Why Is UV Stability Important for Spray-in Bed liner?

UV stability is important to prevent your spray-in bed liner from deteriorating. Spray-in bed liners provide a durable, sealed surface that prevents damage from dirt, moisture, chemicals, and other debris. They also protect against abrasion and impact damage from heavy loads and weathering effects.

What Do UV Rays Do to Bed Liner?

Ultraviolet light can be produced by high temperatures from various sources but most commonly comes from the sun. Though only a small percentage of UV rays make it to the earth’s surface, they are still harmful to non-UV stable objects. When the weather changes, the sun’s rays might be the last thing on your mind, but UV rays are damaging to humans, objects, and materials all year round, even if you can’t see it happening.

With too much exposure, non-UV stable bed liners can fade, change color, chalk, and yellow. In some cases, they may begin to lose strength, become less flexible, warp, crack, and deteriorate over time.

The molecular makeup of the material is what becomes damaged or affected by UV rays. The chains of molecules will begin to break down, which ultimately causes both physical and chemical property changes.

Whether the liner is made of a coating, plastic, or rubber, if it cracks, moisture penetration can occur and cause rust. Drop-in bed liners and bed mats especially encounter issues because they aren’t UV stable, and it is not easy to add UV stability to them. Unlike with spray-in coatings, there’s no solid solution to fix the UV stability problem for drop-in liners and bed mats.

What Is UV Stability?

UV stability refers to the ability of a material to resist the effects of ultraviolet light from the sun. In certain coatings, it is a feature that prevents degeneration, and it provides more than just retention of color over time.

UV-stable coatings prevent UV rays from breaking down the material’s composition. They are able to do this because of the UV stabilizers added to them. UV stabilizers are chemical compounds that improve a polymer’s resistance to degradation. Sunlight can break down polymer chains, but these stabilizers absorb UV light, reducing the amount that reaches the material. This helps extend the life of the coating and prevents its color from changing or dulling until the UV absorbers are fully used up.

What Are Aliphatic Spray-in Bed liners?

These coatings can be polyurea, polyurea hybrid, or polyurethanes in chemical makeup and use an aliphatic isocyanate. They are a premium product due to their use of higher quality raw materials. The property that makes these coatings so desirable is their UV color stability. They exhibit great weathering characteristics and block harmful rays to prevent fading and color change.

They are used either as a whole system or to top coat aromatic bedliners. In the case that they are used to top coat an existing coating, they are applied thinner in a clear or black coat to preserve the layer below.

While aliphatic coatings provide the extra longevity and protection many truck owners desire, those qualities lead to higher prices. They are also more toxic and require more safety procedures during use. These reasons ultimately make applicators and truck owners turn to aromatic spray-in bed liners.

What Are Aromatic Spray-in Bed liners?

These coatings can be a polyurea, polyurea hybrid, or polyurethane in chemical makeup and use an aromatic isocyanate. They are seen as a workhorse in the coatings industry because they perform extremely well and are more affordable than aliphatic coatings. However, because they contain aromatic rings that UV light can attack unlike the linear chains of aliphatics, they are affected by UV rays.

Spray-on bedliners can come in a variety of colors, the most common being black. For aromatic coatings, black will have the least notable fade when exposed to sunlight. Other brighter colors will fade much more noticeably to a yellow shade unless they are protected.

To remedy the lack of UV color stability, aromatic coatings are applied as a base coat in a thick, durable layer. Then, a thin layer of a clear or tinted aliphatic top coat is added to protect them from sunlight. The combination of the two coatings makes a durable system that is UV-stable, chemically resistant, and long-lasting.

How to Protect Them From UV Rays

If you don’t want to pay for a premium aliphatic bedliner, the next best option is using a UV-stable top coat. Aliphatic top coats are essentially like permanent sunscreen for bed liners. VFI offers an exclusive coating called VFI-2580 Aliphatic Top Coat. Our top coat is chemically UV stable to protect and extend the life of existing polyurea and polyurea hybrid coatings. It preserves the original coating’s color and gloss, so you can be confident in the coating’s appearance as the years pass.

If you’re unsure whether you have an aliphatic or aromatic bedliner, store your truck out of direct sunlight. Because the truck bed is flat, sunlight radiates directly on it when there is no coverage. This may help for a little while, but over time, you still may see fading if it’s not covered while in use. An alternative is getting a tonneau cover, which would also shield it from the sun.

You should also regularly clean your truck bed when it gets dirty. If you’re actively using it to haul and transport various items, it can accumulate a lot of grime. Cleaning with soap, water, and a stiff bristle brush is the best option. Be careful bringing your truck to commercial car washes, as they may be bad for your bed liner since the wax they sometimes spray can build up and also cause chalking and fading.

VFI Compatible Products

VFI-2580 Aliphatic Top Coat can be applied to various polyurea and polyurea hybrid coatings to protect them from UV rays. This includes our VFI-542 High Pressure Bedliner, VFI-543 Low Pressure Bedliner, and VFI-544 Qwik Spray Bedliner. If you’re worried about UV color stability, contact VFI to see if using an aliphatic top coat is the best solution for you.