Waterproofing a Tonneau Cover: Simple Step-By-Step Guide [2023]

Tonneau covers are an essential accessory for truck owners as they provide protection to the cargo area and increase the truck’s overall storage capacity.

However, even the most durable and reliable tonneau covers can’t guarantee 100% protection against rain, snow, or other types of moisture.

That’s where waterproofing comes into play.

Waterproofing a tonneau cover is a simple process that can significantly enhance its performance and durability.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of waterproofing a tonneau cover and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

We will also highlight some of the best waterproofing products available on the market and offer tips on how to maintain your tonneau cover’s waterproofing over time.

Best weather stripping

ESI Ultimate Tailgate Seal

  • 10ft long
  • Most popular tonneau weather seal
  • Can be used on tailgate and sidewalls
Best cleaner & protectant

extang Tonno Tonic Tonneau Cover Cleaner & Protectant

  • Protects against weather and UV rays
  • Easy to use
  • Budget-friendly

Are Tonneau Covers 100% Waterproof?

Tonneau covers are a popular aftermarket accessory for pickup truck owners as they provide protection and security for cargo.

Many truck owners want to know if tonneau covers are 100% waterproof, and the answer is no, no tonneau cover is 100% waterproof.

However, some tonneau covers are more watertight than others, depending on various factors.

Here are some factors that can affect the weather tightness of a tonneau cover:

  • Installation: A tonneau cover that is not installed correctly can have gaps or spaces that allow water to seep through. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully and ensure a tight fit.
  • Quality of the Tonneau Cover: Higher quality tonneau covers typically use better materials and have better sealing mechanisms, which can make them more watertight. Cheaper, lower-quality covers may not have as good a seal, and may leak more easily.
  • Style of Tonneau Cover: Different styles of tonneau covers have different levels of weather resistance. For example, hard covers like fiberglass or aluminum tend to be more watertight than soft covers like vinyl or canvas.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance of the tonneau cover can also affect its weather resistance. Keeping the cover clean and free of debris can help prevent water from seeping through.

Overall, while no tonneau cover is completely waterproof, choosing a high-quality cover, installing it correctly, and regularly maintaining it can all help improve its weather resistance and reduce the risk of water damage to your cargo.

How Do You Make a Tonneau Cover Watertight?

How Do You Make a Tonneau Cover Watertight?

If you find that your tonneau cover is leaking water, you probably need to add weatherstripping to the seals. While some tonneau covers make perfect contact with your truck, some don’t and this can lead to substantial water penetration.

To make your tonneau cover more watertight, follow these steps:

  1. Clean your truck and tonneau cover thoroughly: Before you begin making your tonneau cover watertight, make sure your truck and cover are clean. Use a good tonneau cover cleaner to remove any dirt or debris from the tonneau cover and your favorite car shampoo for your truck.
  2. Fully dry the truck and tonneau cover: After cleaning, use a towel or a microfiber cloth to fully dry your truck and tonneau cover. Make sure that there is no residual moisture left on either surface.
  3. Install weatherstripping: Weatherstripping is a rubber seal that can be placed on the edges of your tonneau cover to prevent water from seeping in. Make sure that the weatherstripping is placed properly and is securely attached to your tonneau cover. We recommend the ESI Ultimate Tailgate Seal.
  4. Apply a tonneau protectant: A tonneau protectant is a spray that can be applied to your tonneau cover to prevent it from becoming damaged by the elements. The protectant also helps to repel water, making your tonneau cover more watertight. Make sure that you follow the instructions on the protectant bottle and apply it evenly across the surface of your tonneau cover.
  5. Test the watertight seal: Once you’ve completed the above steps, test the watertight seal of your tonneau cover by spraying it with water. If you notice any leaks, identify the areas where water is seeping in and reapply weatherstripping as needed.
  6. Regular maintenance: To maintain a watertight seal on your tonneau cover, make sure to regularly clean and dry your truck and cover. Reapply tonneau protectant as needed to keep your cover in good condition.

If the above steps fail to achieve a watertight seal, and a lot of water is still managing to get into your truck bed, it might be time to consider a new tonneau cover. Tonneau covers do have a limited lifespan and depending on the quality of the model you have right now, it might be time for an upgrade. Check out our guide on the best tonneau covers for rain for the most waterproof options on the market.

Waterproofing a Tonneau Cover – Conclusion

Waterproofing a tonneau cover is a simple and effective way to protect your cargo from leaks and extend the life of your cover.

While there are several ways to waterproof a tonneau cover, including using waterproofing agents or coatings, weather stripping remains the best way to make it more watertight.

By sealing the gaps between the cover and the truck bed, weather stripping creates a tight seal that prevents water from seeping through.

However, it’s worth noting that weather stripping may not be enough to fix all leaks.

If you’ve tried waterproofing your tonneau cover with weather stripping and it still leaks, it may be time to invest in a new one.

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About Author

Hi there, my name is Jack Reilly, and I'm a truck driver and writer. I've been driving trucks for over two decades now, and it's a passion that's only grown stronger over time.