Why Paint Prep is Crucial Before Installing a Ceramic Coating
Updated: May 25, 2021
Now before applying a coating to a vehicle, it is very important to know what goes on behind the scenes. For those who may not know, we despise installing a ceramic coating on ANY vehicle without the proper prep work. If you're getting a coating installed by any detailer that throw's a coating on a vehicle without any proper prep work involved, walk away. Applying a coating is the easy part, but most don't know the work that gets done to ensure the best quality and results. We will be discussing our process we do during our ceramic coating process.
Now after a consultation and setting up a scheduled date ect, the vehicle will receive a complete exterior hand wash including wheels, fender wells, door jambs. After the washing stage, the vehicle goes through a 2-stage (iron fallout and clay pad) paint decontamination to remove any iron contaminants that's embed in the vehicle's clear coat. This decontamination stage ensures that the paint surface is as clean as possible. After the vehicle is completely dried, we like to use a paint measuring gauge to ensure healthy readings of the clear coat. We do this before any paint correction stage, so we don't risk furthering the damage on a vehicle with low readings. This also helps us point out any odd readings of the vehicle (high reading on the hood, low reading on the roof, ect).
If all of the paint measurements readings are good throughout the entire vehicle, it now goes through the paint correction "buffing" stage. We want to make sure any paint defects are removed such as scratches, swirls, oxidation, and etching (with the expectation of severely deep scratches which can be improved, but not completely removed). Each vehicle will differ during this stage. Some vehicle's may need only a light polish, some cars may need an aggressive compound followed by a light polish. The vehicle than goes though a inspection stage to make sure a high percentage of paint defects are removed, before giving the vehicle a complete wipe down of panel wipe. This is also an important step to remove any polish residues and oils, to prep the paint so that the coating will bond properly to the paint.
After we know for sure that the vehicle is clean and prepped, the coating is than applied to all paint surface in small sections, (wheels, glass, trims if added to the package). After the first layer of coating, we inspect the vehicle with a high amount of lighting to remove any possible high spots. Time will vary pending on the condition, humility, temperature (45 min to 2 hours), the vehicle is ready for a second layer of coating. We do the same again and check for high spots. After 100% sure that the vehicle is to the level needed, we require you to keep the vehicle indoors for at-least 12 hours of curing. Also avoid washing the vehicle for a few days as well. You're vehicle will look better than ever and is now protected for years to come.
So remember, it's not about how fast or quickly you can get a coating installed (and you shouldn't) it's about following proper procedures and make sure it's done right. Sometimes this process can take 2-3 days to complete pending on the vehicle. But in the end, it's completely worth it. Now that you have an ideal of what goes on, you can trust us to get your car ceramic coated.