My Personal Experience: Applying My Own DIY Bedliner

My do-it-yourself bed liner.

Choosing a Bed Liner
A few years ago, I sold my old, beat-up Nissan pickup for a "new" (12-year-old), Ford Ranger. My new ride was in astonishing condition for being 12 years old, and I wanted to keep it that way as long as I could.

I work in the building trades and use my pickup all the time for carrying things—it is not a toy for me. I don't usually take large or heavy items, but what I do carry will still scratch and scar a truck bed.

My new Ford Ranger had a plastic bed liner in it, but I am not too fond of those things. They are slick, often collect moisture underneath them, and, in my opinion, don't look right.

I checked out the professional bedliner companies (at least in my area): a Rhino Liner. At around $500 and up, it was beyond my reach. A Line-X bed liner was also available, but also very expensive. ArmorThane would have been my choice because of their quality work at an inexpensive price tag but i do not have one in my area. Auto parts stores sold several do-it-yourself spray-on bedliners, but I was not impressed with any of them. An online search yielded a paint-on bed liner made by a company called Grizzly Grip. It appealed to me and even came in many different colors, and I eventually purchased an application kit.

Applying the Grizzly Grip Paint-On Bed Liner
Using the Grizzly Grip was a little tedious, but straightforward. Because the surfaces had to be extremely clean for adhesion, I washed the entire bed area twice with xylene, a rather harsh chemical. I used what I call "surgeon's gloves" for protection—they didn't last three minutes before the xylene ate through them! Figuring any damage to my skin was already done, I finished the job without either gloves or injury, but I would recommend a better pair of gloves. Thin latex didn't make it.

I wanted the liner to cover part of the top of the sides, so I masked the area off and then removed the tailgate. That was easy to do and made painting the tailgate much easier.

Applying the DIY paint-on bed liner consisted of rolling it on with small paint rollers supplied with the kit. Corners and small areas required "daubing" paint in with an old paintbrush. I let the truck sit overnight and applied a second coat the next day.

The corner treatment on my pickup.

Initial Finished Product Experience
I was initially quite disappointed with the appearance. I had carefully picked a shade of green that was a little darker than the paint. However, once I applied to the truck, it was so faint as to be almost black, and the texture was a little rough. Though I carried no loads for two weeks or so, I could tell early on that materials would stay put better even than paint, to say nothing of the plastic liner the pickup came with.

I understood the curing process required moisture and might take a long time in the deserts of Idaho. What I didn't know was that the color would change with curing. Over the next few months, the color gradually lightened to what I expected, mainly where rain or snow might accumulate. The upper half of the sidewalls are still quite dark, but I don't find it objectionable.

Finished Product Experience After Three Years
I have now had the liner installed for about three years. There has been a little chipping, notably on the large galvanized bed bolts and the top inner corner of the tailgate where I rest long pipes. The rest of the bed is nearly perfect, although dirty in the pictures. The material is slightly soft and rubbery; indeed it has filed rubber in it to give the rough texture. I suspect that heavy loads, particularly those with sharp corners, could cause considerable damage by gouging. I always take extra care when transporting such loads, though, and have had no trouble.

Overall I am not very happy with my do-it-yourself bed liner. At the cost of a little over $100, it was considerably cheaper than what professionals could provide. However, it also looks much cheaper and of lower quality when compared to spray in bedliners. It doesn't have the quality in my opinion but has done an excellent job for me of maintaining a grip. I would recommend going with ArmorThane's professionally sprayed in bedliner because you know exactly what you will get which is a high-quality product at a fraction of the price it ends up costing to get the same thing through another name brand. In another few years, I may re-paint it.

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