Recently, Chino our detailer, completed a certification course in the use and application of ceramic paint protection. Its a service new to us that we now offer to our customers. I wanted to take a bit of time on this blog post to talk about what it is and what it does. Before I do that its not a bad idea to have a quick overview of paints and protective coatings. For those that feel that reading that is like watching paint dry (sorry) skip to the bottom for what ceramic coating can do for you and your car.
A brief look at the evolution of automotive paint
The original paints of the days of the first production cars was not actually automotive paint, it used linseed oil resin as a binder and caused a long time to cure and dry. With the advent of more cars going into production all over the world DuPont developed a paint that was specifically made for the automotive industry that dried in under two hours. Plus it had the added benefit of the revolutionary idea of paint colors other than black. In the 1950's car paint advanced with synthetic formulations and primer was used prior to painting to help stop corrosion and rust.
Through the 1950's to the 1970's paint protection appeared in the form of an acrylic lacquer coating applied to as the final coat on cars. These top coats lasted about two years before they started to degrade and required consistent wax applications to keep the paint looking 'fresh'.
In the 1980's auto manufacturers were looking for something better - and coupled with the environmental standards of reducing VOC's (volatile organic compounds) a basecoat and topcoat solution was created. In part, this was also driven by consumer desire to have paints last longer as they were keeping their vehicles longer.
Clearcoats continued to evolve over the next 20 years through 2000, largely driven by the need to reduce environmental footprints and save time in the manufacturing process. The latest iteration that involves solvent based primer, basecoat and clear coat are all applied successively and then allowed to 'bake'
Waxes and other car protection products
In the 1800's the first coating to help protect the lacquer on horse carriages was developed in Germany and made from animal fat. As mentioned above in paint development there was an evolving need for paint protection to keep pace with the changes - not to mention animal fat was probably not going to catch on. Paint polishing compounds have actually been around since 1900 as a method of keeping a shine on paint. Its origins can be traced to Frank Meguiar (yes, that Meguiars wax you can find today) as an offshoot of the furniture polish he had developed. This development continued with George Simons who created a cleaner wax for cars that contained carnuaba wax (often called Brazil wax as it comes from palm trees native to that area) and the term 'Simonize' was coined. Partway through the second world war the first liquid car wax (Turtle wax) was developed followed by DuPonts development of polymer sealants in the late 1960's
With clear coats arriving in the 1970's advancement in protection products continued and products like detailing clay began to emerge in to 1990's. By the 2000's companies like PPG were developing products to help reduce the effects of ultraviolet light and acid rain. By 2007 companies were advancing ceramic coatings or nano-coatings. Nano meaning billionth of a meter as it dealt with filling in paint in areas as small as that size and protects paint from all kinds of issues including bird droppings, UV light (sun damage) etc. If you want an idea of how small a nanometer is its about the length your fingernails grow in one second.
Why have us Ceramic coat your paint?
Ceramic coatings are the next step in paint protection, and way better than animal fat if you read the top of this post. They do need prep work and they do need a clean surface free of contaminants though to work properly and provide maximum protection. Its not just a claim of protection though - we warranty it for 3, 5 or 7 years depending on the package you select.
To begin with we strip all of the old wax and contaminants off your car, then go through paint correction (which includes cutting and polishing) and if needed clay bar your vehicle before we start the ceramic coating. The coating is then applied in a dust free environment and allowed to cure for 24 hours. Some of the benefits include: