Professionally-applied ceramic can protect your car’s paintwork from damage, make cleaning more manageable, and provide excellent UV protection and a beautiful, glossy finish.
But can you apply a ceramic coating yourself?
You shouldn’t apply a ceramic coating yourself as it’s more complicated than it looks. Professional prep work, products, and application are vital for a beautiful ceramic coating finish. A DIY application can also be a health hazard, and an optimal application is essential.
This article will explain if you can do a ceramic coating yourself, why not, andwhat to use instead of a ceramic coating.
8 Reasons Why You Should Not Apply A Ceramic Coating Yourself:
Here’s why you should not apply a ceramic coating yourself:
Wicked Auto Detailing posted a video of a vehicle coated by an inexperienced friend of the owner.
The DIY detailer failed to wipe off the excess coating, leaving the car with something resembling a second skin, which is not pleasing to behold.
The technician from Wicked Auto Detailing, who had to sand the car, estimated that it would cost the owner $5,000 to rectify poorly installed ceramic coating.
It’s way cheaper to let a professional do it than attempt to save money by doing it yourself or having a pal do it.
There are many more reasons – yes, there are more – why you should not apply a ceramic coating yourself.
I will detail them in the following section.
Professional Prep Work Is Essential
Failure to remove every speck of dirt, watermark, scratches, chips, or smudge means they’re locked in permanently.
Professional detailers are typically the only people who can ensure that your car is 100% clean, dust-free, and shiny.
Furthermore, some paint defects require professional paint correction to resolve.
The process usually involves a cutting compound, an electric polisher, a buffing pad, and an experienced technician.
The technician cuts thin layers of the clear coating until you can no longer see the imperfection.
By correcting the paint yourself, you risk eating away the entire clear coating, exposing the paint.
Ceramic coating bonds to the paint’s clear coat; a ceramic coat won’t bond properly to a car without a clear coat.
By failing to let a professional prep the car for ceramic coating, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
It’s Easy To Use Incorrect Prepping Products
Professional detailers use only the most effective detailing products.
If you’re detailing the car yourself, you may inadvertently use an ineffective or poor-quality product, thus compromising the final look.
Prepping products and machinery are easy to find but challenging to choose. One product might suit your car’s needs better than the other.
You may not know what products suit your car best as the instruction manuals are rarely car-specific.
The prepping products for your car depend on the state of the paint.
For instance, the thickness of the clear coating guides the technician on how to perform paint correction.
Even with a paint thickness gauge, you’ll struggle to determine how far to go with paint correction, raising the likelihood of messing up.
Allow the technician to pick the right prepping products for your car. They might choose costlier products, but trust me, they know their stuff.
A Beautiful Ceramic Coating Leaves No Room for Error
Ceramic coatings are tricky to apply and, once you’ve made even a tiny error, it’s almost impossible to correct the mistake, leaving a permanent imperfection on your car.
A car that’s ceramic coated to perfection is impressive. Ceramic coating amplifies the paint’s color, making the vehicle look spectacular.
Conversely, a car that’s been poorly ceramic looks – and it pains me to say this – ugly.
The potential for mistakes is high, especially when wiping off excess coating. Ceramic coating takes about two weeks to cure but minutes to harden once applied to the car.
Therefore, you have a limited time to ensure that the coating doesn’t harden, leaving streaks known as high spots.
High spots result from poor leveling or buffing, which can occur easily if you install ceramic coating at home.
You May Make a Mess Due to Inexperience
It takes a while for professionals to apply a ceramic coating flawlessly.
Applying too much product, not correcting errors before the coat cures, or using the incorrect technique can have a terrible outcome.
There are countless ways you can ruin a ceramic coating job.
The condensed DIY videos and instructions don’t show you how much time and skill it takes to coat a car professionally.
It takes days to coat a car, from paint correction to the final coating. Professionals charge highly because the job requires skill and patience.
High-grade ceramic coatings take at least three days to install, with paint correction taking the longest time.
It takes at least two days to install consumer-grade coatings due to the need for paint protection.
Therefore, it’s almost guaranteed that your inexperience will lead to a mess up. A process like ceramic coating requires experience and training to execute.
It May Present a Health Risk
When applying a ceramic coating, you need the correct protective equipment (such as nitrile gloves) and well-ventilated space.
The chemicals are strong and potentially dangerous if you don’t handle them with care or allow them to harden on your skin.
This study found that exposure to some elements in car paint can cause significant health issues. You may inhale paint dust if you try paint correction at home.
It exposes you to health complications, especially if you don’t have the proper protective equipment.
There’s no need to risk your well-being when technicians all around have the safety equipment to install ceramic coating without placing themselves at risk.
The Optimal Environment Is Vital
Not only is a well-ventilated space critical for a ceramic coating application, but you also need a dust-free environment with excellent lighting.
This is difficult for non-professionals as they typically don’t work in car paint workshops.
Paint workshops have evolved with evolving needs in the car market. Detailers are continually innovating to stay ahead of the competition.
Ceramic coating providers respond by aligning with such shops.
For instance, some ceramic coating manufacturers refuse to supply to individual customers: they want the best in the business with the best equipment and workshops using their products.
Therefore, you are unlikely to get premium ceramic coatings if you plan to install the coating at home.
The behavior of ceramic coating changes depending on the environment. Therefore, you want the coating to happen in a paint shop with a controlled environment.
Ceramic Coatings Are Not Designed for DIY Application
Even though you can buy DIY ceramic coating kits, don’t be fooled! Ceramic coatings are simply not designed for a non-professional application.
Premium ceramic coatings need professionals to apply. It may look easy when another person’s doing it, but it’s much more difficult for an inexperienced person.
Even when you strictly adhere to the rules provided, something unexpected may come up that’s not in the instructions.
Professionals are trained to tackle all issues that might come up during ceramic coating application.
Ceramic coating sprays are easy to apply, but they don’t last long. Furthermore, you need paint correction even with spray-on ceramic coatings.
The coating will expose any underlying issues on your paint, making your car look unsightly before the coating starts to wear off.
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Fixing a Poor Ceramic Coating Is Expensive and Frustrating
If your DIY ceramic coating job fails, your only option is to remove the cured layer by sanding it off or polishing your car extensively.
This process can take several frustrating days.
You may, understandably, want to save money by applying a ceramic coating yourself.
However, fixing mistakes could cost more money than having a professional apply the ceramic coating in the first place.
Ceramic coating is not cheap, but repairing botched ceramic coating is way more expensive.
It’s much easier to pay for ceramic coating than to pay for repair.
Botched ceramic coating might also reduce the value of your car, losing you more money on the car market. It’s cheaper to hire a professional.
What To Use Instead of a Ceramic Coating
If you insist on DIYing, you can look at alternatives now that you know the risks of applying a ceramic coating to your vehicle yourself.
Below are some excellent alternatives to a ceramic coating that you can apply yourself:
Some car shampoos advertise that the product contains car wax.
However, the polishing effects are minimal, but your car may look shinier than usual after a wash and buff with a soft microfiber cloth.
It’s not worth the time, disappointment, and confusion of applying a ceramic coating to your car yourself because it’s easy to misapply it or make a mess.
Any errors are permanent and would have to be removed by finely sanding the ceramic coating or applying a chemical ceramic coating remover solution.
Alternatives to ceramic coatings include car wax, quick detailers, spray waxes, spray sealants, PPF, hair conditioner, and graphene spray wax.
These provide varying levels of shine, protection, and durability.