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  1. #1
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!


    I just answered a question for a person that contacted Autogeek about how to remove high spots they did NOT discover until the next day. I never like sharing the answer because it depending upon the brand of ceramic paint coating, in order to remove any high spots that have fully dried and hardened, you may have to use a dedicated polish to abrade the high spot of coating off the paint.

    You may have to use a COMPOUND to abrade the high spot of ceramic paint coating off the paint. I've even seen some people say that in order to fully remove some coatings you must wetsand!


    Here's how to avoid having to re-polish, or re-compound or even wetsand to remove high spots.

    Have a GREAT hand held light and CAREFULLY inspect each panel for high spots and gently remove immediately after you have applied or "installed" the coating. It will save you MUCH GRIEF.

    The below is taken from a car detailing project we did a few years ago here at Autogeek, this is my good friend Jeff who is as meticulous about turning out high quality work as a person can get. NOTE how he is inspect each panel.



    Custom Paint Job - 1980 Corvette - RUPES & Gyeon - Extreme Show Car Makeover at Autogeek

    From page 3 of the thread...


    Here's Jeff using the SCANGRIP Sunmatch light to look for high spots of coating residue and if discovered, remove them.












    These are a few shots I took which duplicate the BEFORE shots I took showing where there were issues with the paint.


























    I fully recommend the SCANGRIP Sunmatch Swirl Finder Light. Some might say it's expensive, but once you use it and it saves your butt you won't ever want to be without it.


    And remember, Quality doesn't cost money... it makes money...



    On Autogeek.com


    SCANGRIP Sunmatch Swirl Finder Light





    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  3. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Continued....


    Here's another article I wrote that shows what a high spot looks like. In this article I was able to gently abrade off the coating high spot by hand using a soft foam finger pocket and a one-step cleaner/wax. In some case you may need a polish or even a compound (both are more aggressive than a one-step cleaner/wax).

    Also note - you should NOT use a one-step cleaner/wax to remove a coating if you plan on re-coating as it's very difficult to chemically strip off waxes and sealants. Instead, stick with water soluble compounds and polishes as this is the norm for prepping paint for a coating and most products meant to remove oils from compounds and polishes will work find.


    How to remove a Ceramic Paint Coating High Spot by Mike Phillips


    When applying a ceramic paint coating if you do not remove 100% of the excess coating, what is left is referred to has a high spot. While technically the coating material is higher than the rest of the underlying coating and the paint itself, in all practicality what a high spot means is too much leftover product or excess coating.

    In the days of using a car wax, we would call this a streak or smear.

    The primary difference is when it comes to quality ceramic paint coatings, the coating is semi-permanent after application so if you leave excess coating on the paint it will be both visible to the naked eye, (an eyesore), and it will require some form or mechanical abrading to fully remove.

    Having to go back over a car you have coated and mechanically abrade the paint to remove excess product i.e. a high spots or high spots is not only time consuming it's also working backwards in the process as now you're removing both the coating and a some level of paint.


    Note: In this example I was able to remove a high spot that had fully dried and cured after a couple of weeks using nothing but a high quality one-step cleaner/wax by hand.

    For some coatings it might require less work and a less aggressive product and approach and for other coatings it might require a more aggressive product and approach. The only way to know is to do some testing and close inspection.


    At a recent class, we coated a 1962 Chevy Impala Streetrod. A class is a LEARNING experience where the students are learning proper technique so it is normal to make a mistake. The key is to find the mistake and fix it before sticking a fork in the project and calling it done.


    99.9% of the car came out perfect, I did find one small area with excess coating or a high spot by inspecting the paint using a SCANGRIP Sunmatch Swirl Finder Light.


    Here's the pictures...


    A ceramic coating high spot

    See the rainbow looking patch on the paint?





    Here through the wonders of Photoshop I've cropped out the pertinent section - see it?





    Here through the wonders of MS Paint I've drawn a line around the high spot - Now do you see it?





    And now it's gone...





    I kept it simple, I used a soft foam finger pocket and gently applied a one-step cleaner/wax and with a little massaging, I removed the high spot or excess coating.





    Try to learn from this example of not fully removing all the coating after the initial installation. The KEY thing with applying a ceramic paint coating is to ONLY apply to an area you can focus on at one time. Don't try to apply a coating to an entire large panel but instead, apply to a section of the panel and then after the recommended waiting time, carefully wipe off the high spots (if any) BEFORE moving on.

    It is so much better to take your time and avoid high spots than it is to have to come back and try to remove them.

    You also don't want to find out from a CUSTOMER that you left high spots because this means YOU did not do a good enough job inspecting the panel you were applying and removing to before moving on. Your fault.

    Slow down. Avoid mistakes.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  4. #3
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Continued....

    You can also find some pictures of high spots in post #2 of this review I did at the beginning of this year.

    Note: This review also has a TON of detailed information about the entire process of chemically stripping and then applying ceramic paint coatings - worth the time to read, not scan if you're going to apply a ceramic paint coating for the first time.


    Review: GYEON Q2 ONE Enthusiast Ceramic Coating by Mike Phillips


    From post #2


    High spot on the other side of the hood
    Kind of hard to see in this picture but there's high spot or smear of product in the corner back by the wiper arms.




    There's lines going back and forth from where I made my side-to-side wipes...




    I've placed some lines next to them to show you the direction of the smears or high spots... There's lots but my cell phone had a hard time picking them up.




    No problem - just like a wax smear, simply wipe the area gently and remove the high spots.






    In this shot you can see the hazy looking high spot...





    And BOOM! Super clear, super glassy looking paint.




    The key to removal is simply to take your time and use surrounding light to see and then remove any high spots.

    Mike Phillips
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Thank you so much for this! I coated a car this weekend and I SUCKED at the application! So many high Spots! But in my case I was able to correct the high spots by using D166 and then sanitized and re-did the areas. Looks great, however, the lighting conditions for me was not as good as they should have been. Lesson learned!

    As always Keep on rocking!
    CJ
    2013 Mustang GT w/Track Pack 6-Speed Manual
    Save the Manual!

  7. #5
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamakaz1961 View Post

    Thank you so much for this! I coated a car this weekend and I SUCKED at the application!

    So many high Spots! But in my case I was able to correct the high spots by using D166 and then sanitized and re-did the areas. Looks great, however, the lighting conditions for me was not as good as they should have been.

    Lesson learned!

    As always Keep on rocking!
    Thanks bud...

    And I myself have had to learn the hard way...


    Mike Phillips
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  9. #6
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Also....

    For everyone reading this into the future....

    Notice the towel I'm using in these pictures?







    These are Gyeon Bald Wipes. There's a zillion towels on the market and here's what I know.

    A STOUT microfiber towel with a flat weave, (like the Gyeon Bald Wipe and the Meguiar's M9910), work GREAT for anytime you're going to use a solvent to chemically strip the paint.

    Why?

    Because soft fluffy towels simply roll and fold over making the chemical stripping process a real pain and it also slows you down. Plus some fluffy towels leave lint.

    The flat tight weave also makes these great towels for doing the final wipe to remove high spots.

    I pack Bald Wipes and Meguiar's M9910 towels to ALL my classes for the session on how to chemically strip and apply ceramic paint coatings.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  10. #7
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    And gee.... I have an article on bald wipe towels too....

    Notice how many I have? It takes more than a few to do chemically strip a car for a coating installation.


    Microfiber towels for ceramic paint coatings - How to care for - by Mike Phillips


    Read the below words carefully. Learn them. Live them.


    It takes hours to buff out a car.... it takes seconds to put scratches in - Mike Phillips


    Anyone that's buffed out a car before knows this to be true. Part of the reason is that modern clearcoats, while generally speaking are much harder than traditioinal single stage car paints, they still scratch very easy. Then... because they are hard, it takes hours to methodically buff out the car, panel by panel to remove the scratches.

    So the wise thing to do is to NOT put scratches into the paint in the first place. I have a number of articles on this topic but this one has a twist as this one is focused on the towels you use to,

    • Prep paint for a ceramic paint coating.
    • Wipe off the high spots after installing a ceramic paint coating.



    All said and done, from the time you start in the morning washing a car to the time you stop after the final buff, depending upon the size of the vehicle and the condition of the paint, it can take you all day to wash, correct, polish, strip and coat a car. So the last thing you want to do is to look at the finish when you're done and see swirls and scratches. This is where having dedicated coating prep towels and dedicated coating wipe-off towels is like cheap insurance.


    Dedicated compound and polish towels
    The microfiber towels you use to remove compound and polish residue are important and will be the scope of another article, suffice to say, this article is focused specifically on the towels you use to chemically strip paint AFTER any paint correction or paint polishing work has been performed and the towels you will use to remove high spots and give each panel its final buff.


    Dedicated coating towels
    Chances are if you're reading this article, (on a car detailing discussion forum), then you already have a nice collection of quality microfiber towels. If not, and you're just getting into car detailing, then trust me... you soon will have a collection of quality microfiber towel. There are a zillion types, colors, weights, sizes, etc. of towels on the market but in this article we're going to take a look at a 16" x 16" microfiber towel from GYEON called Bald Wipe.


    GYEON Bald Wipes
    What's so great about GYEON's Bald Wipes? A couple of characteristics.


    1: Flat weave design.
    Instead of a fluffy weave like a lot of towels these towels have a flat, tight weave. This makes it a LOT more difficult for contaminants to bury in, or embed inside the fibers because simply put, there's no place to hide. Not only does this help prevent accidental contamination it makes inspecting your towels faster than inspecting fluffy style microfiber towels.


    2: They are somewhat stout.
    Now that can sound like a negative when working on scratch-sensitive clearcoats paints that are in pristine condition but remember - these are microfiber so they are soft to the touch, just stout in their girth or mass. It is this stoutness that makes them more manageable when wiping. It's easier for you to hold and push or pull the towel over the surface. Soft limp towels tend to roll over into themselves and then you're fighting yourself and the towel trying to use it.


    3: Low to no linting.
    The last thing you want to do wiping paint at any stage of the paint polishing, prepping or final wipe stages is to see your towel is leaving lint behind.

    Heck any clean soft towel can be used, I'm just trying to share a specific towel, with a specific design to help you do your work better, more effectively and faster. So take from this article what you will.


    What about ceramic paint coatings that harden and crystalize?
    Yeah that's a popular topic and it is true, some coatings, harden in your applicator cloth and if they are hardening in your applicator cloth it only makes sense that the coating is also hardening in your wipe-off towels. I read about some guys that after using a microfiber towel to wipe-off high spots and give the paint a final buff will then either throw the towel away or delicate it to things like checking your car's engine oil level. That is an option and if it's in your budget I say go for it. Or if you detail professionally, that is detail for money, then build in the cost of the towels you're going to throw away into what you charge your customer so you're not losing money each time you detail a car and throw your nice towels away.

    Another option is to immediately after you use your towel is to wash it and the hope and pray and even cross your fingers that the majority of whatever was on the towel loosens and washes and then rinses out. My experience is this works. The key to success with this step starts with the application of the coating.


    First - Don't waste product.
    Technically you're only supposed to put on small amounts of ceramic coating to panel or a section of a panel at a time and this is key --> work the coating over the surface until you see it disappear. Now THINK about it. If you work small amounts until it disappears into the paint and the solvents evaporate off, (called flash time), doesn't this mean there's NOTHING to wipe-off or remove? As in nothing to wipe off and get onto your wipe-off towel? Make sense to me. That said, of course you're going to have high spots as you always have these at the end of a pass where your lift your applicator off. Happens to me and I'm sure it happens to the best detailers in the world. But the BIG PICTURE is - if a ceramic paint coating is correctly applied there should be very little of the ceramic coating solids to be wiped-off and thus impacted onto your precious microfiber coating towels.


    Make sense?


    Second - Wash immediately
    Next - IMMEDIATLEY after you are done wiping down the car to remove high spots and give the painted panels their final buff, (the wipe that maximizes the gloss and shine), then IF you can, wash your towels. That is, if you have a fixed location, take your towels over to your washing machine and make a dedicated wash load washing only your microfiber towels for prepping paint and wiping off high spots and the final buff. Then dry them by themselves and then inspect them, fold them and store them for the next project.


    If you're mobile
    If you're mobile or if you don't think you can immediately wash your microfiber towels, your schedule doesn't permit (or the wife is washing her lingerie), then the next best thing you can do is to dunk your used microfiber towels into a mixture of water and microfiber detergent and then as soon as you can, wash and dry these towels.


    APC vs Microfiber Detergent?
    Most of the recommendations I read in the blogosphere for soaking microfiber towels used for ceramic coatings is the recommendation to soak your towels in a solution of water and All-Purpose-Cleaner. Kind of seems harsh to me for a soft plush microfiber towel you want to keep soft and plush, plus absorbent. So here's what I do and it makes more sense to me. I think PICTURE 11 will tell the story.



    Let's get busy...
    So lets take a look at an effective but simple way to wash, dry, inspect, fold and store some coating towels. If you keep your process simple you're more likely to do it and then it has real impact over time.


    Mix a solution of water and a quality microfiber detergent. Common sense tell you to make sure the bucket is clean to start with.




    I use the glug-glug method for a lot of things, this is no exception but do use prudence, pour in a few ounces.




    As you work through the project, take a used towel and place it into the bucket of wash solution.







    Make sure to dunk the towels so they are soaking and being penetrated by the detergent and whatever magical chemicals are inside of it. The bid idea here is to both saturate the towels with water and detergent so they can do their thing of breaking down substances but to ALSO seal the towels away from oxygen which of course causes drying. Part of the way this works is it prevents the coating substances from drying since you're removing oxygen from the equation.





    Normal protocol now days here at Autogeek is I use BLACKFIRE Microfiber Detergent. Choose a brand you trust.




    Soaking...




    Washing
    After you've completed the project so you're done creating new dirty towels, take the bucket of towels and microfiber solution to your washing machine.





    In this example I'm washing 8 towels, so this qualifies as a Small Dedicated Wash Load. I'll use the WARM setting on the washing machine. Everything cleans better with warm and hot water versus cold water. Don't believe me? Next time you replace the starter motor on a 25 year old Ford F150 try getting all the greasy, black grimy sludge out of the pores of the skin on your hands using only cold water. Warm water is good, it helps to the cleaning process. Hot water can damage delicate microfiber filaments so don't use the hot setting.




    Select the heavy option for a good full cycle of agitation.





    PICTURE 11

    Now dump the towels and the microfiber detergent solution directly into the wash basin. See why I prefer to use a microfiber detergent instead of an APC to soak my towels in?








    After they are washed, next dry the towels...





    Choose the appropriate drying time for the size of the load you just washed





    Choose a warm to cool heat setting to dry the towels. Don't use the high or hot setting as this can overheat the microfiber filaments and basically bake them.







    Inspection, folding and storing

    Before you inspect and fold your microfiber towels, be sure to clean the surface that you're going to place the towels on. I fold the towels here at Autogeek on our stainless steel countertop on the workbench and before doing so I wipe the countertop clean wit a glass cleaner and a basic microfiber towel.

    Think clean - Work clean

    If you take clean towels and place them on a dirty table or counter you just undid all your hard work and contaminated your towels. So think clean and work clean.







    Inspect your towels
    If you have not read my article on towel inspecting or watched the video, you can check it out here.






    First inspect visually

    I like to put some light on my inspection area and this is another great use for the SCANGRIP Sunmatch Swirl Finder Light





    The swivel base has a magnet in it to secure it to the steel overhead hutch, perfect for my inspection process. This is my method, everyone has to figure out their own method.




    Second inspect both sides of the towel with your sense of touch.

    Make sure to wash your hands first so you don't contaminate the towels while feeling them.





    Pick out and remove all contaminants







    After a towel passes your inspection, fold and store the towels in a clean container to keep them uncontaminated and ready for the next project.





    High quality towels are not cheap and you get what you pay for.

    Quality towels are TOOLS --> learn to take care of your tools and your tools will take care of you.





    Mark your towel container so no well-intentioned fool ruins your day.




    Just to note, the GYEON Bald Wipes do come in a re-sealable bag but this isn't a long term solution for proper storage.




    On Autogeek.com


    GYEON Bald Wipes - $6.99

    As I read the store page for the GYEON Bald Wipes at the writing of this article there's not a bulk option to buy by the dozen. I'd suggest getting a dozen so,

    A: You always have enough towels to do the job.

    B: You have enough towels to make a small dedicated wash load.



    BLACKFIRE Microfiber Cleaner & Restorer 128 oz.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  12. #8
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Great article Mike. I'll have to check out those towels.

  13. #9
    Senior Member The Guz's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!

    Great write up Mike. Good tips on how to clean coating towels. A microfiber detergent in a bucket as you mentioned seems to work very well.

  14. #10
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Installing a Ceramic Paint Coating? You MUST have a GREAT hand held light to avoid high spots!



    Shared here,

    Which Ceramic Coating?


    Mike Phillips
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