Wouldn’t it have been a dream come true if your automotive would have always remained pristine? No dirt, no dust, no bird shit, and nothing? Yeah, as we said, it can only be a ‘dream’ (that has near to no probability of coming true).
Since you’ve started thinking about it, tell us how it would be if we were actually able to keep your car pristine, like we just mentioned? Opt to get DIY ceramic coating applied to your automotive and see how it does the job.
Due to their high-quality DIY solutions (Example: Armor shield IX), Nanoceramic coatings are getting their due recognition. However, you should know that it needs to be applied perfectly if you expect it to perform optimally.
Concerned about how to go about it? We will let you know the drill. Below mentioned is the step by step approach to Applying a perfect DIY ceramic coating. We will cut the crap for you and lay proper instructions from prepping to aftercare so that, you get it right, once and for all.
You need more details on that? Access the detailed guide provided by our experts. It covers everything that you need to know about the ceramic coating.
Step 1: Prepping
Prep work is vital when it comes to applying paint protection, paint sealant, or even w ceramic coating. The recommendations to go about it are bound to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it can be easily laid out in a four-step approach.
Washing the Automotive
Before anything, wash your vehicle. How to wash the vehicle? Use the two-bucket method of washing cars. Not familiar with it? No problem at all. Check out the video or read up the articles on our website which explain the right approach to wash your vehicles. It will help you understand the method and the supplies that you’d need.
Why do you wash your car? Well, to remove the grime, debris, and dirt off its surface. It is to essentially aid your process of applying the ceramic coating. You are all set to apply a semi-permanent protective layer, thus, make sure that you clean it as much as possible.
Clay Bar Treatment
Once you are done removing impurities off your vehicle, now you have to get rid of the waste left behind. You can get this done with clay bar treatment in two simple steps. This bar is of similar strength to that used in the industry but is of medium hardness. You need a lubrication fluid to use it, a highly concentrated car wash or soap would be the best option.
Note, this is really important. Applying clay bar would split the unreachable microscopic hard contaminants hiding between the cracks of thin paint coating. This step makes it easier to remove the hard grime particles.
To get a smooth and glossy finish from nano-coating, the surface on which is applied should be clean. All you need to do is to fill these gaps and cracks in the previous. Now that the top layer is clear, flat, and scrap free, the nanolayer can easily bond to the base. This forms a rigid shield for the protection of the paint surface.
This layer is hydrophobic, which means water molecules cannot leave a mark on your car surface, giving it a spotless look you always wanted.
Polishing for Paint Correction
Don’t pay attention to myths about DIY ceramic coating for car paint fixes. That’s a total lie, it cannot fix or improve the paint on your car. The main DIY ceramic coating is to protect the layers already present on your car surface and maintaining the shine that it produces.
When curing, the ceramic coating helps to mend the paint surface. It helps you to find the imperfections by magnifying and amplifying them. You’ll discover the faded paint patches, light scratches, and the swirl marks that you thought were not even there. They were. You just couldn’t see them before.
Before the ceramic coating is applied, you should fix any damages to the clear coat or the paint. What should you do for it? You can complete it through paint correction. You can also check our DIY paint correction write-ups to understand the right way to go about it yourself.
IPA Wipe Down
The last and final step to prepping is to wipe down the entire vehicle service with an IPA solution. The isopropyl alcohol is ideal because it removes waxes, polishes, lubricants, chemicals, and other microscopic particles, etc. on the automotive body prior to the coating being applied.
Step 2: Apply the Ceramic Coating
Through with prepping? Keep the vehicle away from direct exposure to the sun for at least 3 hours. It’s best to keep it inside the garage, though. Reduce the temperature of the surface.
It is true for most ceramic coatings that they can be applied best on a pristine surface and also from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that you shouldn’t apply the ceramic coating while the automotive is indirect exposure to the sun. The shade is the best.
What Supplies do you Need to Apply Ceramic Coating?
You should know that each kind of ceramic coating has specific instructions for application and material for optimum performance. For example, if you were to apply the Armor Shield IX, this is what comes in our coating kit and precisely what you’d need:
1. Armor Shield IX Bottle:
A 30 ml bottle can cover a small car or a bike. If you own a mid-sized sedan or something similar, two bottles will do. For a full-sized SUV, three bottles will do okay.
2. Applicator Sponge:
You will need a flat paintbrush to apply the coating evenly on the vehicle, and this is why the applicator sponge is used.
3. Applicator Suede Cloth:
This is to be essentially wrapped spring the applicator sponge. The coating would actually be applied to the suede. You will have to change the suede when the product begins to harden on the cloth. The Armor Shield IX coating kit comes with 3.
4. Nitrile Gloves:
Don’t forget, the chemicals can be hazardous to your skin, and precautions are better than cure. Use nitrile gloves to be safe.
5. Microfiber Buffing Towel:
You need to apply the chemical to the cloth, rub that cloth on your vehicle’s surface and then buff off the flashed coating once it has dried. You should use a Microfiber buffing towel for this purpose. Why a Microfiber towel? It eliminates the risk of scratches. We don’t need that.
Now, let’s talk about the application process.
The highlighted steps conveniently cover the application of Armor Shield IX DIY nanoceramic application. You should use the approach to apply the product panel by panel, or at most, 2 small sections at a time. For a larger section, divide it into parts.
Take a small black cloth, and wrap it tightly around the sponge.
Tip: You can slice a few slits on the sides of the sponge with a razor blade. Tuck the cloth inside the sponge with these slits for a better fit. Thanks to broken Silvia for the tip.
Apply 10 to 12 drops to soak the cloth in the chemical. Shake the bottle well before you do it.
Tip: Don’t over or underuse the chemical. Your goal should be for the applicator to remain smooth and damp to aid optimal application. Follow the same approach for each section where the ceramic coat is applied.
Wipe On The Surface
Wipe on the surface of the vehicle as to the second step. If you see the coating crystallizing on the on cloth, change the cloth. This sufficiently happens after every few panels are completed. All sections need to be evenly covered. Inspect the vehicle from different angles to be safe. This is why doing a small section at a time helps.
Do a vertical and then a horizontal wipe across the surface to ensure even and smooth application.
Spread the liquid in a crisscross manner as long as you aren’t sure that the section has been completely covered. Keep adding drops. Your applicator cloth should stay damp.
After applying the coating to the section, based on the temperature range in the list below, let it sit for 1 to 5 minutes. Proceed to the final buffing phase, once you are through.
Temperature Range Required
- 50-degrees f 10-degrees c
- 60-degrees f 15-degrees c
- 70 to 80 degrees f 20-25 degrees c
Length of Time
- 4 to 5 minutes
- 2 to 3 minutes
- 1 minute
You need to buff the residue off the surface as your final step before applying the ceramic coat. Based on the ambient and vehicle surface temperature, a nanoceramic can clear the coating rather quickly. The hotter the temperature, the quicker the flash period. See the temperature chart given above.
The hotter the surface, the more potential it has for crystallization. This crystallization impacts the process negatively. This is why experts suggest applying any ceramic coating like Armor Shield lX in a temperature-controlled environment.
Now, buff the residual off. After the coating has flashed, buff the coated area lightly, using a Microfiber towel. Continue until the cloudy material has been removed.
You should replicate the same procedure on all the sections you divide your car in. Duly follow all six steps to complete each section.
After coating the vehicle once, allow some time and do the second round of coating. Though it is not at all required, it can help in improved performance.
Tip: Don’t forget to keep inspecting your vehicle simultaneously. You shouldn’t leave any residue or any high-spots left. If you want to add another layer, that’s completely okay. What we’d suggest is that anything above it would not do well at increasing the performance, at all.
Step 3: Curing Process
You already know, however, every ceramic coating has unique properties. Please follow the recommendations by the manufacturer when following their curing process; it’s mandatory. The product will bond to the automotive surface in a few minutes but would take longer to cure fully.
Keep the Vehicle Indoors
If you’re using the Armor Shield IX ceramic coating, keep the vehicle indoor for 24 to 48 hours. You need to reduce its exposure to any kind of liquid that may pour on it, even dewdrops, and obviously, higher humidity levels need to be avoided as well.
If you’ve followed the instructions duly, prepped the vehicle correctly, and have applied the Armor Shield IX, your vehicle should stay protected for at least 3 to 5 years from all sorts of contaminants, acid rain, UV rays, and even those annoying bird shits.
Step 4: The Aftercare Process for a DIY Ceramic Coating
You should be all set after your vehicle has been cured. Some DIY ceramics do also come with a recommendation for aftercare sprays. We don’t recommend that, by the way. A coated vehicle is easier to maintain, and thus, you shouldn’t need those waxes and polishes, etc.
Things To Do:
- Wash the vehicle twice a weekly to eliminate contaminants
- Don’t wash at a place with direct sun exposure. Eliminate the risk of water spotting and minimize streaking.
- Wash top to down to avoid cross-contamination; leave the sections that are the dirtiest to be dealt with in the end.
- Stick to the two bucket method. One bucket for soap wash, while the other for rinsing the mitt.
- You should have separate sponge and soaps for your wheels.
It’s a Wrap!
The process of applying a ceramic coating is rather simple. You don’t need any advanced knowledge about paint corrections or neither any advanced level of care that is difficult to perform. We would still recommend that if you see light scratches or the paint fading, let a professional detailer do the paint correction job first. Then you should hop on to applying a DIY ceramic coating. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any queries in regards to the prep work or anything else for that matter, you should strictly get in touch with the manufacturer. Follow what they advise. That’s the best catch if you expect optimum performance and results from your ceramic coating.