Ceramic Coating Process: Everything You Should Know
What Is So Appealing About Ceramic Coating?
The ceramic coating process is exciting and always promises great results! All car owners know that regardless of the car model sitting in the garage, nothing compares to the feeling of owning a shiny and sparkly vehicle all over again. We’re talking about that candy-gloss shine that quickly turns even the oldest, most tired-looking car into a veritable sports machine.
The treatment these shiny vehicles get is usually called ceramic coating—the absolute hype nowadays among car enthusiasts. It’s true that perfection doesn’t exist and that a used car can never look absolutely new one more time. But, it sure can raise up to those standards when taken care of by professionals.
However, as appealing a professional treatment for your car could be, it’s also true the price can be quite steep when considering doing it regularly.
Sure, you may offer yourself and your car a ceramic coating session as a gift, but any more than this might burn through your finances quickly.
The secret behind ceramic coating and what makes it so appealing lies well beyond the magazine-like glossy finish it gives your car. In fact, it’s actually a polymer solution that’s applied to your car’s exterior to protect the paint from external damage.
Additionally, it’s created to successfully preserve the car’s factory paint job, leaving it intact. In other words, the ceramic coating process is designed to offer unmatched protection for your car’s paint.
Are Ceramic Coating And Nano Coating The Same?
Ceramic coating or nano coating—as it’s otherwise also known—is currently in high demand because its effects are truly mind-blowing, both in terms of visual results and long-term protection. It’s also important to understand that ceramic coatings are basically one and the same. The term “nano” is simply a marketing term used in the industry, and refers to the small particles that make up this specific product you’re using.
“Nano” typically refers to something of incredibly small size, which in this case refers to the density of the ceramic coating at hand. In other words, “nano-coating” says it all through its name. It’s a high-density composition, thorough enough to create a strong protective film over your car’s paint. The ceramic coating process is meant to give durable results and to save you from any unwanted and unnecessary costs down the line.
So What Are Some Of The Other Benefits of Ceramic Coating?
Don’t you dread the feeling of watching your car’s paint turn from shiny and brand new to dull and matte over time? This is something of a nightmare for car owners that truly make all possible efforts to keep their vehicle looking as fine as it did on day one. And, if you’re a car owner yourself, you’ve probably already put in the hours to do so. Most cars will eventually lose their spark.
Even with all the constant washing and occasional waxing, the paintwork will still eventually fade and change for the worse. Swirl marks will begin to appear and you’ll simply be left wondering if this car is the same one you bought not long ago.
While on the road, plenty of things can also negatively affect the integrity of your car’s paint. Bird droppings, rock chips, grime, and dirt are just some of the culprits you’ll need to deal with before diving into the ceramic coating process.
Even with so many advancements in tech, vehicles are still not well-protected from the harmful external factors constantly damaging their paintwork.
The Growth Of Professional-Grade DIY Ceramic Coating
Professional-grade ceramic coating is slowly, but surely, gaining ground on the market as a more durable and lasting alternative to waxing. This is because ceramic coatings are also hydrophobic in nature, bringing forth an extra advantage over all other techniques provided by your local car detailer.
This basically translates into your car’s nano ceramic coating repelling water right away, which means that any water-based dirt and road grime will simply slide off your car’s surface. What’s more, to finish cleaning these off, all you’ll need to do is point a jet of water towards your car and it will quickly look brand new once more.
The ceramic coating process, when completed successfully, will take a lot of hurdles off of your hands, as you’ll find out later in this article.
Washing your car when you’ve applied ceramic coating to it is also easy and safe for your vehicle since the polymer won’t simply come off with water. In fact, its adhesion strength is impressive, which makes it such a strong candidate among paint sealants. In fact, removing the nano ceramic coating requires an entirely different process involving polishing and wet-sanding.
Other External Factors “Stressing” You Car
Having said this, just as we feel certain stress factors impact our well-being, the same happens to our car and its looks. We’re talking about harmful UV rays that gradually enable the oxidizing process of your car’s paint job. Apart from this, high temperatures are also less than ideal.
Thankfully, a thorough car ceramic coating process will protect your car from such a damaging impact, which is especially crucial if you park outside, right where the sun can shine on your car all day long. Other than this, acidic contaminants found both in the air and in the rain will also play their part, especially if you live in the city, where pollution levels are typically known to skyrocket.
All these benefits make car ceramic coating go up the list of preferred car care services among those wanting to preserve their cars in pristine condition. For as long as possible.
All in all, this is why the DIY ceramic coating process might just be what you’ve been looking for.
Are There Any Downsides To Ceramic Coating?
One thing ceramic coating can’t do for you is to take washing your car off your shoulders.
This is because it doesn’t hold magic superpowers, it only protects your car really well. Apart from this, you’ll still need to schedule in car washes regularly, as it will still, without a shadow of a doubt, get dirty.
The only thing is that ceramic coating will make washing your car a less tedious process. It’ll get clean much faster than usual, with dirt and grime sliding right off, leaving the shiny ceramic coat sparkling underneath. You also won’t need to wax either, meaning you can spend fewer resources on keeping your car clean and beautiful.
For all its benefits, this type of car coating usually comes with a steep cost that many people are not willing to pay. Depending on the type of ceramic coating used and the care you put into your car afterward, the ceramic coating process may need repeating anywhere after 6 months to up to 2-5 years.
Understandably, you may not want to repeat the process so often or dig deep into your pockets so regularly. This is why many people have started looking into DIY ceramic possibilities. Who doesn’t want to turn their vehicle into a dream car from the comfort of their own home?
Thankfully, there are already many DIY ceramic coating options available to choose from on the market. We’ll dedicate this entire article to help you understand which choice better suits your needs. Plus, how you can apply this type of coating yourself. Let’s delve deeper into this subject and answer this burning and important question:
Can You DIY Ceramic Coating?
The answer in short is, absolutely! The ceramic coating process is easy even for newbies.
Even if you’ve never done this before, know that technology has advanced enough to offer car owners plenty of car care products that will provide unbeatable, long-term protection.
After all, what every car owner desires is to keep their vehicle’s beauty just as shiny and gorgeous as it was on the day of purchase! In fact, car owners who are looking for DIY car paint protection products already have a generous array of products to choose from, as follows:
- Buffing pads
- Car waxes
- Tire shines
- Non-ceramic spray waxes
- Clay bar
- Clay mitt
- Ceramic sprays.
Of all these DIY products, it’s safe to say that ceramic coatings have made it to the top, becoming one of the best-ranked innovations in the automotive industry.
Since they seem almost magical, it’s time to break them down and see how they work in more detail, while also explaining how the ceramic coating process works.
What’s In Ceramic Coatings?
You don’t need to be a chemistry aficionado to become curious about how ceramic coatings are made, and what are the seemingly magic ingredients behind them.
The bottom line on ceramic coatings and what you need to know about all of them is that they’re made of a combination between SiO2 and other chemical compounds. SiO2 is also known as silicon dioxide, and it’s actually the most important ingredient found in ceramic coatings. As a rule of thumb, the higher the SiO2 composition rate in your ceramic coating, the higher the guarantee you’ve found yourself a high-quality coating product.
Nonetheless, SiO2 is not the only ingredient that makes ceramic coatings the great innovation they are. In fact, apart from silicon dioxide, you’ll also find deposited chromium oxide, deposited aluminum oxide, or titanium dioxide. You’ll see this difference immediately when finished with the ceramic coating process.
What Can You Apply Ceramic Coating On?
Many people mistake ceramic coating as the magic solution for car paint only, completely disregarding the fact that it can be used on other surfaces as well. Yes! These products can be applied to several other parts of your car too, contributing to that overall shine you love and crave so much.
This type of paint sealant—ceramic coatings—can also be applied to the following car parts and surfaces:
- Vinyl wraps
- Glass surfaces
- Chrome surfaces
- Fiberglass surfaces
- Liner of truck beds.
As you can see, your entire car can get a mind-blowing makeover! Sealants like this are not meant exclusively for car paints, as many would think, but also for metals and other car surfaces as well. We’ll elaborate on the ceramic coating process below.
Can You Do DIY Ceramic Coating?
If you follow CarCareReviews.net, you probably know by now that we recommend you apply the ceramic coating yourself if you want to guard your finances and avoid paying the prices required by professional car detailers.
Even though it may be confusing at the start and even intimidating, considering just how many coating options are there on the market, the ceramic coating process can be easily broken down for newbies to understand as well.
Below, we’ll talk about the paint coating options you could choose from and how to easily give your car a fresher look. Simply put, we’ll break down the steps of the ceramic coating process, so you can do it by yourself.
What Are the Pros And Cons Of DIY Ceramic Coating?
For you to get a clearer picture of what DIY ceramic coating is all about, let’s look at both the pros and cons of taking this matter into your own hands.
We’ll start with the cons, since they are significantly fewer than the pros, as you’ll see for yourself.
Cons Of DIY Ceramic Coating
- One of the cons of DIY ceramic coating is the fact that it takes quite a bit of time to implement. Due to the high degree of thoroughness it requires, the ceramic coating process will take hours to complete, careful implementation of the steps, and plenty of attention and dedication. However, these will make it all worth it at the end when you see your car shine. You’ll likely pat yourself on the back for doing something worthy of a pro.
- Another con is getting slightly different results than what you would get when hiring professional car detailers to do the job. This only refers to the durability of the results, since most DIY coating options on the market will be less durable than the products that professionals work with. There’s less preparation required with a DIY formula during the ceramic coating process, but an improved application instead. So all your resources will actually go into the proper application of the sealant.
Pros Of DIY Ceramic Coating
- Undoubtedly, affordability is the most attractive pro of DIY ceramic coating. The entire coating process completed by professional car detailers will have you dig into your pockets for somewhere around $1,000, while doing it by yourself will cut back these costs by about 90%, a huge price difference for many car owners.
- By choosing a DIY coating option during your ceramic coating process, you can rest assured you get the same level of paint protection for your car as you would with a professional ceramic coating session.
- Some of the DIY ceramic coatings available on the market like Nexgen Ceramic Spray or Torque Detail offer the same extraordinary level of shine that professional ceramic does.
- When you choose a DIY ceramic coating product, you also benefit from the same fabulous hydrophobic properties you’d get when resorting to a professional ceramic coating process. Your car will be just as protected from water-based dirt and grime as it would when choosing the pricier professional version.
- By choosing to protect your car with ceramic coating, you’ll also help protect its value over time. So when you do decide to sell your car, you’ll find its value remains strong and steady thanks to the powerful paint sealant you applied.
What DIY Ceramic Coating Option Should I Choose?
While it’s true that the market can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re a newbie and it’s your first attempt at a ceramic coating process, there certainly are a few pointers you need to be mindful of. These will ultimately set the high-quality ceramic products apart from the mediocre ones.
You also need to keep in mind that many times online reviews can be misleading regarding all the possible DIY ceramic coating options. Our tip? To carefully sift through the information and make an educated choice.
All you need to do to ace the ceramic coating process is learn what you need to look for on the market, and find the perfect solution to fit your needs.
First of all, you need to look at the DIY products’ SiO2 concentration. As we said before, the higher the SiO2 concentration rate, the higher the guarantee you’ve found a ceramic coating product worth trying.
We strongly recommend one DIY ceramic coating product that’s a cut above the rest of the products on the market and that improves the ceramic coating process. Enter the Nexgen Ceramic Spray!
This is, relatively, a newcomer on the market, but has, since its launch, exploded in popularity and sales numbers. And for good reason, too. What makes this ceramic spray special is the sheer amount of SiO2 concentration it has compared to other similar products.
While tests have shown that other ceramic coating products only contain around 1% SiO2, the Nexgen Ceramic Spray contains a whopping 13%, which means a considerably increased level of protection and stronger hydrophobic properties. This is the main and most important reason why this spray has gained such impressive popularity in so little time.
With most other sprays, you’ll find the ceramic coating will only hold a couple of weeks at maximum, meaning you’ll often need to go back to step one of the ceramic coating process.
Now that we’ve established what you need to look for in a product, let’s see how difficult it is to complete the ceramic application by yourself, as well as the steps to succeed on this task!
How Hard Is It To Apply Ceramic Coating?
As you’re going to do the job of professionals, you will be required to arm yourself with patience and perseverance, while also tapping into your deepest passion for cars and your desire to see your own vehicle shine like it’s brand new one more time.
In short, the ceramic coating process is not difficult at all, as long as you carefully follow and implement all the steps described in this article.
How Long Does It Take To Apply Ceramic Coating?
Depending on the package you choose, professional car detailers can take up to 3 days to complete the job, especially if they’re applying several layers of ceramic coating to make the paint protection last longer.
When going to a detailer, you’ll also notice there are a lot of steps involved in the ceramic coating process. However, when you take the matter into your own hands and use a well-established product, the application may only take a few minutes. Of course, you still need to add the preparation time required before the actual process, which may take up to a few hours.
What Are The Steps To Ceramic Coating?
The important takeaway on DIY ceramic coating is that there aren’t so many steps involved. Still, you need to execute each and every one of them with attention and dedication.
Wash Your Car Thoroughly
The first step to an efficient and successful ceramic coating process is washing your car thoroughly.
Start by rinsing your car with clean water to ensure you remove all debris and dirt stuck on the surface. This is very important to maintain the integrity of the paint, so make sure you leave it absolutely clear of debris.
The second step is washing your car with soap. But mind you, you’ll need to use professional soap if you want top-quality results with your ceramic coating application procedure.
Do not, by any means, use dishwashing liquid, since it will shorten your car paint’s lifespan by removing important oils and substances.
Another mistake to avoid is using a sponge when washing your car. Although it sounds like a good idea and may be an efficient way to remove debris, a sponge will also leave imperceptible scratches on the paint which lead to swirl marks. And this is the very last thing you want! As professional car detailers recommend, microfiber towels are the way to go to properly take care of your car. A high-quality wash mitt will also do a fine job.
The classic advice of washing your car using two different buckets is applicable and recommended in this case. In one bucket, you’ll have clean water to use for rinsing, and in the other you’ll have the soap water. This works every single time, as long as you keep your washing moves organized.
Once you’re done with the washing, make sure to dry your car by using another microfiber towel. This will take you to the next step of the ceramic coating process.
Proceed With a Clay Bar
The next step, as experts recommend, is to use a clay bar on your car after washing and drying it. Make sure to also use an appropriate clay bar lubricant.
A clay bar is typically highly recommended because it will help the coating product adhere with much more strength to the car’s paint, enabling the ceramic coat to firmly stick on and become as durable as it’s meant to be.
Apart from this, a good clay bar will also help remove any potential debris you might have missed during the first step of the ceramic coating process.
Polish To Perfect The Look
Another step you need to take if you want your car to get that fine, shiny look you’ve always dreamed of is to apply a light polish.
This is absolutely necessary to solve some issues that ceramic coating simply can’t. We’re talking about swirl marks, water spots, fine scratches, burns, or stains from bird droppings. All of these are noticeable and will definitely impact how the entire coating process will turn out.
Of course, you won’t have the huge buffers professionals use, but you do have an alternative you can resort to. Using a dual-action polisher. This is a great solution for any beginner DIY-er, as it will enable you to get the hang of polishing in no time.
Apply Surface Prep Spray
The ceramic coating process is still unfolding, but be patient! You are now closer than ever to having the car-shine of your dreams.
Just as you prime a wall before painting it, your car requires the same type of treatment before you apply the ceramic coat. To prep your car for the ceramic coating step, you’ll need to apply an Isopropyl Alcohol solution to remove any traces of polishing residue, oils, or waxes left on the paint itself.
Finally Apply The Ceramic Coating
Before you start on this very important part of the process, make sure to wear gloves, as it’s absolutely crucial that you don’t leave any marks on your car. Apart from this, it’s important that you also check the weather. Make sure you can completely dedicate yourself to the delicate ceramic coating process while it’s dry and pleasant outside. Also ensure your car has enough time to dry, especially if you’ve washed it outside.
If you’re going for a product such as the Nexgen Ceramic Spray, you can just as well spray directly onto the surface of your car. If you’d like to work in smaller sections to get more control over the process, you can add the spray to the applicator.
Each coating product will give you different directions on how to exactly apply the coat. Most recommend either moving in a criss-cross fashion or back and forth, following the body lines of the vehicle. In any case, just make sure to follow the specific coating instructions indicated for your product.
It’s probably best to split your main surfaces into smaller sections while also paying attention to the timing. Waiting for more than 3-4 minutes for curing time may result in high spots, which are essentially saturated spots on the paint that will look darker in comparison.
If you want the ceramic coating process to run smoothly, make sure you keep several microfiber towels nearby, and use a clean one every single time to avoid oversaturation of product into the towel.
If you have any ceramic coating spray left, you can use it on the wheels, lights, or windshield. Or you can go for a second coating! Just make sure you leave the car out to dry for 24 hours after the curing process.
DIY buffing is yet another important step in this entire process. It will enable you to remove any excess oils still left on the surface of your car’s paintwork.
Use buffing pads to complete this job and keep an eye on how much compound you’re putting on them to ensure you’re not going to scratch the paint. Use a buffing tool, press it against the car and move it in circular motion without stopping until the end.
No ceramic coating process can be truly successful if you lose momentum and stop paying attention to the steps required afterward.
Curing is all about the bonding that will take place between the coating or coating layers and the car’s paint. The paint substrate will slowly assimilate the particles of the coating, which is the natural process at this stage of your ceramic coating procedure.
Sure, you’ll notice the ceramic paint starting to dry quite quickly, but it doesn’t mean it’s over.
Depending on the climate you live in, on how cold or hot it is, you’ll need to let your car sit for another day or two. This is so the ceramic coat can properly bond with the paint, ensuring durable and powerful results down the line.
Maintenance Of Your Ceramic Coat
If you’ve followed our suggested ceramic coating process, almost any high-quality DIY ceramic coating product will easily stand the test of time. However, it’s important to provide proper maintenance to the coating.
The one thing you’ll need to do to ensure the ongoing brilliance of your ceramic coating is to wash your car frequently and regularly. Consider washing it once a week or every two weeks to avoid any build-up of residues and contaminants. Also, consider the fact that direct sun exposure is one of ceramic coating’s biggest threats, so make sure you don’t leave your car directly under the sun’s powerful rays.
What Happens If You’re Not Happy With the Ceramic Coating?
In case you feel the ceramic coating process has gone wrong and didn’t provide the result you’d hoped for, there’s good news:
- Any DIY ceramic coating product will only last a few months. Remembering that your ceramic coating is not permanent should bring some ease of mind.
- You can remove the ceramic coating by resorting to claying, polishing, or using a chemical applicator.
The Bottom Line
Even if you are nervous about DIY ceramic coating, there are ways to pull through and get the results you desire.
You’ll need to diligently follow all the steps described above, have all tools and materials handy, and arm yourself with plenty of patience and dedication for the ceramic coating process.
The bottom line is that you can easily apply the ceramic coating by yourself and avoid the costs associated with professional services. You can give this a try and see if you can be the one in charge of making your car look like it’s straight out of an auto magazine centerfold.
Just make sure to choose a premium-quality DIY ceramic coating product that’s high in SiO2 to ensure long-lasting, reliable results.
We hope this guide has given you the insights you needed on the ceramic coating process! You now can dive straight into it and achieve the results you need without needing to spend a small fortune.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions regarding this process.