You can use a bed liner kit to apply an attractive finish to your truck bed. Bed liner kits will save you hundreds of dollars over getting a professionally applied finish. If you choose to apply your own liner, here are several tips and ideas.
A liner kit consists of the actual coating material plus the preparation materials and the application tools. The most widely available option is the Herculiner bed liner kit. They advertise that their coating is 5 times as thick as other do it yourself bed liner coatings.
Most people will apply bed liner paint with a roller or a brush, but many of these materials can be sprayed too. See the manufacturer for nozzle recommendations. But really, I don't think you can tell the difference in appearance of the roll on coating from a spray on job.
If I wanted a bed liner on a new or very late model truck, I would get an estimate from a professional installer like Rhino Linings or Line-X. Here's why. These companies control the design and manufacturing of their coating material and the material seems to be more durable than what you can apply yourself. Plus they guarantee their work. So if there is a problem, they'll fix it. You must remember, these coatings are permanent. You want this job done right.
Also, the professional coatings go on thicker than most bed liner in a can products. The thicker coating is more difficult to penetrate. There's less chance of scratching down to the metal.
But, a professional application may cost you $500 - $700. That may be justified on a new truck but certainly not on an old one.
Also, the advantages of the pro spray on bed liner may not apply to your situation. The durability of a do it yourself bed liner may be good enough for you. If you aren't going to be throwing concrete blocks in your truck, your liner kit may be perfect for you.
One good reason to install liner paint is to improve the appearance of a truck bed that has damage from abuse or rust. The bed liner kit is perfect for this.
The biggest reason for a do it yourself bed liner is to save money. My sons just installed a bed liner using a bed liner kit in our 1980 Plymouth Arrow Pickup. The total cost for this job was about $150. This bed was not banged up a lot, but it was scratched and scraped over most of the surface. It looked pretty sad.
The boys sanded the surfaces aggressively, then applied a chemical rust converter to the rusty spots. Then they applied primer to the bare spots. Next came two coats of bed liner paint and it looks great. It really looks like a professional job. You can't tell it's a roll on coating. It looks like a spray on job.
Worth a look is one of the newer, and not so well known liner kits. The Al's Bed Liner is worth a close look. As is the Monstaliner. Either of those likely makes a bed liner as good or better than the more well known Herculiner.