Are you considering getting your old, faded tonneau cover painted to give your truck a refreshed new look? With so many options for truck bed covers on the market today, you may be wondering if it’s worth paying to get your existing tonneau cover painted instead of just buying a new one.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about getting a tonneau cover painted, including typical costs for different materials and what factors affect the price. Read on for advice from professional body shops on how to get the best paint job for your cover!
What Is A Tonneau Cover And Why Would You Get It Painted?
A tonneau cover refers to a truck bed cover that protects the pickup bed and provides security by concealing cargo. The most common types of tonneau covers are made of vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum.
Over time, tonneau covers can fade, crack, or become damaged from UV exposure. Rather than replacing the entire cover, many truck owners opt to get their tonneau cover repainted for a fresh new look at a fraction of the cost.
Reasons why you may want to paint your tonneau cover include:
- Revive faded or sun-damaged paint: Restoring the original color hides ugly cracking or fading.
- Customize with a new color: Choose any color to match your truck’s paint job.
- Protect from further UV damage: New paint protects against sun exposure.
- Save money: Far cheaper than buying a brand new replacement cover.
What Does It Cost To Paint A Vinyl Tonneau Cover?
Vinyl is one of the most popular and affordable tonneau cover materials. According to auto body experts, you can expect to pay anywhere from $70 for budget paint to over $500 for premium show-quality paint when repainting a vinyl tonneau.
Cheap Vinyl Tonneau Cover Paint Jobs Under $100
The least expensive vinyl tonneau cover paint jobs use lower grade paints and minimal preparation. Prices typically run $70-99 for these budget vinyl paint jobs.
While cheap, beware that these inexpensive paint jobs are prone to peeling or fading quickly. They may suffice as a temporary fix but don’t expect long-lasting results.
Medium-Grade Vinyl Tonneau Cover Paint Jobs $100-$300
For good quality that lasts a few years, expect to pay $100-$300 to paint a vinyl tonneau cover. These mid-range paint jobs use decent commercial-grade paints and proper preparation for good adhesion.
This option provides a nice facelift at moderate cost. However, the paint may still fade or peel after 2-4 years in the sun.
High-End Vinyl Tonneau Cover Paint Jobs $300-$500+
For a showroom-quality paint job built to last, high-end vinyl tonneau covers with premium paints cost $300-$500+. The prep work is extensive, often involving sanding the entire surface and applying primer, base coats, and multiple clear top coats.
These paint jobs should maintain their flawless luster for 5+ years. This high-end option is great if you plan to keep your tonneau cover indefinitely.
What’s The Cost To Paint A Fiberglass Tonneau Cover?
Fiberglass tonneau covers are more rigid than vinyl and also commonly repainted. Overall, expect to pay $300-$500 to repaint a fiberglass tonneau cover. Here’s how fiberglass painting costs break down:
Basic Fiberglass Tonneau Cover Paint Jobs Under $300
For a simple spray-on repaint of a fiberglass tonneau cover using basic paint, body shops often charge around $280 on the low end.
This includes scuffing the surface for paint adhesion and applying 1-2 coats of paint. Don’t expect perfect results, but it offers an inexpensive refresh.
Professional Fiberglass Tonneau Cover Paint Jobs $300-$500
To do it right, most pro shops recommend extensive sanding, filling any cracks or holes, priming, and spraying multiple coats of high-grade automotive paint. This costs $300 to $500+ for a fiberglass tonneau cover.
The investment is worth it for long-lasting, professional results. Some shops even offer 5-year warranties on workmanship for these premium paint jobs.
What Other Factors Affect Tonneau Cover Paint Job Costs?
Beyond the cover material, several other factors can increase or decrease the cost of a tonneau cover paint job:
Size Of The Cover
Larger truck beds mean bigger covers requiring more paint and labor. Additional costs for bigger covers may include:
- More paint materials to cover larger surface areas
- Longer shop time for surface preparation and spraying
- Potential need for two paint technicians for faster application
Custom colors rather than standard black or white may cost $50-$100 extra since the shop must color match the paint. Solid colors are also cheaper than metallic, pearl, or candy paints.
Additional Surface Preparation
Heavily damaged, cracked, or peeled covers require extra labor for repairs, sanding, and filling holes before painting. This adds shop time and materials costs.
Location And Body Shop
Like auto painting, rates vary by region. Shops in higher cost-of-living areas charge more. Brand name shops also often cost more than independent garages.
How Much Does It Cost To Paint Other Tonneau Cover Materials?
Beyond vinyl and fiberglass, you may also see tonneau covers made from:
Painting an aluminum tonneau cover costs similar to fiberglass covers at $300-$500. The ultra-smooth aluminum surface requires special etching primers for the paint to bond properly.
Painting ABS plastic tonneau covers costs comparable to vinyl covers in the $100-$500 range based on paint quality. Proper sanding and priming ensures the paint adheres to the plastic.
For composite covers, pricing depends on the main material used, such as polymer coatings over fiberglass. Expect to pay at least $300 for professional painting that will last.
Will Painting A Tonneau Cover Void The Warranty?
An important consideration is whether repainting a tonneau cover will void any existing warranty. In most cases, painting a cover will not void the warranty unless specifically prohibited. However, any paint-related damage is unlikely to be covered.
It’s smart to check with the manufacturer if the tonneau is still under warranty just to be safe. If warranty concerns are holding you back, consider waiting until it expires before repainting.
How Can You Ensure Quality Paint Job Results?
Follow these tips for the best tonneau cover paint job possible:
Choose The Right Shop
Select a professional auto body paint shop, not a general garage. They have the skills and equipment to prep, prime, and paint tonneau covers properly. Ask to see examples of their work.
Use High-Quality Paint
Invest in commercial-grade polyurethane or enamel paints designed for automotive and marine use. Avoid cheap spray cans or house paints that won’t last.
Insist On Proper Surface Prep
This includes cleaning, sanding, and priming for professional paint adhesion, especially on smooth surfaces like fiberglass or aluminum.
Apply Multiple Coats
At minimum, require a 2-part primer, color base coat, and clear coat for durability and glossy finish. Pay extra for 3-5 coats for maximum longevity.
Inspect Their Work
Closely check for any imperfections or debris before taking your painted cover home. Don’t accept subpar workmanship.
How Long Does A Painted Tonneau Cover Last?
With proper paint and application, a professionally painted tonneau cover should last:
- Budget paint job: 1-2 years max before fading and peeling
- Mid-grade paint job: Around 2-4 years before touch up needed
- High-end paint job: 5+ years before reapplication needed
Just like your truck’s paint job, maintain the cover by waxing 1-2x per year and storing indoors or under a truck bed cover when not in use. This helps maximize the lifespan.
Is It Worth Repainting An Old Tonneau Cover?
Given the typical costs, is it worth repainting an aging tonneau cover rather than just replacing it? Here are the main pros and cons:
Reasons To Repaint Your Tonneau Cover
- Far cheaper than buying a brand new replacement cover
- Allows you to refresh the color or go custom
- Saves time finding and installing a new cover that fits
- A high-end paint job can outlast a low-cost replacement cover
Reasons To Just Replace Your Tonneau Cover
- Won’t fix any functional problems like torn fabric or broken hinges
- Replacing with a newer model may offer better features or materials
- A cheap paint job could fail quickly and need redoing again soon
Overall, if your current cover is structurally sound, repainting it makes sense. But if the mechanism is broken beyond repair, replacement may be the wiser option.
The Bottom Line – Plan For $300-$600 To Paint A Tonneau Cover
While you may find quotes ranging from $70 to over $500, the typical cost to paint most tonneau covers falls between $300 to $600 for good quality paint and application.
Here are the average costs to budget for various materials:
- Vinyl tonneau cover: $300-$500
- Fiberglass tonneau cover: $300-$500
- Aluminum tonneau cover: $400-$600
- ABS plastic tonneau cover: $300-$500
The final cost depends on cover size, custom paint colors, surface condition, and your location. But you can expect painting a tonneau cover to run a few hundred dollars for professional, long-lasting results – far less than replacement.
As long as your existing cover is structurally intact, revitalizing it with fresh paint is a smart way to save money while giving your truck a facelift. Just be sure to choose a reputable auto body shop and high-grade tonneau cover paint for a paint job that will endure the elements for years to come.