A very common question that gets asked is , “What is a ceramic coating?” There are consumer grade coatings and professional grade coatings. There are even coatings that dare to name themselves things like “BulletProof” and send a very confusing message to consumers. I’m hoping to clear up most of the confusion with this write up.
Let’s start with a simple answer to give you an idea of what a ceramic coating is and what it is designed to do for you. You saw the picture of the pan with butter in it right? The butter is added for not only flavor,but to ensure things don’t stick to the pan. Have you ever cleaned a pan that had crusted,burnt food on it. It takes a lot of time and is kind of a pain. Then we invented non stick pans to make it even easier. Now imagine a nonstick coating that lasts for years on your car. That is a ceramic coating. Now onto the more technical talk.
A ceramic coating is a hardened layer of protection installed over your clear coat or paint. There are several great companies out there and also several snake oil products out there. I could get into some of the science I know about the carriers and SIO2 etc, but I’m not a chemist and do not want to pretend to be one. I would much rather discuss the benefits of a coating and the features that make these coatings so desirable.
A legitimate ceramic coating will have some self cleaning abilities. Now what does that even mean? The coating creates a super slick surface on your paint. This causes water to have a dramatic contact angle and bead very well. This action lends itself to helping keep the surfaces clean. It allows something like simple rainfall to rinse off a majority of dirt from the coatings surface. This by no means is maintenance. The coating will still need regular washes and upkeep to keep it looking its best just like your paint does.
Let's talk about our favorite feature of a coating, the gloss factor! Any reputable detailer is going to do a paint enhancement or paint correction with the installation of your coating. This service lends itself greatly to increasing the gloss factor by reducing the damage in the paint. It is all about reflecting and refracting light. If the surface has a lot of damage then it will not have depth because the light is reflecting instead of enriching the paint. If the surface is smooth and damage free it will have a deep gloss because the spectrum is being absorbed creating depth. Once the enhancement/correction portion is done and the coating is applied it has even more depth and gloss as it adds additional layers of protection. You simply cannot beat the depth and gloss of a true professional grade ceramic coating.
The reason everyone should be getting on the coating band wagon is the ease of cleaning. We all know that anything you want to keep nice has to be maintained or cleaned regularly. We have dispelled the myth that coatings clean themselves. While they stay cleaner longer, due to their self cleaning abilities. It would be a lie to say that you do not have to maintain them. The coating creates a super slick surface that debris will struggle to adhere to. Cleaning times get cut in half because of this super slick surface. It makes washes so much easier and drying becomes a lot easier as well because the water doesn’t WANT to stick to the surface due to reduced surface tension.
My least favorite part of a coating to discuss is its hardness. Most coatings have a hardness rating. This hardness rating is widely based on the pencil hardness scale. Some coatings claim to be 7H all the way up to 10H in hardness. At no point in time should you believe a coating cannot be scratched or provides a scratch proof layer of protection on your paint. The coating is to be treated as a sacrificial layer on your paint. If a mishap happens, it is more likely that it can be fixed if you have your vehicle coated. Nothing can make scratches and damage stop happening. It is a part of everyday life to expect things will wear over time. The coating provides a hardened layer of sacrificial protection should a minor mishap happen. They are not rock chip proof, scratch proof or any of the like. They simply are a better layer of protection for all the above reasons. If you are strictly looking for scratch protection or rock ship protection it would make more sense to look into something like PPF.
In finality, there are several reputable coating brands out there like IGL, Gtechniq, System X and Opti to name a few. Each coating has a different formulation and provides different features and benefits to the client. Some coatings offer better protection from bird poop etching than others. There is always a give and take though. One benefit may sacrifice another benefit. The best suggestion I can make to anyone wanting to purchase a professional grade coating is to do your research on the installer. That is where the true expertise comes into play. The prep work greatly changes the way the coating will perform. If the prep work is poor, the coating will be poor. So, this truly is a matter of finding the right installer and not necessarily about finding the right coating. When it comes to our coatings, we back everything personally. We take pride in every installation here at New Wave Auto Detailing.
Feel free to reach out anytime with any questions you may have.
The title would lend itself to demonstrating something overly dramatic is going to happen in this article. Honestly, that was by design to get you to read this. But why? Well, you’re already reading so settle in for a minute and I’m going to talk to you about a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to ceramic coatings. This will be one of the realist articles you have ever read about ceramic coatings and their benefits. Buckle up and enjoy.
Ceramic coatings have been on the market over 10 years now. When they first came out no one knew what they were. Consumers are more confused now then before, but why? The problem is all the misinformation and misleading advertisements out on the market. I’m going to go through several of these common sights as well as the true features and benefits of a coating.
We have all seen the ads. The car gets smacked with a lighter, lit on fire, smashed with a shopping cart and it all wipes right off no problem! This is the beginning of that postulation creation. These ads never point out the true value of what the ceramic coating did there. They present the coating as some kind of magical barrier that is resistant to all evil. This is not the case and I’m about to tell you why.
When we look at the features and benefits of most coatings we discover exactly what they are designed to do. Let’s address the lighting the paint of fire first. When we look at the features and benefits we discover the coating is designed to resist industrial fallout, resist acid rain and pollutants, resist corrosive material, and resist heavy solvents. Every one of these features is a resistance, not an all inclusive protection barrier. So, why light the car on fire? What purpose does this serve in demonstrating proper care and chemical resistance? The fact of the matter is, they do it because it gets your attention...that’s it.
Now lets discuss smacking the paint with a lighter or any object. That is one that I will never understand and it is directly marketed towards demonstrating the hardened layer of protection that a coating provides. Sure, a coating provides a hardened layer of protection. Will it be scratch free after this exercise, no! That is something many won’t even mention unless you ask. At New Wave Auto Detailing we are 100% transparent about this aspect of a coating. The benefit is improved protection and add a sacrificial layer. When you smash the coating with a lighter you actually damage the coating. That is kind of the point. You damage the coating and not your paint. A coating is a sacrificial layer of protection. Still don’t believe me? Why would they void your warranty if you use touch washes when the coating can resist being smashed with lighters? Just food for thought.
We also have a lot of advertisements that go around making it look like the vehicle cleans itself. One of the biggest features of a coating is it’s self cleaning ability. The coating stays cleaner, longer because of the ability to self clean. It does this through increased hydrophobics and chemical resistance. Your car’s paint gets clogged up with everyday debris causing it to get dirty much faster. A coating provides resistance to these things. Therefore, when they get wet, they have some self cleaning abilities. Now, this doesn’t mean the coating never needs to be washed. It just means the coating is easier to wash. This also doesn’t mean the coating is water spot proof. That is scientifically impossible if you know what a water spot is. It is literally left over minerals after the water dries. Coatings do have resistance to such deposits in some scenarios, but by no means are they water spot proof.
I’m sure you’re more undecided now then ever as to why you should get a ceramic coating and from who. I mean, everyone wants the truth up front, right? Well, I am here to assure you that washing a coated vehicle is FAR easier than washing an uncoated vehicle. They provide amazing added protection should a mishap happen. They act as a sacrificial layer and allow for these mishaps to be less costly in the long term because they are typically easier to fix. They provide added protection for all environmental contaminants. They keep the vehicle cleaner, longer. They enhance the gloss and appearance like nothing else on the market. They are the best option if you enjoy keeping your vehicle looking its best. They are not designed to put on and hope that it maintains itself. The very design is to make maintenance much easier and create long term protection for the vehicle's surfaces.
While we love applying coatings and have many satisfied customers, we stand out from the crowd by providing an honest representation as to the purpose of a coating.