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Paint Protection Film vs. Ceramic Coatings

What's the difference between paint protection film and ceramic coatings?


Whether you own a new Vette or completed a frame-off restoration, keeping it clean and free of scratches is every car owner’s objective. In the paint protection world, there are multiple ways of keeping the finish from damage. But, in the end, the two powerhouse contenders are the titanic match-up between paint protection film vs ceramic coatings.

When is the best time to protect my car paint? What products should I use to protect my car’s finish? How often should I wax my car? Or should I toss those cheaper, outdated paint protection products and step up to a PPF or Ceramic Pro coating? There are just a few of the questions we’ll answer in the information below.


When is the Best Time to Protect my Car Paint?

Let’s answer this question with one of our own to you. If you buy a new home, new car, or any major purchase, would you wait a while to purchase insurance or a warranty for the vehicle? Most of us would quickly say, “no, you buy insurance or a warranty at the point of purchase.” And they’d be correct in this case too.

The decision on paint protection is essentially the same concept. The best time to protect your vehicle from exposure to UV rays, bird droppings, bug splatters, rock chips and more is as soon as that new ride becomes yours.

It’s at this point that it’s best to protect your car’s paint job. When the car is new, the paint is clean, free of damage, and is in top condition. This is when you’ll want to apply a paint protection film or ceramic coating – or at least, is the best time to do so.

What is a Ceramic Coating?

Think of a ceramic coat as a semi-permanent layer of protection that can be bonded to your paint, glass, chrome, wheels, and even plastic trim. Ceramic coatings are primarily comp rised of two main ingredients – Silica Dioxide and Titanium Dioxide. But what they are made of is likely less important to you than what they do.

To simplify, a coating is wiped on to the paint surface and leveled to create a brilliant shine that lasts years not months. It acts by filling the tiny pores of the paint and leveling any microscopic jaggedness of the paint to produce and gloss and slickness not previously available by using wax or sealant technology.

Once applied the paint appears deeper and richer, which produces a better shine. The paint will also have new characteristics, most notably it will be hydrophobic. Hydrophobic essentially means fear of water. A hydrophilic car produces amazing water beading behavior which helps it say cleaner longer and makes keeping it clean extremely easy.

Many coatings if applied by a professional come with a warranty. Ceramic Pro 9H offers CarFax verified warranties that range from 6 months, 2 years, 5 years and even a lifetime warranty. Coating warranties safeguard you and your car paint from environmental issues such as staining on the paint from things like bird droppings, tar, oxidation and more.

Although the coating does improve hardness and thus help prevent minor scratching and marring most do not warranty against scratches. It is important to clarify that there are some DIY ceramic coatings on the market. However, these products vary significantly in product quality, and are rather difficult to prep for and apply correctly.

What is Paint Protection Film or a PPF?

Paint protection film is also known as PPF and Clear Bra. The name clear bra although somewhat comical is a spinoff of a product that had its day in the past. Do you remember cars in the ’90s with a black leather bra on the front? In the past paint protection film was relatively thick by today’s standards which limited its ability to be conformed to intricate areas.

Today’s paint protection film is extremely mailable and can be stretched and conformed to fit extremely complex curves and in most cases, edges and curves can be wrapped and tucked making the film virtually invisible.

The biggest benefits that clear bra has over ceramic coatings are that PPF will prevent damage from flying debris and rocks, and clear bra in most cases has a self-healing top coat so minor scratching and marring will heal over time or by adding heat.

What’s Best – Paint Protection Film or Ceramic Coating?

Well, to be honest, if you’re looking for the best solution – both would be the definitive shield of protection. Ceramic Pro 9H nano ceramic coating can be applied on top of a paint protection film like Llumar platinum paint protection film. When you combine the two, you receive the rock chip and debris protection attributes of a PPF with the longevity, strength, and hydrophobic properties of a ceramic coating. 

Plus, when you work with a certified Ceramic Pro Installer, each can be applied during the same visit, and provide you with up to a lifetime warranty for paint protection. This makes the combination a perfect solution for those looking for the ultimate shield of protection for their vehicle.


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