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Paint Protection Film vs Ceramic Coating: Which is Best?

Paint Protection Film vs Ceramic Coating: Which is Best?

If you care about keeping your car in good condition, protecting it from the harsh elements is always a consideration. Whether it’s bug splatters, UV rays, chemical etching, or road debris, there’s plenty of reasons to want to keep your car tucked away in the garage. 

Luckily, there are options to protect your car and maintain its pristine condition. Car owners have plenty of options, and one of the most popular choices is between automotive paint protection film vs ceramic coating. So how do you know which one is better for you? Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the differences between the two options for keeping your vehicle’s paint pristine.

What is Paint Protection Film?

Paint protection film (PPF) is a transparent thermoplastic urethane film that can go over any painted surface of your vehicle’s exterior. It preserves the quality of the paint by reducing the risk of multiple kinds of damage to your car paint, such as light scratches from a rock chip, chemical stains from acidic contaminants, hard water spots from mineral deposits, and swirl marks from washing. Paint protection film is completely safe to apply to your new car, and can be easily removed. They also have many trusted brands like Xpel Paint Protection.

What is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coatings are a permanent or semi-permanent solution that protects car paint from external damage. A ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that chemically bonds with your car’s paint surface, which acts as a layer of protection and a hydrophobic surface. Water and other debris will have a harder time sticking to your car’s exterior. Ceramic coatings will allow your car to stay cleaner for longer, and make it easier to clean when you do need to head to the car wash.

Pros & Cons of Paint Protection Film

Pros

The biggest draw towards paint protection film is its resistance towards scratches and scuffs, or its “self-healing” properties. This means that paint protection film is able to absorb minor scratches from rock chips or road debris and essentially make them disappear. A good quality paint protection film will be made of elastomeric polymers that can return to their natural shape after being stretched. When rock chips, branches, or other debris, inflict damage on the paint protection film, it absorbs it and returns to its original state.

Paint protection film is thicker than ceramic coatings, and its self-healing properties are the main draw. It provides long-term, invisible protection, and will keep your brand new car looking nice for much longer.

Cons

Paint protection film is removable, but you can’t reapply that same film again after it’s been taken off. And while paint protection films have hydrophobic properties, it’s not to the same degree as ceramic coatings. 

Early complaints against paint protection film is that after a while, it began to turn yellow, or “blister” with air bubbles, or peel away from the paint underneath. Yellowing is caused by inferior adhesives that aren’t UV resistant, and blistering or car paint peeling is caused by improper application. All of these liabilities are preventable with proper installation of a quality, reputable product.

Not all paint protection products are equal, and the automotive industry has plenty of options to consider. It’s important to choose the right type before adding a protective layer to your entire car. Do some research, and don’t be afraid to set up a consultation with a certified installer to help guide you in the right direction. 

Pros & Cons of Ceramic Coating

Pros

Ceramic coating makes your vehicle look amazing, with a deep candy-like gloss. Because it’s bonded with the paint itself, there’s no need to reapply a ceramic coating, like you would with car wax or powder coating.

The nano-coating provides an excellent hydrophobic clear coat, which repels water and allows any mud or grime to bead on the surface and slide off. With a ceramic coating applied, a quick wash with a hose will give you a spotless, shiny surface.

The liquid polymer coating also helps protect the whole vehicle from excessive UV exposure, as well as reducing excessive heat in your car’s interior. If you park your car outside, a ceramic coating is great for preventing your entire vehicle from oxidizing and fading in the sun.

Cons

Applying ceramic coating isn’t right for every driver. If you’re concerned about the potential for scratches, flying debris, and keeping your vehicle free of even tiny imperfections, you’d be better off with a paint protection film. A ceramic coating can repel water, but it doesn’t remove it, and spots or swirl marks are still a possibility.

The process of giving a whole car a ceramic coating is also fairly time-consuming and difficult. Along with the materials and growing demand, ceramic coatings can get quite expensive.

Which is Best: Paint Protection Film vs Ceramic Coating?

So, which option is right for your car? There’s plenty of factors to consider when you’re choosing between paint protection film and ceramic coatings. Considering how different these two options are, the similarities between them are fairly extensive. Both work to invisibly protect and keep your car cleaner, especially against oxidation from UV rays, chemical stains from acid rain and bird droppings, and chemical etch marks caused by acidic contaminants.

Ceramic coatings do offer hydrophobic properties and a shiny, glossy finish, but can’t protect your car’s paint against physical damage. It’s also not as good at preventing swirl marks and water spots. However, if your goal is to improve the appearance of your car and keep it clean for longer, ceramic coatings are a great choice.

However, if your goals is to protect your car and keep it looking nice for as long as possible, paint protection film is the clear choice. It protects car paint while taking on the scratches, dirt, and damages that are inevitable when driving.

Paint protection films also protect your car’s exterior from harmful and damaging UV rays. Not only does it offer durable protection, but it also provides a hydrophobic surface to repel water and mud.

Paint protection films provide flexibility too, so if you don’t want to commit to wrapping your full vehicle, you can choose to apply it in a clear bra to the front bumper, or even a partial hood wrap.

Bemac Offers Expert Protection Paint Film Installation in Ottawa

Interested in keeping your car’s paint safe from chips, scratches, and road debris with paint protection film? Bring your car to Bemac, the auto body experts, with body shops all over the Ottawa/Gatineau area. Our expert staff is here to help you with everything you need to know about our paint protection film services. 

Contact us to get a free estimate today!