Difference between spray-in and drop-in bedliners
We've been in the truck bedliner supply industry for many years now. At our first company, for eleven years we applied the sprayed on liners from the market leader. Later we introduced drop-in bedliners to our lineup and few years later we sold that company and started this one, centering completely on drop-in bedliners. These are some of the things we've learned over the years, just facts, not opinion.
The rise and fall of the sprayed-in bedliner
The spray on concept is fairly new. It arrived on the US from South Africa in 1988 as a creative way to adapt the protection used in the dust conveyors of the mining industry to pick up trucks. It rose in popularity based on its novelty without a proven success track.
Almost all spray on bedliners will look beautiful out of the shop. None of them will stand the test of time, and beauty literally will fade away.
The color in all spray on liners will fade. On all of them. There are differences between brands, on the better ones color will last up to two years, maybe 3 if the truck is always stored. On most it will start to fade just after 6 to 12 months. This the effect of the UV rays as it affects the polymers used in its formulation. There is no solution to it. Drop-in bedliner's color never fades.
Grease, oils, gasoline and chemicals cannot be easily cleaned from the surface of spray on bedliners. And in some cases those liquids will permanently stain and / or damage the surface itself. A drop-in bedliner's surface allows you to easily rinse off the liner without the water being trapped and always draining away from the bed.
Consider that with a spray on bedliner, the material between your cargo and the truck bed is directly adhered to the bed, so there is no shock absorption at all. If you throw something that would dent the metal of your bed, it will dent it. A drop in bedliner offers at least a shock absorbing factor that is 7 times better than any spray on bedliner available.
By its nature, the abrasive coating of a spray on bedliner does not prevent the bed surface from dents, and the surface itself can cause scratches on your cargo. If you ever need to kneel, your hands and knees can also be hurt by the harsh and abrasive material. A drop in bedliner is much gentler on the cargo and offers superior protection against dents and scrapes.
A common misconception is that the hard coating will stop the cargo from sliding in the bed of the truck. It does not. Actually the cargo itself will slide and while doing it it will scrape the coating itself. A drop in bedliner offers at least twice the skid resistance and the premium brands offer even more with unique TruGrip technology.
A spray on bedliner is a permanent choice. Before the polyurethanes are applied, the truck bed has to be sanded and therefore the original paint finish is removed. From that moment on, the value of your truck plummets down. When you want to sell your truck, probably the bed will look bad with a faded and scratched truck bed. Removal of the spray can be done at a high cost. A drop in bedliner can be removed in minutes and if desired a new one can be installed at a fraction of the cost, improving the overall resale value of your truck.
A spray in bedliner is one of the most expensive solutions on the market. It requires professional installation and its not removable. Besides the time spent on its installation - half a day vs. 10 minutes - there is a significant cost-efficiency difference when comparing drop on and spray on liners. A drop in bedliner is the most affordable solution on the market.