A truck bed coating is hardly an option with truck prices what they are. How can you really use a truck for carrying stuff if you're going to scratch the bed? Those scratches will surely turn to rust and before you know it your beautiful truck is a rusty mess.
New paint jobs aren't really the answer. A repainted truck isn't the same as a truck with original paint. Paint jobs aren't cheap either.
Some sort of pickup bed liners are just about a must to protect your truck. Even an older truck is a valuable machine and still is worth protecting with bed liner coatings. Look at what a replacement will cost if you think an older truck isn't valuable.
The most popular pickup bed liners of all the truck bed liner choices are probably the spray in truck bed liners. These bed liners are usually professionally applied in just a few hours and are ready to use in just a few days. Most spray on liners use a two part material with a catalyst. The material is sprayed with a special gun and dries almost instantly. The real key to a durable long-lasting liner is good pre-application preparation. That's true for any paint job, isn't it? The professional applicators like Rhino Linings or Line-X will guarantee the durability of the coating, so they will do the prep correctly.
The other key to the success of the spray in bed linings is the thickness of the coating. The coating is sprayed up to about 1/4 inch thick and thus there is ample material that can be scuffed and scarred and still not get down to the metal. Any damage is repairable by re-coating. The do-it-yourself bed liner kits cannot match the thickness of the professionally applied finishes and will not be anywhere near as durable.
The actual truck bed coating is a paint material plus a texture material. The texture material varies with the company, but it's rubber or rubber-like pieces varying in size to produce the desired texture. Some companies like Rhino have several textures to choose from.
Another approach to protecting your truck bed, a different truck bed coating, is a truck bed liner mat cover. There is a huge range of choices for bed mats. You can get rubber truck bed mats either custom sized for your truck or in a universal size that you cut to fit. Truck bed carpet mats also come in custom models to fit just the floor or the whole bed. You can also get carpet in standard sizes for the bed floor.