Ceramic coatings, nano-ceramic, glass coatings, are they snake oil, or do they work? When I first heard of ceramic coatings about 5 years ago, I personally thought they were all just hype. Even up until about a year and a half ago before I went for the accreditation training for Feynlab, I thought the self healing coatings were bogus as well. I'm a skeptic by nature but as I saw these coatings work, yes even the self healing, my opinion on them has changed. Now, that's not to say there are some pretty lofty claims about coatings and their capabilities from both reputable and sketchy brands.
The first question we come across is, what is a ceramic coating? Traditionally these coatings are made up of the nanoparticle SiO2(Silicon Dioxide) which on a molecular level is the base component of glass and ceramics. As coatings have advanced the introduction of other nanoparticles like SiC(Silicon Carbide) and Si3N4 (Silicon Nitride) have created stronger, more advanced nano-ceramic coatings.
Ceramic Coatings DO NOT REMOVE SWIRLS OR DEFECTS. When you pay for us to coat your vehicle you are paying for the 10+ hours of polishing and correcting your paint, a ceramic coating is just a protection used following perfecting it. This is a big misconception about coatings and what they actually do. If you have seen F11 or any of these "spray coatings" everyone thinks that is all a professional coating is. These "spray coatings" are nothing more than a sealant, not a ceramic coating. They only last for a month or two, they are not have the chemical resistance of a true ceramic coating. Again, we are also polishing your paint to perfection before applying the protection, which is where all of the money is going, not so much for the coating.
Having a professionally coated vehicle eliminates the need for spending hours hand waxing your vehicles paint every 2 to 3 months, because unlike wax or sealants that create a film on top of the surface, nano-ceramic coatings chemically bond with the surface forming a semi-permanent bond.
This bond creates an incredibly glossy, durable, and insanely hydrophobic surface unmatched by any other products on the market. As coatings grow in popularity remember that not every coating is created equal and we encourage clients to research any coating being installed to their vehicle along with researching the installer.
Not all accreditations carry the same weight, there are companies that will let anyone apply their coating without proper training or approval to ensure proper methods prior to coating are being carried out. With nano-ceramic coatings being practically permanent on the substate to which it's applied, proper paint correction to remove defects from the paint safely and effectively are absolutely crucial.
Always check a detailers work, if they don't show a lot of sun or proper lighting in their pictures or videos, chances are they are hiding something. The sun never lies, and if a coating is not prepped correctly the sun will show it. This is why we use an array of lighting with different color temperatures to ensure we remove as many defects as possible and more importantly finish down the paint to ensure there is no haze or marring. We are not perfect by any means, but we strive to educate those looking to protect their vehicles whether it's by us or another company.
Coatings are not bullet proof, and can fail if not properly maintained. If you don't enjoy hand washing or having someone properly hand washing your vehicle, ceramic coatings aren't going to be for you. Not all vehicle's can be coated, some paint chemistry can not handle a the strong chemical make up of some of the coatings, and and these cases we can pursue other high quality options to protect your fresh paint correction.
If you have any questions about ceramic coatings or anything else leave a comment below!
This is a '51 Oldsmobile we had the pleasure of working on with The Shine Shack from Birmingham, AL this car was corrected and ceramic coated with Surpass Ceramic Coating.