The Truth About Ceramic Coatings

With as much misinformation out there about what ceramic/glass/nano coatings can and can’t do, it’s time to clear the air. Here at Areté  we are absolutely dedicated to ensuring our clients are not only educated about the specific products we use, but also product classifications as a whole. In the spirit of spreading knowledge we are here to help you understand what to expect out of a protective paint coating system. We’ll dispel some myths and teach you about the realities of what these amazing products can truly accomplish. While they are the real deal when it comes to surface protection, they aren’t a miracle cure-all and there are things that some companies will claim that just simply aren’t true.

That’s the reason we carry products produced by CarPro such as CQuartz Finest. As a manufacturer, they stand behind setting realistic expectations and delivering a truly excellent product through a dedicated, exclusive group of professionals. We support that mission and we strive to create greater transparency with consumers so that everyone knows exactly what they’re getting and how to best care for it as to assure lasting results.

Myth: Coatings Are Scratch-Proof

As much as we all want to hear that our paint’s surface will never be plagued by swirls and scratches ever again, this could not be farther from the truth! The protection that a coating will provide does extend into the realm of swirls and scratches, but not to the extent that many people are led to believe. No coating can prevent swirls or scratches completely. Protection from swirls depends on using proper aftercare techniques, and products, to have that effect. This means that improper washing and drying can lead to the same kinds of damage one might expect from an un-coated surface if you stray from the recommended care methodologies of your detailer. Make no mistake, an automated brush-wash tunnel is no place for ANY vehicle, and it’s a shame that some brands backhandedly suggest their coatings will repel the damage inflicted by these machines, as they simply do not.

It’s up to the companies that develop coatings and those who install them to promote the best practices to maintain a vehicle’s finish. Advising for or against certain wash techniques, in marketing and in customer experience, is part of the education that helps preserve and extend the life of a coating. With a little bit of common sense mixed in, everyone can know exactly what to expect months and years down the road. If you’re dedicated to proper coating maintenance it is possible to maintain an impeccable finish for the life of the product.

Myth: Coatings Do Not Require Maintenance

Tempted by claims that you’ll never have to wax your car again? Don’t believe the hype! If you hear that “nothing bonds to the paint” once a car is coated, be equally warned. Simply put, coatings will reduce the time and effort required to properly clean a vehicle significantly. They’ll even keep a car cleaner in between washes! But, over time, the same contaminants will find their way to the surfaces of a car. When it comes time to remove this contamination, we regularly find that we are able to do so with ease due to the surface being coated. The buildup is not as severe, and the products designed to care for coatings streamline the process.

Just because maintenance is expected and necessary to get the most out of any coating doesn’t mean it’s complicated. On one end of the spectrum, going six months in between washes is a sure-fire way to significantly diminish a coating’s performance. On the other, regular care (in the hands of a professional detailer or educated client) doesn’t have to mean daily washes. It means that the wash is done right, and often enough for the conditions the paint is driven through. We believe that CQuartz coatings make the wash process more enjoyable, while saving serious time no matter who is doing the detailing!

“Never wax your car again” is a misnomer here- we do not recommend the use of traditional waxes, as they will temporarily change the behavior of dust, dirt and water sheeting on the surface. The coatings we install are far superior to these types of products but we still recommend upkeep with inorganic quartz sealants containing SiO2 as part of long-term care practices that keep coatings looking and performing their best! For those who still enjoy “waxing” their car, these sealants are compatible with coatings and are utilized to maintain peak showroom shine and slickness.

Myth: Coatings Are Permanent

Just as tires or brakes wear down and need replacing, a coating will eventually be worn away as it defends your paint. There’s no way around it. When you hear someone mention “permanent protection”, you’re hearing about the bond formed between the coating and the surface it protects. Not just a mere spray wax sitting on your paint, coatings are literally chemically bonded, or stuck, to your paint once application is truly complete. Just like paint protection film (PPF) and window tint, coatings have their specific purpose on our vehicles. They offer long-term protection from a multitude of environmental factors: UVA/UVB light, dirt, brake dust, iron contaminants and industrial fallout, bug guts and bird droppings, to name a few!

While delivering this exceptional performance, the abuse we expect these products to take is not without limit or life expectancy. An excellent example is how rock chips are best prevented by PPF, not coatings. There’s no matching the amount of sacrificial material offered by PPF in the face of debris rocketing toward (or from) a vehicle. These films have their unique strengths and are often combined with a coating on top for the best of both worlds, filling in where the other left off.

The long and short of it is that coatings just aren’t permanent, while they can and do last multiple years with proper care and maintenance it is unrealistic to claim a “lifetime” protection expectancy. Often manufacturers that make this claim hide things in their warranty that easily allow them to dismiss claims; a popular clause often included voids your warranty after a single trip through a tunnel-style car wash!


Our Role as Detailers

As detailers, and as coating installers, it’s up to us to choose the products that represent appropriate claims made by their manufacturer. We make sure we have our facts straight before marketing a product, as impossible expectations hurt our customers, our livelihood, and our industry. Our mission is to properly educate and prepare anyone who wishes to protect and maintain their vehicle to a higher standard. Our work is our pride and joy, we refuse to hide it behind empty promises and wild claims. As we have mentioned before, coatings are not a cure-all but still provide an outstanding barrier for a variety of surfaces. Understanding the benefits and stating their limitations are cornerstones of our transparency with customers.

We truly believe that the protection and appearance qualities offered by CQuartz coatings are what we search for in a brand and product line. We love applying them, how they look, and how much cleaner they stay. The exclusive nature of the authorized network of detailers installing CQuartz Finest is something that humbles us on a daily basis, from the sheer amount of knowledge and experience shared to the great support we have for each other and the industry as a whole. We’re not here to say which coating is the “best” as that is impossible to claim- we felt it necessary to clear the air and set the record straight about a few things.

As always, thanks for reading!

Posted on February 7, 2017 and filed under articles.