What is a glass coating?
Glass, ceramic, or nano coatings are the newest form of paint protection products on the market today. Just like how you would apply a wax or sealant to your car to protect and enhance the look of the paint, glass coatings are used in the same manner. However, due to their advanced synthetic nano particles, they are able to provide an increased level of paint protection that surpasses the capabilities of natural waxes and sealants.
Why use a glass coating?
For many of us, we are used to using a traditional car wax to add some protection to our car’s paint. Although it has been a great method for decades, times are changing and the benefits of using a high quality glass coating that will last for years instead of months, is really becoming the way forward. Besides the far longer durability that a coating provides over a wax or sealant, the benefits of using glass coatings go a little beyond that.
Unlike other paint protection products, glass coatings will harden once they have cured to create a protective barrier that is actually harder than your standard car’s paint or clear coat. This means that they provide an increased resistance to swirls and scratches. They are also far more resistant to chemicals, UV and the environmental elements that compromise car paint over time. The other great thing about coatings is that they also generally add a noticeable increased depth and shine to the paint finish and a slickness and water-repelling behaviour that is unmatched by any other car protection products.
How is a glass coating applied?
There can be a little uncertainty when using a glass coating for the first time but although the procedure is a little different to applying a wax, it really can be quite a simple process as long you take the appropriate steps and follow the correct method. Much like the way you would prepare your car for polishing or waxing, you must firstly wash the vehicle using the two-bucket car wash method, and then proceed to what is known as decontamination process of the cars paint before applying your glass coating.
After the wash and decontamination stage, you can proceed to apply the coating. This generally applies if it is a new car or the paint is in great condition without scratches and swirls. If the paint is in need of polishing or paint correction, you should first proceed to compounding or polishing the paint to remove the scratches and defects and ensure the paint is in great condition before applying a coating that will seal the paint finish. Polishing also helps make sure the surface is completely clean and in most cases will lead to the coating lasting longer.
Before you begin to apply the glass coating, you want to make sure you wipe down the surface with a solvent based cleaner like CarPro Eraser or Concours Clarity. This makes sure every bit of residue, whether it is from the polishing stage or washing stage is gone.
When applying the coating ensure you have a shaded, well-ventilated area and do remember to wear some gloves. Place the provided suede applicator cloth over your foam applicator and apply a line of drops across the centre of the cloth. Apply it to a small 50cm x 50cm section at a time by using straight, overlapping vertical lines followed by horizontal, overlapping lines to ensure you get even coverage.
The hardest thing to get the hang of for most first time users is knowing when to wipe off or level down the coating and being able to determine when the coating flashes which is much like how a wax hazes over to let you know it is time to wipe it down.
Glass coatings tend to be very temperature sensitive. So in hotter climates, they will flash much faster. This means you need to level the coating down almost immediately after applying them. Compared to colder climates, it takes far longer to flash, sometimes up to 10 minutes or so. In most average weather conditions and for most coatings on the market, usually, 2 to 5 minutes is the average flash and wipe down time after its application.
You can determine if your wipe off time is correct by how the coating feels and behaves. It should feel smooth and easy to wipe and level down if your timing is correct. If it feels and looks as though the coating is just smearing everywhere as you wipe, that is an indication that it needs more time to flash. If it feels very tacky and hard to remove, that is an indication that you have waited too long and the glass coating has begun to set and cure.
Use two cloths for the wipe off or leveling down of the coating. The first cloth is used to pick up the majority of the residue while the second is used to ensure there is no streaking and you have a nice, clean application. Turn to a fresh side of your cloths after each section and grab some new cloths once you have used every side of them.
Be sure to overlap the coating when you apply it to the next panel section to make sure you do not miss any spots. Work your way around the car using the same technique and be sure to have adequate lighting so that you can clearly see that you do not have any streaks remaining.
Depending on the actual brand of coating you are using, you can sometimes add a second or even third layer almost straight after you finish the first one, or an hour or two later depending on the weather. Make sure it is no longer than that or the coating will not accept further layers if it cures and hardens beyond a certain point.
So there you have it, when it comes to giving your car the best long lasting protection, give glass coatings a go.
A few more tips for you…
Remember to wait at least 24 hours before getting the paint wet and give it a full week before you wash the car. In most cases, you can also add a top layer sealant over your glass coating to further protect and increase the visual look of the paint finish. Apart from that, you should enjoy years of protection and a much easier maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle as it will be a lot easier to keep it clean with this fantastic paint protection in place.