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How To Prepare and Apply Ceramic Coating To Your Boat

You’ve done it, you decided to take the plunge and ceramic coat your boat. If you’re unsure where to begin, don’t worry. This guide will show you the easiest way to prep and apply ceramic coating to your boat from start to finish. 

Before we dive into the preparation and application process for ceramic coating. Heres a brief introduction to ceramics. A marine ceramic coating is a flexible, semi-permanent product which, is hydrophobic and self-cleaning. Meaning it helps to repel water, dirt, and contaminants from sticking to the surface of the boat. Its self-cleaning properties allow the vessel to come clean with less scrubbing and fewer washes in between. 

Now that we have that out of the way lets dive into preparing your boat to have a ceramic coating applied.

Step 1 – Fully correct the boats gelcoat or paint

For the ceramic to work to its full potential you need the boat to be free from oxidation. Ceramic coatings contain no fillers, or cleaners. Meaning however the surface is when it’s applied is how it will stay. 

Also if you leave oxidation in the boat it may even oxidize underneath coating without the coating failing.  

If you’re unsure of how to correct the surface of the boat refer to our article on Heavy Oxidation Removal.

Step 2 – Washing the boat if necessary 

If you just completed some heavy correction work on the vessel, chances are she’s pretty dirty and in need of a good bath. You want the boats surface to be clean so no contaminants can interfere with the application of the ceramic to the boat. 

If you want to read up on how to give your boat a good cleaning, we have an article on cleaning your boat like the pros.

Step 3 – Make sure the boat is free from any oils or waxes.

This step is key to the success for the coating to correctly bonding to the boat. Some people refer to this as using a surface prep or a panel wipe product. If you want, an easy way to create your own is to use an Iso Propyl Alcohol (IPA) or denatured alcohol wipe. Wipe the entire boats surface down with the IPA or denatured alcohol. This will ensure all the oils and waxes have been thoroughly removed from the surface before applying ceramic coating to your boat.

When applying ceramic coating to your boat apply the product in a crosshatch pattern to ensure even coverage

Step 4 – Applying the ceramic coating to your boat

Believe it or not, the application process is the easiest part of ceramic coating a boat. The laborious part is prepping the surface for this very step. 

Once you’ve rid the boat of all oils and waxes you can begin applying Solar Defense Marine Ceramic Coating.

Step 4a – Supplies you’ll need

  • Your bottle of Solar Defense
  • The supplied applicator pad
  • 3 clean microfiber towels

Now that you have all the tools you need, we can begin applying ceramic coating to the boat. 

Step 4b – Ceramic coating application process

  1. Open your bottle of ceramic coating and choose a place on the boat to start, either the hull or highest point on the topside and work your way down.
  2. Prime your applicator pad by placing 10-15 drops on the pad.
  3. Start your timer and begin leveling the product no longer than 5 minutes after applying to your first section, approx 3’X3′.
  4. Apply Solar Defense Marine Ceramic Coating in a crosshatch pattern (up and down, side to side) to ensure complete coverage.
  5. After each section apply 5-8 drops and repeat the process in step 4. 
  6. After about 10’ or so end your timer.
  7. You’ll know the product is ready when it starts to flash or become slightly tacky to the touch. Timing may vary due to outside weather conditions so keep an eye on when the product starts to flash and do not let it over dry. 
  8. Begin leveling product after 5 minutes of applying to the first section.
  9. Grab your first microfiber towel and keep this as your first wipe towel for the entire process. Begin where you first started laying down your ceramic and wipe off all the product with a circular motion.
  10. Follow behind with the second and third towels to ensure all product is removed.
  11. Check the area for any residue or dark spots that were missed.
  12. Repeat until the entire boat has been ceramic coated.
  13. Follow up with a second coat to ensure maximum protection and complete coverage of the boat.

Step 5 – Applying a topcoat 

Some ceramic coating products offer a topcoat. This is as a sacrificial layer to preserve the ceramic coating underneath. These are usually an easy to use spray formula that you can apply to the boat after every few washes if you’d like. 

The idea behind a topcoat is to add some gloss to the surface after ceramic coating the boat, add additional protection (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-6 months) and be the first line of defense against the elements thus adding to the life of the ceramic.

We recommend using one on a maintenance level throughout the life of your boats coating and we are currently working on a nice formula to add to our arsenal of ceramic coatings for your boat.  

After applying ceramic coating to your boat you will have long lasting, durable protection for 18-24 months

After applying ceramic to your boat you’ll want to maintain the coating correctly to ensure you get the full 18-24 months of life out of the boat. Be sure to read up on caring for your ceramic coating after installing it.

If you have any questions be sure to ask and we’ll gladly help you out.

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