Is ceramic coating just some car detailing buzz word? Or is it a real and practical way to protect your car’s paint? Well, the latter is the correct answer to that part, but it doesn’t tell us very much about what exactly ceramic coating is, how it works or why it’s more effective than regular waxes.
If you’re trying to find applicators for ceramic coating in Sydney, it’s a bit better to walk into a shop with a good knowledge of how it all works rather than just going in there totally blind.
What Exactly is Ceramic Coating?
Put simply, ceramic coating is a silica-based liquid polymer — typically silicon dioxide (silica, Si02) — that is first applied by hand in a similar (but more careful) method to the application of a regular paint sealant, but when cured forms a hydrophobic and protective layer on top of the car’s clear coat that is effective for up to several years.
Many professional-grade ceramic coatings are rated for 2-5 years, but the strongest ceramic coatings have been rated to last for even longer, with some even claimed to last the entire lifespan of the car. The ceramic coatings that most people get fall into the 2-5 years category, but that’s still a far cry from typical waxes and sealants which last at best 3-6 months before reapplication is needed.
In the past, ceramic coating was limited just to the industry-grade material used by professional applicators, but there are now DIY consumer variants which while essentially the same formulation are not as powerful or as long-lasting as the industrial ceramic coating.
How Does it Protect a Car’s Paint?
Ceramic coating essentially acts like a second skin on top of your car’s clear coat. Let’s assume you’ve owned your car for a year or more already. It’s likely through the course of its daily driving, the clear coat has taken a few small dings and endured some wear and tear: mud and debris from the road, bird droppings, rainfall, sun’s UV rays, and so on. The clear coat is effective at keeping your base coat protected to an extent, but ceramic coating is designed to amplify that protection.
Where your clear coat becomes uneven and full of small cracks and fissures, the ceramic coating will restore a smooth and even surface in which dirt finds it exceedingly difficult to become embedded. One big reason for this is the elevated water resistance of ceramic coating, which makes your car’s surface hydrophobic. You may have seen demonstrations of half coated bonnets on cars, with the coated half beading and sloughing off the water like a dog shaking off after a swim.
How is it Applied?
The coating is applied over a fairly slow process that takes up to 4-5 days including time for the coating to cure. It’s applied in layers in a similar way to paint sealant, while others use more advanced techniques like plasma spraying. Each shop is different according to the application equipment and systems that they use. It’s not like an application of wax that can be done in an hour or two, though.
Is Ceramic Coating Worth It?
Ultimately, most people who get ceramic coating on their car say it’s worth it. Some people combined a ceramic coating on the side and rear of the car, with a vinyl paint protection film on the front of the car for added physical protection from things like rock chips. Ceramic coatings offer unbeatable protection from water-based and chemical contaminants, and also provide a lasting showroom-quality shine that turns heads wherever it goes.