How to Repair Spray-in Truck Bedliner

Spray-in truck bedliner is a useful accessory for protecting pickup truck beds, work trucks, and recreational vehicles from damage caused by weather, cargo, employees, or daily use. However, they aren’t made to last forever, and while it is a rare occurrence, they can experience damage over time.

The good news is that spray-on bedliner can be repaired. Since most are made from polyurea, polyurea hybrid, or polyurethane, repair materials are made of the same materials to bond with the original liner. VFI specifically offers VFI-520 QS Bedliner Repair to repair scratched, cracked, or gouged spray-in truck bedliner. The material blends in to make it seem like the damage was never even there in the first place. With proper surface preparation, it will adhere to existing polyurea or hybrid coatings.

You’ll only need a minimal amount of material to patch up small, damaged spots, as long as the integrity of the liner isn’t compromised. If the damage is too extensive, which isn’t usually the case, you can always restore the old liner by applying a completely new layer of material or tearing out the old material.

How Does Bedliner Damage Occur?

While bedliner is a tough, long-lasting material, it is not invincible. Regular maintenance can help prevent damage from occurring, but there are many things that can cause damage. Specific causes include:

  • Weather & UV exposure: If you’re using and storing your truck outside, both hot and cold temperatures can have a negative effect on the bedliner. You may notice cracks start to form from extreme weather, which could warrant repair. The material is also consistently exposed to direct sunlight. UV radiation is actually harmful to most truck bed liners because they are aromatic, which means they are sensitive to sunlight. Over time, you’ll start to see your truck bedliner’s color fade and degrade if it isn’t UV-stable.
  • Daily wear: Depending on what you’re hauling in your truck, heavy loads can tear or gouge the liner. Different types of cargo have a chance of getting caught and puncturing it. This can cause impact and abrasive damage, depending on how gentle you are when loading and unloading. Cracks or tears can also cause bigger structural issues if moisture or debris slips beneath.
  • Incorrect installation: Depending on who installed your liner, they may not have taken the appropriate care to install it properly. If the surface is not thoroughly prepared, the bedliner can experience adhesion issues that lead to damage. Signs of an incorrectly installed bedliner can include bubbling, flaking, peeling, cracking, and uneven application.
  • Liquid spills: If water, grease, oil, or other harsh chemicals spill and are left to fester in the truck bed, they can cause stains on the bedliner. While most bedliners are made to withstand chemical exposure, they don’t hold up against all harmful chemicals and can begin to wear if not cleaned.

To ensure your truck bed liner continues to provide long-term protection, you’ll have to decide whether to repair, recoat, or replace it when damaged. If you decide to completely recoat the liner, hire a professional to ensure the new material is properly applied.

Importance of Surface Preparation

While polyurea and polyurea hybrid coatings bond to themselves, it’s still wise to thoroughly prepare the surface before making any repairs. Doing so will ensure the repair material will bond to the existing coating.

Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and use proper personal protective equipment when working with chemicals. Read the manufacturer’s safety data sheet for hazards and precautions before using the material.

The truck bed should be cleaned to remove debris, oil, detergents, or other grime. Clean the surface around the damaged spots with acetone. Sand and rough up the area with a wire cup brush sander, 40-grit sandpaper, or steel wool to create proper adhesion. Cut out blisters or other unadhered, damaged material.

The Bedliner Repair Process

Materials needed: VFI-520 QS Bedliner Repair, paint brushes or VFI-7500 Qwik Spray Gun, wire cup brush sander or 40-grit sandpaper, acetone, and texture mats

Prepare the surface as mentioned above. The temperature should be above 50°F. Small repairs do not require spray equipment. When using VFI-520, there are two different application methods.

Brush Application:

  • If you are applying the repair by brush, combine 1A:1B of the material by volume in a disposable cup.
  • Mix the material until it turns into a thick paste that is capable of hanging on vertical surfaces.
  • Using a chip brush, work quickly to apply the repair material to all damaged areas. A wide wooden popsicle stick can also be used to spread and flatten the material.
  • Apply texture to the repair areas using a texture mat. Add pressure to ensure the texture imprints into the repair material. This will ensure a consistent finish with the rest of the surface.

Qwik Spray Application:

  • When using the cartridge version of the repair material, it does not need to be mixed. Only shake the cartridge if there is visible separation.
  • When loading the material into the application gun, keep the cartridge vertical with the label facing up.
  • The material is shot as a stream. Apply it to all damaged areas in need of repair.
  • Place a texture mat over the material to achieve a consistent finish with the rest of the surface. Add pressure to ensure the texture imprints into the repair material.

How to Prevent Future Damage From Occurring

Proper care and maintenance should be given to your spray-in truck bed liner to prevent damage from occurring. Regularly remove dirt, debris, and grime buildup, as not doing so can lead to the degradation of the protective layer. You can use a hose or pressure washer to wash the liner, and soap and water can clean rougher areas. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the material.

Also, conduct inspections every so often as the liner can become worn and damaged from extended or heavy use. Inspections should help you catch small cracks, chips, and gouges from turning into bigger issues. Be careful when loading and unloading sharp and heavy objects, as they can leave behind unwanted damage. If you notice any damage, repair it quickly so your bed liner remains intact and continues to perform as it should.

Ensure your bedliner was applied correctly to begin with. Rigorous surface preparation before application can ensure the liner won’t develop bubbles or detach from the OEM surface. You should also ensure that the liner was applied evenly at a high enough thickness across the entire bed. This makes it so the liner isn’t easily cut or gouged.

Applying a UV-stable topcoat is the best way to ensure your bedliner is sealed from fading or discoloration over time. This will keep the material looking great for longer, so you don’t have to worry about applying a whole new coat of bedliner. Make sure the topcoat you use is made to go over polyurea and hybrid coatings to ensure adhesion between the two layers.

VFI Bedliner Repair and Other Materials

VFI-520 QS Bedliner Repair works incredibly well with our polyurea hybrid coatings: VFI-542 High Pressure Spray Bedliner, VFI-543 Low Pressure Spray Bedliner, and VFI-544 Qwik Spray Bedliner. Once repairs are complete, we also recommend applying a UV stable top coat such as VFI-2580 Aliphatic Top Coat to prevent the repair patches from fading.