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Ceramic DYI vs Sealant?

 
Old 06-13-2019, 09:41 AM
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NJS_04_996
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Question Ceramic DYI vs Sealant?

Greetings.....trying to decide which way to go for upcoming detailing of my 2012 Panamera. I see many here go the professional coatings route which of course can offer years of protection, however presumably the 7 year old paint on my car exclude this route without additional paint correction. (as well as the overall price!!)

The DIY route. I've been familiar with polymer sealants over the years- fairly easy and forgiving to apply. Use to do Zaino years ago with other cars. There probably are better sealants available now. Enter ceramic coatings. The new ceramic coatings supposedly offer longer and better durability then sealants, and I suspect their applications could be more problematic, but if it lasts for a year or two, might be worth the effort. So after proper cleaning and surface prep (clay), and considering the large surface area of a Panamera, what DIY coating and products do you suggest? Do diy ceramic kits or even spray-on (ie, Jay Leno's Radiant) ceramic coatings really work? Is my paint too old to bother with a ceramic coating? (although looks pretty good when clean). Also, the car is not garaged so is open to the elements 24/7. Thanks for you updated opinions on this often discussed topic!
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:55 PM
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Scooby921
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DIY ceramic coatings are easy. It's just like applying a wax or polymer sealant, though a little thinner, and you don't leave it long enough to flash off and dry before wiping off the excess. The biggest thing is folding and rotating through the fresh, unused surfaces of the towel you are using to wipe off the excess. As it hardens it becomes "glass". You don't want to be wiping the car with a towel surface that has dried product in it as it'll just scratch it. So you fold and flip and fold and flip and once you've used up all 8 quarters you toss it in the trash and grab a new towel. I think I spent $80 for Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light + expended towels when I did my car. That was the 30mL bottle and I had some left over after a Cayman, so plenty for your Panamera. Just keep in mind that as soon as you crack the cap that coating will slowly start to harden. Not in the 30 minutes you need to coat your car, but it'll become a solid after sitting on a shelf for a while. You can't wait months and apply a second coat or use on a different car. It needs to be used up within days. I was really worried about doing it wrong. Was surprised at how easy it is to do it right. 2' x 2' area (half a door, quarter of a hood) at a time. Wipe on, let it sit for a minute or two, wipe off the excess and make sure there is no residue and swirls. Move to next section / panel area. Repeat, repeat, etc. In theory you have enough time to do the whole car with a single applicator and one or two towels, but I went on the overly safe side of things and I think I used two applicators and four towels.

Coatings like this are different from the spray-on nano ceramics. They have similar technology, but the longevity is vastly different. The spray-on are more of a maintenance coating over a ceramic or sealant to improve the water and dust shedding properties. They last months, not years. But they are usually cheaper and if you don't mind reapplication every few months they just become part of the normal process like waxing would have been. Really up to you on how much money, time, and effort you want to put it. Ceramics really want a lot of time put into paint prep so that what you seal up for the next 3-5 years isn't scratched, swirled, and going to drive you crazy that you can't just polish it out now that it's coated. But that's 3-5 years that you just need to wash and dry. My coating lasted 3 years, plus or minus. When I washed it last weekend it definitely wasn't beading and shedding water like it used to, so I assume it's finally worn off.

Proper ceramic is probably a safer option if your car is parked outdoors. The ceramic will shed the dust better and last longer. Most of the spray-ons and all of the sealants die quickly when outdoors 24/7. Wax lasts a month or two on a garaged car and gone in days when left to bake in the sun 24/7. Newer polymer sealants can go up to a year, but probably only last a few months when constantly exposed to the elements. Not sure what that means for a ceramic coating though. Does 3 years become 1 year, or does it still last 3 years because it's a different technology and chemical composition? Don't know.


For what it's worth I didn't reapply a ceramic coating. I went with a newer polymer sealant. The ceramic didn't "wow" me with gloss and depth and while water did bead up it didn't really shed off the surfaces. I feel like the McKee's37 polymer coating I put on my wheels shed brake dust better than my ceramic paint coating shed dirt. I also like to tinker a bit and the ceramic coating made it somewhat impossible and/or pointless to try other products until it wore off after 3 years.

Last edited by Scooby921; 06-14-2019 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 06-15-2019, 05:58 PM
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My 2 cents.
I did a DIY ceramic for my 911 and couldn’t be happier with the results.
The actual hard work is in the paint correction.
After the wash, iron treatment and clay, at the recommendation of a professional detailer I used a very unaggressive compound followed by a polish.
I might use a little more aggressive compound next time as I compounded all panels twice, and a few of them three times.
For the ceramic coating I used the CarPro product line, their UK Pro 3 (2 coats) and then their Gliss product as a top coat.
I use Beadmaker about once a month (every other wash) and I’m considering another application of the Gliss product at the 6 month mark, but not sure I need it.
I am just amazed at how the car washes up, the dirt literally falls off when I rinse it.
I use my leaf blower to dry it and the water flies off, then I finish with a towel to get the few areas I missed.
On my previous car, I had a detailer use a polymer coating (not sure what brand he used) and there is no comparison to the ceramic.
My only regret is I didn’t do it sooner!
if you do decide to go the DIY route there’s lots of videos on Utube as a guide; I figured I spent about 60 hours watching videos and spent just under 30 hours doing the car including the trim and the wheels.
Good Luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:12 AM
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There are several varieties of “lite” coatings out there now that give some of the sealant ease of application versus the performance of a true ceramic coating (ie - not a sealant with SIO2) and may be a good fit for you with good performer and easier application. Some examples include Gyeon CanCoat and CQUARTZ UK LITE. Even these coatings are 1-1.5 years versus a full consumer coating like UK3.0 which should last 2-3years if maintained. I actually have a container of UK Lite I bought for my wife’s daily for which I don’t have the time to do a 4 coat process like I did for my 911.

Overall my two cents is that the application of a coating isn’t the difficult part, it’s the preparation that ends up most often being the failure point.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:22 PM
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Recently completed my 2019 Carrera T in White. Did a full de-con was with Iron X. Paint corrected with Menzerna polish. Applied a good coat of Blackfire polymer sealant and topped with 2-3 coats of Beadmaker. The car looks and feels outstanding.
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Old 06-17-2019, 10:49 AM
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As others have said the majority of work is in the prep. For general sealants I like Carpro Hydro2, it doesn't get much easier than that, wash the car, rinse off, spray Hydro2 on and then rinse off. For coatings there are plenty, Cquartz is good but the application can be finicky, IMO it's still not as easy to get the wipe off time right but it will last the advertised time. Coatings do work but they aren't a magic shield, the main benefit is making your car much easier to clean and the long last gloss they provide.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:43 PM
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Thanks for the input....a lot of good info. Seems like there is some favor for CARPRO products. Quick question about the IronX- do people use that based on regional basis, that is, living in an environment where iron contamination is high? Is there a color preference associated with its use? (ie, light color paints are more likely to show iron contamination)
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:25 PM
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CarPro is popular because their products are good and tend to be affordable. Comparing a few ceramic coatings: CQuartz UK is $55 for 30mL, Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light is $70, Gyeon Mohs is $100, and Kamikaze ISM Coat is $150. I don't know exactly how they stack up for longevity and depth of color / shine, but they are all built around similar technology. As far as CarPro vs. others for compound, polish, panel wipe, or other products it will really boil down to personal opinion. Eventually all of we amateur hobbyists find a brand or set of products that we like to work with and that's what we end up recommending to everyone else.

You use Iron X (or other iron deposit remover) on any and all paints. It's not about one color or another showing contamination. It's that contamination (iron particles) needs to be removed from the surface of the paint before you start buffing. You don't want to pick up iron particles and end up swirling the paint while trying to fix it. I don't know if it's an absolute necessity. A clay bar is going to pluck the iron particles from the surface of the paint too. The use of Iron X just means there should be less to pick up when you use the clay bar, so you are less likely to induce any further scratching while you pull the other random tiny particles of debris out of the paint. If you are already going to compound and polish before applying a coating or sealant then it's probably less important to spend the extra money on the Iron X product as any micro scratches or swirls will get taken out by the buffing process. The need to clay bar and / or Iron X is going to be more important in a dense urban area, heavy industrial area, or if you frequent the race track. The largest source of the iron dust particles that settle on your car is braking systems.


My chosen products and end result...

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink in the foam cannon
CarPro Reset in the wash bucket
Pinnacle Ultra Poly clay bar
Dodo Juice Born Slippy clay lube
Rupes yellow foam pad + Rupes Quarz compound
Rupes green foam pad + Rupes Keramik polish
Gyeon Prep alcohol wipe
PolishAngel Master Sealant
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by NJS_04_996 View Post
Thanks for the input....a lot of good info. Seems like there is some favor for CARPRO products. Quick question about the IronX- do people use that based on regional basis, that is, living in an environment where iron contamination is high? Is there a color preference associated with its use? (ie, light color paints are more likely to show iron contamination)
Carpro products are good, the biggest complaint I have with them is some of them can be finicky to use but they have gotten better. I detail and even though they are pricey I still use a bunch of them because they are really good. Iron-X is a good product, location is irrelevant. Do you ever drive your car behind someone else? Then you have iron on it, you get brake dust from the people in front of you and a lot of it will kick up from your rear onto your back end. Iron-X and other ferrous product are generally good for wheels and painted surfaces.
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Old 06-19-2019, 02:18 PM
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Carpro had gone through so many formula changes, it was tough to keep up with them. Some had a 2 min flash time, some had a 30 second, some 5 min...it was nuts, version 1 through 7. Reload had massive problems in the past, but seems to have gotten better today from what I can gather. Other products are so watered down, its marketing gimmicks/ploys to get you to buy. When a product is 20:1 water to product, there is hardly any benefit to it at that point. (not to mention there is water in the product already).

We have come out with our own product line to offer quality through and through with each product. From our coating options, to the ceramic boost maintenance spray and everything you would need to maintain a car, each product was formulated quality. The website is to be coming in the next couple of weeks...www.supremedetailsupply.com, so stay tuned for that!
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