Ceramic Coating vs PPF | Paint Protection Film

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What are the differences between Ceramic Coating and PPF (Paint Protection Film) and how does this make them the ultimate duo?

What is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating is a chemical polymer solution that is applied to the exterior of a vehicle to protect it from any potential paint damage. Typically, a reputable detailer will apply the coating by hand to ensure the full exterior gets fully covered. The coating will blend with your vehicle’s paint creating an additional hydrophobic layer of protection. It usually requires a week to fully cure so it is recommended that you avoid washing the car for at least seven days after the application so you get the most out of the coating.

What are the benefits of Ceramic Coating?

  1. Protection from Weathering, Corrosion and Oxidation,

  2. Appearance of the Vehicle,

  3. Price Value of the Vehicle,

  4. Resistance to Environmental Elements,

  5. Maintenance,

  6. Hydrophobic Properties.

Protection from Weathering, Corrosion and Oxidation:

A stand out benefit of ceramic coating is that it protects your car from weathering, corrosion and oxidation. If you find you live near our studio in Whiteparish, Salisbury you’ll know that we are going through somewhat of a heatwave currently and ceramic coating can protect your vehicle from the harsh sun by deflecting UV rays and preventing them from penetrating the paint surface.

Appearance of the Vehicle:

Ceramic Coating provides a glossy finish on your paintwork, it makes the vehicle look refreshed and brand new which could be beneficial if you’re looking to sell the vehicle.

Price Value of the Vehicle:

Following on from the previous point ceramic coating can actually add value to your car, when selling your vehicle it’ll not only make your car look more valuable but it will show potential buyers that the car is well looked after.

Resistance to Environmental Elements:
Coatings provide resistance to daily wear and tear such as road grime, bird droppings and tar.

Maintenance:

It’s a cost effective solution maintenance wise as it makes washing your car and maintaining your paintwork much easier and less expensive in the long run. Although you will still need to regularly wash your vehicle, it’s recommended at least once every two weeks, it will be easier and take less time to wash the vehicle.

Hydrophobic Properties:

Its Hydrophobic properties are one of the most beneficial factors of a ceramic coating, the smooth surface it provides prevents dirt and grime adhering to the paintwork. All water will bead up and roll right off your car taking all dirt with it.

How long does Ceramic Coating last?

Ceramic Coating can last anywhere between two to seven years depending on what sort of coating you choose, at our studio in Salisbury we provide multiple varieties of coatings and depending on how premium the coating is the longevity of the coating increases. All ceramic coatings should come with a warranty, the more premium the product used is the better warranty provided.

How does Ceramic Coating compare to other protective sealants?

Firstly it’s important to understand what wax is, it is a substance that can change from a solid to a liquid depending on the temperatures it’s used at. Similarly to ceramic coating it serves as a protective barrier between your vehicle’s paintwork and the environment. A paint sealant, which tends to mimic a wax’s properties, is made from synthetic materials rather than organic material. They tend to be more robust than waxes, but are similar in the fact that they are susceptible to high temperatures and car washing soaps.

Longevity wise ceramic coating beats waxes and paint sealants easily, while the former can last for up to seven years, waxes and sealants only tend to last for four to six weeks at best. In an environment with harsh weather they could last for even less than that and need to be applied more frequently. Durability is a huge difference as well, ceramic coatings are stronger, longer lasting and have more overall benefits.

Overall, it depends on how the vehicle is being used and personal preferences. If the vehicle is kept in storage and every now and then is used for a show or photoshoot then a wax is an adequate choice and will give you the decent protection and shine needed for that time frame. However, if the vehicle is used daily and is exposed to the environmental elements frequently then it is most definitely worth getting a ceramic coating, not only is it long lasting it’s low maintenance as well. Waxes “beautify” a car adding a warm glossy shine that makes your paintwork colour appear richer while ceramic coating gives the glossy finish while providing a protective layer.

In the end, both ceramic coatings and waxes lead to the same goal; they just vary in terms of what would be most beneficial for your vehicle and you.

Can you apply Ceramic Coatings by yourself?

Professionally applied coatings are thicker and tougher, they are applied in a clean environment with no contaminants and the car will have been decontaminated prior to the application. When properly applied a professional coating will bond with paint molecules and create a new protective layer over the original finish that will not wash off once cured. This differs from a consumer ceramic coating, which can be applied at home, because they can trap dirt and decontamination beneath the coating if the car is not prepared effectively and will not last as long. Professional ceramics are also a lot harder making them more resistant to the environmental factors and abrasions. At ELH Detailing for example, we use a variety of long lasting coatings from Gyeon, Titan and Gtec which provide up to 9H hardness.

It is recommended that you get a professional to apply the coatings as it prevents your car from receiving unnecessary damage in the application process and will keep your car protected for longer. Also, if you do apply the coatings at home it may require several layers, you need to make sure the layers are thin and even. The coatings can also be sticky and easily attach to your bumpers or other car parts leaving you with hours worth of cleaning.

Is it worth putting a Ceramic Coating on a new car?

Absolutely! The better the condition of the paint the more benefits you will get from adding a ceramic coating. If you plan on keeping the car long term and want to protect its paint then it is absolutely worth the investment.

What is PPF (Paint Protection Film)?

Paint Protection Film is a thermoplastic urethane, often self healing, film applied to the painted surfaces of a new or used vehicle in order to protect the car from stone chips, bugs and minor abrasions. According to our PPF providers, SunTek, the film guards against most hazards you experience to consistently help maintain your car’s original finish.

At ELH Detailing we mainly use four types of SunTek PPF; Reaction which gives a glossy finish, is self healing has ceramic coating benefits and a twelve year limited warranty, Ultra which can either have a glossy or matte look, also has self healing properties and excellent stain and scratch resistance with a ten year limited warranty. We have the Matte PPF, similarly to the others it is self healing, resistant to scratches but has a five year limited warranty. Finally, we have the High Gloss Black Paint Protection Film with self healing hydroresist, higher impact resistance alongside the protection from scratches and stains and a ten year limited warranty.

When picking what PPF would be most beneficial to your vehicle it is best to consult a trusted detailer on what sort of finish and protection you want so they can aid you in what would be the best choice. Our detailers at our studio in Salisbury always prefer to be able to see the car and its condition before they recommend anything to you to make sure they can provide the best service for your needs.They will evaluate the amount of coverage needed, the finish and appearance you prefer, your budget and tell you the warranty information and details.

What are the benefits of Paint Protection Film?

  1. Low maintenance,

  2. Protects the paintwork against fading,

  3. Maintains your car resale value,

  4. Can prevent chemical reactions,

  5. Long term money saving,

  6. Invisible protection,

  7. Self-Healing,

  8. Isn’t specific to one vehicle,

  9. Quality is Guaranteed,

  10. Computer generated precision.

Low Maintenance:

Suntek Paint Protection Film repels dust, dirt and other grime that you may pick up while driving. If dirt sticks to the film it can easily be wiped off and doesn’t require a full exterior wash, saving you time and money on products.

Protecting the Paintwork Against Fading:

Exposure to the sun and harsh UV rays can cause your paintwork to fade, leaving the colour looking faded and dull. This could result in your car or vehicle needing a full respray in the future, due to the PPF’s unique chemical makeup it can deflect harmful rays. The film will protect the appearance of your car keeping it free from bumps, scratches or chips.

Maintaining your Vehicles Resale Value:

Regardless of whether your car is brand new or used at some point in the future you will most likely want to sell it, keeping the car in top quality condition will help maintain its resale value. Adding a Paint Protection Film will ensure that your car stays in the condition it was bought in and leaves you not having to stress about others possibly hitting or scratching your car when driving or parked in public because you know there’s an easy cost effective fix.

Preventing Chemical Reactions:

There are many environmental factors that have chemicals which can be abrasive to the paint and other parts of your car, these can over time cause chipping and a buildup of rust. For example, the salt that is laid on the roads to remove ice or snow can stick to your paint and cause imperfections over time. PPF can protect your vehicle from these factors and stop possible weathering from factors like bird droppings, leaving your car looking better for longer.

Long Term Money Saving:

The prior installation of Paint Protection Film can prevent you from having to spend money on future repairs and stop you from spending days without your car. It is an in advance investment but in the long run it’s cheaper than the alternative of multiple repairs.

Invisible Protection:

PPF is a transparent film and is practically invisible unless you closely inspect the vehicle. This is beneficial if you have a luxury vehicle or car that you don’t want to ruin the look of because you can be completely protected undetected.

Self Healing Properties:

All SunTek Paint Protection Film products feature a scientifically formulated top coat. This top coat protects the urethane against surface damage, while the self healing properties repair the majority of scratches utilising the heat of the sun, a warm body panel, engine heat or warm water. In more depth the self healing comes from a technology called elastomeric polymers, which are essentially like an elastic band in the sense that they snap back into their original shape when heated up.

Not Specific to One Vehicle:

Regardless of what car you have and what model it is, your car can have PPF applied, and the technology used to cut the film will almost always have the car model and make we need there.

Quality is Guaranteed:

SunTek, much like other car film providers, fully train each and every detailer that uses their products and they do check ups to make sure they’re applying the film to the best quality. There is no doubt that the application will be done professionally.

Computer Generated Precision:

All our films are cut via a computer generated moulds that are precise to the model of your car, it makes installations much easier for the detailer and we can choose your desired placements so if you’re only wanting the mirrors and headlights done we can print off those precise cut outs.

How is Paint Protection Film applied?

When installing PPF we need to be wary of contaminants, temperature and possible bubbles under the film. To avoid fingerprints, dirt and debris both the film and the detailer’s hands need to remain wet with soap and water. Our detailer uses gloves to avoid the contaminations completely, although it is still recommended to keep everything covered in water for the best application. Some more factors that can make the application process difficult, and show us why it is only done by professionals, is that detailers need to avoid creating lift lines, scuffing the film, bubbles under the film and edge lifting.

Firstly the necessary PPF is measured and mapped out on a digitalised mat which is linked to a computer that remaps the entire image onto a specialised design software for Paint Protection Film cutting. Once the design is put together the detailer can adjust it to their needs before they send it to our cutting machine.

Next the installer will remove the excess film to leave the necessary panel pieces, once everything is cut out it is ready for application. Prior to the application process starting the vehicle will have been completely decontaminated and cleaned ready. Soapy water will be sprayed both on the vehicle and film to allow for movement if necessary when the film is placed. Once the detailer is happy with the placement of the film they will start to squeegee the film into place, removing bubbles and excess liquid. All PPF films have a memory, meaning unless it is heated and set again it will try to return to its original shape. Once the film has been installed and completely stuck to the vehicle the detailer will go around and make sure everything is secure and neat.

How long does Paint Protection Film last?

On average Paint Protection Film can last anywhere from five to twelve years, it depends on the factors it has. Thicker films are more likely to have a longer lifespan, while thinner ones are gonna need replacing sooner. An example of this would be the difference between two of our Paint Protection Film supplier, SunTek’s, products; Reaction Films give a glossy finish, are self healing have ceramic coating benefits and a twelve year limited warranty whereas the Matte PPF Film despite having self healing properties, being resistant to scratches has a five year limited warranty. This is because it has less beneficial factors and is not as likely to last as long.

How does Paint Protection Film compare to other protective sealants?

Similarly to the ceramic coating, PPF has a much longer product lifespan compared to waxes as it can last between five to twelve years while waxes will last at most four to six weeks meaning it needs to be applied more frequently and is higher maintenance. Also due to the regularity of the application of wax price wise it will most likely be more money and time wasted as opposed to getting PPF applied once as a beforehand investment.

PPF has so many benefits including the resistance it has to chemicals and damage such as swirl marks, scratches and stone chips which as I previously mentioned can be healed due to the self healing tendencies of the film. Waxes cannot live up to that level of protection.

Application wise PPF requires a professional to apply it as it is a tricky process that requires high end tools and expertise, although one would argue its a worthwhile investment as opposed to having to apply wax yourself frequently.

In conclusion both can be valid options for paint protection and looking after the full exterior of your car but Paint Protection Film is easily the more beneficial choice. It may cost more to begin with but it guarantees a level of protection that wax could never and it maintains resale value of the car.

Can you apply Paint Protection Film yourself?

It is not recommended that anyone who isn’t trained to do so attempt PPF on any vehicle, it can damage the paintwork and it is highly unlikely that you’d be able to reach the level of perfection most installers strive to achieve. Paint Protection Film takes more than just professional hands on expertise to successfully apply, it requires pattern software, a cutting plotter, solutions and tools.

Although if you were wanting to learn how to apply PPF our film providers SunTek do training courses for those interested.

Is it worth putting PPF on a new vehicle?

It is undoubtedly worth getting Paint Protection Film applied to a new car, if anything this is the best time to get it applied since you will be preserving the paint at its freshest point and the resale value will be the best it possibly can be. By getting the film applied before the car has had too much exposure to UV rays and environmental elements it will already be protected.

Of course a car doesn’t need to be brand new to get PPF, any aged car can get the film applied and it will be beneficial for your vehicle regardless of age.

What are the comparisons between Ceramic Coating and Paint Protection Film?

One main difference between PPF and Ceramic Coating is that Paint Protection Film’s primary benefit is that it protects your vehicle from scuffs, stone chips and scratches. Ceramic coating cannot promise that, the added liquid polymer layer will not defend your vehicle from road traffic film and contaminates..

Durability wise there is a difference as well, despite the fact that ceramic coatings do last a long time ranging from two to seven years PPF lasts even longer. Also ceramic coatings enhance gloss and shine significantly, while nearly invisible but primarily focuses on protection rather

than enhancing shine. Coatings require regular maintenance to maintain hydrophobic properties and PPF requires less frequent maintenance but still needs care to avoid yellowing and peeling. Ceramic coatings are generally less expensive than PPF but still require a significant investment, especially for professional application. PPF is a higher upfront cost due to material and professional installation but a low long term cost.

Both ceramic coating and PPF offer valuable benefits for vehicle protection. The choice between them depends on the type of protection you prioritise, your budget, and your willingness to maintain the vehicle. Many car enthusiasts actually use both: PPF for high-impact areas (e.g., front bumper, hood) and ceramic coating for the entire vehicle to combine the benefits of both products.

Why is ceramic coating and ppf the ultimate duo?

The combination of ceramic coating and PPF leverages the strengths of both products, offering a level of protection that neither can provide alone. PPF provides physical protection against impacts, while ceramic coating offers chemical resistance, UV protection, and ease of maintenance. Together, they ensure the vehicle’s paint remains in excellent condition, looks stunning, and retains its value for years to come. This comprehensive approach makes them the ultimate duo for car enthusiasts looking for the best possible protection and aesthetics.

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