Ceramic coating has become an increasingly popular way to protect and enhance the appearance of vehicles, boats, aircraft, and even household surfaces. As the name suggests, the ceramic coating forms a glossy, glass-like layer that protects against damage from weather, chemicals, minor scratches, contamination from bird droppings or insects, and more.
But is ceramic coating equally beneficial for all types of surfaces? Are there certain pros and cons to consider for specific materials and uses? This article discusses the ceramic coating benefits and potential drawbacks of applying ceramic coatings to different vehicles and household surfaces.
The Pros of Ceramic Coating on Cars and Other Vehicles
Applying ceramic coating to cars, trucks, RVs, and other road vehicles offers some significant upsides:
- Enhanced gloss and depth of color – Ceramic coating amplifies the vibrancy of paint and often adds a “wet” look from the enhanced reflectivity. This alone is a reason many car enthusiasts opt for ceramic coatings.
- Easier cleaning and maintenance – Ceramic-coated vehicle surfaces strongly repel water, oil, mud, and other grime through their hydrophobic and oleo phobic properties. This keeps vehicles cleaner between washes and makes the wash process faster.
- Scratch protection – The super-slick glass coating shields the clear coat and paints underneath from swirl marks and fine scratches caused by automated car washes or wiping a dusty surface.
- Chemical resistance – Ceramic coatings prevent environmental contaminants like bird droppings, sap, and insect remains from bonding to or etching vehicle paint. Solid chemicals or solvents will also have little impact.
Potential Drawbacks of Ceramic Coating Cars and Vehicles
While ceramic coatings excel at protecting cars and other vehicles, there are a few cautions to note:
- Visibility concerns – Some early ceramic coatings were overly slick, causing visual distortion, unwiped areas, and windshield wiper chatter during rain. Modern formulas are engineered to optimize visibility and wiper function.
- Curing time – It can take 12-24 hours for a newly ceramic-coated car to cure before getting wet. This means no rain or washing immediately after application. Planning for proper curing is critical.
- Cost – Professionally coating an entire vehicle ranges from $1,000-5,000, putting it out of reach for some budgets. DIY kits can reduce the price.
- Longevity varies – Car ceramic coating durability depends on the product quality and number of layers. Expect 2-5 years from professional applications. DIY options may last 6-24 months.
Ceramic Coating for Marine Surfaces
Ceramic coatings offer comparable benefits when applied to boats, ships, jet skis, and other watercraft, including:
- Slickness and stain resistance – Water vehicles see plenty of grime, fluids, saltwater, bird waste, and algae exposure. Yet, ceramic-coated hulls, decks, and cabins shed much of this mess before it can adhere and stain.
- Anti-corrosion qualities – The glassy coating seals the porous gel coat, acting as corrosion protection against saltwater oxidation or chemical erosion.
- Heat management – Ceramic coatings can dissipate heat better than traditional wax sealants for dark-colored vessel surfaces under intense sun. This also maintains a rich gloss over years of UV exposure.
- Easier maintenance – Marine ceramic coatings repel all types of stains from food, drinks, dirt, oil, bird droppings, and other boating residues, reducing the elbow grease needed for cleaning.
The potential drawbacks of a ceramic coating for marine applications include the higher upfront cost compared to wax alternatives and the need to Scotch Brite the surface if thorough reconditioning is ever needed. However, ceramic protection makes surfaces much easier to maintain over years of boating use.
Ceramic Coatings around the Home
While used less often around households, durable ceramic coatings also have unique benefits when applied to:
Kitchen and Bathroom Surfaces
- Counters and sinks – Ceramic-coated counters strongly repel food, oils, soaps, and hard water deposits, allowing these surfaces to stay clean and shiny between cleanings.
- Showers and tubs – Water beads and rolls off ceramic-coated showers and tubs without leaving hard water spots behind. This makes cleaning faster plus helps avoid soap scum buildup.
- Appliances – Wipe fingerprints off a ceramic-coated refrigerator, oven, or other appliance.
The slick surface can be a drawback around sinks or tubs, potentially causing glasses or bottles to slide right off. So there is some slip risk to consider.
Outdoor Home Surfaces
- Outdoor kitchens – From grills to counters to cabinetry, ceramic coatings prevent food and grime stains while simplifying cleanup.
- Windows – A ceramic coating causes rainwater to sheet cleanly off glass rather than form individual droplets. This improves visibility.
- Siding – Vinyl, composite, painted, or other home siding sees reduced dirt adhesion and withstands the elements better when ceramic coated.
No significant drawbacks are typically noted when ceramic coating outdoor home surfaces, except for the higher cost compared to alternative protectants.
Ceramic Coatings for Aircraft
Given the extreme operation conditions for aircraft between weather, high speeds, cleaning chemicals, and constant UV exposure, ceramic coatings offer compelling benefits:
- Paint protection – The ceramic layer shields the underlying primer and paint from erosion and fading, maintaining a glossy, vibrant finish for much longer.
- Drag reduction – Some research indicates ceramic aircraft coatings may improve airflow and fractionally reduce drag across certain airframe areas like wings, control surfaces, and antenna domes.
- Easier cleaning – Typical aircraft grime like exhaust soot, greases, oils, runway rubber, and bug impacts prove far more accessible to remove from a ceramic-coated surface.
The cost and application considerations are the main barriers to aircraft ceramic coatings. The hyper-slick finish requires a precise application to avoid visibility or operational issues from unwiped residue or pooled rainwater. Therefore, professional aviation detailing is recommended.
Key Takeaways on Ceramic Coatings
After considering the pros and cons across various vehicles, marine vessels, aircraft, and household surfaces, some broad themes emerge:
- Ceramic coatings excel at protecting underlying surfaces across transportation and household applications. They shed typical grime buildup far better than other protectants.
- The slick properties make cleaning easier while introducing potential slip hazards in select situations like wet sinks.
- While ceramic coatings carry a higher cost, their longevity of protection also far exceeds that of traditional waxes, measured in years rather than months.
If you maintain vehicles, aircraft, boats, or homes where keeping surfaces brilliantly clean yet protected is a high priority, exploring ceramic coating options may prove worthwhile. Consult a qualified ceramic coating installer to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons for your specific transportation and household surfaces.
The Toronto-based professionals at MNV Auto Detailing in Toronto offer ceramic coating services for vehicles, marine vessels, and aircraft while using only industry-leading brands of ceramic coatings to deliver maximum shine, protection, and longevity. Contact their team to discuss tailored ceramic coating solutions for your prized possessions.