Are Tonneau Covers Waterproof? (Find Out The Real Things)

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Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Most of our readers considering purchasing a tonneau cover frequently ask, “are Tonneau covers waterproof.”

Technically, Tonneau covers are not fully waterproof. They are actually water resistant. If you correctly install a good quality truck bed cover, it will prevent most of the water from penetrating the truck bed. A few tonneau cover models offer better water-resistant capacity than the others. 

While it would be misleading to call a tonneau cover “waterproof,” even heavy rainstorms typically only result in a few droplets penetrating the surface.

Installing a tonneau cover will protect you from the elements, but how much protection you expect depends on several factors that can be better understood with more information.

Are Tonneau Covers Waterproof

Are Tonneau Covers Waterproof or Water Resistant?

The phrase “waterproof” can be seen as a gamble by some consumers and businesses.

This is because “waterproof” generally conveys that this is a permanent condition and that whatever has been “waterproofed” would never fail due to contact with water.

But this is not the case. Let me explain.


Waterproof means the highest level of protection from water with almost impervious quality. But you already know that virtually no Tonneau cover can offer you that.

A painted one-piece cover is best to keep as much water off the bed as possible.

One piece of fiberglass or ABS plastic, this cover stretches across the length of your bed and typically folds over the tailgate and rails at the sides.

Consequently, the back hinge is the only place where any moisture might enter.

Soft covers are not as durable as hardcovers, but they will do if you don’t have any other option. Despite their best efforts, they may not be impervious to water.

Water Resistant

Water resistance is the least protective of the three levels against water.

The term “water-resistant” refers to the increased difficulty of water penetration into the device due to its design.

No matter if your truck bed cover label says it’s waterproof, it’s not.

You may still have some water seep through, no matter how well-built your tonneau is. Even so, your tonneau will still provide the benefit of protecting your cargo from rain and snow.

The difference between having rain completely fill your truck bed and having some water trickle in around the edges while your gear remains dry is significant.

Being water resistant will do the job for you.

Top Water Resistant Tonneau Cover Types

Now you can say that Tonneau covers are not fully waterproof. They are instead water resistant. However, the water resistant capacity varies with models and types.

Here, I have rounded up the best designs with the most water-resistant capacity.

Hard Top Hinged Tonneau Cover

Selecting a tonneau that will keep water out should be a top priority. Thus, a hard-top fiberglass tonneau could be a good option.

These will allow the least amount of water because they are one continuous piece that goes beyond the truck bed rails and tailgate.

You will still find leaks around the cab’s hinge and the tailgate’s apertures, but it’s not too bad.

However, if you value waterproofing above all else and are willing to shell out a hefty sum for a tonneau, this cover style may be your best option.

Retractable Tonneau Cover

Tonneau covers with retractable mechanisms roll out a storage container attached to the vehicle bed. The basic structure is the same regardless of whether aluminum, cushioned polymers, or polypropylene are utilized.

Retractable covers typically include rails angled to direct water away from the bulkhead and out through hoses connecting to the drainage holes in your truck bed.

The tailgate, another potential entry point for water, is also sealed with a compression seal.

Soft Snap-On Tonneaus

A soft roll-up truck bed cover effectively repels water because its seamless construction has no exposed hinges.

It’s been found that soft roll-ups, like the TruXedo TruXport and the Gator SR1, mounted on top of the truck bed, are the most effective at deflecting water away from your belongings.

Many folks on a tighter budget choose soft tonneau coverings with snaps along the edges.

You can remove them quickly and cheaply. They protect you from the weather to some extent, but they wear out soon.

Water can seep in at the corners because they are simply held together by snaps and lack a drainage mechanism.

They may fail in heavy rain and strong winds but perform admirably in the light stuff.

Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

Tonneau covers made of aluminum, fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), or thermoplastic fold back to reveal the truck bed.

Many hard folding coverings fold nearly flat when opened, allowing the entire bed to be used for transporting items.

This layout satisfies the compromise between water resistance and practicality if appropriately placed. For even more excellent protection against rain, some hard-folding designs, such as the Extang Xceed, have a vinyl lining over the top of the cover.

Soft Folding Tonneau Cover

A vinyl or canvas tarp is attached to a collapsible, one-piece aluminum frame to create this roof.

The clamps attach to your truck’s bed rails and can be tightened by hand, making this one of the simplest covers to install.

Since it rests atop your truck’s bed rails, water will generally run down the sides of your truck instead of getting trapped inside through the hinges.

How to make Tonneau Covers more water-resistant?

Using Additional Seals

If the amount of water currently leaking is not large, the process may be straightforward, requiring only the installation of a few more seals. 

You could go to a local hardware store and get the required size seal, as they come in various sizes depending on your Tonneau cover.

Make sure you purchase the correct size rather than the largest one available, as this will only exacerbate the situation.

Using Bed Sealing Kits

In many cases, installing these kits will solve your problem permanently. When you purchase a bed seal kit, you buy everything you need, from seals to foam blocks.

And if any water gets in, they have a drainage system to get rid of it.

The problem is that they are somewhat expensive, so they should only be considered if the leakage is significant or if you need to protect your valuables inside the bed.

Insulation of water pipes

This method of preventing water leakage is relatively inexpensive and popular because the process is relatively simple, and the water pipes required for installation are readily available.

These pipes are made of rubber and already have slits, making them simple to attach to the gaps.

The installation is simple; simply place them where the water usually enters, generally through a gap. 

This method also does an excellent job of keeping water out of your bed, even if the water is coming through various gaps.


Is It Possible To Make Tonneau Covers Waterproof?

No. Although no modification can make them waterproof, there are ways to increase their water resistance significantly.

Do Tonneau Covers Keep The Bed Of Your Truck Dry?

Yes. However, it highly depends on the type of Tonneau cover you use. And if you’ve made any of the additional modifications listed above.

Do I Need Completely Waterproof Tonneau Covers?

No. That isn’t necessary as long as you keep your truck bed or the goods stored inside it dry, which can be accomplished with a high level of water resistance.

Final Thoughts

We hope you know the answer to the question, “ are Tonneau covers waterproof?”. They are water resistant but not fully waterproof.

If you require complete waterproofing, you can place tarps, storage bins, and other protective items beneath your Tonneau cover. 

Adding more layers of protection to your cover is the best way to ensure that water drops do not get through the seams and hinges.

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

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