NEW AND IMPROVED HIGH GLOSS FORMULA
The Opti-Coat Pro Ceramic Paint Protection package now delivers even more gloss and slickness than ever before, while still maintaining the same chemical structure that has made it renowned as The Ultimate™ protective paint coating.
The advanced formulation not only delivers amazing gloss and protection,
it also provides increased anti waterspotting and hydrophobic properties
to maintain the perfect finish in the long term.
Ceramic coating for a car: what is it?
In this article, let's look at what is a ceramic coating, its characteristics, application method, pros, and cons for you.
Pro wax has always been the most popular coating for protecting body paint. It is not a bad barrier against aggressive environmental influences, but it requires periodic renewal.
A new more wear-resistant and durable means to protect the body surface has appeared on the market. It is a ceramic nano - coating. This auto coating with ceramic nanoparticles has become a massive trend in the vehicle body repair industry. It can be a good alternative to protective wax. Ceramic car coating creates a strong bond with body paint and will not rub off or break down when washed and will not require frequent refinishing.
You can compare a longevity with which popular protective compounds work:
• Wax shine and protection lasts six to eight weeks.
• Sealant (synthetic paint sealant) lasts 5-6 months.
• A good ceramic coating for cars can last 5-9 years (more or less), depending on the application quality, due to continued use and care.
We will be looking at what a ceramic coating can do on your vehicle, what you should not expect from it.
What are the benefits of nano-coating available on a market?
Here are benefits of a ceramic coating for cars:
• Ceramic coating is protecting the paint from UV rays, oxidation and environmental impacts.
If the paint is frequently exposed to scorching sun, paint will begin to fade and discolor. A ceramic protective layer prevents this destructive process.
• Coating with ceramic paint creates protection against chemicals. Oils, petrol, acid rain do not affect the ceramic protective layer.
• Easy to wash and maintain the car. One of the most important properties of ceramic coating is its hydrophobicity. That is, it has water-repellent properties. Chemicals don't damage the coating, it just rolls off the surface of the body. Contamination also does not stay on the surface for a long time or does not stick too strongly. Nanostructure of ceramic layers makes the surface more even and smooth. Thus, contaminants have nothing to adhere to the surface, and simply detailing slides off it. Reduced surface damage.
• Improved gloss. Your paint receives improved reflectivity and a deeper gloss.
• Resistant to minor scratches. Ceramic layer surface is harder than the original paintwork.
• Permanent 10 H Hardness long-term protection (up to 9 years).
• Improves corrosion protection. Pro ceramic composition penetrates through all pores and cracks of the paint and seals them. There have been repeated tests of action of destructive salts and a ceramic coating showed itself well.
• Resistant to high temperatures
• Ceramic layer protects from bird droppings, tar from trees. Such contaminations are much easier to remove from the body.
• Provides protection from liquid spray-painting on an automotive body (antigraffiti). Paint correction is easily removed without consequences.
• Antifreeze effect.
You are able to treat almost all surfaces of a car.
What can't a ceramic coating do?
Car ceramic coating does not mask imperfections in paint. If it is applied to a surface with scratches, they“ll keep visible and cannot be removed, because paint can no longer be changed underneath the "ceramic" layer. For this reason, a protective composition must be applied to a new or restored surface with an abrasive polish. (paint correction)
Liquid ceramic coating cannot completely eliminate scratches and chips from the car body during operation. Scratch resistance is often overestimated. It will protect against the appearance of swirl marks, but it will not protect against more serious scratches and chips created by an exterior force.
Improper washing can still scratch the surface. It cannot be considered a substitute for more reliable protection against chips that the protective clear film provides, even in a professional hand. Stone will bounce off and may leave a mark on a film, but not on a body.
It is not able to completely eliminate the formation of traces from dried water on paint. So, water usually contains some amount of salts, impurities and minerals. After it has evaporated, all of the salts and contaminants remain on the body in a form of visible traces. Most of the water does slide and roll off the body, but a percentage of the water is retained and leaves traces as it evaporates.
Regular car washing! Even if the car is ceramic coated, it cannot be ruled out for your vehicle. Your car will still be able to get dirty, but dirt and clay will not stick to a surface too much. Washing becomes easier and no further waxing of the body is required, but still needs to be regularly maintained.
A big feature of ceramic protection is the importance of preparing the surface before applying it. This will determine further life of protection. Preparation and application procedure will be detailed in the article below.
What is the main disadvantage of ceramic vehicle coating?
This is not a disadvantage, but rather a peculiarity, that can only be known to those who read anything detailing the ceramic coating process. Since it is still possible to scratch a ceramic surface, sooner or later, scratches may appear on it for various reasons. Not as many as on an unprotected or near waxed surface, but they will. These scratches will be impossible to remove by polishing, such as on a normal clear coat. The only way to remove scratches from paint is to remove the old ceramic layer and apply a new one. Considering its price, this is not easy to do. It requires an abrasive surface treatment that, along with ceramic paint coating, will also remove a small amount of the original paintwork. For example, if the car is wax or DON treated, it can be refinished at any time. This can easily be done in certain areas that require it. If you cannot do this with a ceramic layer, it’s because it is a permanent, long-term layer that has a strong bond with the paintwork.
A few scratches that appear during this period will remain on the car until you have decided to completely remove a "ceramic" and re-apply a new one. Manufacturers solve this problem with an additional down layer of polish that requires periodic renewal. This can be called a disadvantage, but for me, it is not. So people who believed in the miracle of "ceramics" and decided to "apply and forget" may be disappointed, but not us. It requires a certain amount of care.
Why is a ceramic coating called nano-coating?
The nano-ceramic coatings are a technology that was discovered back in 1980, after which the ways of obtaining nano-ceramics have been improved.
Our nano-materials are materials whose constituent particles are no larger than 100 nm. This particle size gives the coating for a car interesting ceramic property compared to conventional materials. Thus, the prefix "nano" refers specifically to the structure of the ceramics and not to the thickness of the layer obtained during its application (as is often mentioned when it comes to describing properties of nano-ceramics). In fact, the total thickness of several layers of "ceramics" is near 100 times greater than when it is a wax layer.
Nano-ceramics have unique properties that simple ceramics do not have. Conventional ceramics, which have a macrostructure, are brittle, stiff, and easily destroyed on impact. However, nano-ceramics have other properties, including super ductility and they make sure that there is a higher impact strength.
What is a ceramic coating made from?
Ceramic vehicle coating from different manufacturers may have different compositions. There are a lot of brands that do not have their own factories. They buy semi-finished products from major manufacturers, then come up with various loud slogans, but do not advertise the exact detailing composition of their products.
The formula of ceramic coating includes solvents/thinners, different concentrations of SiO2 (or other right basic elements), as well as other components that affect its properties. The basic component can be SiO2 (Silicon Dioxide), TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide), and SiC (Silicon Carbide). A good "ceramic" may not contain a binding polymer, which is a weak link. Thus, a protective layer is completely inert and wear-resistant.
SiO2 is the main component of sand. It has the ultra-cost performance ratio in forming hydrophobic coatings, which is why it is most commonly used.
TiO2 gives the best UV protection as well as high hardness.
SiC is very rare in nature but is often used to help create a synthetic diamond in industry and has high hardness. Silicon carbide (SiC) is found in OptiCoat's ceramic coating paint. It is the only product on the market that contains this component.
An important criterion for a quality protective composition is the presence of a high percentage of SiO2 or its substitutes. A good product should have at least 50% SiO2.
How long does ceramic coating bonds with paintwork?
In advertisements, manufacturers often talk about the formation of a chemical bond of "ceramics" with the paintwork after it is spend.
There are no reagents in the lacquer (which is a stable structure in itself, especially urethane lacquer) that react to create a chemical bond with the nanoceramic structure. The only reason the ceramic becomes a coating on a car is a mechanical relationship between the 2 structures. Simply put, because nano-ceramics contain very small particles, they penetrate all irregularities and pores of the paint, and after the solvents evaporate, the ceramic layer holds very firmly and, you could say, becomes part of the paintwork. But it is not a chemical bond, at least not a covalent one where the electrons of the substances being joined together. Lacquer, for example, is applied to the base and stays on the surface mechanically and does not create a chemical bond, and it does not peel off.
What hardness does the ceramic coating actually have?
In describing of car coating and its benefits, manufacturers often refer to 9H as the highest hardness score. We offer 10H Ceramic coating, Gtechniq Crystal Serum Ultra.
Sometimes, in discussions of the coating hardness on a car ceramic, it is specified that this value is determined by the Mohs test, which uses various minerals to test the surface hardness by scratching it with minerals.
Only 10 minerals from the softest (talc) to hardest (diamond) participate in the test. Thus, perhaps you want to think that a ceramic coating's hardness of 9H is close to a diamond. In fact, the value 9H refers to hardness on the Wolf Wilborn hardness scale. Normal paintwork on this scale will have a value of about 3H-4H. This is a pencil hardness test. This test is common in determining hardness of paintwork, so it is good to know how it's done.
In the test, pencils of different grades of hardness are pressed and moved over the surface to be tested until the surface is scratched. To do this, a special block is used to hold the pencil at a certain angle (45 degrees). The movement is made in the direction in which the pencil lead is directed.
There is even an ISO 15184 standard that defines a correct procedure for testing the hardness of paints and varnishes with this test. This car coating and a ceramic hardness test is not exact but gives an approximate idea of the hardness of a clear coat.
On the Mohs scale review, graphite (pencil lead) will have a hardness of approximately 1.5, but not 9. The manufacturers of Ceramic Pro describe the advantages of their product as easy to apply several layers, which increases hardness. Thus, according to the manufacturer itself, 4 layers would pull a value of 6 on the Mohs scale.
The hardness of "Ceramic" is far from the hardness of diamond and, based on the practice of use, the ceramic coating scratches, but not as easily as conventional varnish for vehicles.
Preparing a car for coating with ceramic
You need to do the following:
1. Surface must be 100% clean, dust-free, and dry.
2. This requires the body to be thoroughly washed and treated with clay bar.
3. All ultra waxes and other protective products must be removed.
4. The body should be polished with an abrasive paste (see an article on abrasive polishing) before applying the protective ceramic coat. The point is to remove or smooth out existing scratches, once applied this can no longer be done. For this purpose, a rotary polisher for cars coating ceramic with a hard foam wheel is used. To finally remove circular scratches afterward, it is better to use a double-acting polisher.
5. It is desirable to blow out compressed air in every corner to prevent water from accidentally getting on the newly treated bodywork.
6. After washing, cleaning clay, and polishing, it is necessary to review and clean the surface of the car body from the remains of polishing paste with isopropyl alcohol (or panel wipe by Gtechniq) and microfibre. This will provide the surface for good adhesion with a protective agent.
7. Then you can already apply the ceramic composition. The procedure should be done indoors at a temperature of 18-30 degrees Celsius.
8. Ceramic paint is sold in kits that consist of everything you need to apply it.
9. Depending on the manufacturer, the method of applying a coating ceramic to transport may differ slightly. Check the instructions for the specific product for the method and procedure of application.
10. Wrap microfiber from a kit around the applicator. Then drop 4-5 drops of composition and without effort apply the composition to paintwork with even crossed movements, first horizontally, then vertically.
After application of ceramic paint on a car, the coating is done, you must wait 1-3 minutes, depending on manufacturer's recommendations and ambient temperature. After evaporation of solvents, using a microfiber from the kit, wipe treated areas (straight movements) to review and remove excess residue and even out the applied composition. It is necessary to apply light pressure, but do not create excessive friction.
If the entire car will be ceramic coated, you can follow this sequence: start with the hood, then proceed to a roof, trunk lid, bumpers, side panels, and doors, and finally the apply ceramic to side mirrors, like to other parts.
• Product should be applied to each part of your vehicle in turn.
• Apply it in 60 cm by 60 cm sections. For example, a hood can be divided into four parts for a save of time.
• To speed up curing of "ceramic" you can use an infrared dryer (they are around 120-130 degrees Celsius) and heat each car panel for 20 minutes.
• Do not wash or touch bodywork for 24 hours. It is better not to operate a car during this period. Do not wash your car within a week.
It is recommended to apply 2-5 coats for better hardness and ultra durability. The second coat is applied after 2-5 hours after the first one.
A ceramic paint, coating for vehicles, can be applied to your car parts, except soft rubber and tires. It also makes sense to pay extra and protect the rims. This is especially true for rims with a complex shape, which is not convenient to wash.
Ceramic vehicle coating forms a permanent adhesion to lacquer and can only be removed with an abrasive. No chemically active substances can dissolve it.
In summary, we can say that a ceramic coating is undoubtedly unique, but before deciding to apply it, you need to consider all its features and remember that it requires proper care for a long life.
How to choose the right detailing center?
So, let's talk about how to choose the right detailing service for your favorite car. Read no further if you do not like your car. In such case, your nearest car wash offering "fast and cheap polishing" will suffice.
Car detailing services are very popular in Canada now, with every car wash, paint shop, garage, etc. positioning themselves as detailing centers, offering car polishing and protective coating. Usually these are well-known brands with a guarantee of impeccable results. Everything would be fine, had the quality of work corresponded to the philosophy of detailing: to provide the best possible and most delicate service to your car! Instead, everyone just wants to make money on a client's incompetence. Their rather mediocre service shatters a client's trust in detailing, applying Paint Protection Film, ceramic coating, etc.
Below is what you should pay attention to when choosing a detailing center, if you want to get the perfect and satisfying result:
A car wash is not a detailing center. To polish and cover a car with protective compounds, there must be a dry and clean room. At the car wash, even if the detailing is done at night or with a closed curtain, it is difficult to achieve a good result. The protective coating will not cover the car properly and will be ineffective. Polishing also requires special skills. It should be performed by an experienced master and not by a car wash worker during his breaks.
Good lighting. The servicing room must be clean, dry and properly lit. There should also be additional light sources, spotlights and flashlights with different spectrum and light flux to check the result. Different lighting conditions help to see various scratches. For example, in cold fluorescent light large and deep scratches are clearly seen. However, spotlight is needed to find cobwebs and holograms.
Materials. Pay attention to what materials the master uses. A shelf with 3M pastes that are widely used in different painting works should make you worry. They are rough and contain silicone that fills the scratches but does not polish them. If there is no choice of pastes, then avoid visiting such a detailing center. Remember: there should be at least 3-4 different pastes, for they must be matched to the brand and varnish of a particular car. The "one paste fits all" principle does not work here.
Period of completion. A high-quality car polishing and coating takes at least 2 full days for an average sedan with a mileage of up to 70-80 thousand km. A lot also depends on the hardness of the factory varnish. Covering a new car in up to 4 layers of ceramic coating takes a day, including the preparation of the body and drying. It is possible to provide a high quality service faster only if 3 or 4 masters work at the same time. In practice, 1 or 2 masters usually work on one car. It takes 8-12 hours for a protective coating to dry according to a manufacturer's requirements before a car may be returned to the client. Thus, if someone promises you to do detailing, polishing and coating all in one day, you should do some thinking.
The cost of service. This parameter is individual for everyone, but there is a certain minimum, below which the service is unlikely to be good. Speaking of Vancouver BC, the minimum price for a high-quality polishing and protective coating (Paint Protection Film or ceramic coating) for a "golf class" car starts from 1397 CAD. You can find our prices here
Location. Do not choose a detailing center closer to home just because it is convenient. People sometimes drive to nearby cities and towns for a high-quality service. It is much easier and more logical to drive to the other end of the city once every six months, if you are sure of the result. Our contacts.
This is probably the last point to which you should pay attention, but it could as well be the first. On a detailing center's website there must be photo and video reports on the work done, with examples before and after, under a spotlight or a flashlight in similar lighting conditions. These reports should explicitly demonstrate the condition of the car, preferably in different places of the body (a hood, a door, a threshold, a rear bumper, etc.).