Earlier in this project we applied a paint-on bed liner coating to the truck box, but there’s more than one way to use that product. The thick textured coating it leaves makes an excellent protection against road damage from stone chips. So this time we apply a coat of it to the lower portion of the truck’s exterior body.
When the box was coated with bed liner, we used a roller to apply it. For this job we picked up the same Dupli-Color-brand product, but this time in a spray can. We wanted to ensure a nice even texture in the finish coat. The roller didn’t really create that appearance. The spray cans, however, do leave a nice, even, good looking surface.
Before applying the bed liner, you need to first clean the truck’s metal surface thoroughly. That means starting with a good soapy wash and rinse, then going over the area again with a wax and grease remover. Any impurities left on the surface will prevent good adhesion to the sheet metal. Basically, we’re doing exactly the same thing to the truck we would do if we were applying ordinary paint.
Once the surface is cleaned, it has to be scuffed with a red automotive Scotchbrite pad or sanded with 400-grit sandpaper. This will create tiny grooves that allow the bed liner to stick properly. Be sure to clean away all the sanding dust with a clean, lint free cloth. As a final step, use a sticky tack cloth to wipe away any remaining dirt or sanding particles. When using a tack cloth, just hold it lightly against the surface, don’t press it down hard. You can buy special tack cloths at places like Canadian Tire or automotive parts stores.
We only want the bed liner coating on the lower section of the body, so we’re masking off a line about 40 centimetres up from the bottom. To start, run a strip of masking tape along the line where you want the liner coating to end. It easiest if you use a body line as a reference, which will ensure you get a straight, good looking edge.
Once the first tape line is established, use a second strip of tape to attach some masking paper above it. We used ordinary newspaper for masking paper to keep costs down, but you can buy proper automotive masking paper if you want.
Apply several light coats of the liner rather than one heavy one, and keep the can moving as you spray; that will prevent sags.
The thick, textured bed liner doesn’t mist very much compared to ordinary paint, so you won’t need to do a lot of masking to prevent overspray. There was virtually none when we applied it. Let the liner set up for an hour or so and carefully remove the masking. When removing the masking tape along the edge of the applied liner, lift one end of the tape and pull it back over itself and slightly up from the painted section. That keeps the tape coming off smoothly, and it doesn’t cause the edge of the painted section to flake off, making for a neater finished job.
The coating should keep the truck body protected from road spray which tends to chip off paint. In the next segment, start prepping the truck for a complete paint job.
The materials cost for this part of the project was about $25 for two cans of liner, with ample left over in the second can. †