Is Ceramic Coating Really Worth It?
When it comes to car care, ceramic coatings are considered the “next generation” of paint protection. Applied by hand, ceramic coatings are liquid polymers that create a semi-permanent bond with your vehicle’s paint, making it easier to clean and protect it from contaminants. But is ceramic coating worth it? Does it really do all that it promises to? We’ll break it all down for you in today’s post, so stick with us till the end!
If you love your car, you want it to keep looking as shiny and pristine as the day you got it. Do you remember that glossy, fresh-out-of-the-showroom look that was catching looks on the street? We bet you do! That shiny look together with the “new car smell” make some of the main reasons most people want to invest in a new car. But how can you make them last?
Detailing products can be really effective in helping your car look as good as the day you got it. But amongst all of them, what makes a ceramic coating worth it? Especially when compared to the good old wax most car owners are used to?
Before investing time and money into a detailing product, you should do your homework well and get the facts straight. Only by having a clear understanding regarding what each product does and doesn’t you can ensure you will not end up disappointed with the results you get.
If you are not absolutely new to the detailing market, you probably have heard about ceramic coatings by now. Claims about these types of paint sealants can be found everywhere online, from blogs and coating companies’ websites to forums and customer reviews. Some people praise ceramic coatings and have nothing bad to say about them, while others are more reticent.
So… what’s the truth?
When it comes to deciding whether the ceramic coating is worth it or not, let’s first see what these types of paint sealant products are made of.
What Are Ceramic Coatings?
Based on a technology originating from NASA, ceramic coatings are liquid polymers with a composition comprising silicon dioxide or silica (SiO2). Sounds fancy, right? So if you are still wondering whether the ceramic coating is worth it, just remember that NASA thinks it is.
If you skipped some chemistry classes like many of us here, you might find chemical compositions a bit confusing. To paint you a more clear picture regarding ceramic coatings’ s composition, here’s what SiO2 is.
SiO2 is the essential ingredient of ceramic coatings. Derived from sand and quartz crystals, silica is a combo of two natural materials, silicon, and oxygen. These two can be combined with other various elements like titanium dioxide, polysilazane, triethanolamine, and water, resulting in a resilient coating. This viscous, liquid coating is basically what we refer to as ceramic coating. When applied on a hard surface, ceramic coatings form a paint protection film that helps to keep the underlying surface protected and looking its best for a few weeks.
If you are trying to determine which is the most worth buying DIY ceramic coating amongst all the ones existing on the market, look at their silica concentration. Don’t be fooled thinking that the more ingredients a product has, the better. Keep in mind this very important aspect: when it comes to ceramic coating resistance, the only ingredient that really matters is silica! The higher the content of SiO2, the stronger the formula.
There is only one non-professional product that has managed to impress us with its SiO2 concentration, and that’s Nexgen Ceramic Spray. Wondering what makes Nexgen so special in our eyes? Its high concentration of SiO2, obviously. Nexgen comes with the highest silicon dioxide content on the market. 13%! Pretty impressive, huh?
What Are the Key Benefits of Ceramic Coatings For Cars
But enough with Nexgen for now. Let’s get back to whether ceramic coatings are worth it or not and look at some of their benefits that speak for themselves:
Ceramic Coatings Are Incredibly Resistant
A true ceramic forms strong chemical bonds to the surface of the vehicle after it hardens. So once it’s applied, you cannot remove it simply by using paint cleaners or pressure washers. A high-quality ceramic like Nexgen, although a DIY detailing product, can offer protection that lasts up to 4-6 months, even if your vehicle faces extreme weather conditions. That makes it 4 times more resistant than other ceramic sprays on the market, its durability being easily comparable to professional products.
Protection Against Pollutants
Pollutants are one of the major problems our society is facing. Not only are pollutants hazardous for our health, but they can also affect our cars. A high-quality ceramic coating can protect your vehicle from many chemicals and pollutants produced by gasoline, brake fluid, generic cleaners, etc.
They provide a “just-out-of-the-showroom shine”
Cleaning your car often and still not getting that lustrous shine? Do you love driving cars, admiring them, and dreaming about buying the latest model on the market? Then you must probably know quite well that there’s nothing like the shiny look a new car has.
So if you are missing that gleam in the sunlight your vehicle had when you first laid eyes on it, ceramic coatings are worth giving a try, as they might help you get just that. Vehicles that have been ceramic coated get that amazing glossy/wet look that is usually only attributed to new cars.
Help Keep The Coat Cleaner For Longer
Even when coated with the best ceramic product on the market, your car is still going to get dirty after enough use. So this doesn’t mean that once you apply a ceramic coating, you will never have to wash your car ever again. It just means that it will make clean-up far less frequent and labor-intensive. While water and dirt won’t cling to your car’s paint as much, a ceramic coating doesn’t eliminate the need for a car wash.
What a ceramic coating can do very well though is help speed up cleaning. Dirt, road grime, pollen, bird droppings, and various other contaminants won’t doesn’t stick to the paintwork as much.
Protects Your Car From The Sun
It’s common knowledge amongst all car owners that sun rays can be incredibly damaging to a car’s paint. Constant exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays oxidizes and fades automobile paint and makes a car look old and worn out before its time. Sun damage can be prevented by keeping your vehicle inside a garage or in a shaded area, but that’s not always possible. If you really want to make sure your car is protected, there’s nothing better than applying a luxurious coat of ceramic coating.
Wondering if a ceramic coating is worth it? Just know that ceramic coatings are a critical final step to prevent sun damage to car paint from ultraviolet radiation. The added extra layer of hard protection ceramic coatings provide will help prolong the finish and paint color of your car.
Helps Protect Against Bird Poo And Tree Sap
Thinking that bird poop or tree sap being natural materials cannot be that harmful? Think again! Both these pesky substances can damage your car’s paint when not cleaned as quickly as possible. And although both of them are natural, they usually contain high levels of acidity and, when left too long, can etch themselves into the paint.
The damaged areas will look like dull water spots, while underneath, both sap and bird poo will eat away at that protective layer. Your paint can crack or flake, Not to mention that the metal underneath can rust.
Helps With Inferior Cleaning Practices In The Future
Do you wash your car at an automatic car wash? We hope you are aware of how badly these can damage your car. But we also know quite well just how addictive these automatic washes can be, especially when you are in a hurry to get your car cleaned. These washes are seriously saving time and hassle, and that’s why a great majority of car owners resort to them often. But what exactly is the problem with automatic car washes? The biggest issue is that the brushes are not properly maintained.
Automatic machines are essentially like slapping your car with a dirty mop, causing hundreds of deep micro scratches called swirl marks.
Over time, the damage builds leading to the paint becoming dull and the scratches easily noticeable. Getting rid of swirl marks can only be done through a process called paint correction, when the paintwork is cut to level out any swirl marks seen on the surface. Paint correction can end up being quite expensive and can only be done so many times due to a car’s clear coat being a certain thickness. A high-quality ceramic coating like Nexgen or Torque Detail, although not scratch-proof, can significantly reduce the potential of swirl marks.
Just keep in mind that both DIY and professional ceramic coating products are intended to protect the surface where they are applied from future damage and are not invincible. While nanotechnology allows them to penetrate scratches and imperfections in porous materials, they won’t fill swirl marks or scratches to remove them.
No Need To Use Car Wax Or Any Other Detailing Products
Many people are asking us whether they can apply wax over ceramic coating. Our answer is always the same. Sure, it can be done. But is it worth it? No matter what you are after, be it extra shine (although we doubt it is possible) or prevention of paint imperfections, adding any amount of wax on top won’t do anything special. On the contrary. Wax generally tends to attract dirt, dust, tree sap, and pollen – causing them to stick to the surface. This, in turn, leads to a dirtier car.
The best way to protect the coating itself, or even extend its life, is through basic maintenance or by applying another coat of ceramic on top.
Ceramic Coatings Can Be Applied To Most Surfaces
Versatility is one of the most important aspects of ceramic coatings. These detailing products can be applied on all painted surfaces, including headlights, trim, fiberglass, vinyl wraps, wheels, glass, chrome, and even the liner of truck beds.
Prevent Hard Water Spots
Most high-quality ceramic coatings feature hydrophobic water behavior meaning that water simply beads and runs off the car. How do they do that? Both ceramic and graphene ceramic coatings have a resin system, the binder, and the backbone. This system is the mechanism that basically provides both water and mineral deposit protection.
Wondering why water is so dangerous? In the end, we use it to wash our cars, no? Well, yes and no. Water can be extremely damaging to a car, especially when it’s in the form of hard water or acid rain. But let us explain what is basically happening here. When water particles remain on the paint surface, it eventually evaporates. What’s left behind them as evaporation happens are salt, dirt, and mineral deposits that soon solidify and etch into the paintwork.
Due to its hydrophobic properties, ceramic paint protection significantly assists with repelling these water spots, which can often appear on both your paint and windows. A ceramic coating’s hydrophobic properties help keep vehicles clean for longer, allow them to shed water quickly and efficiently, and enable for quick and simple car washing.
Disadvantages of Car Ceramic Coatings
With so many good things to talk about, you must probably be convinced by now that ceramic coating is worth it. But since nothing in the world is entirely perfect, let’s see if there are any downsizes to ceramic coatings. And although we can’t think of too many bad things to tell you, there are certain aspects you should consider though:
Long Prepping Time
One downside car owners looking to apply the ceramic coating by themselves might face from the long prep time ceramic coatings require. As seen above, prepping your car well is essential if you want a ceramic coating not only to apply better but also to last longer. And this includes new cars too, even if from outside it would seem that the vehicle is in perfect condition.
Before you apply the ceramic coating, the paint’s surface should be free of any blemishes or contaminants. But other than washing the car, a multi-stage paint correction also includes claying and buffing.
Keeping The Paint Pristine
One other aspect that could give most people a bit of a headache is keeping the paint in pristine condition till applying the coating. This can be quite difficult when you don’t have a clean indoor facility.
You Must Pay Attention To How You Apply It
Don’t expect that applying the coat itself to be an easy task either. The uneven coating can result in high spots that must be buffed out to be fully corrected.
What Every Car Owner Should Know About Professional vs DIY Ceramic Coatings
When you are trying to decide whether the ceramic coating is worth it or not, you should also know that not all ceramic coatings are created equal. Some are professional and can be applied only by a detailer, while the DIY ones you can apply yourself with just a little bit of training.
Professional Grade Ceramic Coatings
Professional coatings last longer than DIY kits. Other than that, they must be applied by certified professionals. They are also more expensive, and the price is justified by the need to use specialized equipment and trained staff members. Separate from that, most ceramic coatings require prep work before getting applied, and when done professionally, this prep work takes a long time when done by a professional and involves scrubbing down the surfaces, isopropyl alcohol spraying, and microfiber polishing.
In general, having a professional ceramic coating installed will take up to 5 days to complete since it has to be baked on with UV lighting. Depending on your car’s surface and the condition the paint is in, this time interval can be shorter or longer.
When it comes to how long a professional ceramic coating lasts, most professional detailers will offer you a warranty, generally between 5 and 7 years.
DIY Ceramic Coating Kits
For car owners that don’t want, or simply cannot afford to pay the the prices a professional ceramic coatings involve, a DIY kit can perform almost as well as a professional product; minus the cost, of course, and also with less time involved.
And if some of you might stay away from applying a ceramic coating due to not knowing how to do it, worry no more. Anyone can do it with just a bit of knowledge and training. We have even written a blog post on this so check it out and see just how easy applying ceramic coating can be.
What about DIY ceramic coating? Is it worth it? Now when it comes to DIY ceramic coatings, it’s very important to pick the best products you can get to render the best results. If you are after professional results but at a friendly price, Nexgen Ceramic Spray is a professional-grade seal and has one of the highest SiO2 formulas. On top of that, it has one of the fastest applications available on the market today, not to mention a little goes a long way!
How Long Does Ceramic Coating Last?
Although you might hear some voices saying ceramic coatings are permanent, this is absolutely not true. Technically, even the 5 years most professional ceramic coatings are guaranteed are circumstantial and based on many factors. What happens is that as long as you are not keeping your car locked inside a garage, washing the car, sun, salt, dirt, and all other environmental factors will constantly break down the vehicle’s protection.
Other than this, there is also the location factor which should be taken into consideration greatly. It’s one thing to live in Southern California and drive your car in a climate where there’s virtually no humidity, no bugs, no salt in the air, and it rarely rains. And it’s a completely different scenario if you live in a place with extreme weather changes, such as Alaska or North Dakota.
When you choose a professional ceramic coating, you can expect it to last between 1 to 5 years on average. There are also a few that last 7 years, but those will be the most expensive and will still need maintenance at least once a year. Again, as we stated above, it all depends on what you put your vehicle through and how you care for it on a daily basis.
The biggest issue with professional coatings is even if you will see that the ceramic coating on certain areas will start to fade, you won’t be able to do anything yourself, and you will still have to go to the professional that has applied it in the first place.
So what about the DIY kits? Is this type of ceramic coating worth it?
DIY ceramic coatings will obviously last less compared to professional products. But they will give you more freedom, and you will not have to block so much money on your car.
Our favorite product, Nexgen Ceramic Spray, can last anywhere between 6-12 months, not to mention it can be applied and reapplied easily. These newly added layers will help protect your vehicle and make the coating last longer.
How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Car Ceramic Coated?
With so many ceramic coatings on the market from both professional and DIY categories, the price tag varies as well.
If you search for professional ceramic coatings, be prepared to take out from your pocket anywhere from $500 to $3,000. It all depends on the size and condition of your vehicle, the quality of ceramic coating you get, and also your dealer’s reputation. Obviously, a brand new car will be much cheaper to coat compared to an old, larger vehicle, which has more severe paint correction work required.
Also, keep in mind that there can also be a lot of hidden costs behind taking your car to a professional. Some of the costs you will be told about do not include all the prep work. And sometimes, even the specialist might know for sure what the process will entail. For example, if the body is oxidized, a full paint correction procedure might be required, which will significantly raise the initial costs you had in mind.
When it comes to DIY ceramic coating kits, the prices start at about $20 for the cheapest ones and can reach up to around $150. If you read our post from the beginning, but also if you had a look at our other articles and reviews, you must probably know that we are huge fans of this option. And if you choose products of quality such as Nexgen or Torque Detail, you can rest assured that you will get quality results equal to what you might expect from professional ones but coming at incomparable costs.
The setting up of the DIY ceramic coating kit completely relies on the size of your auto and can take up to 4 to 8 hours fully if you want to do it accurately. Compared to professional services, a DIY ceramic coating will save you $1000, and you can even see better outcomes. But this, of course, is only if you are prepared to install the prep work and have the elementary motorized detailing capacity and tolerance to put in by yourself.
Is Ceramic Coating Worth It? Overview
If you are still wondering whether the ceramic coating is worth it or not, we hope that we managed to get you convinced regarding this product’s exceptional paint protection properties.
Cars have to endure different types of attacks ranging from scratches to contamination with dirt and dust. But a ceramic coating layer can provide your vehicle with a strong protective surface that shields it from all types of foreign matter, thus preventing damage and ensuring that your vehicle can withstand harsh conditions.
In a nutshell, ceramic coatings are:
- Make your car easier to clean
- Don’t require any other products to be added
- They can be cost-efficient, especially when you pick a DIY kit.
We hope that you found our article both informative and helpful. And if you want our professional opinion, after trying and comparing almost all detailing products on the market, we truly believe that DIY ceramic coatings are definitely worth it. So why not give them a try yourself and share with us your opinion?
In the meantime, we have many other interesting articles on our site you might find interesting too. On top of that, we have reviewed some of the top products on the market to help you make an informed decision.
Here are a few: