Your car’s paint job is subjected to tons of things every day that could cause problems like rusting. These scratches, fingerprints, and other concerns also simply take away from your car’s curb appeal. So what do you do?
You can, of course, try to be super protective, but that is not a failsafe that will work 100% of the time. So that means you need to consider protective measures other than parking way out in the boondocks and refusing to park under trees. One of these protective and preventive measures is a paint coating. This is basically an extra layer that can play the role of that protective layer you need.
There are many different types of coating that you can choose from. Two of these are graphene and ceramic. But when it comes to graphene and ceramic coating: what is the difference? That is a good question and one we will take a look at below so that you can make the most informed decision on which one is the best for your car. So just keep reading to find out!
Just before diving into the difference between Graphene vs Ceramic Coating debate, it's worth noting that we offer a very budget-friendly online car detailing course which covers among other things how to apply basic paint protection with ceramic sealant.
Graphene and Ceramic Coating – What Are They?
Each one is a car coating intended to protect your car from environmental elements, light scratching and other issues that may leave a mark on your paint job. Each is constructed of different compounds, and therefore, will bring you different benefits, costs, and longevity.
Let’s start with the older option of the two and perhaps the most popular…ceramic coating. If you are dealing with industry-standard ceramic coating (you may also hear this option called nano-ceramic coating), you will be getting a product that is composed of chemical polymers.
It is actually layered on your car by hand. The ceramic chemical absorbs and blends with your car’s paint, and the reaction creates a layer of coating that is hydrophobic (water-resistant). This helps protect your car's paint from being exposed to environmental elements that might cause degradation overtime.
Now its time to discuss what graphene coating is. This is latest and most current option available to those looking for a preventive coating option. In fact, in recent years, this process has gotten a lot of attention through having a strong social media game. In 2004, some British scientists actually discovered this process and even won a Nobel Peace Prize for this discovery.
The chemical compound used in each of these is very similar as they both use nanotechnology to bond to the paint on your car. The difference is in the components of that compound. With graphene, you are dealing with a chemical compound that uses carbon as its base. It is, as we said, a new option for coating, and whether it is better than the traditional ceramic coating is still out for consideration.
Now that we know just what each of these processes is, we can begin to look deeper into what they offer and what their differences are.
How Much Do They Cost?
Though the process is a nice addition and a good way to extend the life of your car paint job, many will worry about just exactly how much they are going to have to shell out. This is understandable, so instead of looking at the performance of each of these first, we will look at how they match up against each other when it comes to cost.
The answer to how much it costs when it comes to the ceramic coating your car varies greatly. If you are looking at a professional-grade option that you go to a shop for, you may find that it can be a little pricier. This is because each bottle of the compound costs hundreds of dollars, plus the value cost associated with the warranty attached to them. This type of coating will only be sold to shops, and therefore on top of the price of the materials, you will have labor included in the bill.
There are however, some do it yourself options that you may be able to find for a few dollars cheaper. Typically they will start at around $60 and go up from there. Within the self-done ceramic coating, you will find ones that can be put on by hand, as well as some that are in spray versions. If you feel confident, you can actually save quite a bit of money by doing the coating yourself.
Graphene actually is somewhat similar when it comes to cost. In fact, it may be a little cheaper if you choose the right option. Some of the spray varieties of this coating can be less than $50 per bottle. Of course, if you go with a professional-grade graphene, you will pay more, but still, on the whole, they will be cheaper than a professional-grade ceramic coating.
How Long Do They Last?
Now another piece of the value quotient is the durability and life of the coating. After all, you don’t want to spend money only to have to repeat that cost just a little while later. When it comes to how long the coatings last, there is some difference.
Ceramic coating is a durable option and can last a long time if taken care of. But with that being said, if you don’t, the lifecycle of this coating could last mere months. The durability will also depend on the quality of the ceramic coating.
If you go with a professional option, you can expect that coating to last for between 5 – 9 years (some manufacturers claim longer). This is pretty amazing considering that we put our cars through a whole process when we clean them.
If you go for a spray option or one of the many self-applying options, you can expect that coating to last less. These tend to only last up to 6-8 months. If you are working with a limited budget, this could be a good choice to help protect that paint job. Since, as we said, graphene coating is new, the durability is still in question. But there are products that claim to last up to 10 years. If this is true, then the value lies with this type of coating.
Graphene Coating - The Benefits
So with all that, we should also look at the benefits to see where the two differ from each other. First up is the graphene coating. It comes with some similarities. It is designed to help reduce water spots and protect against corrosion. It is hydrophobic and comes with a nice gloss.
But other than those and the durability of the coating, there are some benefits that outshine the ceramic offering. When it comes to the water spotting question, the graphene coat is less prone to having the problem. The process for application is also much more straightforward than ceramic.
Speaking of durability, although both options offer a good delay of time, the graphene may just be a little more durable. Along with that, the graphene coating also helps reduce heat absorption. Graphene also offers these few benefits, which include:
- Enhanced slickness
- Abrasion resistance
- Glossy aesthetic
So as you can see, there are a few benefits of each coating that are similar but just as many that differ or offer improved performance, so you have to take that into consideration too.
Ceramic Coating – The Benefits
Though ceramic coating fails to do a few things that the graphene coating does well, it still is full of benefits that make it well worth considering as an option. Before we talk about those, we should discuss a few of the areas where this coating struggles.
The ceramic coating, unlike the graphene coating, will not protect against scratches or swirls. It also does not help prevent water spots, which graphene does very well. So where this coating option shines is when it comes to protecting the paint against fading from the sun’s rays. It does this by protecting it from oxidizing in the sun.
It also works well when it comes to chemical stains. These stains are created when acidic contaminants from the air build up on the car. A ceramic coating will keep this from happening because it is hydrophobic.
This helps with the beading quality as well as cleaning. In fact, a little spray of the hose and you could end up with a sparkling car.
The last benefit and one that differs a little from graphene is the candy gloss. This aesthetic not only gives the paint job a good gloss but can deepen the color of the paint as well. These are just some of the benefits of the ceramic coating.
Bonus: Prepping Your Car for Coating
One place that these two coating options don’t differ in is the preparation it takes in order to get your car ready for them. In order to give these coatings the ability to do their job to the utmost of their capabilities, there are some steps that need to be done. If you follow these steps, then you will be assured of a good coating and the ability to take advantage of the full breadth of the benefits.
The very first step you need to do is a good deep wash. You will want to choose a wax-free soap that has the ability to strip the paint for any remaining layers of wax or sealants. Once these residues have been removed, the coating will be able to bond correctly to the paint. If you don’t get them all off, this will create a separation between the paint and the coating, which could cause problems down the road.
So now that you have it clean, you will want to clay the paint as well. This is another step needed to ensure that all sealants or other coatings are removed. It is vital that you get these residues completely off as it could cause some damage to the paint job that just can’t be fixed.
Next up, you will want to look for any areas that need to be corrected or polished. It is important to fix these issues before the coating is applied as if it isn’t they will be locked in and will be unable to be repaired. After all that is done, the final step of preparation is a good wipe down. This is another step that is meant to remove any of those residues that have survived the previous steps.
The best way to wipe down your car is to use a microfiber towel and a surface cleaner. Once all that is done, you are ready for whatever coating you chose to go with. In the end, the success of your coating relies on a good level of preparation, so make sure that you don’t skip any of the steps we just talked about.
For ease of convenience, we've highlighted products we've previously used that you might find useful. (As certified installers for Gtechniq, we're recommending their product-line.)
If you are worried about your car’s paint job and want to maintain it for longer than standard, then a coating is a great option. The only trick is deciding which one is the one that will work for you. We have taken a look at two of the best coating options - graphene and ceramic.
Each of these coatings has their benefits and their disadvantages. Ceramic is more tested when it comes to durability. It also protects against the sun’s UV rays. On the other hand, graphene coating lasts longer potentially and helps with beading and is also suitable for protection against scratches.
When it comes to cost, graphene is a little cheaper and easier to apply, especially if you plan to do it yourself. So, in the end, the difference is not that big, and this should make the decision between the two easier for the car owner.
We hope that this in-depth look at all the differences as well as all the extra information is enough to help make this decision easier and less stressful for you. There is absolutely no reason to let anxiety get the better of you. No matter which one you choose, you will end up with a car that looks sleek and is protected from the contaminates and the elements present in the air and your everyday lives.
Other Useful Content
Here are some other articles that you may find interesting and useful (click to access):