Ceramic Coatings vs. Graphene Coating for Cars
Buying a brand-new car is one of the most exciting ventures of life. Everything from the new car smell to the fancy controls on the dashboard leaves you tingling with excitement.
Naturally, you’ll want to hold onto this feeling for as long as you can. This means you’ll do everything in your power to keep that bad boy looking brand new. An easy way to achieve this is to use vehicle coatings. These are specially-formulated treatments, designed to protect the car’s paint.
Two of the most popular coatings are ceramic and graphene. This post seeks to shed more light on each type, highlighting their pros, cons and how they stack up against each other.
Overview of Ceramic Coating?
Ceramic coatings drew a lot of attention when they first hit the market in the early 2010s. Initially, they were used primarily by expert detailers. But as their popularity increased, DIYers and car enthusiasts began using them too.
So, what is a ceramic coating? Well, it’s a semi-permanent or permanent treatment made of silicon dioxide for the purpose of paint protection. Ceramic coatings come in different types, ranging from hybrid waxes to concentrate kits and zero-work wet sprays. There’s even an interior ceramic coating, designed for a car’s interior.
Most ceramic coatings come in liquid form. Once applied to the body of the car, they bond with the existing car paint. The resulting mixture cures after a short while, forming a tough exterior that shields the paint from scratches and other environmental hazards.
The beauty of a ceramic coating is that it doesn’t wash away or disintegrate the way traditional car waxes do. This eliminates the need for frequent reapplications. But like any other product, it has its fair share of pros and cons.
One of the greatest benefits of a ceramic coating is its unmatched protection. Once it cures, it creates a protective barrier that repels dirt, water, and other pollutants. This, in turn, makes your car less vulnerable to swirl marks, scratches, bird droppings, and tree sap.
Another feature that makes ceramic coating so popular in car detailing shops is its longevity. Conventional waxes and sealants usually have to be reapplied every few months to enhance their protective capabilities.
In contrast, ceramic coatings only have to be applied once to gain long-term protection. This translates to minimal maintenance as well as money- and time-savings.
Ceramic coatings also enhance your car’s appearance by creating a shiny, hydrophobic surface. Hydrophobic means that when water falls on the exterior, it forms tiny little beads that roll off.
These ceramic coatings also make car cleaning easier. The protective layer reduces the chances of dirt, grime, and other contaminants sticking to the paint. This means less time and effort spent maintaining and cleaning your vehicle.
An Expensive Affair
The initial investment of applying a ceramic coating to your car isn’t too expensive. However, if you end up having to reapply the coating frequently, the costs can add up pretty quickly.
Yes, the coating is more durable than car wax/sealant. But, it’s not completely scratch-proof. Even though it can shield your car against light scratches, it can sustain damage from severe scratches.
With ceramic coatings, it’s certainly a case of getting what you pay for. Premium coatings, which cost slightly more, tend to last longer. Meanwhile, the inferior, cheaper options last for a short time. But, even the best ceramic coatings don’t last forever. They last for two to five years on average.
Overview of Graphene Coatings
Graphene is the newest kid on the block that’s been taking the car coatings industry by storm. The material is made from just one layer of carbon.
Now, based on that piece of information alone, you probably didn’t think much of it. But as it turns out, it has a lot to brag about. Despite the one-carbon layer structure, it is ranked one of the sturdiest materials available.
Just to give you an idea of its solidity, graphene is stronger than diamond and up to 200 times more rigid than steel! With such properties, it is no wonder industrial specialists have harnessed its potential for car detailing applications.
Before you rush to buy a graphene coating though, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all the details. And yes, that includes the ugly side too. Here’s a comprehensive list of graphene coatings pros and cons:
Ceramic-based paint protection coatings offer modest protection. After all, this is one of the reasons why they’re preferred to waxes and sealants.
But if you’re looking to get top-notch protection, graphene coating is your best bet. Thanks to its sturdiness, it offers excellent resistance to scratches and abrasion.
Another key selling point of a graphene coating is its anti-static properties. Simply put, it prevents the buildup of static charges. As a result, it prevents dirt, dust, and other pollutants from adhering to the coating. This makes it easier to keep your car clean for an extended period; thus, saving you energy and time.
Like their ceramic counterparts, graphene coatings are also hydrophobic. However, graphene varieties set themselves apart by offering a higher water contact angle.
Now, you’re probably wondering what contact angle means. This term describes how well a single water droplet falls onto or ‘wets’ a surface. The higher the water contact angle, the harder it is for the liquid to adhere to the surface, enabling it to glide off seamlessly.
With such hydrophobicity, you’ll never have to worry about seeing any water spots on your car’s exterior. The coating will keep your car looking glossy throughout.
Given all the benefits that graphene coatings offer, it’s not surprising to learn that they’re more expensive than their ceramic counterparts. Although the costs vary between brands, expect to pay at least $100 for this type of paint protection. In comparison, you can get a ceramic coating for anywhere between $50 and $90.
Using premium coatings like graphene requires plenty of preparation. You can’t just slather the product onto the exterior and call it a day. Instead, you have to prep the target area adequately. Here’s a step-by-step guide to graphene coating application:
Surface preparation - this involves cleaning and decontaminating the target area
Paint correction - this step involves removing scratches, swirl marks, and oxidation
Applying a primer - this product enhances the adherence of the final coating
Applying the graphene coating - the last step is to apply the ultra-thin yet incredibly strong graphene coating
Leave the coating to cure and form a strong bond
Which One Is Right for You?
If you’re looking for a coating that will offer better protection than traditional waxes at a pocket-friendly price, ceramic is the way to go. It’s readily available, affordable, and offers a decent 2-to-5-year protection.
However, if you’re looking for the best coating on the market, go for graphene instead. You’ll enjoy all the perks you’d get from a ceramic coating, but they’ll be amplified ten times more! This includes UV protection, resilience, hydrophobicity, water-repellency, and more. However, be ready to pay a hefty sum of money and spend a considerable amount of time on its application.