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Drop-In vs. Spray-In Truck Bedliners: Which One is Right for You?

You wouldn’t use your toothbrush without the proper toothpaste.  In the same way that you protect your teeth daily from normal wear and tear, it is important to protect the bed of your truck.  According to Wikipedia, protecting the bed of the truck has been around since the inception of the modern pickup truck in the 50s.  Truck bedliners are an essential aspect of maintaining an optimal looking truck bed, as we described in this article

The hard part is, deciding whether a drop-in bedliner or a spray in bedliner is the right choice for your truck needs.  Let’s take a close look at both options to see which is the right choice for you.

Drop-In Bedliner

One of the main things people use to make decisions about any purchase is the cost.  When operating on a budget, a drop-in bedliner is going to be the overall cheaper option in the short-term.  The bedliner will arrive to you like a plastic sheet made of a polyethylene composite.   It is a rigid structure which models the contours of your vehicle.  It can be easily attached inside the truck bed which is why it is referred to as a drop-in liner.   

Many liners on the market today are designed to protect the entire bed of the truck.  You’ll also be able to choose whether you want a style that goes under or over the rail at the top of the bed.

Advantages to a Drop-In Bedliner

When you are sliding items across your truck bed, a drop-in bedliner will allow the cargo to glide easier.  This makes loading and unloading of larger objects a snap.  It is especially easy if you are working with a forklift on a regular basis.

A drop-in bedliner excels at protecting the truck bed from dents, scratches, and dings because of the fact that it is a material that sits over the truck bed.  It is a great option to keep the truck bed in good shape.

Installation of a drop-in liner is simple to replace and requires very little preparation.  It can be done without the help of a professional.  In fact, most drop-in liners can be easily fastened to the truck with bolts, no drilling necessary.   If your truck bed has some damage, this option will also conceal the troubled areas effectively.

Because of the simplicity of installation, you can easily replace the bedliner if it receives any damage.  In addition, having to buy a new one won’t cost you a lot of money. 

Finally, it is relatively easy to purchase a custom fit for your truck type and many of them often come with a warranty. 

Disadvantages to a Drop-In Bedliner

If you spend time with truck enthusiasts, you’ll hear truck owners refer to drop-in bedliners as less rugged than a spray-in liner.  This is a valid point for several reasons.  First, water can become easily trapped in between the steel and plastic in your bed.  When this happens, it can lead to rust issues in the future. 

They also have a tendency to break or become loosened over time.  If you accidentally snag the edge of the liner while moving items around, you could end up pulling a portion of it up. This becomes nearly impossible to fix, and it will be easier at that point to purchase a new liner altogether.

Even though one of the pros of having a drop-in bedliner is that items can glide across the surface easier, it is also a negative aspect as well.  Your items will slide just as easy during transport making it difficult to keep large objects stationery while in motion. 

When you are driving down the highway, a plastic liner can become quite noisy due to the wind and vibration.  That same vibration also has the tendency to loosen the liner from the truck bed over time.  When this occurs, you might be left with scratches or scuffs on the paint of the truck bed.


Spray-In Bedliner

The polyurethane elastomer that is used in a spray-in bedliner makes this a more permanent option, but it also comes with a higher price tag.  Whether you refer to them as a sprayed-on, sprayed-in or spray-on bedliner, they all mean the same thing.  The material used in spray-in bedliner is what is most often used on heavy equipment and even by the United States military.

Advantages to a Spray-In Bedliner

Using a spray-in liner gives you a permanent option that won’t need to be replaced, even after years of use.  It is considered a once and done solution.  They don’t shift, break or even fall out because the liner adheres to the bed directly.  This addresses one of the issues with drop-in bedliners because you can now block out water and dirt.  Considering there is nowhere for the water to trap itself, you are protecting your truck from rust damage in the future.

Using a spray-in liner will also enable objects to stay firmly in place during motion.  You won’t experience the same sliding issues that we looked at with the drop-in bedliners.  You can also choose from various texture options to suit your needs.

When you have a spray-in bedliner installed, it generally won’t take long to dry.  You will be able to get back on the road in no time and enjoy your vehicle.  If you are going to be using it for heavy-duty purposes, it is normally advised to wait about 24 hours. 

A spray-in liner is found to be more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and is a good choice if you are concerned with the cosmetic appearance of your truck.  It will not appear old and beat up like a drop-in liner can look over time. 

Unlike the drop-in options, you’ll find that the noise levels on the road can actually be lessened when using a spray-in bedliner.  In addition, you’ll be able to install this liner on your tailgate as well, which is a common area for scratches, nicks and missing paint.

If you are looking to increase the value of your vehicle, the spray-in liner will do just that!  It is seen as an upgrade and will certainly make the potential buyer pleased.

Disadvantages to a Spray-In Bedliner

There are some things you’ll want to consider before investing in this route.  While there are many ways to match the color of your spray-in bedliner with your truck, the liner color can fade over the years from ultraviolet rays making it appear to be a different color later in its life.  Purchasing a quality spray-in bedliner that offers UV protection, like what is found in our product, will extend the life of the bedliner and avoid this issue. 

If you are tight on cash, you may also find that installing a spray-in liner will probably cost you more, especially if you decide to hire a professional.  Unlike a drop-in bedliner, however, you should only ever have to do the installation of a spray-in liner once.

If you choose to do it yourself, you could be in for a little more work.  First, the truck bed must be thoroughly cleaned and then you have to sand down the surface to a coarse finish.  This enables the liner to stick better to the truck bed and is a necessity.  Putting in a little work now, saves you time and money in the future because it won’t need to be replaced. The Durabak Company formula is actually much easier to apply than others on the market, and can be done without the help of a professional.

Which Choice Will You Make?

Overall, the decision is up to you, although for those truck owners who want a permanent and reliable solution, the answer is a no-brainer.  Are you looking for a low-cost option that will get you by for now, but potentially crack and cause water damage?  Like most people, you’ll probably prefer the more permanent solution that will protect you from rust damage in the future.  Whatever your thoughts are, the trained professionals at Durabak Company are here to help. 

We’ve been servicing valuable clients like yourself since 1992 and are the experts in truck bedliners.  Join with Costco, America’s Navy, Kenworth, Morgan Corp and many other companies who rely on Durabak for their truck needs.  Contact us today so we can help you find the bedliner that works perfectly with your truck. 

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