Just bought your new car and need a high quality ceramic coating to protect your car?
Well, you have to read this before you book your next appointment!
Having been in the business for almost 10 years, we have received all sorts of questions with regards to ceramic coatings and their differences with glass coating and waxes. In this guide, shed some light about ceramic coatings and hopefully, debunk some myths that you might have heard along the way.
Ceramic coating and what does it do for your car?
I’m sure you have seen videos all over social media where water and mud are thrown over a car’s bonnet. The liquid concoction immediately beads off the surface and you probably found it extremely therapeutic. In some other videos, you find clips where the detailer is seen scratching the car’s surface with a sharp object.
Well... Could this all be true?
Ceramic Coatings acts like a second layer of skin or a sacrificial layer of protection over your car’s clear coat. The main active ingredient found in ceramic coatings is commonly known as Silica Dioxide (SiO2). After application, this viscous liquid crystallises and forms a hardened shell over the clear coat layer of your car’s paint. The coating bonds on a molecular level with the clear coat, filling up small microscopic holes in the paint. This increases water contact angle with the coating surface, thereby creating the beading effect, or better known as the hydrophobic effect. Due to the active ingredients in silica dioxide based coating (Ceramic/Glass coating), the resulting layer is UV and chemical resistant. What this means is that those unsightly bird droppings, that are usually acidic, are less likely to etch onto the surface, making it easier to clean off when you spot it.
Can you stack coatings? Will the coating crack when applied too thick?
Based on our experience, we recommend applying ceramic coatings one coat at a time, allowing each layer to fully cure before you stack the next one. However, stacking too many layers in quick succession can lead to cracking and bubbling problems over time. A high-quality ceramic coating can usually achieve a thickness of up to 8 - 10 microns, this level of thickness will be more than sufficient to protect your car's paintwork for years to come. As the saying goes, less is more.
If you are thinking about paying for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or even 10 layers of coating, think again. Do you need that many layers if 1 layer is good enough to do the same job?
The One And Only Guide You Need To Ceramic Paint Protection Coatings
Eliminates scratches, swirl marks, and/or stone chips
The scratch-resistance nature of a ceramic coating is constantly exaggerated in many ways.
Your ceramic coating will deflect some minor scratches that occur in the lifetime of your car’s ownership, however, it is not possible to completely resist the damage from a rock chip or scratch from a key or even a plastic box. Improper car washing techniques will continue to cause swirl marks on your car’s surface. A ceramic coating does not substitute products that can prevent serious scratches or stone chips.
Most ceramic coating formulations are rated 9H on the pencil test scale. If you understand this test, 9H rating is the highest possible grade available. However, it does not mean it is impenetrable. Most ceramic coatings for cars are simply not flexible enough to deflect the impact of a stone hitting your paint at high speed or to resist against evil perpetrators who scratch your car on purpose.
If you are searching for a paint protection film to prevent these sort of damages, you can find them available at various prices. Based on our knowledge, PPF can be had from as low as $500 up to $10,000. How much you will pay for a paint protection film, depends largely on the brand, size of your car and the labour costs involved with applying the film.
You don’t have to wash your car again! Just use plain water can already!
If you have read this article from the head start, you will notice that we mentioned how a ceramic coating will keep your car looking like new.
However, it does not mean that you don’t need to put in the work to maintain your car the right way. Ceramic coatings are low maintenance and not no maintenance.
Wash your car regularly. Not every day. Just once a week is good enough.
While you are at it, use a pH neutral shampoo without wax or other additives to ensure a clean coating surface. The benefit of a coating is such that it makes your washing regime faster, easier and less labour intensive. It also takes away the need to wax your car every month and thus, reduces the amount of money spent in the long term. Remember what we said previously? Less is more.
P.s. Since we are on the topic of a regular wash regime, we highly recommend that all coated vehicles use Skinz “Routine” Hydrophobic Ceramic Spray Coating to maintain and increase hydrophobic properties of your car after every wash. This simple product can easily be DIY-ed at home or you can opt to have it done professionally and affordably at our outlet - just ask the guys for Hydrocoat Express or Plus treatments when you are here.
Car coatings are permanent. Really?
For some part of it, it is true. Nano ceramic coatings are considered semi-permanent, as it forms a molecular bond with the car’s paintwork and crystallises into a hard and glossy sacrificial layer. The good news, you will not need to reapply the coating every few months to achieve that glossy, wet appearance to your car’s paintwork. For good quality coatings such as Skinz Glassjacket Pro or Cera-E, the life span of the coating can range from 1 to 5 years. However, there is a definite life span to all coatings and re-application will be required after a certain time. Nothing lasts forever.
Ceramic coatings can be applied very quickly. You take too long to do it.
With more DIY kits in the market, ceramic coatings are becoming easier and faster to apply. However, to ensure that a job is properly done, we do have some procedures that are required before we can lay down that layer of coating on your car’s paintwork.
Before application, the paint surface has to be free of blemishes, this rule applies to even brand new vehicles. The process that we carry out before each application is called a paint rejuvenation step. Depending on the condition of your car’s paintwork, our paint rejuvenation stages range from 1 stage for brand new cars, all the way up to 4 stages for cars that might not have received any TLC in the last 10 years.
As the ceramic coating bonds semi-permanently, it will add a layer over your car’s paintwork. Therefore, it is imperative to restore the paintwork and increase physical gloss levels before any form of application.
Ceramic coatings are glossier and shinier than sealants and wax.
This is not necessarily true. Nano ceramic coating for cars do not increase physical gloss or add too much artificial gloss to the paintwork – the magic of gloss increment lies in the prep work that is done to the paint surface. If you have faded paint or a badly scratched surface, applying any type of coating to your car will not cover the blemish. It might make it more obvious in some cases.
The same theory applies to holograms and swirl marks, these unsightly imperfections will be “locked” under the coating and can become more obvious once the coating is applied. Besides, due to surface irregularities, the coating cannot form a good bond with the paint surface and bubbling or de-lamination can occur over time. Therefore, as a friend and fellow consumer, I urge you to choose carefully and find a detailer who has the experience and knowledge about coatings before you hand your credit card over.
The next time you look for ceramic coating for your new or used car, remember to come by and read through our blog about coatings before you decide if it is suitable for your usage patterns. In some cases, ceramic coatings may not be suitable for everyone. We have encountered multiple customers who prefer to have their cars maintained every 3 or 4 months with a simple 1 stage polishing, Skinz “Routine” ceramic spray coating protection and interior detailing because this option gives them the best balance of regular upkeep and optimal protection.