In this article, we will be answering some popular Ceramic Coating FAQs, or frequently asked questions, that we've found people asking us in the shop or we've seen people ask on the internet.
If you find yourself having a question that wasn't answered here or hasn't been covered in one of your articles, please post it here in the comments, and we will give our best to help you with your query and add it to the post for others to learn as well.
But before we jump in, if you want to learn more about which Ceramic Coatings are the best, you can check our Top List of the Best Ceramic Coatings we have tested in our shop.
Here we go!
How much does Ceramic Coating Cost?
If you are referring to the bottle that contains the Ceramic Coating Kit - they, on average, cost between 50$ and 80$ ( USD ). You, of course, will find those that are much cheaper and those that are a lot more expensive. But we are talking about some averages here. Keep in mind, while you might even find some for like 5-10$ on eBay, we would take those with a grain of salt because some might be fake or really bad quality.
We suggest you stick to those that have been proven and tested and are backed by someone reputable and trustworthy behind them. You can go to the Reviews or Top Lists section on our site to see our reviews of the products that we would recommend, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
If you are referring to how much it costs for a shop to coat your car with Ceramic Coating professionally? They would charge you anywhere from 1000$ all the way up to 5000$ depending on multiple factors: shop reputation, the product they are using, condition of the car, how many layers of the ceramic coating are being applied, is the car being detailed beforehand, how big the car is, is it a showroom car, etc. But most of the price percentage would be all the preparation work that would go into the car before the Ceramic Coating itself. It all depends on the type of paint you have on your vehicle, whether it is a showroom vehicle, the value of the vehicle, car surface terrain, and how much clear coat there is left on the vehicle ( perhaps it would even need a repaint ). There are simply too many factors to consider to simply slap a price and just say, 'That is how much it will cost'.
If you want to know the price, then you need to break it down to everything you are paying for and understand why all those things are important when taking your car into consideration. Also very important to note is that once the preparation has been completed and it has finally come to Ceramic Coat your car to keep that newly perfected paint safe and protected, most professionals will use a tested and proven high-end Ceramic Coating product that they usually work with and know its ins and outs.
Their reputation would be on the line, and their mission is to make your car beautiful and preserve its appearance as it currently is for years to come.
How long does it take to coat a car with Ceramic Coating?
If you think that detailing your car is not needed ( paint correction, claying, polishing ), then whatever time it takes you to properly wash your car plus 1 hour on average for one coat, depending on the size of your car and your experience with using Ceramic Coating. Note that some Ceramic Coatings will require you to apply 2 coats of that product with some waiting time in between. Usually, that time is 1 hour, so if you have one of such products, then coating your car might take you up to 3 hours under those conditions.
Then obviously, if you think that you should do some exterior detailing on your car, we definitely recommend, then the above plus whatever you decide to do to your car. Detailing a car, meaning - washing, claying, and polishing might take you around 5-6 hours on average, obviously depending on various factors. It could be more, or if you are really experienced and prepared, you might even be able to do it in 4 hours. Not every vehicle is the same to work on, so even experienced professionals working in the car detailing industry might have variable times when working.
As noted above, we recommend detailing your car prior to covering it with Ceramic Coating because whatever the condition of the paint of your car is currently, it will stay in that condition during the coatings' lifetime. Ceramic Coating does improve the gloss of your car's paint, but it does not remove scratches or swirl marks, and they will still be seen underneath it.
How long does Ceramic Coating last?
It varies depending on the product and the way you treat your car during that period, but if the car is being properly maintained then anywhere from 2 years upwards on average. Some manufacturers promise much longer longevity of their Ceramic Coating.
If you are not properly maintaining the exterior of your car thought, then deterioration of the ceramic coating might happen faster.
Learn more about how long ceramic coating lasts from one of our articles.
How long does it take for Ceramic Coating to cure fully?
Once applied as per instructions, the Ceramic Coating usually hardens after about 24 hours, but it continues to cure and fully bonds onto the car's paint after about 1 week, but with some products, it may take even longer. It is important to note that the Ceramic Coating will not cure at the same speed because of things like weather, temperature, humidity, etc.
So your best bet is to read the manufacturer's instructions and perform as they say.
Read this article if you want to learn more about how long it takes for ceramic coatings to cure.
Is Ceramic Coating DIY friendly?
Yes. With research and preparation, you will be able to successfully coat your car with Ceramic Coating in a DIY fashion.
Here you can learn more about how to prepare your car's surface for ceramic coating and other forms of paint protection.
After that, you can learn more about how to apply ceramic coating to your car.
If you do not care about your car's appearance before application but would just instead coat your car using Ceramic Coating in its current condition, our suggestion is to not use Ceramic Coating in that case but instead opt for cheaper alternatives such as Automotive Car Wax or Polymer Sealants since the application process is simpler and they cost less.
In any case, do your proper research before you proceed to apply it to the paint of your car.
Is Ceramic Coating a shield?
No. Ceramic Coating is a paint protection product, and it does protect your car's paint to a certain degree. It is not some magical forcefield but it does have some amazing properties that help it do its job extremely well.
Once fully cured, it bonds on top of the paint of your car. Usually, that is the clear coat layer of your vehicle's paint, and forms a hard, slick surface that has some resistance to damage and is fairly resistant to harsh chemicals, and has excellent resistance to heat.
It is also resistant to UV radiation that we receive from sunlight and weather. It has amazing hydrophobic qualities, and the slick surface not only prevents water from sticking to it but also prevents particles, in general, from fully sticking to it, such as mud, bugs, or dust. And if they do not fall off while driving due to wind resistance then they should be easily washed off by rinsing them with water.
Are Ceramic Spray Coatings a scam?
No, they are not. That being said, Ceramic Coating Sprays usually do not perform nearly as well as their counterparts in bottled form. They are actually a different formula, even though, on first inspection, it might seem that they are doing the same thing. That is why you will likely find them at a cheaper price point than true Ceramic Coatings. Spray Ceramic Coatings have been invented as an easier-to-work-with alternative to Ceramic Coatings.
Spray-On Ceramic Coatings are usually polymer sealants combined with ceramic coating technology. Some are even infused with graphene for supposed added benefits.
They, indeed, are much easier to work with since they are mostly applied in a spray-on and buff-off manner, and it takes a significantly shorter time to coat a car. But they are really not designed to replace Ceramic Coating since they offer mostly the same properties but at a weaker scale and thus perform worse. Most notably, they will, on average last as an Automotive Car Wax would since they deteriorate quicker and easier when dealing with any day-to-day activities.
Can I use Ceramic Coating on a plastic or glass surface?
Make sure to read the product label and use the product as per the manufacturers' instructions before use. Most Ceramic Coatings can be used on both plastic and glass surfaces, but not all Ceramic Coatings are the same.
Even though they might look like a transparent liquid and they might smell the same, their chemical properties might be different and might affect those materials differently. So some Ceramic Coatings may leave a hazy or whitish finish that wouldn't look good on plastic and would be considered unsafe on glass.
Does Ceramic Coating create a perfectly flat surface?
Generally no. It all depends on the condition of your car's paint prior to coating. Damage to the paint of a car leaves all these hills and valleys. And Ceramic Coating does, since it is based on nanotechnology - meaning its molecules are super small compared to something like Wax or a Sealant - meaning that the coating will trace all those imperfections, leaving a thin protective coating on it once dry and cured.
So the surface will not be perfectly flat on areas where there was damage, but you will get a smoothing effect instead.
Should water sheet or bead from a Ceramic Coated surface?
Since Ceramic Coating leaves a smooth hydrophobic surface when cured, liquids will not stay on the surface but sheet off it instead, or if there was damage on the car's paint ( we are talking on a microscopic level ), even though the surface is slick and smooth in those areas as well, it is not perfectly smooth, and they might hold water in the form of a bead.
If the car is stationary, the bead will stay on the coating, but the slightest disruption, such as wind or vibrations, will most likely drive that bead out of that microscopic valley and push it off the car. Under ideal conditions, we are talking almost utopian if the surface of the car would be perfectly smooth without any damage, the paint job was perfect, and the Ceramic Coating was added to the car perfectly and had enough time to cure under perfect conditions, undisturbed, and the Ceramic Coating used was of very high quality, then all liquids would sheet off the surface of the cars paint without fail to leave no beads.
So the perfect Ceramic Coating would have all the water sheets off the surface in seconds' time, leaving no beads on the surface. That way, you would avoid water spots and would have a dry clean surface during the coatings lifetime.
You can read more about water sheeting and water beading in ceramic coatings.
Can I reuse the applicator used to coat my car with Ceramic Coating?
When working with it, the applicator ( usually microfiber or suede ) pad will remain soft as long as you regularly reapply some Ceramic Coating liquid to the pad. So even if it takes you 30 minutes or 1 hour to apply the coating, the applicator will be safe to use.
But, when you stop using it and you stop adding more of the Ceramic Coating solution onto the applicator, the liquid will evaporate, and the ceramic coating solution will start to crystalize and harden. It can still be saved if the more liquid solution is reapplied within about 15 to 30 minutes. The best thing to do is to touch it with your fingers once some Ceramic Coating liquid has been reapplied to it to see if it is soft to the touch. If not, or more than 30 minutes have passed, we recommend getting rid of the applicator.
Even washing it in a washing machine will not do much at this point. The best thing is to dispose of that one to avoid scratching the paint by mistake in the future and take another applicator at this point to be safe. You can use a clean and dry microfiber towel if you do not have a designated applicator. Make sure it is not damp.
How long do I have to wait when I Ceramic Coat a car?
You might also wonder when it is safe to drive or use your car when you finish coating it. Avoid using it and keep it covered and protected from rain or wind to avoid ruining the coating or the finish before it has hardened or cured. Ceramic Coating usually cures for around a week. Some products take more, some take less, and the times are also affected by the temperature outside and the humidity in the air.
But it usually, unless instructed by the manufacturer otherwise, hardens on the outside in about 24 hours. It is safe to use your car now, but it is not recommended. We would perhaps avoid hard driving, highways, offroading, or washing the car during the curing process to ensure a perfect uninterrupted bond on the whole surface of the car's paint.
How do I maintain the Ceramic Coating on my car?
You finally have your car coated in Ceramic Coating, and now it is an impenetrable tank that cannot be damaged for the next 5 years all way up to forever. Well, no, not really. Ceramic Coating is the best way to protect the paint on your car, at least in our opinion, but it is not some SF wizardry that promises eternal youth and infinite fortune.
It will, as most things, deteriorate over time, it will suffer damage, and eventually, it will fail. The good news for you is that it will take a good amount of time before that happens, especially if you maintain the coating correctly. Wash the car regularly, do not let bird droppings or tree pollen sit on your car for a long period of time, use pH-neutral car shampoo and avoid abrasive towels but use microfiber towels to clean your car instead. The key tip here is to use pH-balanced shampoos really. Automotive Waxes or Polymer Sealants will get washed off by strong car shampoos, even by rain eventually ( as it can be somewhat acidic as well ), and sometimes even in one go. Or at least you will notice the difference immediately.
With Ceramic Coatings, especially if they are good, you won't notice any differences in their effectiveness even if you are careless about how you care for your car, but it will hurt the coating, trust us. So to get the most out of your Ceramic Coating, just use the tips stated above and take care of your car regularly.
We have a full guide on how to maintain a ceramic coating so you get the most out of it.
Should a Ceramic Coating be Hydrophobic or Hydrophilic?
The question of whether a ceramic coating should be hydrophobic or hydrophilic is a bit complicated. To answer that question, we must first explore what both terms mean.
For a surface to be hydrophobic would mean that that surface would repel water molecules. There would be no repulsive force involved in the process, but instead, there would be a lack of attraction. Because of that, you would see water escape the hydrophobic surface, and if it can't, it would instead form a bead of water that would stay in place until external forces give it enough momentum to escape the surface.
For a surface to be hydrophilic would mean the exact opposite. So that surface would have a strong affinity towards water molecules and would cause the water to spread evenly along the area of the hydrophilic surface.
With that out of the way, almost all Ceramic Coatings are hydrophobic, and water beading would be common. As the coating loses its strength, it starts to sheet water instead of more and more. But due to the hydrophobic properties, it would even remove all water off the surface, even though it would take a little bit longer than the instant effect when the coating is fresh.
That would leave the surface completely dry without or with a very small amount of water beads. Because the water didn't escape so fast, the slower spreading of water would collect all that rogue water that would be too slow to escape otherwise and would be left alone for a bead with no way of escape without help. So sheeting is better as it leaves a dryer surface, meaning no possibility of water spots.
While Ceramic Coatings wouldn't make a surface hydrophilic per se but instead would use nanotechnology to create a surface so slick that nothing would be able to retain a grip on it, no matter how low its weight is. So basically, Ceramic Coating would reduce the surface's sliding angle. Some coatings have those properties, and they sheet instead of a bead, which is much better for the overall health of your coating and the paintwork of the car since it will prevent water spots or, in the events of rain, which can sometimes be acidic, or unrinsed shampoos, clear coat damage.
You can learn how to remove water spots from a ceramic-coated car here.
Is Ceramic Coating permanent?
No. Ceramic Coating lifetime varies from product to product, but they usually last from 2 years up to 5 years. Some coatings may deviate from those numbers. Also, the longevity of Ceramic Coating is massively influenced by the environment, usage of the coated vehicle, or the way the coating is being maintained.
Temperature, exposure to the sun, washing techniques, and non-pH neutral automotive shampoos are all variables that help in the decaying process of Ceramic Coating.
So, for instance, you may Ceramic Coat a vehicle and leave it in a garage under perfect conditions, and that Ceramic Coating may last forever. But that is not realistic unless we are talking about a museum or a showroom vehicle.
Ceramic Coating VS Car Wax
Why would you use Ceramic Coating when you have a Car Wax that is much simpler to put onto the car and is less expensive? Well, that is simply for 2 reasons.
The first is that car wax is not resistant to chemicals at all and will wash off in one or two washes, while Ceramic Coatings are resistant to chemicals and will usually withstand a much-prolonged beating when compared to waxes or sealants.
The second reason is resistance to damage. While car wax offers almost no resistance to damage, ceramic coatings usually do. When talking about damage resistance, we aren't talking about the car suddenly becoming bulletproof or that you can attack it with a sword medieval-style and expect it to suffer no damage whatsoever. When talking about car paint and damage, it is usually considered in the form of light to medium scratch resistance, swirl marks, and maybe surviving stone chip damage but only at lower speeds, really.
That might not sound impressive, but when you give it a little more thought, it actually is amazing. Your car's paint is usually perfect when it comes out of the factory, or once you had it detailed to perfection which is a timely and expensive process. You can also consider respraying the car, which is, again, expensive and timely.
No matter the reason and no matter how perfect the paint on your car looks now, it will very soon have swirl marks and scratches and will start to look duller and dirty. The kind of dirty that you cannot simply wash off. There are numerous culprits for the damage your paintwork suffers, but unless it is not driven and in a garage ( for example, a showroom car ), it will suffer damage over time. Even a simple rain can damage the paint of your car. All those things add up until your car's paint doesn't look new or fresh anymore but quite the opposite.
To keep the paint on your car looking new or fresh, you need to protect it. And Ceramic Coating is the best way to give it that protection for the money you are paying. If you are ridiculously wealthy and do not care about money, there are even better ways of paint protection. But we are talking here about a method that is available to the average Joe, and it won't drain your wallet.
Those were only two factors covered, but aside from how easy it is to apply the product, Car Wax loses pretty hard in all other categories compared to Ceramic Coatings.
If you want, you can check out our deep dive into ceramic coatings vs car wax vs car sealants vs PPF!
Can you put Ceramic Coating on top of Car Wax?
No. The reason is that the chemical structure of Ceramic Coating requires it to bond directly onto the clearcoat of the paintwork. To ensure maximum adhesion, the surface needs to be decontaminated using a clay bar and an iron remover, and finally, a degreaser agent or isopropyl alcohol to remove all oils from the surface that is about the be Ceramic Coated.
Those two reasons are why you should never use Car Wax or a Polymer Sealant under Ceramic Coating.
Can you put Car Wax on top of a Ceramic Coating?
Yes, you can, but it is not recommended. Some people say it is great or ok to do it this way because you will enhance the color of the car even further, and you will make the Ceramic Coat last longer because you have two protective layers now instead of just one.
The thing is that both Ceramic Coatings and Automotive Waxes and Polymer Sealants do pretty much the same thing, except Ceramic Coating does a much better job, with some added features, and Ceramic Coating does it for much longer. Now putting on wax or a sealant on top of the Ceramic Coating would hinder the coating and prevent it from doing what it was supposed to do. While theoretically, you might get a better shine or better UV protection. The car would perform as if it had only wax on it.
And all the downsides of wax would be present, while the strengths of the Ceramic Coating would be prevented with the wax. This way, you would be forced to wash the car more as it would attract more dirt than the CC would on its own, basically losing the Carnauba Wax soon anyway. So no real advantage would have been gained by doing that.
You would only be removing the Ceramic Coating effectively until the wax is gone and the surface is properly cleaned and degreased so that the Ceramic Coat can finally do its job again.
Should you use a clay bar on Ceramic Coating?
No. A clay bar exists in the automotive detailing industry to remove contaminants that are stuck in the clearcoat, or in this case, in the coating. Now if you use a clay bar, which is abrasive, you might be damaging the Ceramic Coating to a point where it needs to be reapplied again.
Also, since a clay bar is supposed to be used with proper lubrication, the hydrophobic properties of Ceramic Coating make this task even more difficult. Using a clay bar is definitely not recommended.
What you can use is a Tar Remover or an Iron Remover, depending on the material that is stuck in the paintwork because Ceramic Coatings will be mostly unaffected by such chemicals.
Can I keep using towels that I used when Ceramic Coating a car?
No. The reason for this is that the microfiber towel that you have used to buff or level the ceramic coating in question will have some embedded in its fibers. And once the Ceramic Coating has cured, the now dry crystalline structure will become a very strong abrasive and would very likely scratch and damage the paint of your car if further used on it.
Not even using a washing machine will not guarantee it will be fully cleaned. Honestly, in our experience, the microfiber towels will be ruined. So be careful if you're thinking of using them on the paint of the car.
Now, if you decided to keep them and use them for cleaning the engine bay or something like that, you could technically, but we wouldn't use such towels for professional use anymore. It is not worth damaging a vehicle over a dollar or two.
How thick is Ceramic Coating?
Once it has been applied and the product has fully cured, one layer of Ceramic Coating is usually between 1 and 2 microns thick.
Why are Ceramic Coatings in a glass bottle?
Suppose you see a Ceramic Coating that is in a plastic bottle or a plastic container of any kind. In that case, you will know that product is not a classic Ceramic Coating but a mixture of a polymer sealant with perhaps some elements of car wax and some elements of a ceramic coating.
The reason for that is that pure Ceramic Coating would react with the plastic to make the liquid solution unusable. Plastic is not safe to use as packaging for Ceramic Coatings, and glass is required instead to keep the liquid coating safe for use.
You can read more about why ceramic coatings are stored in a glass container instead of plastic.
Can you Ceramic Coat leather?
Yes, yes, you can. More precisely, you can use a dedicated ceramic coating made specifically for a leather finish on any part of your car that is covered in leather. That usually means seats, steering wheel, sometimes the dashboard, door trim, etc.
You can learn everything there is to know about ceramic coating for leather here.
Can you use Ceramic Coating on your wheels?
Yes. While you can use almost all traditional ceramic coating on your wheels, there are ceramic coatings made specifically for that purpose. They also help with heat that comes from breaking, and they also help with brake dust that is notoriously difficult to remove if you do not know what you're doing.
Our article about ceramic coating for wheels will give you more insight into the topic.
How do I start my own car detailing business?
Well, for starters, you need two things that money can't buy - the willpower to do it, and we hardly suggest that you go open your own shop only if you really enjoy detailing cars. That includes cleaning cars, paint correction, and paint protection.
After you have those two sorted, you will need a business plan, and after you figure out what you want, you'll need a financial plan to make it all happen.
This is a very rough and quick answer to a very complicated question. We suggest you check out our Beginner's Guide to Starting a Car Detailing Business for a more detailed ( no pun intended ) explanation.
Final Words for Ceramic Coating FAQs
Well, there you have it! As we think of more questions we often get asked, we'll update this list. And if any of these need further explanation or a deep dive, we will work hard to ensure you get a dedicated article for those questions.
If you would like to check out some misconceptions about Ceramic Coatings, you can read our article.
Also, check out our article on how to Ceramic Coat your car from start to finish in full detail, if you want to learn more.