“What is a Ceramic Coating?“
A Ceramic coating is a thin glass layer applied over paint to preserve its looks, protect it from the elements and make it easier to clean and maintain.
READ MORE ABOUT CERAMIC COATINGS
It can also be referred to as a nano, crystal or quartz coating. To be more detailed, all coatings are nano technology because of the particle size scale. Technically crystal, ceramic and quartz is in reference to the different chemical formulas and the way they are structured. It is however correct to calling them all “Ceramic Coatings”
It adds gloss, wetness, depth and enhances the richness of the paint colour.
A coating cannot fill scratches or make them disappear, nor can it fix peeling or faded paint.
Ceramic Coatings is the superior paint protection technology compared to Waxes and Sealants due to it’s longevity and durability.
Coating durability refers to it’s pH, temperature, corrosion and “scratch resistance”.
The scratch resistance a Ceramic coating offers is swirl and marring. These are shallow type scratches caused by contact with paint such as when washing. Stone chips and scratches caused by impact can penetrate the film thickness of a coating. In that regard Paint Protection Film is superior but a much more expensive option.
A Ceramic coating is considered to be a sacrificial layer, in that it takes on the damage instead of the paint directly. For example if it has to become swirled from bad washing, its should only be in the coating layer and the coating can be removed (by polishing) and reapplied. If you didn’t have a coating, your paint would have taken it on directly and it would need to be polished and consequently thinned out.
All Ceramic Coatings are not the same. They differ in their chemical formulas with each offering a different balance of performance in the characteristics I’ve mentioned. For example: “GTECHNIQ Crystal Serum Ultra is the hardest coating with GTECHNIQ EXO being the most hydrophobic and glossy.”
The last point is that a ceramic coating’s longevity and durability is directly influenced by it’s maintenance. Its far easier to maintain a ceramic coated car than a wax or sealant. Regular and careful washing has to be done irregardless of what you have on your car. And every few months boosting with a spray based sealant is all it takes. I offer Maintenance Detail services as well as stock products for DIY.
Please read my “What Is A Ceramic Coating?” – Deep Version in my Frequently Asked Questions section.
“How much is a Ceramic Coating?“
The cost of a ceramic application is determined by the preparation and choice of ceramic coating.
Preparation will be determined by what your car needs or what you want it to look like. Ceramic coatings will be either according to your budget, what you need in terms of functional performance or even just the best!
Each Ceramic coating application we do is treated in a custom way. It doesn’t matter your budget.
A non negotiable in preparation before you can apply a ceramic coating is Paint Decontamination. Decontamination is the removal of anything stuck on the surface of your paint by either using chemical removers or doing a clay treatment.
Polishing is determined by the condition of your car or what you want it to look like.
I advise clients to book a free inspection where I can also do a polishing test spot and show you how your car will look and what to expect!
Paint Decontamination without polishing
- This is based on a thorough chemical only decontamination process and priced from R750 depending on your paint condition and vehicle size.
- Panel Wipe – a pre coating process – read more on “How Is A Coating Applied?” in my FAQ section
Paint Decontamination with polishing / buffing
The following is based on my Paint Correction packages
It includes several rounds of washing, thorough chemical decontamination, clay and then the polishing combination that is specified.
- Level 2 from R2000 – Single step polish with single buffer size
- Level 3 from R3000 – Single step polish with different buffer size for better polishing detail.
- Level 4 from R4000 – Multi-step polishing for intensive or high gloss correction with different buffer sizes for the best polishing detail.
READ MORE ABOUT PREPARATION
Before a coating can applied the surface must be prepared. Because every vehicle is different in condition as well as your expectation, priority and budget, preparation will be a different cost for each car and hence why I it would be difficult to offer a package.
Preparation is critical to ensuring that the ceramic coating is able to bond directly to your paint and perform as expected.
Multiple washing, Clay treatment, iron & tar removers as well as a degreaser is the minimum treatment before you can do a ceramic coating. A level of Polishing may be needed to ensure your surface is worthy to be coated. You can coat over scratches and swirls, but you will get shiny and protected scratches and swirls. Ceramic coatings cannot fill / repair bad paint!
In addition to the ceramic coating product, other products is needed. You need brand new microfibre cloths and applicators for each and every application. Some coatings have more solid content of ceramic, resin etc in them and then requires more microfibre cloths than others. Quality microfibre clothes is expensive! If you use cheap ones they scratch and swirl your paint! They also cannot be reused again as ceramic coatings will be in the cloth and harden it.
A product called a Panel Wipe is also needed to ensure the paint is free from any contamination. Key to the success of an application is a ceramic coatings bond to paint. Detailer’s that may skimp on this or be uneducated by using for example IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol), which has been a staple for years, has been debunked as an appropriate paint cleaner. Using a weak or inappropriate panel wipe will make your ceramic coating application either meaningless or lessen the coatings longevity and durability. I use GTECHNIQ Panel Wipe or at minimum a paint manufacturers panel wipe to ensure we have a successful ceramic coating application every time. I’ve had zero issues or comebacks since I’ve been applying coatings! (Since 2009!)
My ceramic coating booking process is:
- Arrange and inspection of your car and determine the level of preparation & detail it needs by test polishing.
- This enables you to see for yourself what to expect and budget for
- We discuss your expectations and needs in terms of functional performance of a coating
- We then discuss your total budget and advise the best coating that fits into that.
- You let me know a date to book for
- We confirm a booking on a deposit
If you are not able to come in for an inspection I can give you estimates / options based on your inputs, so that you may budget. If you book this way, then on the day of your booking, you need to allow for an inspection so that I can test polish an area and show you what the level of preparation / polishing you booked for will look like. This will give you the opportunity to confirm if that meets your expectation and if necessary change up.
We can schedule a 10-15 minute call and discuss options interactively.
Ceramic Coating costs
Quality Ceramic coatings aren’t cheap. They are not the same chemically. You get what you pay for in terms of quality, longevity, durability and therefore performance. Always choose the best you can afford!
I offer a wide variety of Ceramic Coatings so that I can give you the best protection for your expectation and budget.
It’s not meant to confuse, and if this is the case, its best to contact me and I can take you through the options.
- All prices below is quoted for small cars to standard sized sedans e.g. Corolla. Larger vehicles quoted on request.
- Ceramic coating prices does not include preparation.
- Packages that includes GTECHNIQ’s C2V3:
- C2V3 is a Ceramic Sealant not a coating. (lower concentration of ceramic content)
- It’s purpose is to establish a top coat / maintenance layer,
- It adds more water repellency as well as gloss & slickness to your coating.
- When judging a coating, longevity has two indicators to consider
- Longevity in the normal sense of how long it will last
- It indicates how tough the bond between the coating and paint is. (a durability factor)
- SONAX 1 Year Coating
- Originally engineered for the Asian market where the humidity and pollution is high.
- From R1000 for single coat
- From R1500 for double coat
- Feynlab Ceramic Lite
- 1 Year longevity
- High gloss applications. Meant for weekend driven cars that is intensively cared for (i.e. its soft).
- from R2000
- GTECHNIQ EXOv4
- up to 2 Years longevity
- EXOv4 offers high gloss, extreme water repellency and class leading resistance to water spotting.
- from R2500
- GTECHNIQ C1 top coated with C2v3
- 3-5 Year longevity
- C1 is suitable for all types of paint, original, resprayed, classic lacquers etc even matte.
- The original high performance ceramic
- from R3500
- Autoglym Carbon Shield
- EXOv4 level looks and performance but with 5 year longevity
- It has a slight darkening effect on colour.
- from R4000
- GTECHNIQ Crystal Serum Light (CSL) top coated with C2v3
- 5 Year Longevity
- 80% of the performance of Crystal Serum Ultra (CSU)
- From R5000
- GTECHNIQ CSL top coated with EXO
- 5 Year Warranty
- From R6500
- GTECHNIQ Crystal Serum Ultra
- 9 Year Warranty
- Hardest coating on the market
- From R7500
- GTECHNIQ Crystal Serum Ultra top coated with EXOv4
- 9 Year Warranty
- Hardest coating on the market topped with EXOv4 for extra thickness, water repellency, resistance to water spotting and gloss!
- From R9500
- Feynlab Heal Lite
- 5 year warranty
- Self heals from swirls, light scratches like marring
- From R12000
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
“What is a Ceramic Coating?” – Deep Version
A Ceramic coating is a thin glass / crystal / quartz / nano coating layer applied over paint to preserve its looks, protect it from the elements and make it easier to clean and maintain.
Visually coatings is a clear and thick liquid much like glue. When it hardens it forms a thin hard shell over your paint. Paint isn’t a smooth flat surface, It has “hills and valleys”. A ceramic coating chemically adheres to these hills and valleys by gripping and fusing to it.
While this hard shell layer is intact, your coating is “permanent” as nothing can gain access and attack the adhesion bond below. It can be worn down by abrasion like harsh washing over time, polishing or claying, basically contact. It can be chipped by stones, deeply scratched or even experience micro cracking if your cars paint is expanding and contracting faster than the Ceramic coating is able to flex. Once damage like this occurs, the adhesive bond is exposed to chemicals, environmental effects like acid rain, hard water, bird poo or bugs.
Maintaining your coating with a quality ceramic sealant, like GTECHNIQ C2V3, Feynlab Ceramic Sealant, CARPRO Reload and others, will help maintain your coating by filling in the pores / cracks / fissures preventing the bond from being further broken down and replenishing water repellency etc.
If the bond between your ceramic coating and paint starts to fail, it can wash away. The performance of the adhesive bond, usually indicated by the coatings longevity in months or years, the hardness, thickness and flexibility of the ceramic coating, the chemical and UV resistance, all contribute to how durable and long your coating will last in the real world terms.
Ceramic coatings offers the following features:
- pH Resistance
- coatings has a great high and low pH resistance so it cannot be washed off!
- Bird poo, insects / bugs can etch your paint, coatings can help prevent that
- UV Resistance – preserves colour intensity and prevents paint failure
- Temperature Resistance
- Easier Cleaning
- Easier Maintenance
- Scratch resistance in terms of swirls and marring typically caused by contact
- Stain Resistance – if dirt doesn’t sit, it prevents stains and paint failure
- Enhanced reflectivity and leaves a high gloss finish
- Anti Graffiti
- Corrosion Resistance – salt water
Video explaining Ceramic Coatings
“How Scratch Resistant is a Ceramic Coating? “
The types of scratches that coatings can protect your paint from is typically swirls and to a degree marring.
Swirls and marring is shallow scratches that a coating can either prevent, i.e. repel depending on its hardness / flexibility or contained within its film thickness. It is typically caused by contact with the paint surface, allowing dirt to build up on a car and then washing, improper washing like not rinsing properly, washing technique and drying your paint wrongly.
Swirls makes your car look dull, and if allowed to be inflicted directly on paint, would require polishing to remove. Each time you polish, you are microscopically cutting your paint in order to remove swirls and scratches. Repeated polishing therefore thins your paint which will eventually require a respray. This is unnecessary if you take protect and care for your paint properly.
Ceramic coating film thickness range anywhere from 0.5 microns to a maximum of 10 microns. Film thickness is only half the story. It’s a combination of coating thickness, hardness and flexibility as well as the hardness of the surface its being coated with, which combine and determine a coatings scratch resistance ability. After that, its how your vehicle is cared for and stored.
If this is then considered, coatings will not protect your car from stone chips, door dings, paint chipping from deep, sharp impact or any other deep type of damage, its too thin!
If that is what you need protection from, then Paint Protection Film ( PPF), which is thicker, 150microns plus or Spray on film at 300 microns, would be the better but also most expensive solution!
Paint Defects and thickness
If you look at this image of Paint Defects & Examples of Coating Thickness, you will be able to compare the depth that different paint damage has on paint.
- A human hair on average is 70 microns in diameter. Thick hair is about 90 microns
- A sticky Post It note is around 108 microns – which is the best visual approximation of your total paint thickness.
- Your entire paint system can be from 100 odd microns to 180 from the factory.
- Your Clear coat, which is the top most layer of paint, can be from 40 to 100 microns or generally 50% of the total film build.
- A human fingernail on average is from 400 microns thick
- Rule of thumb for gauging scratch depth: If you can feel it with your fingernail its too deep!
If you do get swirls on a coated car, depending on the coating you have chosen, it should mostly if not only be in the coating and not the paint, which is what it was intended for, to protect you paint!
It can sometimes be repaired with a special polish or top coated and in severe cases simply removed and redone.
The maintenance of coatings is simple. Regular and careful washing and periodically a spray application of a ceramic sealant will maintain the longevity and durability of your coating.
“Whats is needed to apply a Ceramic Coating?“
After your car has been washed, decontaminated and if needed polished, your car needs one more step of preparation before it can be applied with a coating.
This is actually the most critical step and skimping on it will at the least reduce your longevity or make your application meaningless.
A pre coating cleaner known as a Panel Wipe is used to remove any trace of polish, chemical or wax/sealant residue leaving a naked surface for the coating to bond with.
Many detailer’s use diluted IPA ( Iso Propyl Alcohol) to panel wipe with, but it has been proven to be inadequate. I prefer using a coating or paint manufacturer’s panel wipe like GTECHNIQ’s PANEL WIPE so no chances are taken.
I prefer going an extra step and give the car I’m coating a final wash and degrease before doing the Panel Wipe phase to be triple sure that the coating applied is going to have maximum bond to your paint.
This is the Protouch difference!
Ceramic Coating Brands & Their Products we Offer:
NANO PAINT PROTECT
FOR: “Practical paint protection“
SONAX Nano Paint Protect is a Professional grade formula containing a glass-like layer of silicate nanoparticles (SIO2) providing clear coat protection against the harmful effects of the environment, pollution, bird droppings and insects. It also contains fluorocarbon nanoparticles to provide the optimal hydrophobic effect (water repellency) which will help preserve your car for a long time.
Prominently used in Asia, where the environment is hot and humid, as well as the extreme pollution. Applying a long lived coating is of no benefit as it would need to be redone yearly.
While we don’t have extreme conditions such as this. The concept of a year to year coating is a consideration.
If you consider that life happens, accidents, scrapes, deep scratches, door dings etc – why spend thousands upfront where you may have to redo or repair your coating.
Durability: From 1 year+
FOR: “Great blend of protection & gloss at a budget”
Only available as a service
I’ve been applying CARPRO since 2012 and the range has always performed beyond expectation!
If the “ethos” of a great ceramic coating or indeed company is that its delivery is understated then CQUARTZ UK is the king. CQUK is rated for 2 years on the bottle and my customers constantly achieve 4 years and plus off their initial application!
Our most affordable ceramic coating. Perfect for daily drivers and budgets.
Durability: 6 months to 1 year
CQuartz UK 3.0
Solid and consistent performer that can last you years!
Durability: 2 years+
The following optional product applications advances the strength and longevity of CARPRO’s coatings.
CARPRO Essence is a polish that contains high build resins and its infused with SIO2 ceramic particles.
It is buffed onto your paintwork either after correction or without, before a coating is applied. It will create more gloss, refine your paintwork, build more coating thickness and promotes adhesion of the ceramic coating layer.
Gliss is a Top Coat meant to add more water repellency, hardness and coating thickness to CQuartz UK 3.0 and other coatings.
It can be applied as a stand alone coating!
Durability: 1 year
Autoglym Carbon Shield
FOR: “Value, Gloss and a strong eco system of support products“
Autoglym Carbon Shield is Only Available As a Professional Application. Autoglym UHD Ceramic Coating is available for purchase & DIY
We are accredited applicators for Autoglym’s Carbon Shield paint protection system and can offer warrantied applications.
Why choose a coating at all?
With the cost of vehicles ever increasing it is important that they are kept in tip top condition to achieve the highest possible resale value and the ongoing showroom finish.
This can only be achieved by protecting your vehicle from outside environmental contaminants that can adhere to the paint work surface making the vehicle look dull and feeling rough to the touch. Equally with interior surfaces, spills and marks on the seats and carpets look unsightly and will degrade the appearance of your vehicle reducing its value.
Using professionally applied coatings such as Autoglym’s Carbon Shield will reduce the maintenance requirements and enhance the look and protection of your pride and joy.
Why choose Autoglym coatings?
The Autoglym brand is tried, tested and used by good automotive professional valeters the world over. Autoglym products are winners of multiple awards in the car care segment for product performance and quality. Autoglym’s products are being used by over 30 car brands worldwide which includes such prestigious brands as Porsche, Bentley, BMW, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Mercedes Benz to name a few.
Only a select number of top quality professional outlets have been chosen to become Autoglym Carbon Shield applicators ensuring that the work is done to the highest standard possible.
Autoglym’s Carbon Shield is a proven technology of the highest standard. In the UK alone Life Shine/Carbon Shield is applied to over 115 thousand vehicles each year. Carbon Shield is also sold in Australia, Belgium, China, Finland, Holland, India, Japan, Norway, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden and, therefore, is suitable for all weather conditions.
Autoglym’s Carbon Shield has been independently tested. In 2018, we received the results of independent tests undertaken by the Paint Research Association (PRA) in the UK, which have shown that the Carbon Shield paintwork coating retained the highest level of durability in weather testing.
In tests it took over 500 washes with a regular car shampoo before the product was unable to clear water from the panel bettering our nearest competitor by over 70 washes.
We undertook depth of colour tests using an X-Rite Spectrophotometer with Carbon Shield and compared it to competitor products. The results of the colour testing showed that:
- Carbon Shield achieved a greater depth of colour than compared to competitor products tested by approximately 10.3% in colour difference.
- Carbon Shield also performed better than the competitor products tested in terms of Durability, Colour Enhancement and Ease of Use.
What we can coat:
- For Wheels we can coat with Autoglym’s Wheel Protector
- We can supply a complete maintenance kit with everything for your take care of your own car with at R1600
FOR: “The Highest Gloss and cutting edge self heal technology“
We are accredited FEYNLAB Detailers and can offer warrantied applications.
Only Feynlab Ceramic Lite is Available DIY
Perfect for the occasional drive vehicles or if you simply want the highest gloss.
Ceramic Lite offers slightly better gloss and slickness than Ceramic V2 (making it arguably one of the glossiest coatings on the market), but at the cost of durability!
With its fantastic gloss levels, it is perfect for the weekend or show car, while its slickness makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze.
It can be layered on top of Ceramic V2
Durability:18 months plus.
Ceramic V2 is ideal for the client that has a daily driven vehicle and wants high gloss.
It offers great protection against the elements, provide fantastic levels of gloss, and with its easy cleaning properties, it makes washing effortless.
- All painted surfaces coated with Feynlab Ceramic V2
- Requires a day to complete excluding correction
Durability: 3 years+
Feynlab’s Self Heal technology is what attracted me to their brand.
It has the ability to heal swirl marks and light scratches by simply leaving it in the sun to reflow and heal itself!
It also offers superb levels of gloss and protection and will look its best all the time effortlessly!
For those that want the best!.
- All clear coat painted surfaces receive Feynlab Heal Lite
- Requires 3 to 4 days to complete excluding correction
Durability: 5 years
Pricing: From R15000 Heal Lite & Heal Plus R25000
- A typical self heal coating will contain multiple layers depending on the coating.
- I offer Feynlab Heal Lite and Heal Plus
Feynlab Top Coat is meant to help prevent water spotting, add insane water repellency, improve hardness and coating thickness to any of the Feynlab coatings.
It can be applied as a stand alone coating!
- Grade: Professional
- Longevity: 1 year
- NOTE: I don’t offer a double coat on any top coat
Durability: 1 Year
FOR: #1. The hardest coatings on the market. #2. International Warranty. #3 BIOCOTE anti microbial technology for interiors
We are accredited GTECHNIQ detailers and offer warrantied ceramic coating applications.
GTECHNIQ C1, C2, Crystal Serum Light & EXO is available to Purchase For DIY
The key feature I sell GTECHNIQ coatings on is their sheer hardness in comparison to other coatings on the market. When it comes to adding gloss, resisting swirls, contaminant and dirt repellency, GTECHNIQ Crystal Serum Ultra (CSU) and Crystal Serum Light (CSL) is at the top.
Another reason why I offer GTECHNIQ is that they are very innovative and offer tech nobody thinks of, such as their BIOCOTE technology which theyve had for maybe a decade or more already! BIOCOTE is an antimicrobial “additive” technology that has been a feature of their interior product range for years! With the Corona Virus COVID-19 it is now an essential advantage if not critical need. I think this is proof that GTECHNIQ is a visionary company.
EXO delivers a hard film that makes water-spots easy to remove, offers great resistance to all wash chemicals (i.e. pH resistance) and can help withstand micro-marring and swirls. It produces a high-gloss, warm-looking, extreme hydrophobic finish.
It can be applied over CSL and CSU as a top coat
Durability: Up to 2 years
Crystal Serum Light
Crystal Serum Light ( CSL) offers 80% of Crystal Serum Ultra’s performance.
CSL forms an ultra-durable, high-gloss, slick to the touch, chemically bonding inorganic layer of 9h optically clear ceramic. Once applied, gloss levels will remain in the upper 90th percentile for significantly longer when compared to traditional paint protection products and cleaning your car will be a breeze!
The high-density ceramic layer is resistant to chemicals ranging from pH2 – pH12. This characteristic also makes bonded contaminants such as tree sap, tar, and hard water spots, easy to remove.
Unlike mainstream wax and organic polymer coatings, CSU and CSL can resist much higher and lower temperatures. They resist temperatures as low as -40o to as high as +250°c.
Durability: 5 years Longevity
Crystal Serum Ultra
Crystal Serum Ultra (CSU) is the best paint protection you can get, it keeps your car looking glossy and new, prolonging the life of your paintwork perfect finish.
Key to CSU’s performance is its two layer or coating system.
A hard 10h top and flexible 7h base layer offers improved swirl resistance over regular 9h paint protection coatings. Compared to standard ceramic paint coatings, CSU can withstand even the strongest wash chemicals and bird droppings.
CSU cannot be easily removed through mechanical means i.e. rubbing from washing or drying or even polishing!
An additional benefit from having a flexible base layer and hard top layer is that CSU is very resistant to extreme heat changes, even from -40 degrees Celsius to +250 degrees Celsius.
CSU can be applied either as a stand-alone paint protection product, or for the best hydrophobic performance, it can be over coated with GTECHNIQ EXO
Durability: 9 Year Warranty
Ceramic Coating Maintenance & Repairs
If you already have a ceramic coating on your car and need maintenance and repairs to it contact us to discuss your needs and what solutions we may have for you.
We also stock products that you can use yourself.