked used Rams, Fords, and Tundras on KBB.com, Edmunds, and NADAguides.com…and they always came back in that range. Even on trucks that were relatively new.

$50-$100 is all a bed liner is worth when it’s time to trade-in your truck or sell it to a private party. Considering that a new spray-in costs about $500, that’s a terrible return on investment.

However, if you buy a cheap rubber bed mat from JCWhitney, a component liner (like a BedRug or DualLiner), or buy a drop-in liner, you can probably re-use it. Toyota, for example, hasn’t changed the Tundra’s bed since 2007, and the haven’t changed the Tacoma’s bed since 2005. If you bought a bedliner for your Toyota 5 years ago, you can take it out of your old truck and put it in your new one.

Basically, the math isn’t too good for spray-in liners.

Am I anti-spray-in? No, just cheap.

You might be reading this and thinking, why does this guy hate spray-in bed liners? Answer: I don’t. If you’re looking to buy a bed liner, spray-ins offer a combination of rugged protection and good looks that’s hard to match. When it’s time to buy a LINE-X or Rhino Liner, we’ve got some good advice for finding the best spray-in installer here.

However, everyone ought to understand that spray-in bed liners aren’t the only option available.

  • BedRug and BedTred, which offer products that cost about as much as a new spray-in, but are removable and reusable
  • DualLiner, which doesn’t offer a liner for the Tundra or Tacoma but has them for most other trucks, and is also completely reusable
  • DuraLiner and Pendaflex, which make hard plastic drop-ins*
  • Any number of companies that make rubber mats**
  • You can always paint your bed with spray-in like material yourself***

These are ALL worthwhile alternatives, at least when you consider the poor return on investment of a spray-in as well as the hit-or-miss quality of spray-in installers. So, buyer beware. Don’t just get a spray-in because someone says “Spray-ins are the best!”


* Yes, I know drop-in liners scuff up beds. According to the data, scuffed bed paint is only worth $50-$100. If you spend $200 on a drop-in liner and then re-use it, all it cost you was $50-100 in lost resale value.

** If you buy a rubber mat, the sides of your bed aren’t protected. However, rubber mats cost a measly $100, and unlike spray-ins you can kneel on a rubber mat without wincing in pain. Also, failing to protect your bed sides costs $50-$100 in lost resale.

*** The time needed to install these DIY bed liners is considerable, at least if you do a good job prepping your truck’s paint surface. Also, most DIY coatings are nothing like the professional coatings in terms of fade resistance or ruggedness.

Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Accessories


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  1. Larry says:

    This is kind of strange.

    Install a bed liner which is used to provide a layer on top of steel. Next put the truck into industrial use, throw concrete blocks into it. Throw bricks into it. Fill it with crushed stone and sand. Scrape the bed with a shovel unloading it then get upset when it gets scratched.

    Linex is very tough stuff but, lets be reasonable. it can be scratched and if you spill fuel on it is it reasonable to expect it to not be damaged?

    What is the point of getting a truck then expecting it to stay pretty.

    For those want a non-working truck which will never have a 2X4 in the back why spray line-X on it and cover the pretty paint which is never going to get scratched anyway.

    Enjoy it while you can folks cause when the Feds step in on those who are cruising around in empty 12 MPG trucks like the old nomad station wagon of the past, you will get stuck with trucks which won’t be able to do any work at all but, I bet they will still be pretty. Then people will move to the 3/4 tons and start all over until they are turned into pretty station wagons and will be included in CAFE also.

    The death of real trucks is at our door step.

    • Larry – It’s a good point. People probably don’t need a bed liner at all. It’s only $50-$100 in lost resale value to skip it altogether. It’s not worth it. 🙂

  2. mk says:

    I just use a rubber bed mat with steel ribs going thru it. Bought it on sale at our local farm and fleet some 20+ years ago got the 8′ version made for a chevy silverado in the 90’s and flp it down to cover the tailgate. It has served my purpose for 50 bucks now over 20+ years. However, by folding that last 2′ over the past 20+ years, it is almost ripping thru. Priced them out and they are now only 70 bucks for a 1/4″ thick rubber mat. I say I got my 50 bucks use out of it.

    I also have bought in years past a chevy bedliner that hwen I use to trade in every 1-2 years always popped them out and reinstalled on the new chevy. A cheaper pendaliner/rugged liner was like 190 bucks is all and served my purpose for 10+ years of swapping chevy to chevy until I got a 2007 tundra. Then, I put the rubber bed mat on top of the plastic liner to keep things from sliding – works great.

    Also, for those who install a plastic liner, get some camper seal tape and install on bottom of the plastic liner and around the wheel wells (2 rolls should do you) to prevent 95% of the marring a plastic liner will do over the years. VERY few scrapes then in places even after 10+ years of use. Works great.

    I even got one pendaliner replaced under warranty for free since took pics telling them it cracked/ripped sliding a fridge on top. The back caught an edge must have and sliced it wide open. They stood behind it and got one for free since was fairly new at the time as well even though it was probalby my fault for not lifting instead sliding a fridge over it.

    I don’t see the sense in a linex spending 450 bucks or so if not going to really rough house the bed with shovels and gravel/dirt all the time more than a few times per year – waste of money for sure. Come trade in tme, you only get 100 bucks more, if that, and then you can’t take it with you from truck to truck. A plastic bedliner with rubber mat is the way to go since can take it with you come trade in/selling time with no ill effects. ONLY if in construction or heavy use with shovel/dirt/gravel can I see a linex/rhino making sense.

  3. Walt Jessop says:

    This article contains a fair bit of misinformation and old prejudices that really should be taken to task. So, let’s do it.

    This part where it says “spray-in bed liner secrets (none of which the spray-in installers of the world want you know know)” isn’t really true at all. Almost all of the bedliner shops/installers that I’ve ever run across have been quite open and forthcoming about all of the aspects of their procedures and warranty. As most anyone who has done any sort of research on bedliners knows, the corporate warranty does not bind the local shops and again, most that I have known will stand behind their product and installation without too much trouble at all. Of course, their will always be those shops that don’t provide a good customer experience but they will soon be out of business. Social media will take care of that. One of our local dealers of a well known brand will fix pretty much anything, even a competitors product, and usually for no charge. Their philosophy seems to be paying off because they have a stellar reputation and they gain a lot of customers by doing this.

    As for the commercial warranty issue, it is not at all unusual that a company would not warranty their product for commercial use. As an example let’s take a look at a popular brand of tools – Craftsman. If you look at their warranty information you will see the following clause in most of their power/hand tool categories;

    “This ONE YEAR warranty is void if this product is ever used while providing commercial services or if rented to another person.”

    Say what? Yes, that’s right. I’m pretty sure that if you read the warranties on most anything you buy that you will find a similar statement, so this is really just a lot of FUD about spray-in bedliners.

    Stains? Really? There are plenty of posts on the web forums talking about this. It is well known that a “real” two-component polyurea/polyurethane hot-high pressure spray-on bedliner sprayed with a Graco Reactor system (which is what is meant when you read about “hot, high pressure systems”) will resist pretty much anything you throw at it. Some of the old pure polyurethane coatings were like a sponge and would get stained but hardly anyone is spraying these products anymore. My carpet “resists staining” as well but I’ve seen plenty of spots on it over the years. Big deal.

    The video showing a bedliner peeling up proves nothing about a properly sprayed bedliner. I’ve seen similar situations and it has nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the preparation/installer. This is an extreme case and their is more to the story than is being told here. I’ve been witness to a tailgate that had to be stripped and it took 3 guys, 5 hours to get it off. That’s more the reality of a spray-on liner.

    As for the preparation; The comment that “there’s no one making sure the installers actually follow the rules.” is blatantly false. The shop owner is definitely making sure. Again, poor quality is quickly exposed these days and no one is going to get away with poor preparation. I can’t comment about the old ways but I can tell you that I have been to many shops and almost always they are using a 6” fiber cup wheel on a pneumatic tool combined with 80 grit sanding pads to get the corners and remaining areas that the cup wheel cannot get into. This is standard practice these days and any shop doing it otherwise is not really in the game. Forget the BS about grinding the paint off – it is scuffed to create a scratch pattern for adhesion and nothing more.

    Prep and install times; So we have 30% of installers saying 4 hours or less and we have 70% of installers saying 4 hours or more. Somehow the author of the article comes to the conclusion that “there’s something off when 30% of installers can complete their job in half the time of the other 70%.” This makes no sense at all. It could feasibly be as little as one minute difference. The truth is that it takes about 4 man-hours to do a respectable job. I have seen 2 very experienced and sweaty installers do a truck in a little over an hour but this is not ordinary and is certainly not the usual routine. These guys were working at a pace that is unsustainable over the long haul. But this is still close to 3 man-hours. You also have to consider that some shops offer additional UV coatings and colour options so these naturally take a little longer.

    Also, this statement, “One LINE-X franchisee (Keith Giroux, LINE-X of Regina) wrote that” is clearly out of date. I followed the link and it goes to an advertorial from Capital GMC in a blog controlled by them and written by Keith Giroux, Capital Customs Manager with a byline linking to the Regina Rhino dealer. This is just self promotion and advertising wrapped up in an article purporting to educate and steer the customer to themselves. This has nothing to do with Line-X.

    The cost; There are certainly differences in cost across different geographic locations just as there are differences in the cost of other products that you buy. Labour rates vary wildly in different parts of the country as do rental space costs and a host of other factors. Shipping 55 gallon drums to the far corners of the country also has a cost impact.The conclusion that greed and/or shortcuts has something to do with this is more FUD. Cost of living is a real thing. Quality also costs a bit more as does the pleasure of dealing with a place that reinvests in their business for the comfort and pleasure of the customer.

    As far as the statement “10% of the bedliner installers we called didn’t answer the phone, despite 3 separate call attempts”. So what? I’ve called and emailed plenty of business’s and sometimes they just don’t get back to you. This has no bearing on the argument of whether a spray-on bedliner is good or bad or whatever. These people are plainly just poor business people and I’m sure that their reputation and sales reflect this.

    Resale value; The author first says “bed liners don’t help resale value!” and in the very next paragraph emphatically states that “I did a little digging and found that most of the time, a bed liner is only a $50-$100 “add” when you look at trade-in or private party value”. So which is it? The thing is, anyone in the car business will tell you that expensive options on new cars have never really kept their value in the resale market. And this has been true for a long time. This is just another case of FUD and misinformation. People don’t buy bedliners for the resale potential, they buy them for the utility and protection of their expensive truck. I can tell you from experience that a really nice bedliner with UV topcoat will in fact be a factor when you decide to sell or trade in your truck.

    The linked article about finding a good installer has some good information but it too, is full of out-of-date and misguided information. It’s about 50-50 so take it with a grain of salt.

    If you want good information then go and talk to your local installers. It will quickly become apparent to you where you should be spending your money. Ask people you see at the building supply stores who have a bedliner, they’ll be more than happy to give you an honest opinion. Speak with people you know that work at the car dealers, they send trucks for spraying all the time and they use somebody nearby. Most of the time you’ll see a pattern where at least 4 out of 5 dealers use a particular bedliner shop. It’s not really that hard to figure out.

    And just to clarify, I do have an inside on this topic but I’m not about to compare or promote one brand over another. There just seems to be a lot of old and misguided information on the web about spray-on bedliners that seems to keep making the rounds and it’s about time that some of this is taken to task.

    • Walt – How long have you been in the spray-in business? 🙂

      – Your bits about “social media taking care of bad installers” don’t really dispute the point that some installers suck at what they do. Same goes for your comments on the video – saying “that liner wasn’t installed properly” doesn’t dispute the notion that some spray-in installers suck.

      – So Craftsman doesn’t warranty their product for commercial use – so what? We’re talking about bed liner companies that brag about toughness. If the product is so tough, why not warranty it for all uses?

      – As for the discrepancy in installation times, I think that speaks for itself. Either 70% of installers are under-staffed/using a slow process, or 30% are using a fast process. There really aren’t any other conclusions to be drawn here.

      – You said “The shop owner is definitely making sure.” *That’s the point.* The shop owner might be good, and they might not. No one from LINE-X or Rhino Linings is making sure these installs are correct.

      – Where you see “normal” cost discrepancies, I see evidence of a poorly managed franchise system. If all the installers are using the same materials and the same install process, they should all be able to hit the same (or nearly the same) sale price. When McDonalds advertises a $2 hamburger special, that vast majority of their franchises hit that price point.

      – You said “If you want good information then go and talk to your local installers.”

      This is funny. Going to an installer for the “inside scoop” is a lot like asking a car salesman that’s in the middle of selling you a car how much you should pay.

      I appreciate you commenting here, but I’d like you to disclose precisely what your interest is here. To me, you sound like someone who has a vested interest in the spray-in industry.

  4. Randy says:

    I use the spray in because they do not cause the bed of the truck to rust like the drop-ins do; particularly in SE Texas. I think 80% of the trucks in this area go to spray in for that reason alone.

    Drop in liners just to not work in this area with sand, gravel, and water all the time….they eat the bed of the truck up very fast.

    My last 4 trucks:

    2004 F150 Line X “B” Overall good install and held up well, only had the truck two years…it would not tow anything bigger than a bag of groceries.

    2006 F250 Line X “C” The install really was not very good. Very thin application and it did fade in years 2 – 6. This truck had to sit outside in direct sunlight 100% of the time.

    2011 F150 Line X “A” only had the truck 2 years, garaged 100% of the time I was not driving it. Install was very good. Had a very heavy steel 100lbs bed frames slide across it, it almost cut through but did not. Also had stain from Nursing Home “poop” chemicals, would not clean up with Ajax and water hose. However very high pressure wash did remove the heavy stain and it was good as new.

    2014 Gulf States spray in liner “A+” (regional Toyota distributor), their version of Line X. They did a neat super clean install – to me it looks better than the last three Line X’s I had. It does not sit in direct sunlight so at 1 year it has not faded. So far I have not had anything in the bed over 50 lbs. Just lawn mowers, edger’s, and junk from Home Depot. So it still looks new.

    Resale pricing is not important to me. Reducing the chance of rusting from all the scrapes is.

    • Randy – Thank you for commenting, as you’ve illustrated my point. Installers are hit or miss. You bought four spray-in liners, two of which were great, one of which was good, and one that was too thin and faded after a couple of years.

      But I’m guessing all four charged the same amount of money (or so), right?

      This is what gets my hackles up. $500 is a lot of money. The least consumers ought to be able to count on is a reliable, consistent product. If 25% of the spray-ins are installed in a half-assed manner, that’s a pretty big deal.

  5. Larry says:

    On my last Toyota, I installed a thick rubber mat. The truck had a cap on it. After 18 years I had some rust eating through the bed steel on 1 side. If the truck was open, snow and rain would mean water would be under the mat much more and I suspect the rust problem would have been worse.

    1) Aside from 1 rusted spot, the paint was nice and shinny. So what, it was under the mat who could see it.

    2) The bed is made of steel, it’s strong, it doesn’t need any covering.

    3) if it’s not covered it will dry out and rust should be less of a problem.

    4) I only installed a mat to help prevent things from sliding around and it did help with that problem.

    5) it’s a truck, the bed is supposed to get hammered, that’s why it’s made of steel.

    • Larry – It’s a fair point. Steel is tough, and it can handle years of abuse without a problem.

      Personally, a rubber mat is plenty for me. It’s comfortable to kneel upon if/when I’ve got to hassle with something in the bed, and it prevents most of the deep gouges that can happen with loading/unloading. Is it perfect? No. But it’s only $100, and that’s about all I want to spend on something I don’t really *need.* At least not something that doesn’t make the truck go faster…

  6. Walt Jessop says:

    Mr Lancaster,

    I wasn’t sure if you were an angry young man or just trolling for clicks. Among my other talents I happen to be well versed in the technologies of the web and how to monetize websites. Bait clicks are relatively easy to spot.

    For those of you not familiar with what I am saying, Mr. Jason owns a company named Spork Marketing LLC, based out of Denver CO that specializes in “Internet marketing for the auto parts and accessories industry.” I can only imagine that these auto accessories do not include clients who spray on bedliners.

    If anyone would like to see what is really motivating this article then I suggest that you look up Spork Marketing LLC’s website (I mentioned your company twice so that should help you out a bit with your SEO.)

    An interesting bit that you will find on their “About Us” page. It says:

    “At Spork, we only do THREE things:

    1. We help companies sell auto parts and accessories online…”

    It’s obvious now that we can’t have a rational discussion about this anymore, which is unfortunate. I always appreciate the opportunity to share knowledge with others and especially when people are genuinely looking for information to help them with their buying decisions. Your article was purposely slanted to the negative against spray-on bedliners to further your interests and I’m sorry to have to call you out but that’s what happens when you decide to do this sort of thing.

    May I suggest that in the future you present quality information to your readers and I’m pretty sure that you’ll find that this is the way to get more traffic to your websites.

    • Walt – First, thanks for calling me young.

      Second, why assume that my role as a marketing consultant precludes me from having a qualified opinion on bed liners?

      DualLiner is a company that Spork Marketing (my company) has worked with…but my opinions on the spray-in liner industry were formed years and years ago. The post I wrote about Line-X vs. Rhino all the way back in 2009 talks about the same serious problem I pointed out in this article (namely, that spray-in installers can suck sometimes), and that was long before I had heard of DualLiner, or before my company had focused on auto parts.

      But to your point: I’m passionate about the auto industry, accessories, etc. I’ve been writing/talking about them on TundraHeadquarters.com since 2007. I’m not going to apologize for the fact that my passions and my work align.

      Furthermore, why don’t you tell everyone who you really work for?

  7. Pink says:

    Well done.

  8. TB says:

    Wow. Walt Jessop, you just got spanked. Twice.

    Thanks for the article, I had a drop in liner on my 2010 Tundra, just traded it in, and after almost 5 years….just a few specs of rust starting. Which I attribute to Chicago rain and winters easily. Debated the spray in or drop in (again), and you’re right, I’ll use a mat for now, and if my truck bed gets banged up and scratched, heaven forbid, I can always buy a drop in to cover it all up when I trade it in. …Actually, no, I’ll just trade it in with a scratched bed and let the dealership cover it up and lose my $50 there.

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