Regular readers of our articles will know that we love to answer your questions. And in recent articles, we’ve answered many of those about PPF; that’s what this site is all about. But ceramic coatings are other popular services at our Hampshire detailing studio. So, in this article, we’re going to explore the combination. Read on for all the details on combining PPF & Ceramic Coatings.
First… Let’s talk about Ceramic Coatings:
The primary purpose of applying a ceramic coating is to protect the underlying substrate, whether paint, wheels, metal, PPF, or anything else. It creates a slick and water-repellent surface, meaning it is significantly easier to clean and maintain than an uncoated surface.
Ceramic Coating Hardness Rating:
It’s common to see coating manufacturers or detailers referencing a surface hardness rating, usually 9H or 10H, measured using the MOHS scale. This is one of those marketing things that is a little misleading because while it is a genuine measurement, in our opinion, its relevance in this application is overplayed.
Having a hard surface is a good thing, though, and compared to the softer paint underneath, if you wash and dry the car with care, should be more resistance to swirl marks. And because getting the dirt off the paint is much easier, you can be more gentle with it and, again, should be less likely to inflict defects.
How do Ceramic Coatings Offer Protection?
Ceramic coatings typically have greater chemical resistance than bare paint. So, they offer some protection against staining from bird droppings, bug splats, tree sap and some industrial fallout.
How Long Will a Ceramic Coating Last?
Most ceramic coatings will come with a suggested lifespan. However, this is always an estimated figure representing what the coating could achieve when correctly cared for. Some coatings add longevity through multiple layers, others by different compounds that are more durable (but usually more challenging to apply).
A Match Made in Heaven – PPF & Ceramic Coatings:
Paint protection film and ceramic coatings complement each other perfectly!
Clients at our Hampshire studio often ask us which is better; ceramic coating or PPF. Our answer is always the same, they may both be there for protection, but they protect against different things differently.
No ceramic coating, no matter how good it is, how thick someone claims to have applied it, or how hard the manufacturer claims it is, will protect against stone chips and other physical impacts. Whereas PPF will!
Of course, compared to a ceramic coating, one might consider PPF to be expensive, and this is why we usually suggest a combination of the two.
It’s always best to install PPF to those areas that are most likely to take a physical hammering. The front bumper, bonnet, front wings and wing mirrors (our standard full front installation package). The rest of the car then gets a ceramic coating, making for a beautiful protection package that is a delight to care for.
What if I want a Ceramic Coating on top of my PPF?
Ceramic coating products for PPF are relatively new, and using the correct product is essential. They have been introduced to add some water and dirt-repellant properties that a traditional coating would add to paint.
Ceramic coatings tend to be pretty solvent-heavy, in one form or another, to deliver the hard bit of the coating onto the paint and allow it to be evenly distributed.
If this solvent doesn’t agree with the PPF material, it could cause discolouration, affect the film’s self-healing properties, or even visibly damage the top layers of the film, leaving it looking like it has partly melted or covered in spots.
Using a PPF-dedicated coating is essential to avoid this, and given that we install Xpel film, they produce an excellent Fusion coating range to work with their films. This maintains all the properties of the film and the 10-year warranty that comes with Xpel film.
It’s worth noting that an alternative would be a water-based, ceramic-infused spray sealant. These will not harm the PPF and can be easily incorporated into your wash regime for a regular, quick top-up of hydrophobic properties.
If you’re ready to talk PPf or ceramic coatings or PPF & ceramic coatings, contact us HERE! We are based in North Hampshire, close to Hook & Basingstoke.