Are tri-fold tonneau covers waterproof?

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Tri-fold truck bed covers are not waterproof, and anyone that will tell you that there is a truck bed cover that’s fully waterproof will be lying to you. But this does not mean that the covers freely allow water to seep into the bed of your pickup truck.

Hard folding tonneau covers or soft, they both experience water leakage and take extra steps to completely seal.

The tonneau cover may not be waterproof, but it has excellent water resistance properties. Therefore, your shipment will still be protected from water. But if a water-resistant material is able to block the entry of water, then what difference does it have from a waterproof material in adverse weather conditions? 

Water proof tri fold tonneau cover

Waterproof vs. Water resistant Tonneau covers

If something is referred to as waterproof, it means that it can keep 100% of the moisture out. On the side, one that’s water-resistant may occasionally allow the entry of some moisture, but not in high amounts.

Although the leaks that get into the tonneau covers are minor, they have the potential to destroy your cargo if not dealt with. It is important to note that it is not easy to identify where the leaks are coming from with a tonneau cover, which makes it a challenge to seal them.

In most cases, leaking occurs in the following areas:

  • Between the front edge of the tonneau cover and the truck bed.
  • The pannel’s hinges, you may not notice them with your naked eyes.
  • At the tailgate.

You will notice that in most pickup trucks, the tailgate is usually not fully sealed, and if there is strong wind and rain, there is a high chance of water getting into the truck bed. If this water is allowed to settle over a long time, it can cause damage to the cargo.

How can you test for leaking areas?

Although tri-fold tonneau covers are only water-resistant, there are measures that you can take to increase their resistance to get them as close to being waterproof as possible. But first, you have to begin by finding the areas where the tonneau cover is leaking into the truck bed so that you can seal them.

There are several tests that you can carry out to ensure that there are no spaces that allow water to leak into your truck bed. The two most common and effective tests are:

  1. The first test involves you getting inside the bed under the truck bed cover on a bright sunny day. Have the tailgate fully closed so that no sunlight can get in. Once there is total darkness, you will be able to see areas where beams of light are coming in from the bed rails. Mark those gaps and seal them.
  2. The second test involves the use of water. Get inside the cover and have someone pour water over the cover using a hosepipe to imitate rainfall. You will be able to notice where the water is coming into the truck bed. When using this technique, do not pressurize the water so much as the cover may be unable to hold it.

This video shows how one guy used a garden hose to check his new soft tonneau covers water resistance.pickup

Increasing your tonneau covers water resistance ability

To this point, it is clear that there is no way that you can have a perfectly waterproof tonneau cover. However, you can increase the folding covers resistance that it has to water. Depending on the manufacturer of your tonneau cover, you may find some with seals or rubbers to help improve and increase water resistance. 

Nonetheless, these seals are usually not enough. That is why we’ve looked at some other ways through which you can help increase your folding tonneau cover’s resistance to water to protect your cargo better.

Waterproof. One thing that you have no control over is the weather condition. But you can protect your cargo from it. A good tonneau cover can be found if you’re diligent. 

Note The more it rains or snows the more you will need to protect your vinyl tonneau covers with protectant.

I wrote an article on how to stop a tonneau cover from leaking that I think you will find handy.

Install extra seals

Depending on the amount of water that’s getting into the bed, adding some seals will do the work. When there is a minimal amount of water getting into the truck bed, you can buy extra seals and install them on the crevices in your tonneau cover.

The seals are available in different shapes and sizes, be sure to buy those that will fit into your cover.

Using Truck bed seal kits

Seal kits are more efficient compared to only installing the seals. The seal kit comes with everything you need including the seals and foam blocks to cover large spaces. The kits also have a drainage system that helps to remove any water that might still enter your truck’s bed, ensuring total dryness.

The only con is that they are a bit expensive to acquire. But compared to the damage water can do to your cargo and the resulting losses, you will find it inexpensive to acquire the bed seal kit.

However, you do not have to use this method unless there is a high magnitude of water getting into your truck bed or if you are transporting valuable cargo.

Water pipe insulation

The use of water pipe insulation is the most inexpensive method to increase your folding cover’s water resistance. The process is quite easy, and the pipes needed are readily available.

The rubber pipes used are usually slit into halves, and your work is only to install them on the truck bed. Fit them to leaking areas, and you are good to go. 

This can be a bit of a challenging job but keep at it until the tonneau cover’s waterproof.

Other Options

If waterproofing is extremely important to you I would look into other types of tonneau covers. Don’t hesitate to call the manufacturers and speak with their truck experts. 

  • Hard Roll-up tonneau covers use integrated channels and drain tubes that draw the water away from your cargo. A roll-up tonneau tends to seal better too because there aren’t major hinges at each joint connection. A soft roll-up will not be as water-resistant. Read more: Truck Bed Covers Roll-up vs Tri-fold.
  • Snap tonneau covers are the worst option for waterproofing bed covers and should be avoided.
  • One-piece tonneau covers are the perfect cover for waterproofing but they make it impossible to haul large cargo. The plus side is they are made of fiberglass or abs plastic and are the most secure, waterproof, and durable covers on the market.
  • Retractable tonneau covers are great because they have compression seals that hold the cover tight to the bed.

Is the BAKFlip MX4 Waterproof 

A lot of people want to know if they can trust the Bakflip MX4 to keep their cargo dry and we were curious too, so we tested it and the answer is yes, well mostly. Because it’s a tri-fold there is always going to be some seepage but in general it’s quite water resistant in moderate weather conditions.

Another great BAK product that is equally water resistant is the BAKFlip G2 – Read more.


Pickup bed covers can be waterproof with some effort. Will a tri-fold tonneau cover ever be fully waterproof? No, but it can be quite water-resistant. 

One type of cover is more waterproof than the other. It’s up to your needs and wants as to which you should get.

It is clear that tri-fold tonneau covers are not waterproof. But if you are looking for a way to water from entering your truck bed, you should not hesitate to install one. If installed correctly they can go through a car wash and keep water out, mostly.

If waterproofing is of the utmost importance to you, one-piece tonneau covers are pretty much guaranteed to be waterproof, but you’ll give up access to your entire truck bed.

As you have learned, there are ways through which you can make them more resistant to water. 

Is it safe to go through a car wash with tonneau cover?

Another great read here: Retractable truck bed cover vs tri-fold.

Related Articles:

Best Truck Bed Cover for Winter – Which One Will Last?

Which is Better For You a Tri-fold or a Roll-up Tonneau Cover?

Is it Safe to Take a Tonneau Cover Through a Car Wash?

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