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Whether you have a factory-perfect pickup bed you're
anxious to protect or a scratched and dented bed
you're dying to hide, you have several options for
bed liners. Molded drop-in types are sized for your truck and
cost $200 to $5,000. Other options are a professionally installed
spray-on liner, which costs $500 to $600, or a do-it-yourself roll-on
bed liner for $100 - $200 (including tape and cleaners), which
is what we'll focus on here.
All liners have their obvious pros and cons. Molded liners are
good at absorbing shocks and hauling gravel or sand but can be
slippery. They can also get punctured, which can lead to bed
corrosion if water and debris become trapped underneath. On
the other hand, spray or roll/brush-on bed liners are a heavy-duty
polyurethane mixture that hardens and thoroughly coats
the inside of your truck bed. Roll/brush-on liners are skid
resistant, but on the downside, they can't be removed and aren't
as thick as drop-ins, so they're subject to denting.
The three critical steps for a solid, long-lasting coating are
preparation, preparation, preparation. No shortcuts allowed, or
you'll end up with a worthless chipping or peeling surface.