Are Tonneau Covers Waterproof? Detailed Analysis

When I purchased tonneau covers for my truck, I made sure to find ones that would excel in repelling water, as I reside alongside a rainforest. Fortunately, I came across reasonably priced covers that offer exceptional protection against water, keeping my belongings safe and dry. Now, I frequently receive inquiries from people wondering “Are Tonneau Covers Waterproof?.” In this article, I aim to address all relevant queries and shed light on the water-resistant capabilities of tonneau covers.

This article will show the difference between water resistance and waterproofing in bed covers. We will also discuss the different types of covers which are efficient against water, etc., along with the protectant spray that brings more durability.

Are Bed Covers Really Waterproof?

Before we get into the details, you better need to know the difference between water-resistant and waterproof bed covers. 

Waterproof or Water-Resistant

Waterproof means that it is 100% secure against water, which is not actual. It is sure that during any rain storm, a little amount of water will leak somehow, so it is not so correct to say that every cover is 100%, which makes sense that no cover is waterproof.

On the contrary, every cover is water resistant. Yet some gradings explain which cover is more vigilant against water. It all depends upon the type of cover and how the manufacturer upgrades its water-resistant tendency.

There have been many reports of water leaking into truck beds that are covered with bed covers. This is especially common in heavy rain or snow. Some bed covers have been known to warp or deform in extreme weather conditions, which can compromise their water resistance. Even bed covers that are made of solid materials can have small gaps or seams that allow water to seep through.

  • A study by the University of Michigan found that hard bed covers can keep out up to 98% of water in heavy rain.
  • Another study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that soft bed covers can keep out up to 85% of water in heavy rain.

However, both studies also found that bed covers can leak in extreme weather conditions, such as when there is a lot of wind or when the bed cover is not installed properly.

Types of Bed Covers and Their Water Resistance

We have tested these using a tonneau cover water test and presented you with the types of tonneau covers you can trust. We have Best Tonneau Covers that are waterproof here in detail. You can further read about hard and soft covers along with other types and their effectiveness.

Hard Bed Covers

Hard bed covers are typically made of durable materials like fiberglass, aluminum, or hard plastic. They are engineered with solid panels that offer excellent protection against water infiltration. The seamless construction of hard bed covers ensures that water has limited access to the truck bed, making them highly effective in keeping cargo dry and secure.

Soft Bed Covers

Soft bed covers, on the other hand, are usually made of vinyl or fabric material. They come with a flexible design, allowing easy folding or rolling to access the truck bed. While soft bed covers do provide water resistance to some extent, they might not be as impervious to heavy rain or snow as hard bed covers. However, they still offer adequate protection for lighter weather conditions.

Hinged Tonneau Covers

These hard fiber-glass-made covers are the best way to keep your truck from water leakage. We know that no cover is exactly a waterproof cover, but these covers efficiently work against rainwater and snow. These covers are in one set piece and sit in the truck bed rails. It is how they cover the truck bed from the water and snow.

Retractable Covers

Retractable Tonneau Covers are opened by one button and stored in a canister. They perfectly cover the whole bed mechanically, keeping it away from rainwater penetration and damage caused by the snow. The rails and drain tubes help the covers by keeping away the water. Moreover, drain tubes can be installed by drilling in the rails; these drain tubes will help to drain out the water.

Folding Covers

Folding covers have the categories of tri and quad foldings. They are made up of hard, soft, or vinyl material. They provide ease to access the bed as well as protect the bed. These covers are not so vigilant against the water and snow, but they properly provide you with a helping hand. 

We have also written a complete guide on How you can fix the tonneau cover latch.

Tip: If snow blocks the folding areas of the cover, it might create serious issues. 

Soft-Snap on Covers

The best thing about these covers is that they are not very expensive. They are attached with snaps, so they don’t have extra shots like drain tubes. They work very well in the light rain but don’t have proper drainage so water or snow can escape through the side corners.

Hard Roll-Up Covers

The hard roll-up covers, made up of aluminum foldings, are another way of keeping your bed from the water and snow. They can protect the bed at their best efficiency. For folding, they have interlocking patterns. These patterns have a minor space through which a minimal amount of water can go into your bed.

Soft Fold Covers

The soft fold covers are also easy to use. This product is designed the same as the hard folding covers. But these covers are made up of aluminum/canvas or vinyl. This type of cover is very cheap and affordable. But the issue is that these covers are not vigilant enough against rain and snow.

Effectiveness in Keeping Water Out

The effectiveness of a bed cover in repelling water is contingent on its proper installation. For both hard and soft covers, it is crucial to ensure a snug fit that leaves no gaps or vulnerable areas. Properly installed bed covers form a barrier that prevents water from seeping into the truck bed.

Get to Know here Are Tonneau Covers Universal | Are they interchangeable?

Factors Affecting Water Resistance

These factors play an important role in the water resistance of the truck bed covers:

Weather Conditions

Bed covers’ water resistance can be affected by the intensity and duration of rainfall or snowfall. While both hard and soft covers can handle light rain, heavy downpours or prolonged exposure to water might pose a challenge, especially for soft covers.

Material Type

The choice of material plays a vital role in determining a bed cover’s water resistance. Hard covers’ solid construction inherently offers better water protection, but soft covers made from water-resistant fabrics can still provide reliable performance in most weather conditions.

Why don’t you read this How Long Do Tonneau Covers Last? Factors and Maintenance Tips

Choose the Covers Wisely

It is essential to choose the cover wisely. Do not go for someone’s choice with verifying or detailed analysis and examination. Always choose the bed cover according to your requirement and the demand of the truck’s type. I always recommend this to others and practice this for myself as well. 

  1. Water Resistance: If you live in an area with frequent heavy rainfall or snow, a hard bed cover might be the better choice to ensure maximum protection against water.
  2. Security Features: Some bed covers come with additional security measures, such as locking mechanisms, providing an added layer of protection for valuable cargo.
  3. Accessibility: Soft bed covers offer more convenience in accessing the truck bed, making them suitable for those who frequently load and unload items.
  4. Budget: Consider your budget when selecting a bed cover. Hardcovers, with their superior water resistance and security, might be more expensive than soft covers.

How do I make my tonneau cover waterproof?

Certainly! If you want to enhance the water resistance of your tonneau cover and ensure maximum protection for your truck bed and cargo, here are some practical tips you can follow:

1. Proper Installation

Ensuring your tonneau cover is installed correctly is paramount to improving its water resistance. Take the time to carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure all seams and gaps are sealed tightly. This prevents any potential entry points for water, minimizing the risk of leakage.

2. Use Sealants or Spray-On Protectants

To add an extra layer of water resistance to your tonneau cover, consider using a high-quality sealant or spray-on protectant. These products are specifically designed to repel water, preventing it from seeping through the cover’s surface. Regularly applying these sealants can help maintain and enhance the cover’s water-resistant properties over time.

You can get one from 11 Best Tonneau Cover Protectant

3. Keep the Cover Dry When Not in Use

When you’re not using your tonneau cover, try to store it in a dry place, such as a garage or covered area. Exposure to harsh weather elements when not in use can cause damage or warping to the cover, potentially compromising its water resistance.

4. Regular Maintenance

Perform regular maintenance checks on your tonneau cover to identify any wear and tear or damage that could impact its water resistance. Fix any issues promptly to ensure your cover remains in top condition.

5. Check for Proper Fit

Periodically check the fit of your tonneau cover to ensure it still sits securely on the truck bed. Over time, covers can shift or loosen, potentially creating gaps that water could penetrate. Make any necessary adjustments to maintain a snug and secure fit.

6. Be Mindful of Weight Distribution

Avoid placing heavy objects on the tonneau cover, especially if it is a soft cover. Excessive weight might cause the cover to sag and reduce its water resistance. Distributing weight evenly and within the truck bed will help preserve the cover’s integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does a tonneau cover keep water out?

Indeed, tonneau covers can effectively keep water out of a truck bed, offering valuable protection for your cargo. Nevertheless, it is essential to understand that no tonneau cover can claim to be 100% waterproof. While they provide a high level of water resistance, some factors can impact their performance.

1. Type of Tonneau Cover: The type of tonneau cover you choose significantly influences its water resistance. Hard tonneau covers, with their solid and seamless construction, excel in keeping water at bay. Their rigid panels form a robust barrier, preventing water from seeping into the truck bed. On the other hand, soft tonneau covers, though water-resistant, may not be as impervious to heavy rain or snow. They can still protect against light rain and moderate weather conditions.

2. Proper Installation: A crucial factor in ensuring effective water resistance is the proper installation of the tonneau cover. A well-installed cover fits securely on the truck bed, leaving no gaps or vulnerable areas that could allow water to infiltrate. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and taking care during installation is essential to achieve the best results.

3. Weather Conditions: The prevailing weather conditions can also influence a tonneau cover’s water resistance. In light to moderate rain or snow, most tonneau covers perform admirably, keeping your cargo dry and protected. However, during heavy rain or extended exposure to severe weather, even the most well-installed covers may face some limitations. In such extreme conditions, water might find its way into the truck bed through tiny openings or the edges of the cover.

What type of tonneau cover is most waterproof?

Hard tonneau covers are renowned for their superior water resistance compared to soft tonneau covers. The reason lies in their construction and materials. Hardcovers are crafted from solid and durable materials like fiberglass, aluminum, or hard plastic, forming a rigid shell over the truck bed.

The seamless design of hard tonneau covers ensures there are minimal entry points for water. Their solid panels create a robust barrier that effectively prevents water from seeping through and reaching the cargo. This sturdiness makes them highly effective in keeping your belongings dry and safe, even during heavy rain or snow.

Does a tonneau cover keep the truck bed dry?

Yes, Tonneau covers can aid in keeping the truck bed dry, but they aren’t foolproof. Heavy rain or snow may still allow water seepage. To enhance water resistance: opt for a water-resistant material, ensure proper installation with sealed seams, store the cover in a dry area when unused, and regularly inspect for wear or damage.


While no bed cover can claim to be 100% waterproof, they still offer significant water resistance to protect your truck bed and cargo from the elements. Hard bed covers, with their sturdy design, are better suited for extreme weather conditions, while soft bed covers provide a balance of water resistance and ease of access. When choosing a bed cover, consider your location, weather conditions, and specific needs to find the ideal balance between water resistance, security, accessibility, and budget.

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