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  1. #1
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    Contaminants on ceramic coating

    I have been running my 2005 Chevy impala everyday since June with McKee's 37 paint coating version 2. About a month ago, I noticed the paint needed claying. So I used a blackfire clay mitt to decontaminate and it came out pretty good. So here's my thinking, since the ceramic coating isn't as smooth or slippery as a traditional wax or sealant (the coating isn't smooth at all), does that mean the contaminants are sticking to the coating better? Would a wax or sealant hold up better because they are smoother and the contaminants have a better chance of not sticking because of the smooth surface? I feel like if i had a wax or sealant on my car in that time frame the car would have way less contamination.

    Anyone have any thoughts or experience anything like this?

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    Well, this one is a tough one, because for one it's hard to measure and compare most stuff related to this objectively. The problem is, that on ceramic coated surface the apparent level of contamination might be higher than on a regular one, even then if it is actually lower - and that's because how a ceramic coating enhances the appearance and behavior of the surface. Given a less glossy and less repellent and a more glossy and more repellent surface the one with a higher gloss and general higher level of repellency will make it easier to spot even tiny defects or spots of contaminants that still manage to settle on it, than the less perfect surface, which even though might harbor contaminants all over, it will do so in a more uniform manner, which will make any particular contaminant to stick out less off the "crowd", and because of the lower level of gloss and lower level of reflection will allow defects to hide amongst the many imperfections the surface has anyway.

    The other thing is, that you can't really compare how sealants with very different durability will collect contaminants, because as soon as the sealant starts to degrade and to wear off, so will the contaminants that have settled on it, been embedded into it or bound to it. Even more so when every time when you're re-applying the product, which will result in loosely bound contaminants getting removed from the surface just by the re-application process of the sealant. So, even though such surfaces might collect more contaminants short-term, in the long term those contaminants will have less chance to accumulate, because of faster degradation of the underlying layer they're bound to, and because of more frequent reapplication of the sealant.

    Because of that I'd say that even though generally contaminants might not stick to a ceramic coating as much as to a sealant or a wax, but because the former is more durable than the latter two, layers also thicker, and is not reapplied for a year or more, a ceramic coating will be collecting contaminants for a longer period of time, and thus possibly accumulate a higher amount of them in the end than a wax or a sealant. It will also make their presence more apparent because of the reasons laid out in the first paragraph above.

    I think that might be the primary reason why manufacturers are recommending to regular "top up" ceramic coatings with some compatible sealant - which obviously you should do, if you have this concern or problem with your coating.

    However, claying definitely shouldn't be the way to go, because it will also hurt the coating itself and cause it to degrade faster (if not remove it plain out), which is exactly what you want to avoid, don't you?

    Just my two cents.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    Quote Originally Posted by itsgn View Post
    The other thing is, that you can't really compare how sealants with very different durability will collect contaminants, because as soon as the sealant starts to degrade and to wear off, so will the contaminants that have settled on it, been embedded into it or bound to it. Even more so when every time when you're re-applying the product, which will result in loosely bound contaminants getting removed from the surface just by the re-application process of the sealant.
    This is completely untrue.Contaminants on ceramic coatingContaminants on ceramic coating
    If you have a sealant applied on the paint, and contaminants somehow begin to bond on the surface, itís because theyíve penetrated through the sealants protection and bonded to the paint.

    Contaminants donít magically float away when the ďlayerĒ of sealant wears off, theyíre stuck on the paint and re applying sealant only further locks them in underneath the layer youíre applying. Thatís why itís imperative to properly prep the paint before applying any form of protection.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rlmccarty2000's Avatar
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    By using a coating you are saving your paint from some contaminates. Sealants and waxes don’t protect anywhere near as well.

  5. #5
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    If you have a sealant applied on the paint, and contaminants somehow begin to bond on the surface, it’s because they’ve penetrated through the sealants protection and bonded to the paint.
    "Contaminants" is a very wide term, which includes anything from simple dust particles through shards of metal and blobs of tar that might land on the cars surface or hit it with significant momentum, to material transfers from other objects that the car has hit. How and whether they bind to the surface, and whether they penetrate the sealant and go into the paint is completely dependent on the actual type, mass, even shape of these contaminants, how and how intensively they hit the surface, how long they're allowed to sit on it, what the ambient temperatures are, etc.

    Because of that saying that contaminants that have begun to "bond on (sic!) the surface" universally "penetrate through the sealants" just makes no sense, and is a totally false statement. Because, well, some might have done that, others didn't. Some contaminants that have settled and even begun to bond might be removed by rinsing the surface with water (for ex. if they're water-soluble and/or the force the water is hitting the surface with is enough to carry them away), others with a simple wipe (even then if they've partially penetrated into the paint).... and another ones only by tougher means, or virtually not at all, but extensive abrasion. It all depends.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    Contaminants don’t magically float away when the “layer” of sealant wears off
    Yes, those that I've been talking about: "loosely bound contaminants" and/or contaminants that have "settled on it [ie. the sealant]" will. Others won't - but then again, nobody used broad (false) universal generalizations about contaminants, but you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    they’re stuck on the paint
    No, some (arguably even most) of them are not, because they haven't even reached the paint (ie. clear coat) but are lying on the surface of the sealant. And even if they would reach into the paint, the application process of for ex. a wax might still remove some if not most of them, partially through the carrier of the sealant/wax dissolving them, and partially also through the sheer mechanical abrasion force of applying for ex. a paste wax. Especially that of a cleaner wax. Which in turn means that - just as I said - there will be indeed less contaminants accumulating on or in the sealant (and thus also on/in the paint) long term because of the frequent re-application process. Regardless of some amount of contaminants still accumulating either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    and re applying sealant only further locks them in underneath the layer you’re applying.
    That's why you wash (and might even partially decontaminate, with iron and tar removers, and such) the car prior to (re-)applying any kind of sealant. Which will definitely not remove *all* contaminants, but will remove most if not all "loosely bonded" ones. Not that this would have anything to do with what I said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    That’s why it’s imperative to properly prep the paint before applying any form of protection.
    That's why it's imperative to not make overly broad generalizations, and to try to read and interpret carefully what the other person is saying, instead of starting to beat down on made-up straw man and/or start talking about something completely different thing than what he was talking about.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Eldorado2k's Avatar
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    Quote Originally Posted by rlmccarty2000 View Post
    By using a coating you are saving your paint from some contaminates. Sealants and waxes donít protect anywhere near as well.
    I disagree with that... I personally can get a sealant to go longer than a year and still pass a baggie test whereas heís failing a baggie test already. The only thing is I make sure to reapply every 3-4 months before the sealant fails and begins allowing contaminants to bond to my paint. I do it on all the cars here at home. The only time I need to clay is when Iím messing around running experiments testing other products. And in the testing Iíve done with countless products including coatings, theyíve all failed to protect better than the unnamed sealant I use. IME coatings donít protect worth a lick, they all begin failing the baggie test fast.

    @itsgn. Iím not even going to get into some long drawn out debate with you. Your posts are too long and you ramble too much. The baggie test is all that matters when it comes to whether contaminants have bonded or not, and no kind of iron removing spray is going to make rough paint smooth. Only the claybar/clay towel can do that. Youíre wrong about this.

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  8. #7
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldorado2k View Post
    The baggie test is all that matters when it comes to whether contaminants have bonded or not
    No it does not. A "baggie test" is
    1. not objective,
    2. has no defined granularity,
    3. is not even repeatable (not even by the same person on the same part of the same car, let alone on different parts, different car, by different persons),
    4. does not take into account the base "roughness" of the paint (for ex. arising from scratches) and can not make a distinction between the friction caused by those and by the actual surface contaminants,
    5. does not allow assessment of the level of below the surface contamination, not even in the theoretical sense,
    6. similarly does not say anything about level and type of bond between contaminants, sealant, paint, and what might be needed to remove them, or how they accumulate over time, compared to others.

    However, the most important thing is: the existence of the baggie test or referring to it does not refute anything said above about how waxes, sealants and ceramic coatings affect the level of contamination (especially if their typical application frequency is taken into account). It's just totally irrelevant. And you not recognizing even this says everything about your "argument".



    I'll just leave these links here:
    Dunning–Kruger effect - Wikipedia
    Your logical fallacy is personal incredulity

  9. #8
    Senior Member Misterpaul's Avatar
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    I. B. T. L.
    2017 Phantom Black Metallic Chevy SS, automatic, skylight, plus unused wheel in the boot.

  10. #9
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    I don't buy that sealants and waxes "flake off" as they wear taking contaminates with them.

    To the OP, can you give us an idea what your car is subject to? Meaning does it sit outside all day, are you next to construction, etc? This doesn't need to be complicated and I'm sure we can give you some ideas.

  11. #10
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Contaminants on ceramic coating

    Quote Originally Posted by Maxreed241 View Post

    I have been running my 2005 Chevy impala everyday since June with McKee's 37 paint coating version 2.

    About a month ago, I noticed the paint needed claying. So I used a blackfire clay mitt to decontaminate and it came out pretty good.

    Good to hear. You have to be careful when using any clay substitute as the potential for marring is a risk. Mostly you would see this on black paint or dark colors but if it happens to black and dark colored cars then it happens to light colored cars it's just your eyes cannot see the marring (at least easily).

    My rule of thumb is if I'm going to do ANY mechanical decontamination then I'm already planning on doing at least one polishing step to ensure there is no marring left in the paint.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maxreed241 View Post

    So here's my thinking, since the ceramic coating isn't as smooth or slippery as a traditional wax or sealant (the coating isn't smooth at all),
    I didn't know that. I have not used the latest version but the original version left the paint feeling slippery.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maxreed241 View Post

    does that mean the contaminants are sticking to the coating better?
    From a big picture point of view, at least it's easy for my mind to wrap around this idea, it would seem to make sense that if a surface is slippery that it would be more difficult for air borne contaminants that land on the surface to bond to it. And visa-versa, if a surface is not slippery, or the term I use to describe non-slippery coatings is rubbery, then it would seem to be easier for airborne contaminants that land on the surface to bond to it.

    The above is the simple view. I'm sure someone else with a chemistry background or with chemistry knowledge can make the case for the opposite.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maxreed241 View Post

    Would a wax or sealant hold up better because they are smoother and the contaminants have a better chance of not sticking because of the smooth surface? I feel like if i had a wax or sealant on my car in that time frame the car would have way less contamination.

    Anyone have any thoughts or experience anything like this?

    Thanks!

    That's a good question and I don't have a good answer.


    Here's what I do know however is there are all kinds of airborne contaminants and some are more sticky or more apt to bond to a surface than others. I detailed a car last night with LIGHT paint overspray and I could NOT remove it with detailing clay and this car had a ceramic paint coating on it.

    I had to use a Nanoskin towel to remove the overspray and this scratched the paint which then forced me to compound the paint to remove the scratches.


    After last night's experience I am now MORE THAN EVER - NOT a fan of multi-year anything. I think the BEST way to take care of your car's paint is to do SOMETHING to at least twice a year - minimum.

    In fact, keeping the process MORE SIMPLE makes MORE SENSE to me than a more complicated process. But all of this depends upon the PERSON. Me? I like my car's paint to LOOK GOOD and not be contaminated. Some people don't think very deep about this and as long as the paint is protected, how it feels is secondary.


    Here's a simple process that I'm going to implement to my own cars.

    1. Wash
    2. Clay
    3. One-step cleaner/wax
    4. SONAX Polymer Net Shield


    Do the above twice a year and your car's paint will/should always look great.

    Keep in mind that the UNKNOWN variable is


    What's in the air?


    You never know what's in the air. Someone can be painting something near where your car is painted and it doesn't matter if you washed, clayed and coated or waxed your car the DAY BEFORE - you car now will have paint overspray on it.

    Look at the paint overspray flying over the building!





    These cars were parked on the other side of the building - down wind of the overspray paint






    In fact - I wrote an article on this exact topic back in 2005 and what I wrote then is just as accurate today as when I wrote it.


    How often do I need to clay my car's finish?



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