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Ceramic Coating Application

How To Apply a Ceramic Coating

In this Article

What is a Ceramic Coating
Why Apply a Ceramic Coating
What You’ll Need
How To Prepare Your Car For A Ceramic Coating
Applying The Ceramic Coating To Your Vehicle
Aftercare Of Ceramic Coating - How Long Does It Last?

Taking pride in the appearance of your car pays off in a variety of ways. It looks terrific, adds to your enjoyment and, when the time comes to say goodbye, a well preserved and presented vehicle will almost sell itself. The time taken now to clean, prepare and maintain the bodywork will pay dividends later. The key to this is protection and ceramic offers the most durable protective coating, leaving that perfect finish locked-in to the vehicle’s paintwork. Here are a few tips for keeping your motor in pristine order:

What is a Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating is a more recent advance in car care. Essentially it is a polymer that is applied by hand to the car’s bodywork where it ‘bonds’ with the paint creating a layer of long-lasting protection. The best products are rich in active ingredients such as SiO2 and even infused with Graphene for greater defence.

Why Apply a Ceramic Coating?

Well, this high-tech product combines the very latest in ceramic protection technology coupled with premium Carnauba wax. This combination offers outstanding paint protection, a deep glossy shine and a surface that simply shrugs off water.

Water beading on car paintwork is a sign that the car is protected and well cared for. A ceramic paintwork coating is thus a worthwhile investment of work, time and money. It protects the car from everything the road can throw at it, far better than with simple waxing or temporary ‘so-called’ solutions can. Best of all, next time it will make maintenance car washes that much easier!

What You’ll Need

To deliver a fine finish and long-lasting shine that sets a car apart, several items are required. Obviously, a thorough wash is the first step, followed by paintwork preparation before the ceramic coat can be applied. ‘Be prepared’ is the mantra here. You will need:

  • Snow Foam High quality car
  • Pure Shampoo
  • Clean microfibre or noodle wash mitt
  • Two buckets
  • Iron Remover
  • Tar remover
  • Clay bar
  • Polish and applicator
  • Ceramic Coating plus suitable applicators
  • Selection of clean microfibre cloths
  • Drying towel
  • Protective gloves and a face mask

How To Prepare Your Car For A Ceramic Coating

Washing Your Car Before Applying The Coating

A brisk rinse over won’t do. Pay as much attention to washing the car as it will be vital for the subsequent jobs. Start by covering the car in a layer of snow foam and allow it to dwell, dragging as much dirt off the car with it. The purpose of a Snow Foam is to soften the debris on the car, for easier and safer removal during the contact wash process. Wash using a premium Pure Shampoo, making sure to get into those little nooks and crannies that the fearsome automated car washes miss. We also recommend using the two-bucket method to rinse the dirty wash mitt. Use a detail brush for panel gaps and door surrounds. Rinse well with clean water.

Finally, dry the car with a purpose-designed microfibre drying towel. These are very soft and far more absorbent than anything stolen from the bathroom. The soft microfibre material also makes them ideal for wiping over or buffing up the bodywork.

Chemical Decontamination

At this stage the car may look clean but there will still be contaminants stuck and embedded to the paint that a simple wash will not remove. Chemicals are needed to remove the remaining dirt.

Spray the lower portion of the car with Iron Remover and watch as iron particles turn purple and dissolve from the paintwork. The more purple there is, the more iron contamination there was. Allow it to dwell for the appropriate duration required, according to the product instructions, then rinse off.

Follow this with tar remover, work one panel at a time, spraying the product, allow a quick sit time before wiping away the tar spots with a clean microfibre cloth. It is important not to let this product sit too long on the paintwork, hence working one area at a time. When you have finished, give the car a thorough rinse.

Clay Bar Treatment

A car’s paintwork over time will collect minute particles of grit, metal and brake dust. This is what gives the feel of a rough surface when a hand is gently rubbed over it. It’s time for the clay bar. There are several grades. Pick one that is right for the job: A finer grade will usually serve but for older cars that have seen more action and less attention a medium grade might be more appropriate.

Get a good branded product which ideally will come with a lubricating spray. First submerge the clay bar in water and work the clay with your hand to render it soft and disc-like. Think of it as kneading dough.

Working in small equal sections at a time, start at the top of the car (where there are less particles, keeping the clay fresher for longer), first spraying the lubricant onto both the panel and clay.

Top Tip: Never use the clay on a dry surface, it fragments, and note that water alone doesn’t work well as a lubricant.

With the flat of your fingers glide the clay evenly across the surface in one direction. Do NOT use a circular motion. You will feel the clay picking up that embedded grit. If the clay starts to stick, add more lube. Turn the clay regularly to present a clean surface. When you have completed claying the car, give the vehicle a final rinse down.

Yes, it’s true this is a time-consuming job but, when you feel the surface of the car afterwards, you will notice the benefit. It will also give you peace of mind that the paintwork is clean before moving forward with polish.

Use a Polish for Paint Correction

Now the paintwork is silky smooth it’s time to polish. Using a good quality polish, either by hand or carefully using a machine polisher to apply (find out how here). The idea is to bring back that factory freshness to the paint.

Polish essentially removes a microscopic amount of clear coat revealing the true colour and gloss beneath that time and weather has dulled. Polishing removes oxidisation and the swirl marks caused by careless cleaning, this includes the use of dirty sponges or cloths that might contain grit.

Top Tip: Remember that polishing will remove any existing wax or surface coating. There is no need to further polish a car until the next full treatment as described here is due.

To continue, work evenly across all the paintwork, small areas at a time roughly 6 times the size of your pad and using a clean fresh microfibre cloth, buff off the residue to reveal the shine, again by hand or with a machine polisher. Now for those finishing touches.

Applying The Ceramic Coating To Your Vehicle

How to apply a ceramic coating will vary slightly depending on the product used so follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly.

Here are tips that will apply to almost all coatings used:

  • Prime the panel with a premium IPA or degreaser e.g. AutoBead SURFACE PREP. This product will remove all surface residue from previous products, ensuring a strong bond is formed between the coating and surface.
  • Apply a small amount of product to a small working area at a time, utilising the application tools provided e.g. a block and microfibre suedes. This is important. Beware of over-application or left-over product, creating high-spots and will be harder to clear.
  • Work vertically and horizontally making sure not to miss any spots. Don’t overuse the product thinking it will do a better job; it won’t and could even lead to smearing.
  • Allow to flash, carefully following the instructions, then buff off using a clean microfibre cloth and remember: Patience is a virtue. The product will continue to ‘cure’ for some time.
  • The product application directions will state how long is required. It is important to keep the vehicle dry during this stage.
  • These jobs are best done on a dull or overcast day. Bright warm sunlight is nice to work in but dries out water and products too quickly. Overcast light also makes it easier to assess the finish of the ceramic coating.
  • Once the initial curing period is complete, be sure not to wash the vehicle with chemicals for a minimum of 7-days, allowing for the coating to fully cure to the surface.

Aftercare Of Ceramic Coating - How Long Does It Last?

This depends upon varying factors including the product used. Factors that will affect the durability include the maintenance care and attention given at the time of application. Other factors can include the mileage, plus the road and weather conditions in which the car is driven.

Team Autobead
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