As a car detailer based on the Hampshire and West Sussex border, I’m often asked about ceramic coatings. I thought it would be helpful to write an in-depth blog that covers everything you need to know.
I’m going to introduce you to the different types of ceramic coatings. And explore they’re longevity and effectiveness when it comes to paint protection. I’m also going to write about the cost involved with different types of ceramic coatings.
The term ceramic coatings refers to the product’s synthetic nature rather than its make up. You may have heard phrases such as Quartz or SiO2, but in my opinion, you don’t need to be concerned about what the manufacturer says about the coating’s contents or makeup. You should, however, be mindful about what the coating is warrantied to do.
At Black River Details we mainly use ceramic coatings from Kamikaze Collection, GTechniq and Carbon Collective. That said we can use coatings from other companies like Gyeon or Nanolex on special request, provided they meet our high standards.
Semi-Permanent Ceramic Coatings
- There are many different types of ceramic coating that all fulfil different purposes and use cases. There are semi-permanent coatings like Crystal Serum from GTechniq and ISM Hydrocarbon V2 from Kamikaze Collection. These are the coatings that are best to have applied by a professional car detailing service provider.
- They can be sensitive to the environment that they are applied in, and proper preparation of the paint must be completed before the coating can be applied. Before application, we carry out full decontamination with iron/fallout remover and tar remover. We also use a clay bar to rid the paint of all contaminants. We will always carry out at least a single stage polish. This minimises the risk of sealing in paint defects like swirls marks, scratches and watermarks. A vehicle must be kept indoors for a period 24-48 hours after application. This process allows the newly applied coating to cure. If a supplier gets the application wrong, the coating may need to be removed by wet sanding the paint.
- These coatings are worth the investment in a car detailing professional. They provide excellent protection against the elements and light marring. They also make your car far easier to clean, thanks to their hydrophobic and oleophobic properties. It’s these that give a “self-cleaning” effect. The icing on the cake is that these ceramic coatings usually last at least 2-3 years. They can sometimes last even longer depending on the coating used and the kind of care the car receives after it’s been coated.
- There’s no doubt that these coatings are relatively pricey. That said, like everything in life, you get what you pay for. In the longer term, they can end up being more cost-effective since you won’t need to keep reapplying them every six months.
Top-Up or Maintenance Ceramic Coatings
- Taking a step down from semi-permanent coatings you get to, what I like to call, “top-up coatings” or “maintenance coatings”. These are coatings like OverCoat from Kamikaze Collection or C2 Liquid Crystal from GTechniq.
- These are far easier to apply than semi-permanent coatings, and are usually a spray on, wipe off application. It’s not always necessary to have these applied professionally. Also, some can even be used on a wet car making the process even easier.
- These are often used inbetween the main ceramic coating application to provide a sacrificial layer of protection for the coating underneath. This allows the base coating to last longer and it also strengthens the “self-cleaning” effect. Unfortunately, they don’t last anywhere near as long as a dedicated semi-permanent coating like Crystal Serum, nor do they provide as much protection.
- Top-Up or Maintenance Ceramic Coatings are cheaper than semi-permanent coatings. Almost anybody can use them, nd they don’t need special conditions or environments.
Specialist Ceramic Coatings
- Specialist ceramic coatings are designed for certain materials or uses. Dedicated wheel coatings include Stance from Kamikaze Collection. Plastic trim coatings like C4 Permanent Trim Restorer from GTechniq. Or glass coatings like Platinum Glass from Carbon Collective.
- The surface to be coated must be clean and dry, but other prep work is limited for the application of these coatings.
- These are quick and easy to apply and don’t need super controlled conditions. Some can give fantastic results.
- A word of caution… You do get what you pay for when it comes to ceramic coatings, so I would advise caution if you see very cheap alternatives that promise a lot for little money. If you are looking for a coating that you can apply yourself and that is easy on the wallet. I would suggest OverCoat by Kamikaze Collection or C2 Liquid Crystal by GTechniq.
Do contact us if you’d like to find out more about professional ceramic coatings services, and how we can help protect your vehicle. We are based on the Hampshire West Sussex border.