When it comes to ceramic coatings there is a lot of poor information and misconceptions. Its today’s new snake oil. People have this idea that it is an end all indestructible substance. But in fact, it can fail and doesn’t last forever.
Ceramic coatings simply put, are wax on steroids and if abused and not cared for correctly can and will fail. Now that that’s out of the way let’s dive into some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these wonderful coatings.
Myth #1 – I don’t have to wash my boat or car because it has a ceramic coating on it.
FALSE – you still have to wash your car or boat. Ceramic coatings make it easier to clean your vehicles and vessels. This is because of the contact angle the water has with the surface, dirt and water slide right off for the most part.
You won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to remove dirt, fish blood, and other contaminants since they don’t stick to the boats surface directly. Rather they go onto the coating making it easier to remove. It is still advised to take bird droppings, tree sap, and other harsh contaminants off sooner than later.
The need to wash as frequently is decreased because of the self-cleaning properties within the ceramic coatings. In many cases a wash and chamois dry will do the trick.
Myth #2 – Ceramic coatings are permanent
FALSE – they are semi-permanent and will wear away naturally as time passes. They are hard like glass and do provide a barrier between the elements and your boat or car. But there is no need to reapply every few months like a wax or sealant.
Instead, you can get 1.5-2 years out of a ceramic coating to your boat and even longer to a car. The nature of the marine environment just takes its toll on everything. Thus, the coatings don’t last as long because of the saltwater and constant sun exposure.
Myth #3 – A Ceramic coating will peel off
FALSE – Many people assume that when it fails it will yellow, crack and start to peel off like failing clear coat or some of those crazy acrylics (I’m looking at you poliglow). Instead, what it will do is wear away over time like wax, when the coating starts to fail. You will also see a decreased ability to get rid of dirt easily.
You can increase the life of your ceramic coated vessel by taking proper care of the coating. This is done by washing it regularly, avoiding harsh cleaners, and using a SiO2 topper every once in a while to keep the coating charged and working properly. Interested in aftercare read our article on maintaining your ceramic coated boat.
Myth #4 – Ceramic coatings are scratch proof
FALSE – they are scratch-resistant. There’s a big difference between scratch proof and scratch-resistant. Scratch-resistant means it helps to minimize scratches from washing, fender rubs, and emulsified rubber from old docks. You’ll see them wipe off with ease instead.
Scratch-proof leads you to believe the ceramic is infallible and that simply is not the case. The ceramic coatings are also not self-healing, meaning if you scratch it the scratches will disappear and heal right in front of your eyes. That’s what a PPF does.
Yes, a good ceramic coating is 9h on the hardness scale, it will stand up to some light abuse but you still need to wash the boat correctly and care for it to ensure you don’t scratch the boat up. If you use overly stiff brushes on smooth gelcoat your gonna scratch the boat.
Myth #5 – Ceramic coatings are anti-fouling solutions
FALSE – this is probably one of the things that irk me the most when it comes to people have delusions of grandeur with selling coatings to consumers. It is not an anti-fouling paint. It does help to clean up water lines easier but it will no prevent growth.
You will still get yellowing from salt or brackish water but will clean up easier than if it was not coated. But don’t expect it to prevent barnacles and growth from occurring on your boats hull. That’s just silly.
Myth #6 – Every vessel is a candidate for ceramic coating and should be done to every boat.
FALSE – believe it or not, not every boat should have a ceramic coating applied to it. Some older boats where the gelcoat has seen better days shouldn’t be ceramic coated. The gelcoat at this point is very porous and takes a lot of work to try and get the coating to bond to the surface properly. You’ll see the ceramic absorb right into the boat and prematurely fail.
Also, boats who notoriously have gelcoat issues where it may yellow or have poor quality should avoid being coated as I have seen them yellow under the coating without the ceramic failing.
Lastly, if you’re not going to be committed to caring for the coating and aren’t going to wash the boat as you should, then I would say don’t spend the money to coat it.
In these instances, you won’t reap the full benefits and jump on the snake oil train claiming its garbage.
You should now have a better handle on what ceramic coatings can really do and what they can’t. If you think ceramic is the right choice for your boat and interested in speaking to a professional we can put you in touch with one of our premium detailers to help guide you and your boat through the process.