Posted: August 15, 2014
Bedliners Are Big Business
How Scorpion Bedliners Are InstalledBy Ellen McKoy
While it’s not uncommon to see pickup trucks with bare beds, more often than not those beds are scored with scratches, dents and even rust. Which is why, nowadays, more and more truck owners opt for some type of covering to shield the bed from damage, enhance the truck’s appearance and protect their investment.
The choices run the gamut, from molded carpet and rubberized thermo-plastic liners to hard plastic drop-in liners and polyurethane spray-on bedliners. To help satisfy customer preferences and pocketbooks, some accessory providers offer a variety of bed-protection options. In recent years, urethane spray-on liners have become a popular choice for many truck owners and a significant profit opportunity for accessory retailers and restylers.
For an inside look at the benefits and features of spray-on liners, and tips on how to successfully apply a urethane protective truck-bed coating, Trucking Times reached out to Beau Batin, VP of customer relations at Scorpion Truck Bed Linings, a family-owned business in operation since 1996.
According to Batin, Scorpion’s flagship coating product is XO2, a three-component polyurethane blend. Each of the components has different attributes and physical properties. When combined, the end product has high tensile and tear strength, high elasticity, as well as UV and color stability.
“Our truck bedliner system is composed of high-quality polyurethanes that keep the truck bed looking new. The non-skid polyurethane is virtually impenetrable, resists moisture and rust, is impact resistant, and stands up to heavy-duty use,” said Batin.
Though black may be the preferred color for many customers, the ability to customize Scorpion’s liner gives retailers and restylers, and their customers, a unique way to personalize any truck bed. “Scorpion offers a wide array of colors and textures,” noted Batin.
Besides 12 standard colors, Scorpion offers such options as a metallic-flake finish or color matching to the truck paint. The liner can also be textured in a variety of ways, from glass smooth to a more aggressive rough finish. Given the many attributes, spray-on liners can appeal to a wide range of customers. There’s the new-car dealer who uses liners as a value add to boost bottom-line profits on a pickup-truck sale.
To used-car dealers or body shops, it’s an inexpensive and time-saving alternative to repairing and repainting a damaged bed. Then, there’s the truck owner who uses a pickup to lug groceries or sports equipment, the outdoor enthusiast who hauls fishing, hunting or camping gear, and the tradesman whose truck bed must withstand the wear and tear of heavyweight equipment. All of these prospects open the door to new business for retailers and restylers. “Time has shown us that a spray-in liner will protect better over the life of the vehicle,” said Batin. “If an accessories center is not offering liners, chances are high they are being asked for them. That’s money walking out their door to someone else.”
To get a crisp, clean line, use professional-grade automotive masking tape to mark and determine spray lines.
Protecting the vehicle from overspray is paramount. Here, the technician completely wraps the cab and the exterior of the truck bed.
To ensure the adhesion promoter adheres properly, the clear-coated paint surface of the truck bed and tailgate interior must be thoroughly scuffed and scratched. After sanding and scuffing, be sure to use denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner to clean the bed and remove debris, dirt and residue before priming.
To prime the bed, apply Scorpion’s 8001 Adhesion Promoter evenly with a mist bottle. While spraying the primer and coating, the technician should wear a dual-cartridge respirator. Optional gear to protect from overspray: rubber or latex gloves and a disposable painter’s suit.
When using a high-volume spray gun, an air compressor with a minimum of 17.5 cfm and 40 psi at the gun is required.
When spraying with a low-volume spray gun, as shown here, use an air compressor with a 7 cfm and 25 psi at the gun.
Now it’s time to remove the plastic and masking tape. When removing the tape, be sure to pull it at a 45-degree angle over the sprayed area to get a clean, crisp edge.
When the job is done, the bed and tailgate are now dressed to please the most discerning customer.