Paint Protection Film Vs Ceramic Coating, Why Not Both?
The end goal is protection for you car. Learn all about Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating.
Which One is Better…
As car lover’s you want to make sure your car’s paint job is well protected. This leads you to do research about how to further protect your car paint. You come across two products, Paint Protection Film (PPF) and Ceramic Coating. Now you’re stuck deciding between the two products. What makes one better than the other? What benefits does one product provide compared to the other? We are going to explore both and help you determine which product is best for your car. Before we compare them we need to briefly go over each product.
What is Ceramic Coating?
Our first product is ceramic coating. Brands that produce ceramic coating include Ceramic Pro, Nano Bond and 3M. Ceramic coating is exterior paint that when applied forms a hard outer layer for your vehicle. This layer is a hydrophobic property formed from a combination of silica and titanium dioxide. This is one of the benefits of ceramic coating. The hydrophobic properties make it easier to repel liquids that come into contact with it. Ceramic coating also protects your car from UV light and acidic contaminants that could penetrate your car’s exterior. A final benefit is how easy it is to clean ceramic coating because of the non-stick attributes it makes cleaning incredibly easy.
If you want an in-depth dive into ceramic coating, check out our article, Ceramic Coating – The Best Choice For Any Car Lover.
What is Paint Protection Film?
In comparison to ceramic coating, paint protection film(PPF), also commonly known as Clear Bra, is a transparent, urethane material. Brands that produce ceramic coating include XPEL, 3M, and SunTek. Urethane films have been available since the 1990s. Urethane as a compound is lightweight and transparent. Very similar to plastic but it is highly resistant to heavy impact, erosion and scraping. It is also exceptionally flexible, after you stretch the urethane it can still return to its inherent form. PPF also has the ability to self-heal given its chemical composition. After receiving any minor scratches or stone chips the PPF will return to its original shape. This means PPF is able to take small scratches, hard water spots and road debris without any permanent damage.
Similarities Between Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating
You can tell that both products serve a similar purpose. To protect and maintain your car’s paint surface. In terms of performance similarities, both products help protect your car from chemical stains, chemical etch marks and UV exposure that leads to fading. In terms of how long each product lasts, on average they both last between 3-5 years. This all depends on how well you take care of and maintain your vehicle. Ultimately, picking either PPF or ceramic coating will be beneficial for your car and its longevity. Now let’s dive into the differences.
The Differences Between Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating
Even with these similarities, there are significant differences and purposes that paint protection film and ceramic coating each serve.
Paint Protection Film
The first notable difference is the self-healing ability that paint protection film has. After any scratches, dents, swirl marks and even hard water spots hit your paint protection film it can still return to its original shape. Paint protection film also has a thicker layer applied to the surface of the car. Xpel Paint Protection Film for example is a PPF that ranges between 8 mils to 13 mils thick depending on the specific PPF product.
On the other hand, we have ceramic coating. A clear difference between the two is the hydrophobic surface that nano ceramic coating gives your car. Although some paint protection film brands claim to have a hydrophobic surface, they typically underperform compared to full ceramic coating. The waterproof surface provides a ton of extra benefits for your car. It keeps contaminants off of the surface of your car. The liquid resistance allows you to easily clean your car as all liquids can be wiped off quickly. Lastly, the ceramic coating gives your car an enhanced shine. When your car is shining and beautiful it really turns heads, and ceramic coating helps with that. In terms of thickness, a ceramic coating is just microns thick compared to a paint protection film.
Which One To Pick?
Now that you understand the differences, which product would you say is best for you? Fortunately, you don’t have to pick between one or the other! Paint protection film plus ceramic coating can both be applied to the same vehicle. If you decide to go with both you would be adding an extremely powerful layer of protection for your car. Here is how the process would go if you got both:
The paint protection film would be the first protective layer applied. The film would be applied to the most vulnerable areas of your car. This includes the hood, fenders, side mirrors and front bumper. You can even decide to fully wrap your car in PPF. Once the PPF is fully installed the ceramic coating can be applied. This ceramic coating then bonds to the PPF. This provides an extra resistant layer of protection from chemical stains and etches. When combined these two products can help preserve your vehicle’s paint for years while also helping your car look stunning day in and day out. So we say, why not get both?
At the end of the day, your goal is to protect and maintain the longevity of your car. You also want your car to look amazing when you drive it. If you are looking for both to be achieved, getting both paint protection film and ceramic coating would be in your best interest. On the other hand, you might want only the benefits of one or the other. We just hope you have a better understanding of both and that you make the best decision for yourself! If you want to learn more about car detailing visit PAD’s weekly blog. You can contact us to ask us any questions you may have. All of our detailing experts are more than happy to resolve any concerns or issues you may be facing.