What Is a Ceramic Coating & Why Do I Need One?
Posted on January 27th, 2018 by Mike Halpern
In short, a ceramic coating (also called nano-coating, quartz-coating, or Silica-coating) is a protective layer that will sit on top of your vehicle’s clear coat.

The clear coat is what gives your vehicle that deep shine and depth. The problem is, your vehicle’s surface is full of tiny pores, and over time contaminants will seep in degrade your car’s exterior. Contaminants include dirt, road salt, tree sap, bug guts, brake dust, etc.
A ceramic coat is one option to protect your car’s exterior and keep the clear coat isolated from the elements.

Other options include traditional waxes and sealants, however you need to re-apply these every few weeks, as they break down quickly.
How Does a Ceramic Coating Work?
Ceramic coatings are the most innovative form of protection. Ceramic coatings contains Silica Dioxide (Sio2), which is a hard, glass-like polymer. After applied, it will “cure” to create a glass-like layer over your surface. This will protect the clear coat from contaminants and scratches.
The thickness of the coating gives you a beautiful, deep gloss. The hardness gives you the long lasting protection. Unlike waxes and sealants, Ceramic Coatings are resistant to detergents and chemicals.
Benefits of a Ceramic Coating:
  • Up to years of protection
  • Deep glossy shine
  • Repels contaminants
  •  Makes car easier to wash
  •  Hydrophobic
  •  More scratch resistant
What Are The Downsides?
The downsides of a ceramic coating is they are expensive and require a careful application. You can apply one carefully on your own. However, getting a professional to install your ceramic coating may cost into the thousands. If you make a mistake during application, it is more difficult to correct than a simple sealant.
An Alternative: Ceramic Sealants
A ceramic sealant is a great alternative to a ceramic coating. A ceramic sealant contains the same Silicon Dioxide (Sio2) as a ceramic coating. But it is in a much easier to apply spray-on formula. Also, ceramic sealants contain a smaller amounts of Sio2, so they give more leeway when applying. If you “mess up” you can strip the coat much easier. 

The downside to a ceramic sealant is they don’t last as long as a ceramic coating. However, the durability still beats a normal paint sealant. 

Overall, we like these better for more casual car enthusiasts. They provide great protection, are easier to apply and still give your car a beautiful shine.
We applied Silica Seal to our Mustang and we were blown away by the shine. It truly looked like a thin layer of glass formed over the surface. When you hose the car down, you can see how hydrophobic the coating is. The water rolls off like a mirror.

We’re at the 4 month mark since applying Silica Seal and it’s showing no signs of deteriorating. It continues to bead water and looks as shiny as ever. Whenever we get some pollutants on the surface we just hose it down and it’s pretty much gone.
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We’ve reviewed Recharge in the past and we’re still sticking with them as a rock-solid silica-based formula. Hydrosilex is a brand that was early to the punch when it comes to ceramic-based sealants, and they’ve been on the market for a few years now, with a cult following. We’ve seen solid results with Revive, but it didn’t quite give us as much as a “WOW” factor as the formula by Torque Detail.

CarPro offers a suite of ceramic-based products. Reload is a popular Sio2 spray sealant. The upside is it’s priced affordably. We saw good results with Reload, however the product does “flash” very quickly, so it must be applied carefully. Also, we found the product can degrade quicker if it’s sitting under direct sunlight.

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