What is in a ceramic coating? What is it exactly?
A ceramic coating is a liquid formulation that automotive detailers like ourselves apply to various vehicle surfaces such as paint, glass, plastic or chrome trim, interior leather and plastic, and wheel/rim faces. A ceramic coating’s liquid formulation consists of different ingredients known by mostly the manufacturers only, but the common ingredients used are SiO2 (Silicone Dioxide, or Quartz) and TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide). After a coating is applied to the surface, it chemically bonds to the pores of your paint and slowly cures and hardens into an extremely hard substrate above your existing clear coat.
How does a ceramic coating protect the exterior or interior of your car?
We commonly refer to ceramic coatings as “sacrificial barriers” for your clear coat. If you don’t know what we mean by clear coat, it is the final clear layer that is applied in the painting process to protect the base color coat, and add tremendous gloss. That clear coat is microscopically thin, and as detailers we have very little to work with when it comes to paint correction, the process that refines your clear coat and removes imperfections like scratches. Because a breach of your clear coat usually results in an entire repainting job, it is very common and known that applying a layer of protection beyond the clear coat is a great idea to preserve the vehicle as much as possible. A ceramic coating is our answer to this, and it comes with amazing benefits far beyond just protecting the vehicle.
What other benefits do you get from a ceramic coating?
Among fantastic protection, a ceramic coating will also add shine to any surface it is applied to. Most coatings boast 9H hardness (A measure on the Moh scale), which is 2-3.5H harder than glass. A mirror shine is the result of a proper ceramic coating job that comes complete with exterior paint refinement beforehand if necessary. A coating also makes the surface it is applied to hydrophobic, due to the chemical nature of liquids coming into contact with the coating layer. It essentially repels those liquids, dust, and dirt, and is often observed by liquid “beading” or “sheeting” on and off the paint of your vehicle. If the liquid pools up and collects on the vehicle, that is a clear signal that there is no protection, ceramic coating, or wax on the surface. This allows your paint and glass and other surfaces to stay cleaner for longer, and make maintaining your vehicle and cleaning it so much easier.
In terms of specific protection, a coating will protect and help prevent against microscratching, etchings from bugs, tar and sap, water spots, and fire/ice damage.