Ceramic coatings have become extremely popular over recent years when it comes to paint protection. But why are they so expensive compared to other detailing services, and what dictates the price of a ceramic coating detail?
How Much Does A Ceramic Coating Cost?
Just Tell Me! How Much Does a Ceramic Coating Cost?
Depending on the size and condition of your vehicle, the quality of ceramic coating you get, and assuming that you go to a well reputable detailer, get ready to spend anywhere from $1500 to $5750. The average well-used car will cost around $2,000 while a brand new car would cost around $1500. Any price more than that has to deal with using a more premium ceramic coating product, having a larger vehicle, and having more severe paint correction work required.
What Is A Ceramic Coating And Why Is It Different From Waxes and Sealants?
Ceramic coatings are the highest grade of chemically-applied protection and gloss enhancement for your vehicle.
Unlike traditional waxes and sealants, which are just films that sit on the surface of a vehicle, true ceramic coatings create a semi-permanent protective barrier that bonds (nano bonds) with your vehicle's surface, providing years worth of protection compared to a wax or sealant, which only last several few months.
★★★★★ "I didn't want to apply a full-on ceramic coating to my car (and didn't want to pay a pro to do it), so I thought I'd try this spray-on solution. All I can say is Holy Smokes! It reflects like glass and repels water like it's a job! So far I love it." - Ramsey H.
Ceramic Coating / Nano-Coating Hardness Rating: A Basic Rundown
Not every ceramic coating offering is the same, as each has different nano-chemical structures and SIO2 content that provide the ceramic coating its unique properties. A ceramic coating's durability, gloss, price, and hardness (9h hardness for example) are especially affected by these key factors! Just keep in mind that the higher the content and quality of ceramic in the coating, the higher the durability, gloss, price, and hardness is likely to be.
Are Professional Ceramic Coating Products Expensive?
At times, customers get quotes from local professional detailers on ceramic coatings services, and many are understandably put off by the price tag. However, consumers need to remember that professional-grade products are much different than the stuff you can pick up online! Professional-grade ceramic coatings can cost anywhere between $100 all the way up to $500 per bottle used for one application on a single vehicle! And that's just taking into consideration the cost of the coating - a professional detailer still needs to consider all the other products and tools used to prepare the vehicle for the coating application.
Why Is Labor So Expensive When Going To A Pro Detailer For A Professional-Grade Ceramic Coating?
Just like ceramic coatings, not every detailer is the same! Your quality of service and end results are mostly based on the quality of detailer you decide to go with. True professional detailers continually train and educate themselves, sometimes spending thousands of dollars a year on training and certifications in order to provide you with the best possible results. Most professional ceramic coatings on the market also require in-person training and certifications, so your detailer is most likely not only paying for the coating, but also for the yearly certifications required to qualify to apply that coating.
But just like inquiring about a doctor for major surgery, you want to know that your detailer has the required training, certifications, and just as importantly, experience. You might receive a quote from another detailer that’s far cheaper, but keep in mind the cost of quality products, training, certifications, experience, and also time. Your average coating application, including prep work with a well-experienced professional detailer, can take hours and sometimes even days depending on the coating being applied, condition of the vehicle, and customer expectations. So, if someone is providing you a quote that sounds too good to be true, just ask yourself, would you trust just anyone with your investment?
What may also increase the price is not just labor but the current condition of your vehicle. Even if your car is brand new, straight off the dealership, it can have paint problems that need correction. This is either a fault of the auto manufacturer or possibly the dealership. When dealerships wash their cars, they unfortunately often hurt the paint more than they help it. And you frequently take your car to automatic car washes, that’s another cause of scratches that can increase the price of the job.
Is It Worth DIYing Your Own Pro-Level Ceramic Coating?
Ceramic Shine demonstration. The easiest, safest, longest lasting DIY spray ceramic coating.
We see this all the time - a customer inquires about a ceramic coating service and then decides to save a few bucks by doing it themselves instead. If you want to see the outcome of decisions like this, check out our Ceramic Coating Fail article here. We’re always happy to see people detail their own cars, but if you're doing it just to save some money, be sure to take a few things into account before making a final decision.
The products you're going to purchase are most likely not going to be able to provide you with the same level of results as professional-grade detailing products. It’s hard to compete with a high grade ceramic coating applied by a seasoned professional.
Consumer-grade ceramic coatings are easier to use but have much lower concentrations of ceramic, which in turn means less gloss, shine, and protection for your vehicle. On the other hand, if you’re able to grab a professional-grade ceramic coating, you’ll most likely also have to buy all the other products and tools just to get your vehicle ready for the coating application. Add products and tools such as cleaning chemicals, polishers, and pads, and you’ll be spending at least a few hundred dollars just to get yourself set up. However, possibly the biggest issue of DIYing your own ceramic coating is the risk of damaging your vehicle. Because ceramic coatings physically bond to your paint, it's very difficult and costly to fix things such as high spots or improperly cured coatings. Many people run into major high spot issues, causing their vehicles' paint to look blotchy and uneven. Trying to get a problem like this fixed by a professional will easily cost you hundreds of dollars, making your DIY coating effort even more costly in the end.
However, at Torque Detail, we’ve formulated a product that meets a nice balance between ease of application, pro results, being safe to use, and long lasting protection.
Ceramic Shine by Torque Detail, although it will not last the 5-6 years of a pro grade coating, it does last up to one year which is an incredible amount considering the price of the product and how long it will take you to apply.
Just check out some of our incredible customer success photos below!
How Do Spray Ceramic Coating Compare?
Now that we’ve gone over professional coatings and the risks of applying them yourself, let’s talk about spray ceramic coatings. Unlike your traditional ceramic coatings, which are SIO2-based, sprayable DIY ceramic coatings are polymer-based forms of protection enhanced with nano-SIO2 ceramic particles. These particles allow for greater and longer-lasting protection, gloss, and shine to the vehicle compared to traditional waxes. A high-end spray coating like Ceramic Shine will give your vehicle a year's worth of protection, but remember that because spray coatings are not ceramic-based, they won't be able to provide the same barrier of protection as a professional ceramic coating, which can last anywhere from 2 to 8 years.
Making Up Your Mind: Ceramic Coating Frequently Asked Questions
So, is a ceramic coating right for you and your car? Let’s go over some basic Q&As about what benefits ceramic coatings can provide and what they can’t.
Do Ceramic Coatings Provide Protection From Nature (Bird Droppings, Acid Rain, Water Spots, Tree Sap, Road Grime, Bugs, Rock Chips, Etc.)?
One of the benefits of ceramic coatings is preventing paint damage from the environment. Whether you live in Arizona (AZ) or California (CA) with extreme heat or Florida (FL) with a lot of bugs, your ceramic coating is a sacrificial layer that takes the beating so your paint doesn't have to! Or even an area where it snows such as New York (NY)! That extra protection helps.
Recommended: Safely Remove Bird poop From Your Car’s Paint
However, ceramic coatings do have their limits - they cannot protect your vehicle from things such as rock chips, so if that’s something you're looking for, make sure to check out PPF, otherwise known as clear bra. You also have to keep in mind that even though the ceramic coating is protecting your paint, you can still see things such as water spots if left on the coating for too long. Proper maintenance is therefore key to keep your coating healthy and looking great!
Do They Provide Hydrophobic Properties?
Yes! The hydrophobic properties of any given ceramic coating depend on the brand, but generally speaking, coatings provide amazing water beading and water sheeting abilities.
How Does A Ceramic Coating Aid Scratch Resistance?
The harder a ceramic coating is, the more scratch resistance it’s able to provide your vehicle's paint. Light surface scratches can be prevented with ceramic coatings, and deeper scratches can be removed a lot easier depending on the thickness of the coating applied. However, again, ceramic coatings are not scratch-proof and are expensive to repair, so make sure you treat your ceramic coating like you would treat your paint.
Do They Provide Protection From UV Rays?
Because ceramic has one of the highest melting points, professional-grade ceramic coatings have amazing heat resistance from UV rays. As long as your ceramic coating is properly maintained, you won't have to worry about things such as extreme oxidation or your paint fading over the lifetime of the coating.
Is It Worth Getting A Ceramic Coating On Work Vehicles?
Ceramic coatings on work vehicles are very popular because it makes them so easy to maintain. Things such as tar and cement are much easier to remove, and they also make vinyl and paint last longer. Businesses with fleet vehicles have found it more cost-effective to get their work vehicles ceramic-coated rather than repainted or re-wrapped over time.
Paint Protection Film / Clear Bra Vs. Ceramic Coating… Or Should You Use Both?
Paint protection film and ceramic coatings are two very different forms of protection. Paint protection film will protect your vehicle from rock chips and deeper scratches, while ceramic coatings will protect your vehicle from UV rays and also provide self-cleaning abilities. Many car owners get paint protection film and then apply a ceramic coating on top of that to provide their vehicle with maximum protection.
Summary: What Will It Cost For A Coated Vehicle?
There are so many variables in this equation, but generally speaking, depending on the size and condition of your vehicle and also the quality of detailer you go to, get ready to spend anywhere from $1000 to $1400 for a decent 3-year coating. Of course, the greater the years worth of protection you opt in for and increased amount of paint correction required, the higher the price. Ceramic coatings are a good chunk of change, but at the end of the day, you're protecting one of the largest investments you’ve ever made, so for many consumers, it's absolutely worth it.
Published on Dec 09, 2020