Updated: Jan 19
I can only speak for myself, but I have received quotes for various services in the past and said to myself "I can do this cheaper"... Sometimes I am right - sometimes I pay for a project twice hah.
Maybe you have a new car or truck and are looking for paint protection. You called a couple Local Ceramic Coating Installers in Michiana, heard the cost associated with professional installation and now feel the same? This blog was written for you! There are many DIY Ceramic Coating options on the market and the self install route might be a great fit for you.
Please Note: I will not discuss specific DIY Ceramic Coating brands in this post for two reasons. 1)Kings Valet only installs Professional Grade Ceramic Coating - so no experience with the individual brands and 2) Specific installation instructions vary between brands.
First, What is Ceramic Coating?
Ceramic Coatings bond with your vehicle's clear coat and form a long lasting, high gloss "Nano Coat" barrier. Ceramic Coatings repel water, environmental factors and even prevent lackluster. It protects, enhances and strengthens one of your most valued investments.
Can Ceramic Coating Be Installed At Home?
Absolutely. There are many DIY brands available on the market. With a little bit of patience and time - you can Ceramic Coat your own vehicle at home! Let's explore the process of applying Ceramic Coating at home.
Supplies Needed for Your DIY Ceramic Coating
Lets get you ready for your install! You might think the $100-$200 "kit" you purchased has everything needed to install your new DIY Ceramic Coating. It doesn't. God knows we have all made 4 trips to Lowes just for one bathroom project. Skip the headache and grab these supplies prior to starting.
Wash Supplies: 2 Buckets, 2 Grit Guards, 1+ Microfiber Wash Mitts, Car Wash Soap, Large Microfiber Towel or Shammy (For Drying), Foam Cannon (not required, but suggested)
Decon Supplies: 2-4 High GSM Microfiber Towels, Iron-Decon Spray, Clay Bar, A Quick Detailer or Clay Lube
Polishing Supplies: 2-4 High GSM Microfiber Towels, Finishing Polish, A Buffer, Black Polishing Pad, Painters Tape
Prep Supplies: 2-4 High GSM Microfiber Towels, Panel Prep Spray (Can Also Use a 50/50 Mix of Distilled Water and Isopropyl Alcohol - 90%+), Disposable Gloves
Ceramic Coating Supplies: 4-6 High GSM Microfiber Towels, Your Preferred DIY Ceramic Coating, Applicator Pad, Applicator Block, Disposable Gloves
Please note: Microfiber Towels are listed multiple times. To perform installation correctly you will need a minimum of a dozen (400ish GSM) microfibers. These towels should not transfer step to step.
The Process of Ceramic Coating at Home: With Supplies in hand - Let's dive into the actual process of installing your ceramic coating! This process is virtually the same process we follow here at Kings Valet for Installation of Ceramic Coating. It provides us with top quality results; every time. One big note... PREP is King and determines how long your Ceramic Coating will last.
Below you will see brief descriptions of what to do in each step of the process. This week I will write a detailed walk through for each phase of installing a coating and will link it below! If every section had a detailed walkthrough here - it would be a 40 minute read hah.
Wash / Decon Process
This phase of the process might seem like the easiest, right? Afterall we have all washed a car before. Kings Valet always suggests a two-bucket wash method. Always wash from top to bottom. More lubrication is ALWAYS better, meaning don't skimp on soap. Since you are installing Ceramic Coating, you will be using a clay bar and iron remover spray. That will be done before the car is dried. The in-depth guide to Wash AND Decontamination Process can be found Here.
Polishing / Paint Correction Process:
After clay-barring there is ALWAYS micro-marring left behind. You are "gently" abrading the clear coat on your vehicle to remove iron contaminants. Polish will remove this micro marring and add additional shine prior to installing your Ceramic Coating. Polish will also allow for better adherence of Ceramic Coating to your new car or truck's clear coat.
One of the most common questions we get at Kings Valet is "Does Ceramic Coating Remove Scratches" - absolutely not. The only way to remove scratches is paint correction (Our Paint Correction FAQ). Ceramic Coating also does not hide scratches as it contains no filler. While the Ceramic Coating you are installing might not be a Lifetime Version like at Kings Valet - you are still sealing in scratches for a couple years. You will be saddened by these results and while it isn't actually the coating companies fault, it will be easiest to blame them. The in-depth guide to Polish and Paint Correction can be found Here.
This is the easiest step for installing Ceramic Coating. While easy, this step also requires you to be tedious and have a high attention to detail. The purpose of using a panel wipe is to remove grease and oils from the surface of your car. Ceramic Coating that is applied over grease or oil will not bond properly to your clear coat. The in-depth guide to Panel Prep can be found Here.
Ceramic Coating Process
You made it! The prior steps may seem daunting or unnecessary, but if done correctly can dramatically extend the life of your DIY Ceramic Coating. When the DIY Ceramic Coating Manufacturers give estimated lifespans, the upper end is always with all the prep listed above - not just wash and slap a coating on.
As aforementioned; the actual installation process at this step varies from brand to brand. The basics are that you will add ceramic coating to an application pad (that is affixed to a block). Wipe on a cross hatch pattern (meaning left to right, then up and down). Allow your Ceramic Coating to flash. Finally, buff off excess coating using multiple microfibers. Flash time is the greatest variance brand to brand so ensure you are following directions on the bottle or provided by the manufacturer. This statement stands true between professional brands as well.
Hopefully all went well on your installation. If you are currently stuck or have a question in preparation for your at home Ceramic Coating Installation PLEASE reach out. Our shop number is 574.347.4445. There is no charge at all to make a call to us. Our purpose as a company has always been education.
Maybe you don't feel like installing your own Ceramic Coating? Click the link to Learn More about the Kings Valet Lifetime Ceramic Program. This page shows pricing, inclusions, warranty details, free maintenance for life details and more! Kings Valet is based in Mishawaka and offers pick-up and delivery to the entirety of Michiana.
Also, keep an eye out for these related posts in the near future "Pros and Cons of DIY Ceramic Coating" - "The 5 Risks of DIY Ceramic Coating" and "How to Care for Your DIY Ceramic Coating".
Thank you for taking the time to read - I hope you have a strong finish to your day and an awesome week to follow!