Tonneau covers are used to cover up unused space in the trucks, roadsters, convertibles or cargo beds in pickup trucks. Usually, tonneau covers are made of cloth and vinyl. There are different types of these covers like “rolled-up tonneau,” hard roll on tonneau covers.
These are usually more firm and long-lasting than regular roll-on tonneau covers. They have a hinging or folding mechanism while regular tonneau covers open up by rolling on.
One question that is constantly asked from people deciding to buy tonneau covers is if they are waterproof or not?
To be brief, the answer is no however it is quite more complicated than that so keep reading to find out if these covers prevent any incoming water or not, and if not then how to make the water leakage minimal so that their purpose could be fulfilled.
Why Do You Need Tonneau Covers
Having an 8-foot bed on the back of your truck has numerous uses, including extra cargo space, carrying tools or sports material or delivering products. However, there are also risks involved in carrying things in that space.
First off, your things are highly vulnerable if left unattended, and it’s totally open to any weather conditions. Secondly, you’ll have to tie things down to keep them from bouncing out.
The answer to all these questions lies in tonneau covers, which essentially cover the bed protecting your valuables. If you’re installing them to keep your truck from harsh weather, you would need them to be waterproof or at least water-resistant as heavy rainstorms can easily damage your truck’s bed or the things you’re carrying.
Are they really waterproof?
As we’ve already hinted you above, it is not entirely correct to call tonneau covers waterproof, and anyone telling you so will be lying. Water creeps into the covers from places you don’t even know and gaps you can’t even see. However, they do provide water resistance which often fulfills your needs of keeping your valuables inside to stay dry, so being waterproof really isn’t necessary as long as you’re getting the job done.
You could increase the water-resistance yourself by choosing a better type of tonneau cover. A painted one-piece tonneau cover is the best you could go with. This has a single piece of fiberglass or ABS plastic that goes all the way from front to back.
Hard roll-up or hard-folding tonneau covers also provide pretty high water resistance. Other covers such as soft folding, soft roll-up, and snap covers hardly provide any water resistance and should not be preferred in any case if you want to keep the water out.
How to make them better
It’s pretty clear now that there is actually nothing that could totally make your tonneau cover waterproof. Still, you can increase its water resistance and get the job done. Most covers come installed with rubbers or seals at the sides to keep water from entering, which usually are not enough. So let’s look at some solutions that will increase the resistivity to keep your bed stays out of water.
a) Using Extra Seals
If the magnitude of water that’s currently leaking is not high, the process could be very undemanding, and all that needs to be done is install a few more seals. You could approach a local hardware store and get the seal of required size as they come in numerous sizes depending upon your tonneau cover. Make sure that you buy the right and not just the largest size available as it would only make the matter worse.
b) Bed Seal Kits
In many cases, installing these kits could prove to solve your problem once and for all. Buying a bed seal kit means that you’re buying along with everything that you need ranging from seals to foam blocks. And if in any case, any water enters, they have a drainage system as well to get rid of it.
The problem, however, is that they’re somewhat expensive so they should not be really considered unless the leakage is huge or you really need to protect your valuables kept inside the bed.
c) Water Pipe Insulation
This method to prevent water leakage is rather inexpensive, and the popular as the process is pretty simple, and the water pipes to be installed are easily available. These pipes are made from rubber and already come in a slit-form, making them easy to fix to the gaps.
Installation is pretty straight-forward, you need to fit them where the water usually enters from, mostly a gap. This method also does a pretty good job of keeping your bed out of water even if the water is coming in from various gaps.
Making Sure Your Tonneau Cover Is Water Resistant
There is a couple of tests you could use to make sure that water won’t drip inside your bed, keeping your items safe.
On a sunny day, get inside the cover and close the tail-gate so that it’s completely dark inside and no sunlight is coming in. Then, it’s fairly simple as you have to see where the beams of lights are coming in from, those are the gaps that you need to fill, and if you don’t see any, you’re good to go!
The second test is called the water test. This again is relatively easy, isolate yourself within the cover and have someone throw water on the cover using a water hose imitating the way it rains. If any water leaks, you’ll know where it’s coming and what to do. However, make sure you don’t pressurize the water on the seals or foam as they wouldn’t stand the high pressure and water will eventually be forced in.
i. Are tonneau covers waterproof?
No. Tonneau covers are not fully waterproof no matter what.
ii. Is there any way to make them waterproof?
No. No modification can make them waterproof however there are ways to increase their water resistance up to a great extent.
iii. Do Tonneau covers keep your truck bed dry?
Yes. But it highly depends upon the type of tonneau cover you are using. And if you’ve done extra modifications listed above as well.
iv. Are there any tests we could go through to check if significant water leaks inside our truck bed?
Yes, there are a couple of reliable tests you could perform to make sure water does not drip inside your truck bed in significant amount.
v. Do I really need fully waterproof tonneau covers?
No. That’s not necessary as long as you’re keeping your truck bed or the goods kept inside it dry, which can be done by a good level of water resistance.
As till now, I expect you to be fairly confident that no matter what, tonneau covers can never be fully waterproof, but there are things we can do to be sure that they are highly water-resistant and will keep your valuables kept inside totally dry.
Just be sure that you choose the correct type of cover and use the correct type of procedure to get the highest level of water resistance in your truck’s bed, and you’re all set.