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  1. #1
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    ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Having a hard time trying to explain what I'm asking. Do all the ceramic coatings on the market have a scale that each can be compared to. I have seen some numbers claiming differences between products but don't know where that info is. Not sure if it's a hardness scale or amount off ingredients. What's the difference between common products and the so called professional that need certification training to apply Hope someone can make sense of my rambling, and thank you.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member BudgetPlan1's Avatar
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Most coatings claim a certain hardness level, usually noted as '9h' or some other number. Problem is that in a practical sense, hardness ratings are essentially nonsense.

    Claims of hardness, scratch resistance and such are, IMO, way over-marketed with coatings. While they may provide some minor resistance to light marring, it’s a harsh world out there and many things (jewelry banging paint around door handles, boxes hitting trunk areas while loading, leaning on hood of vehicle with grimy sweatshirts, etc) *will* leave a mark. Problem with coatings is the only way to remedy those marks/marring is to re-polish (removing coating) and re-coating that area, generally an entire panel as many coatings don’t lend themselves well to spot fixes. If you’re horribly OCD-ish about having a totally defect free car for 2 years, a coating may not be the best way to go…or a ‘lighter’ coating like Gyeon CanCoat may be more appropriate.

    Additionally, while trying to wrap my my around it I kinda came up with the following to help understand it in my SiO2 addled mind:

    It’s all nonsense marketing. My 2h fingernail will leave a mark on a 10h coating.

    The ‘h’ hardness can be measured in 2 different ways...

    The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is a scale characterizing scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of harder material to scratch softer material.

    The Pencil Hardness test employs various graphite pencils of varying hardness to determine the h-hardness measurements. Since even the hardest pencil is still made of graphite (Mohs hardness of 1-2) it seems possible (to me anyway) that even a 9h coating (as measured by the pencil test) is really, comparably, at most a 2h hardness and thus quite easily scratched.

    For the purposes of coating hardness, perhaps considering the pencil test a subset of the Mohs test which, although kinda a generalization may be useful for comparative purposes. The pencil test, based upon graphite testing pencils, then translates into a subset of the Mohs

    MOHS Scale with Pencil Test Subset (and yeah, I just kinda made this up based upon info I could find)
    MOHS Hardness

    1 Talc

    1.5 Graphite

    Pencil Test Subset applicable to coatings using graphite pencils:

    ---1h
    ---2h
    ---3h Average Automotive Paint
    ---4h Average Automotive Paint
    ---5h
    ---6h
    ---7h
    ---8h
    ---9h
    ---10h

    2 Gypsum

    2-2.5 Fingernail

    3 Calcite

    4 Fluorite

    5 Apatite

    6 Orthoclase feldspar

    7 Quartz

    8 Topaz

    9 Corundum

    10 Diamond

    So, given that coatings are measured using the pencil test (graphite) there is no way for a coating to be any harder than 2h measured on the Mohs scale while a fingernail is 2-2.5h on Mohs

    Fingernail – 2-2.5h (Mohs)
    Clearcoat – 3-4h (Mohs equivalent 1.5h)
    A 9h coating – 9h (Mohs Equivalent 1.5h)

    While a coating is indeed slightly harder than the generally accepted toughness of clearcoat, the actual difference is likely very, very, VERY small and my fingernail will still goon up a vaunted 10h coating.

    So, while a mfg can claim that their 9h coating is ‘more than twice as hard’ as your clearcoat, it’s really not saying much.

    Of course there are more than a few other variables that enter into the equation of scratch resistance (substrate hardness, for one) but, for me, the benefits of coating are the resistance to environmental and the self-cleaning characteristics. I stopped caring about scratch resistance long, long ago.

    The only other differences in basic formulation are (I believe), SiC based formulations vs SiO2 formulations. Mfgs like to claim % of SiO2 content as well in their marketing.

    I think Optimum is the only SiC (silicon carbide?) based coating, most are SiO2 (silicon dioxide) based.

    To be honest, if a coating met my needs and wants I wouldn't care much if it was Nutella-based. Outside of general curiosity, what makes something work is less important to me than the simple fact that it does (or doesn't) work. As with anything, YMMV.

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    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Your question is a common question. I get asked this kind of question AND similar types of questions about all categories of products.

    There's never going to be an EASY way to know what's what for every product on the market. So what I tell people is to,

    Go with an established brand

    Trust the company actually offers what they claim, i.e. a quality product.

    Spend less time researching and fretting and instead, detail your car and then move on.


    I call this a BIG PICTURE approach. It's too easy for OCD detailing type people to get caught up in the minutia and then never take action or get anything done.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Oh yeah...

    Once you've "installed" the coating of choice, what's just as important is learning how to "touch" your car. That is, learning how to wash and dry your car. This is what's going to REALLY impact how the coating holds up and LOOKS over time. Not the product itself assuming you go with an established brand.


    How to safely wash a ceramic coated car by Mike Phillips - Traditional Hose & Bucket Approach




    Mike Phillips
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  7. #5
    Junior Member Avant's Avatar
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Quote Originally Posted by BudgetPlan1 View Post

    So, given that coatings are measured using the pencil test (graphite) there is no way for a coating to be any harder than 2h measured on the Mohs scale while a fingernail is 2-2.5h on Mohs

    Fingernail – 2-2.5h (Mohs)
    Clearcoat – 3-4h (Mohs equivalent 1.5h)
    A 9h coating – 9h (Mohs Equivalent 1.5h)

    While a coating is indeed slightly harder than the generally accepted toughness of clearcoat, the actual difference is likely very, very, VERY small and my fingernail will still goon up a vaunted 10h coating.

    So, while a mfg can claim that their 9h coating is ‘more than twice as hard’ as your clearcoat, it’s really not saying much.
    The Mohs scale of rating does not include the suffix "h" when classifying materials. The "h" designation is specific to graphite pencil ratings - hardness specifically. Just for some additional clarity.

    I concur that the 9h rating is just a marketing gimmick very much like cell phone screen protectors, which happen to use similar 9h classifications...

    I don't see how a coating, which is magnitudes thinner than a screen protector, can hold up to the abuse a cellphone in your pocket with change/keys/etc can. Even those screen protectors get marred, scratched up when you are being careful.

    Even though the coating may boast additional harness or protection vs bare paint this doesn't equate to throwing all caution to the wind and dumping a bucket full of mud/rocks onto the hood - much like some of the ad's for these types of products. Taking care of your paint, especially when a coating is present, will pay off in other ways such as ease of washing/drying and maintaining that just polished look.

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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    thanks to all. so various price points are only marketing profits?

  10. #7
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Yes each company sets their own price and that price does not indicate quality, just a price. All the products on AG are 'prosumer' grade and price. Each has a different chemistry that impacts the ease of application, appearance, and longevity. If you want experience with several brands either buy then or take one of the classes at AG! I did just that and now can claim use of at least 4-5 brands. And I am not brand loyal, i will give them all a chance to prove the 'worth'. The upper 'pro' products are not sold except to qualified installers and directly by the manufacturer. Those are not worth the price for my needs but everyone has their own view as to 'best'. And without proper care any coated car is just coated and you still get rock chips, water spots, and yes road grime will stick on that coating. But when they are doing their best job, they are a real winner!

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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Quote Originally Posted by Avant View Post
    The Mohs scale of rating does not include the suffix "h" when classifying materials. The "h" designation is specific to graphite pencil ratings - hardness specifically. Just for some additional clarity.
    Well, learn sumthin new every day! Never noticed that...thanks for pointing it out! ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

  13. #9
    Senior Member BudgetPlan1's Avatar
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Quote Originally Posted by c62008 View Post
    thanks to all. so various price points are only marketing profits?
    It seems price is also somewhat tied to longevity and 'special' features like claimed self-healing. Unfortunately, true longevity is somewhat of an unknown due to a variety of factors.

    You'll never know for sure how durability will really turn out until you actually try it in your climate and your situation. Some things can be estimated by finding others experiences in similar conditions and usage but that's still just an educated guess.

    We have 2 cars with considerably different usage patterns; both protected with same set of products and getting the same maintenance; product combo was rated 24-36 months. One car met the longevity expectations, the other far exceeded it (or would have if I didn't re-do it early)

    Car 1 was at 3 years and coating performance was probably 85% 'like new' when I removed and redid it. Likely easily coulda gone another 2 years barring any changes to usage patterns. About 17k miles at time of redo.

    Car 2 was at 2 years and was recently redone as coating had reached it's functional endpoint with regards to hydrophobic/self cleaning performance. About 43k miles at time of redo.

    Car 1 is about 5500 miles a year, no freeway, sits outside from April thru November but only really driven daily November thru April, short trips, no freeway.

    For 1st 2 years it sat outside 24/7, 365 days a year. We live on a wooded lot so it would spend weeks in Spring and Fall covered in debris from Maple, Oak, Cottonwood and all manner of other trees, mixed with frequent rain, snow and frost.

    Car 2 is year round daily driver, generally always garaged, 20k miles a year, 95% freeway.

    All are in NE Ohio.

    Same protection, varying usage far different likely outcomes. Freeway use, especially during winter, is very, very hard on a vehicles finish. Merely sitting static outside as Car 1 has done most of its life seemed to have relatively little detrimental effect on coating. Here in the wintery NE, mileage w/ the consideration of how the car is used seems to be more indicative of longevity as opposed to the passage of time.

    However, I once had an exchange with a coating user in Arizona who pretty much observed the exact opposite; cars that sat stationary in Arizona had coatings that degraded quicker than cars that were frequently driven...effects of the nuclear sun in AZ, I'd guess. Last time I was in AZ I couldn't believe how toasted the hoods, roofs and trunks of cars were.

    Point being, no claims listed on a box can even begin to adequately predict longevity.

    It's the ultimate YMMV scenario.

    Additionally, just because a coating is sold as 'pro only' doesn't always equate to 'better than consumer/prosumer'; like consumer avaliable coatings, pro-only seem to have a 'good, better, best' hierarchy as well. I ran a mid-level pro coating 50/50 on a hood along side an upper level consumer coating and the consumer offering ate the pro coating for lunch...not even close.

    End of the day it's really just a kinda a crapshoot with so many variables involved, not to mention the subjectivity of appearance. Hence my belief that there is no universal BEST coating...but there may be a 'best for you'. Finding that is the trick...

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  15. #10
    Senior Member FUNX650's Avatar
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    Re: ceramic coating actual ingredent quality rating

    Quote Originally Posted by c62008 View Post
    Having a hard time trying to explain
    what I'm asking.

    Do all the ceramic coatings on the market
    have a scale that each can be compared to.


    I have seen some numbers claiming
    differences between products but don't
    know where that info is.

    Not sure if it's a hardness scale or
    amount off ingredients. What's the
    difference between common products
    and the so called professional that need
    certification training to apply
    The ASTM International creates standards
    that are abided by the majority of the world’s
    industries—including those that are involved
    in the field of Coatings (or they should be, if
    they want to be considered as a serious, and
    viable contender, as far as I’m concerned).


    With that in mind...IMO:
    ASTM Standards, such as D268—and all other
    related protective-films’ standards—are the
    “gold standard” to which Coatings are to be held.


    Bob
    "Be wary of the man who urges an action in which he himself incurs no risk."
    ~Joaquin de Setanti

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