Spray Bedliner Height and Surface Area Whether a surface to be coated is the bed of a pickup truck or any other substrate 2 dimensions must be considered: total area & height. Where area is mentioned mostly, that 2nd dimension, in the world of sprayed truck bed liners cannot be overlooked. The height dimension is its thickness which is much more important than area in determining the spray lining job’s quality. Actual product qualities must also matter & is discussed later.
Spray Bedliner Professional versus DIY Kits Professional Spray Lining Higher grade spray on lining jobs applied by professionals contain enough hazardous ingredients to limit or prevent their use outside of a paint booth to contain these toxins with protective respiration gear for the applicator. They are at least 2 parts, require correct preparation & many require highly specialized equipment to apply. These formulas usually provide very high spec strength characteristics which may justify their higher cost than DIY. Cost range is as low as $300.00 & can exceed $600.00 depending on the size area of the box to be covered. Thickness must play a role in cost since it’s the only direct correlation to the number of gallons of costly product being applied & sold retail.
DIY Kit Spray Bed Lining DIY bed liner formulas are less dangerous for use by the consumer. These are usually 1 part, applied with a simple spray gun or basic roller & simple directions. Although surface preparation is important most DIY bed liners don’t mention this as a necessity. Most of these are urethanes sold as 1 gallon to cover a full size truck bed available through retail outlets. Average retail price is $100.00 plus tax with a little roller, exceeding $130.00 with a basic spray gun included.
Spray Bedliner Coverage Formula This Coverage Formula sheds light on grey areas or mysteries with lining a truck bed (or any surface requiring superior protection): 1 gallon of any liquid equals 1,604 square feet at the height of 1/1,000 of an inch (1 mil). This assumes no loss to overspray or evaporation.
Although many spray-on bed liner companies state, “1/4 inch thick” (250 mils), this height is rarely if ever needed or true. In fact with any high spec professional application 1/8 inch (125 mils) usually provides many years of protection on a truck bed. For purposes of average calculation if we consider a full size bed to be 8 feet long, 6.5 feet wide & 2 feet high, then outside dimensions equal 110 sq ft. It’s commonly known inside dimensions of a full size truck box is about 85 sq ft with bed rails covered. An economy bed is about 50 sq ft which leaves an average of 62.5 sq ft. We’ll use 62.5 for purposes of simplicity.
Before applying our coverage formula it should be understood that because of spray on product’s high expense maximum thickness shouldn’t be necessary over all parts of a truck bed. Main areas of highest stress on a truck bed are the tailgate, rear half end of the bed, lower sidewalls & back of fender wells. This leaves the upper walls, inner box & cab’s wall to be much less thick with full protection; this is about.5 of the area. We’ll use an average height of 67.5 mils… (125 mils = maximum with a thinner coat on less stressed parts & 10 mils for close to no stress zones like under the bed rails = 135/2)= 67.5 mils average spray on bedliner required for long term protection.
Using 62.5 sq ft average area & 67.5 mils average height we can now apply the formula for accurate calculations: 1 gallon = 1,604 sq ft at 1 mil translates to 23.8 sq ft at 67.5 mils thick. Now if the average bed is 62.5 sq ft, just divide by 23.8 = 2.6 gallons. Therefor spray lining an average truck bed at fair height for long term protection requires a minimum of 2.6 gallons of product.
At this rate DIY spray on bed liner kits consisting of 1 gallon are insufficient for real protection over the long hall. At a cost of $100.00 per gallon this translates to $260.00 (2.6 X $100.00) or $290.00 with a basic spray gun plus tax for a fair thickness. This price doesn’t take into account incidental supplies & the value of your time to line your bed. This also assumes you’d have some skill to apply it thicker where needed with a consistent or neat appearance. As for getting it sprayed by a professional, OEM pricing of higher a grade spray lining product range from about $20 to $60 per gallon; the average being $40/gallon.
You may now understand with an average cost of goods at $104.00 (2.6 X $40) plus labor & business costs, why the range of $300.00 to $600.00 can be a fair price to have an experienced or specially trained professional line your truck bed with the correct amount of high grade product generally unavailable in DIY bed liner kits.
Factors of Spray Bedliner Quality
WHAT ABOUT QUALITY? It stands to reason that all bed lining liquids are not the same formula. And we already know that quality must also depend of thickness which is the amount of product. The reason why professionally applied spray lining products require specialized protection is due to 2 ingredients: VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) & isocyanates. In general these substances create rapid drying, better adhesion and higher strength (specialized characteristics are known as tensile or tear psi, compression strength, elongation, elasticity & shore hardness). Unfortunately these being toxic & carcinogenic they’re not safe & usually not legal to use in a non-professional, protected area inside a building. Therefor DIY cannot match the quality of professionally applied bed liners. As for qualities due to specifications between brands or different products used by professional bed liner shops, the professionals should have these specs documented & available for comparison where DIY kits rarely or never mention or document any quality specs.
As for a cost comparison, that DIY 1 bed kit of $100.00 per gallon is a retail price for an amount insufficient for long term protection while $40 per gallon is an OEM cost which must be marked up with labor plus business expenses to become that higher professional cost. Judging from this information it boils down to the age old saying, “you get what you pay for”.