If you own any high-end electronics, Oakley’s, or Leatherman products you’ve probably heard of CERAKOTE. The company’s main objective is to create the toughest protective coatings for your most expensive items. So, when I came across CERAKOTE Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant for auto detailing, I was not leaving without a bottle.
At the time of purchase, I didn’t have any personal experience with the brand, so I was enthusiastic about trying it out on my Jeep. I’ll break down my experience below to show you how long this ceramic lasted, how tough it truly is, the hydrophobic properties, the application process, and even how their customer service rates. When it comes to DIY ceramic coatings, few things please me more than a successful round of torture tests, so let’s see how Cerakote holds up.
Who is Cerakote?
The company was founded in 1984 and currently sits on a 10-acre manufacturing campus in Oregon state. While their ceramics are well known in the industry, Cerakote isn’t an auto detailing company. The company specializes in a broad spectrum of ceramics, extending its influence across various consumer brand sectors.
An intriguing aspect I discovered about Cerakote is their hands-on approach to crafting and blending ingredients directly on their Oregon campus. This means every element of their products is well-understood by their team. In contrast, many auto detailing companies often operate as white-label entities, relying on pre-made ingredients or purchasing formulations externally. Cerakote’s in-house expertise sets them apart in the industry.
A few of the companies that rely on Cerakote for ceramics are Nixon, Oakley, Rogue, and Leatherman. However, the list goes far beyond that, even to include aerospace. To sum it up, when you’re looking to protect your high-end gear, you call Cerakote.
What is CERAKOTE Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant?
CERAKOTE Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant serves as a protective coating for your vehicle’s exterior. Formulated to establish a protective shell over your paintwork, it acts as a barrier to prevent contaminants from sticking, creates a hydrophobic and slick surface, and provides a mirror-like shine to your car.
This ceramic coat stands out for its user-friendly nature. Simply spray, wipe, and buff – no waiting for prismatic colors or setting timers for cure times. The application process is quick and straightforward.
Cerakote is a “Surface Protection Company”, so my expectation is that they will rank incredibly high on our strength test. One of the first things I tend to look at to gauge how strong a ceramic coating will be is the SiO2 content. Surprisingly, this one isn’t an SiO2 product. Cerakote Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant uses a different structure that is similar to what you would expect from an SiO2 coating.
I live in the South East, so my cars get covered in pollen, charmingly referred to as “yellow snow” in this region. Additionally, I drive down a dirt road daily causing excessive dust on my cars. It’s a perfect litmus test for evaluating the effectiveness of a protective coating. Cerakote’s product did pretty well at preventing dirt, dust, and pollen from sticking to my paintwork. However, it didn’t seem to stand up to bug splat.
The hydrophobic characteristics were less than impressive. Despite a swift initial water sheeting, the beading was loose, leading to the accumulation of water spots on my Jeep’s flat surfaces. With each encounter with water, the hydrophobic layer seemed to lose its strength. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it a 5.
Most of the time a company will market their coating to show how long it’s supposed to last. Cerakote doesn’t do that, so I wasn’t able to create an expected timeline for this test. What we ended up doing was applying the product and taking weekly notes until it was fully broken down from the jeep’s surface.
This was the most surprising aspect of the entire test. As far as the overall strength of Cerakote Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant goes, I rated it a 7 out of 10 – meaning it wasn’t as strong or durable as the average DIY ceramic coating on the market. I saw just over four weeks of dwindling productivity. I’ll sum up my five weeks of note taking below:
- No noticeable shine
- Car seems to stay cleaner, so contaminants are being repelled as expected
- Beading is there, but not as tight as expected
Week 2: Jeep hand washed on day 14
- Car is still clear of dirt, dust, and pollen
- Beading is loose, and few water spots have shown up on the hood
- Slight dust accumulation
- Seeing more water spots on the level surfaces of the Jeep
- Bug splat and road grime are sticking to the front bumper
Week 4: Jeep hand washed on day 29
- Jeep is accumulating dirt, dust, and pollen
- Bug splat is sticking to the front bumper
- Hydrophobic properties are gone
- Nothing to report. The protective layer seems to be gone entirely.
I’ve observed a range of ceramic sprays in the market, with prices spanning from $10 to $50 per bottle. This particular product falls just below the $20 mark, positioning it as a more affordable option compared to many competitors. While I personally wouldn’t buy it again, I still give it a solid 8 out of 10.
Although I didn’t find this formula compelling enough to warrant permanent shelf space in my collection, I stumbled upon an interesting concept related to its usability. Before putting the product to the test, I delved into customer reviews across various platforms. One review caught my attention because it struck me as odd but now, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense.
In essence, the customer shared a strategy of using a high-end spray ceramic coating from a different company and then applying Cerakote on top of it as a “sacrificial coat.” This approach aims to prolong the lifespan of the higher-end coating, offering a practical extension of its durability.
My Experience Using It
In wrapping up my trial run with the CERAKOTE Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant, it was just okay. The price was great, and applying it was a breeze, but the results? Not impressive, and they only stick around for a short time.
The visual aspect of this one was a letdown. To be honest, I really couldn’t see any difference between a treated or untreated area. The shine just wasn’t there. If you have dull looking paint, I’m sure the gloss would enhance your car’s appearance a bit, but probably not by much.
Instead of the tight water beading often associated with such products, I found the water didn’t bead up quite as tightly as anticipated. To make matters more disappointing, the hydrophobic effect seemed to wear off surprisingly quickly.
Another notable drawback in the repellency of Cerakote was the lack of strength it had fending off common contaminants, like dirt, road grime, and bug splatter. A quality spray ceramic coating creates a tough barrier preventing contaminants from sticking to your paintwork and making their way into the pores of your clear coat. This one didn’t hold up.
Cerakote customer service is ok. Most of the time if you call customer service for a company, the person you’re speaking to will have answers to at least most of your questions in their computer system and they’re able to provide general information easily. At Cerakote, it seems like everything has its own department and you need to speak to several people to get a series of questions answered. While the service quality is not subpar, the transition between departments can be a time-consuming process. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate Cerakote’s customer service as a 5.
Product Quality Scores
Despite being an overall commendable company, CERAKOTE falls short with its Rapid Ceramic Paint Sealant. Most of the time, when I test something I wasn’t enthusiastic about, I can at least keep it on the shelf to use when I’m in a pinch. However, Cerakote’s ceramic spray won’t be joining that collection—it’s headed straight to the trash.
The expected glossy finish is absent, the hydrophobic properties prove to be weak and short-lived, and the overall protective qualities leave much to be desired. Despite its attractive price point, I’m not inclined to repurchase this product.