How do You Remove Bedliner?
Bedliner is a tough, durable substance designed to coat a surface and protect it from wear and abuse. Most DIY bedliners are made of an epoxy-based material which is super hard and will last a very long time. One good example of this is the very popular Raptor Liner. This is why people choose bedliner, but it can be a problem if you want to remove it.
Obviously, bedliner is not designed to come off, and therefore it is very difficult to remove! But depending on your situation, you may have some options to remove bedliner material. That being said, I don’t recommend trying to remove a large amount of bedliner from a vehicle. It is very labor intensive and the end result will probably not be very good. If you need to remove bedliner from a small surface or do do some touch-ups, however, you may have a chance.
Bedliner Removal Technique #1 – Sanding
You might consider this good news or bad news, but the reality is that the best method to remove bedliner material is by sanding it with an electric or pneumatic sander. You should be able to cut through bedliner pretty quickly with a 40 – 60 grit sandpaper and a powerful sander. This method is labor intensive, and will take a good amount of time on anything other than a small area. It will also be difficult to get the area smooth without damaging the underlying surface. That being said, sanding is still the best way to remove bedliner in most cases.
Bedliner Removal Technique #2 – Scraping
Scraping bedliner off might be another viable option for you, depending on your surface and the type of bedliner that has been applied. Scraping will probably NOT work well with most DIY bedliners, but might work with a professionally applied bedliner. Professional bedliner material is usually a polyurea material (similar to polyurethane), and sometimes the compounds are softer. Older bedliners may even start to peel up if they weren’t applied correctly, and this is your chance to get a scraper under there and scrape away. Again, this is not recommended for a large surface, but you might have some luck on a smaller area.
Bedliner Removal Technique #3 – Sandblasting
Sandblasting is probably the most effective method of removing bedliner, but is also the most expensive and involved. Sandblasting is very messy and there are a lot of precautions you’ll need to take if you plan on sandblasting your vehicle. This is a process that is best left to the professionals, and be prepared to pay a pretty penny for the time and labor involved in removing bedliner. Also, the underlying body panels could warp or be damaged from this process, so sandblasting a large area is not generally recommended.
So What do You do if You Want to Remove Bedliner from the Whole Bed – or the Whole Vehicle?
The short answer? – DON’T!!! Bedliner is rough, tough, and not designed to be removed. Spray-on bedliner, whether DIY or professional, should be considered a permanent and non-reversible modification you a vehicle. If you have a bad spray-in bedliner on your truck, consider a drop-in bedliner to go over it. Otherwise, you may just have to try to touch it up or just live with it. If you want to reverse a bedliner paint job on a vehicle – forget about it. You’re better off replacing body panels or buying a different vehicle altogether. Bedliner removal should be limited to over-spray or small areas.
Remember, bedliner is designed to be tough, chemical resistant, and last a VERY long time. Modern DIY products like Raptor Liner are pretty extreme and should last the lifetime of a vehicle (and then some). If you are considering a bedliner paint job for your vehicle, be sure to check out my step-by-step guide to get you started on the right foot.