A tonneau cover is a great way to protect your vehicle from the elements and keep it clean. Installing a new one with a bed liner can be easy on your own, but we’ve got you covered if you need any help along the way!
This post will walk through all of the steps to installing a new tonneau cover with a bed liner. It’s an easy process that takes less than 30 minutes – no technical expertise necessary in this simple installation guide!
What is a Tonneau Cover with Bed Liner?
It is a protective covering that fits over the open top of your truck bed. They are usually made from aluminum, plastic, or fiberglass and will protect anything stored in your truck’s cargo area. The most popular format for a tonneau cover is called hard folding style which folds flat against the side of the vehicle when not being used.
A few things to keep in mind: You’ll need to measure before purchasing one! Tonneaus come in different shapes and sizes so it’s important you know what size you’re looking for before buying it online.
Tonneau covers are easy to install yourself if you have the right tools. There are also a variety of aftermarket companies that offer tonneau installation for an upfront fee and some even include lifetime warranties!
What Need Before Start
Before installing a tonneau cover with bed liner, you’ll need to measure your vehicle and buy the right product for it. You also might want to install a new bed liner if you haven’t already – this will help protect both your cover as well as any tools inside of it from damage!
To install a new tonneau, you’ll need the proper tools. You’ll also want to make sure that it is in good shape and all of its parts are intact before installing. If not, there’s a chance your truck bed will get scratched or damaged during installation because there wasn’t as much protection on the bottom of your truck bed.
Measurements for an average size truck should be around 72 inches long by 48 inches wide – this includes space needed for straps or fasteners which extend past what’s covered by the tonneau cover itself. The easiest way to measure for these measurements would be with measuring tape from end-to-end if you have access to one!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tonneau cover that fits your truck bed (we recommend buying online from a company with fast shipping).
- Tape measure, ruler, and pencil.
- Drill or screwdriver for installation.
We recommend using an electric drill! It will save time. Plus it’s more fun to use than the standard manual one. If installing a new bed liner in addition to the tonneau cover, make sure you have these materials too!
- Bed liner of choice. Be sure to purchase enough material so that both sides of the vehicle are lined up evenly on all four edges.
- Tarp for protecting any tools inside the truck bed while doing install work outside the truck bed.
- Tonneau cover of choice.
Measuring is very important, and the best way to get accurate measurements is to use a metal tape measure. If you’re installing a new tonneau cover with bed liner, it’s also a good idea that you take your old one off before measuring.
A clean workspace – be sure not to work on any surface that an adhesive will stick to; this includes carpeted floors or tile surfaces. It can’t hurt long as there’s something underneath like cardboard.
Work gloves for protection while working in close proximity with tools or materials. You may want some goggles if cutting plastic sheets. The last thing you want is getting goopy stuff in your eyes, right?
This is the last thing you want. The material on your new tonneau cover will be slippery if it gets wet, and the last thing you want is getting goopy stuff in your eyes, right? So when you’re installing your new bed liner make sure to keep that in mind. It’s best to install a bed liner along an edge of the truck where there isn’t a wheel well or anything else blocking access for any tools needed. Now with everything in place – how do we start the installation?
How to Install a Tonneau Cover with Bed Liner
First, remove dirt from the surface of the truck by gently scrubbing it until smooth before removing loose particles (use water). Next, apply the adhesive evenly over the area being covered – no more than 20 sq ft at one time! You can use a brush for larger areas, or a roller if you’re working on smaller spaces. If using the brush method, always make sure to use long strokes from left to right in straight lines and overlap each stroke by 50%.
Place pliable liner over area applying pressure until adhesive is fully covered before smoothing out any bubbles – If there are still some bubbles after being pressed down with your fingers, place one hand firmly on top of the bubble while keeping another hand flat against the bottom edge of the plastic and gently pull upward. Make sure both edges remain smooth before proceeding! Apply another layer of adhesive evenly across the entire surface – repeat steps as many times as needed (depending on size).
Then peel off protective cover paper *do not touch adhesive side* then align the plastic to the same level as your truck bed’s surface by gently pushing down. If there are any areas that aren’t sticking, place a light layer of adhesive on top and press firmly again before proceeding with the steps above!
Attaching the Rails
Measure the size of space between side rails – A generous amount will be necessary for material overlap since it must wrap around each vertical rail in order to keep water from getting inside (see diagram).
Cut outliner so that both ends meet at one long edge then fold over about three inches extra along the opposite end(s). The excess should hang off past edges approximately two inches or more. Make sure you leave enough room to cut through all layers when cutting the liners shorter if needed later on!
Take one end and fold over about ¼ inch of the liner material along its length, so that it stays together with a small overlap. Repeat for another side (note: this is where you will be connecting your zip ties later on).
Measure the height of the general area between tonneau cover rails – A generous amount should be allowed for both liners to overlap each vertical rail in order to keep water from getting inside. Cut out soft top liner so that ends meet at one long edge then fold about three inches extra over onto opposite end(s). The excess should hang off past edges approximately two inches or more. Make sure there’s enough room left to cut through all layers when cutting the liners to shape.
Take the liner and fold it in half, lengthwise so that one of the long edges is lined up with the other edge (see diagram). Cut both folded ends at a 45-degree angle. This will create two “wings” on each side of your cut – these are what you’ll be using to hang over vertical rails later on. Next, take those same wings and connect them together by overlapping some fabric from one wing onto another.
Move to the next rail section along the bottom/side where the truck bed meets the rear wall or tailgate if there’s no cover installed yet. Connect the first soft-top strip end to the desired location (making sure it overlaps across the entire height) then repeat the process for the other edge.
After installing the soft top strips, use a squeegee and soap to clean any dirt or debris off of the fabric. Please note that you should not wash your cover in water as this may weaken its material. Make sure all excess water has been removed before proceeding with the installation of buckles/fasteners on rubber strip sections.
With one side already installed, take an end from the second section (preferably matching up colors) and connect it to where you left off – keep following these steps until both sides are finished. Remember to attach each piece securely by double-checking along seams for anything loose.
Once both pieces have been attached to the truck bed, buckle any remaining sections on each side. This will create a tight seal for your cover and keep it in place during usage.
Installing the Different Components
Locate the mounting holes pre-drilled into your tonneau cover – these are typically located onto either end of the top panel (one per corner) with one or two additional tabs near the front and back edges of this same piece. Secure these screws using an appropriately sized screwdriver. Remember that all loose items should be placed securely inside before closing up!
Installing the Cover
Measure the width of your truck bed before purchasing a new tonneau cover. Tonneau covers come in different shapes and sizes, so make sure you measure first before rushing to buy one.
Locate and remove the old bed liner, if applicable. Bed liners can be pulled out from beneath or alongside your truck’s cab to give you a little more room for installation – take care not to damage it during removal!
The spray adhesive will help hold down any new sections that come with your tonneau cover package. You may want to open up all of these pieces before installing them onto the vehicle so they are easier to work with while on-site. We recommend using two small strips at each end of this piece rather than a long strip along its entire length; this way, there is no chance of an overhang when securing the other parts in place later on.
Place one edge toward the front side corner of the truck bed to avoid installation errors and ensure a perfect fit. You may need to use more than one strip of adhesive as you work your way up, but be careful not to over-stick it on!
Once in place, trim off any excess using scissors or an office cutter – so long as they are clean for reuse later down the line. Put pressure along both sides of this piece before smoothing out any air bubbles that might form under its surface.
We recommend squirting some water from a bottle onto the seam first, then blotting with a paper towel afterward; this will help dissolve stubborn adhesives and allow for easier application.
Stick to a straight line when applying strips of adhesive. This will help you avoid unnecessary overlap, which can cause peeling and tearing down the road!
On each strip as you work your way up, place one or two small pieces first before using larger ones – this will give more coverage without wasting materials.
In order for tonneau covers with bed liners to be effective at protecting your car from outside elements; it’s important that any gaps are sealed within the truck bed liner area. You may need to use more than one strip of adhesive as you work your way up, but be careful not to over-stick it on! Once in place, trim off any excess using scissors or an office cutter so long as you are not using a heat-cutting device.
Self-sticking weather stripping
The next thing you’ll want is some good quality self-sticking weather stripping. You’ll want to measure the width of your bed liner and cut this into strips with enough length for both sides, but not so long that they overlap or get stuck under there themselves (again).
If it’s not too expensive an investment for space, we recommend starting with two or more plywood pieces that are approximately 18 inches wide by 24 inches tall. This allows you to use clamps on either side of the boards without having them overlap any part of the bed liner; otherwise, they will get stuck under there. Cut these into four 18×18 inch sections using just about anything: hand saws, reciprocating saws, jigsaws – whatever works best for you!
Each plywood board should have five 18×18 inch sections on one side – two will be lined up horizontally near the top edge, while three are aligned vertically at varying distances from each other. Place a strip of self-sticking weather stripping across these first pieces you’ve laid down, then line them all up together with more boards running along their edges until you reach the last section in vertical alignment.
This is where things can start getting tricky: it’s time to wrap everything up neatly! The best way we found is to start with the first piece you laid down and fold it in half. Fold this same section over itself again for a double-folded edge that will go along the top of your tailgate. When you get around to laying this side on top of your truck bed, make sure that both edges are facing up so they don’t interfere with how the tonneau cover works.
A second row can be added just like before – but remember not to let them overlap! A safe rule is to space these sections out about one inch from each other when lining up their horizontal sides across the bottom edge of the last board left uncovered by plywood strips: If there’s any extra length leftover at either end then cut it off; we’ll need all of it to secure the tonneau cover down.
What we’ll need for this last step are some screws and a drill with a screwdriver or power driver attachment, preferably one that can be used in reverse – otherwise you’ll find yourself needing pliers to remove them! This is because when the time comes to take off your new bed liner, these boards will have been screwed into place so securely they may not budge unless you use an unscrewing motion rather than pulling up.
Once the top of the board has been lined up directly over where its ends meet at the bottom edge of the truck bed then all that’s left is securing it: Take each end-piece and line up their tops along corresponding edges on both sides before drilling two pilot holes through each, and then use the appropriate screws to fasten them in place.
Tips for Making the Installation Easier
It’s not a difficult task – just one that requires some patience, careful measurements, and attention to detail. Before drilling pilot holes into boards, you’ll want to measure twice before marking where they go so as not drill too close or far away from the edge of the truck bed- if your markings are off by millimeters it can make a big difference!
You also need ample time for this project: we recommend getting up early on Saturday morning when you’re less likely to be interrupted with any obligations elsewhere. And don’t forget these tips!
Tip #01: When measuring for length – always double-check against mattress size written on side of the box spring before buying new sheets!
Tip #02: When measuring for height- make sure not to measure while the mattress is sitting on a slanted platform like the bed frame. It’ll give you an inaccurate measurement!
The Benefits of Installing Tonneau Covers
Tonneau covers are great for protecting your truck bed from all sorts of things. Dust, UV rays, and weather damage can affect the condition of objects stored in a truck as well as the colors on them. Tonneau covers with bed liners will help to protect these items during storage or transport. So what’s so good about installing new tonneaus? Well, they come in many different shapes and sizes to match most trucks – it’s best to measure before rushing into purchasing one!
One of the benefits of installing new tonneaus is that they are relatively easy to install and remove. It’s also possible for them to be installed with a bed liner, which will provide an extra layer of protection for your truck bed.
Another benefit of installing a new truck tonneau is that it can help to improve the aerodynamics of your truck. This means less drag on the road, which will save you money in fuel costs over time and keep your car cleaner for longer! And last tonneau cover is a must-have if you’re looking to replace your old truck bed cover. They come in a variety of different colors and styles, so it’s easy to find the one that suits your needs best!
Drawbacks of Installing a Tonneau Cover with Bed Liner
Tonneau covers are great for protecting your vehicle from all the elements, but they can create additional problems. One of the most common is water retention in a tonneau cover with bed liner – it’s not uncommon to find pools of water inside after heavy rainstorms or humid climate conditions.
Tonneau covers also have some security issues when used on their own; if you’re going out and want to keep valuables safe while traveling, be sure that you lock up tightly before leaving town. And don’t forget about those pesky critters! Some will take advantage of an unprotected truck bed by making themselves at home within your cargo area – which means more than just ants and spiders: many animals could pose a serious threat such as raccoons, woodchucks, and even opossums.
The installation process isn’t too difficult, but it does take time and patience so be prepared beforehand with all of your measurements, tools, and tips from this article before starting. After roughly four hours we had our cover installed perfectly in place leaving us feeling satisfied with how easy the project was completed. We highly recommend doing the installation yourself as opposed to paying someone else to do it because that way if anything goes wrong or gets mucked up during the process then you can always call them out on their behavior versus having no recourse at all once they’ve completed the installation.