The truck bed paint can describe any of the coatings used to cover truck beds and form pickup bed liners. For this article, let's discuss the coatings you would use to apply a bed lining yourself.
A bed liner coating is usually a single part polyurethane paint that can be applied with a brush, roller or spray gun. To perform well the material must stick and stand up to weather and abuse.
The applicator, that's us, must apply the material properly before the coating can do it's job. Properly means first that the surface must be prepared for the paint work. Oh, that's the tough part. You must get the bed clean. That means not just removing dirt, but grease and especially wax too. Removing waxes will take a solvent like acetone.
Once the bed is clean, the existing surface must be etched either with a chemical paint preparation or with aggressive sanding. By roughing the surface to be coated, the material has a good chance to adhere to the surface.
Now bed liner paint also contains some kind of texture material. That's where you get your non-skid surface and you get some thickness and toughness too. The materials I've seen are rubbery. You can actually feel the little pieces of rubber. The high dollar spray on bed liners are usually a two part paint, like an epoxy, with a large amount of rubber-like material. The more rubber material the better.
The sort of coating that we can install is put on at about a gallon for a 6 foot bed. At that application rate, you will get very good coverage. That will give you two coats on the entire bed including tailgate and sides. But the coating will not be very thick. Another gallon should do wonders for the durability of the truck bed coating I think. But it won't look any better since you get good coverage with two coats.
We just installed a bed liner using Plasti-Kote liner paint. The results were totally satisfactory. Plasti-Kote is found in some discount stores and auto parts stores.
I have seen a bed liner that was done recently using a Herculiner bed liner kit . They advertise that their coating is up to 5 times thicker than the competition. That would be because it has more texture material in it. Based on my comparison of our truck bed and our neighbor's with the Herculiner, it appears to me that it is thicker.
Pickup liner paint can greatly improve the looks of an older truck especially and offers protection for the bed surface. Bed preparation is the hardest part of applying liner paint. Actual application of pickup truck bed paint could hardly be simpler. And bed preparation isn't hard, it just takes some time.