Paint Protection Film vs. Ceramic Coatings

  • July 10, 2019
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Automobile paint protection keeps your car looking sleek and new every day by providing a layer of protection against damage. However, choosing the best way to protect your vehicle can be overwhelming due to the different options available in the market. This is why we took the liberty to expound on paint protection film and ceramic coating to give you a full view of the two best paint protection methods.

Keep this in mind, both paint protection film and ceramic coating deliver protection to a certain degree, but they also have a downside. They can either be used separately or in combination depending on your preference or the level of protection required for your car depending on its usage.

Let’s dive into it and dig into the properties, pros, and cons of PPF and ceramic coating


What is Paint Protection Film?

A Paint Protection Film is a transparent film composed of thermoplastic polyurethane material applied on the surface of your car to keep your paint protected.

PPF was first developed for the military to protect their fighter jets and helicopters against damage by flying shrapnel. They then started applying the film on all their military vehicles. Due to the efficiency experienced by the military on the use of PPF, high-end performance car industries began using the film, and it eventually grew popular in the automobile industry.

Some PPF products have self-healing properties, which makes it even more attractive in the automobile industry. Just imagine having a scratch on your car and then it dissipates with time leaving your car looking brand new – it is absolutely breathtaking.

PPF protects your vehicle against damage caused by;

  • UV exposure (causes oxidative fading)
  • Corrosion from rocks and other road debris
  • Swirl marks caused during car washing
  • Acidic contaminants
  • Hard water spots due to mineral deposits

Paint Protection Film (PPF) Pros

  • Some have limited self-healing properties from light scratches. This is due to the elastomeric polymer constitution found on the top surface of PPF.
  • Keeps your car cleaner for longer
  • Saves money on repairs by averting damages
  • Retains your car resale value by keeping a sleek appearance and protecting the surface against damage
  • Makes it easier to clean your car
  • Gives your car a glossy transparent appearance (invisible protection)
  • Preserves and protects your paint against damage caused by rock chips, chemical stains, hard water deposits, and UV.
  • Modern PPF has UV resistant adhesives which do not turn yellow after prolonged exposure to sunlight.
  • Easy removal – when done by a professional, the PPF leaves no trace of its adhesive on your car

Paint Protection Film Cons

  • Challenging to install correctly
  • May damage paint during removal especially on plastic parts
  • Requires total replacement or removal when it sustains significant damages
  • More expensive to acquire and install compared to ceramic coatings
  • Not fully hydrophobic
  • PPF requires replacement after a few years – its durability depends on surface preparation during installation, the PPF installation, and exposure to environmental factors.
  • Blisters and bubbles may form between the PPF and your car – if installed poorly

What is a ceramic coating?

A ceramic coating is a liquid polymer that can be applied on your car’s surface to provide a protective shield against environmental and physical elements that can cause damage to your car. When applied, the ceramic coating chemically bonds with your vehicle’s coat, making it a permanent guard.

The application of a ceramic coating is the latest and most advanced technique in automobile paint protection. However, it should not be used as a substitute for paint protection film which typically provides an enhanced form of defences for your car’s paint. Ceramic coating can, however, be used as a premium wax substitute.

Ceramic coating offer protection against;

  • Chemical stains and etching
  • UV damage/ oxidation (UV oxidation causes your paint to dull/faint over time)
  • Water damage

Ceramic Coating Pros

  • Have a 9H mineral hardness – resistant to minor scratches
  • Retains and enhances your car’s glow
  • Superhydrophobic properties make it hard for mud and grime to stick on your car’s painting
  • Makes cleaning easier
  • Easy to repair/polish when damaged
  • Provides permanent (pro ceramic coating) or semi-permanent protection to your car’s exterior surface
  • Cheaper compared to paint protection film
  • Reduces regular maintenance – For example, a wax application can be done once every year rather than after every few months
  • Easy to apply on your car’s exterior
  • Retains your car’s value

Ceramic Coating Cons

  • Prone to swirl marks and rock scratches
  • Prone to hard water mineral deposits/ water spotting
  • Can look bad on your car if applied unprofessionally

Combining Ceramic Coating and Paint Protection Film

Ceramic coating and PPF can work together to give your car’s exterior optimal shielding against any damage. Combining the two eliminates or at least reduces the disadvantages faced when used separately.

Most people who own high-end performance cars usually install a Clear bra Paint Protection Film on the most vulnerable areas of their vehicle and then apply a System X ceramic coating on top of it, and every other surface of the car. This is great but, if you are looking for more protection, especially if you drive on rough terrains, you should install PPF on your whole car and then apply a ceramic coating on it.

Advantages of combining PPF and ceramic coating

  • Improves your car’s shine
  • The ceramic coating applied on top of the paint protection film increases hydrophobic properties
  • Fewer and easier car washes due to the ceramic coating hydrophobic nature
  • Minimal maintenance required (less waxing) which saves you cash and time
  • Increased resistance to environmental, chemical, and physical damage
  • Keeps car sleek and newer for longer/ maintains your car’s value

At Gleamworks Detailing Vancouver, we provide professional automobile protection to your car’s exterior and interior coating. As experienced and certified Clear Bra Paint Protection Film and System X Ceramic Coating installers, we give your vehicle a complete and perfect shielding.

Contact us if you have any questions regarding automotive paint protection or to schedule an installation.