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Can You Paint a Tonneau Cover? When & How to Paint It?

If you’ve recently realized your tonneau cover has gone awry and needs some fixing, then the question must have popped into your mind; can you paint a tonneau cover?

You can indeed paint a tonneau cover when needed. To do that, you can either choose to repaint it the same color or twist it and color it with a different shade.

Can You Paint a Tonneau Cover?

A well-painted tonneau cover has long-term benefits since it will give your truck bed additional protection, making them less susceptible to a need for remodeling.

Investing in proper paint is a smart option that will save you extra hustle in the future.

The tonneau cover of your truck bed is prone to losing color faster than any other part of the vehicle since it is in direct contact with rainwater, sunlight, UV ray, and other obnoxious particles.

This incurs the necessity to paint and renovate the cover every once in a while. The biggest headache nowadays is definitely the budget.

Note that the cost for a whole surface painting will be somewhere within $100 to $500, and this chiefly depends on what kind of paint you go with. 

How to Paint a Tonneau Cover? – [Step by Step Guide]

If you deem it right that it’s high time you painted your tonneau cover, here are a few things to focus on:

Step 1: Get the Required Tools

Find the following items to get started.

  • Sandpaper of two different grits (preferably 600 and 800 grits) 
  • Orbital sander
  • Hose pipe
  • Ratchet and socket 
  • Primer, base paint, UV protector (the last one is optional)

Step 2: Unmount the Tonneau From the Cover

Take apart the tonneau cover from the attachment line using a ratchet and socket.

You might want to keep a screwdriver and a wrench as additional tools in case your vehicle has an older manner of installation.

Step 3: Smoothen the Tonneau Cover

Keep the tonneau under running water as provided by the hose pipe. The flow should be high enough to be able to wash away larger pieces of debris and mud.

Use the 600 grit sandpaper first, and then get on with the 800 grit. If you want to get fancier, use an orbital sander for an even and smooth surface workup.

Step 4: Wipe and Swipe

The tonneau cover is now wet and possibly covered with mud and dirt (gathered from the second session of sanding).

You need to get a rag to wipe the dirt away from the surface, and this will require some violent efforts. Sweats and tears are welcome in this step. 

You might want to be careful not to start painting on a soggy surface, the cover should be dried lest the paint drip down and fade.

Step 5: Start Painting the Cover

This is our most important step.

Now that your tonneau cover is all clean and dry, paint the entire surface with a layer or two of a regular quality primer.

The primer should be followed by your base paint, and be aware that it might require up to five layers.

Don’t get frustrated and keep on applying layers until the cover is evenly opaque.

How you choose to apply paint is totally up to you. Some people vouch for a spray gun, but I find spray guns to be inefficient and wasteful.

A brush of the correct size should be good enough.

Can You Paint a Soft Vinyl Tonneau Cover?

You can, although it is wiser, choose dye instead of regular paint for a soft vinyl cover.

Some of the dyes users like are SEM and Son Of A Gun. We focus on dyes since the paint on vinyl tends to fade away or chip out.

Can You Paint a Fiberglass Tonneau Cover?

The simple answer is yes.

However, it is worth mentioning that you need to get paints that have UV inhibitors in them.

Fiberglass is a material that is heat-labile and needs a varnish of sun protectors to keep your truck bed from melting.

When Should You Consider to Paint a Tonneau Cover?

Regardless of the material or the initial cost of your tonneau cover, you will need to paint it sometimes.

And the interval between each painting session depends largely on what kind of weather it has to battle.

The general appearance and condition of your cover should give you an idea as to when you should paint it.

Look for faded, dull, or uneven paint: that’s your cue to repaint.

What Are the Things to Consider to Paint a Tonneau Cover?

Initially, you need to consider the type of vehicle you have and the purposes you use it for.

Your climate will play a role in this decision, as the material and procedure of painting a cover might vary in a colder area than in a warmer one.

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Kevin Shaw

Pickup Truck Expert

Kevin Shaw is an automotive enthusiast and expert specializing in Ford F150 pickup trucks. With over ten years of experience in the automotive industry, he has the knowledge and expertise to help you maintain and troubleshoot your F150.

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