One common question I get asked a lot is: what is the difference between Paint Protection Film (PPF) and Ceramic Coating? In this post, I will explain what are PPF and Ceramic Coating and the fundamental differences between the two. I will also talk about the differences in applying the two as well as the potential cost associated in the process.
What is Paint Protection Film (PPF)?
Paint Protection Film, also known as clear bra, PPF, stone guard or clear vinyl, is made up of layers of clear polyurethane with the very top coat being a soft self healing layer that is hydrophobic. The film is thick enough to absorb damage such as rocks hitting the surface at force which would usually chip your paint work.
What is Ceramic Coating?
By definition, a ceramic coating is an auto detailing product used to protect interior and exterior surfaces from common blemish causing materials. Primarily composed of silica and titanium dioxide, these two substances together form a covalent bond that is hydrophobic in nature and forms a nano-ceramic shield above the vehicle's clear coat.
How are they applied to my vehicle respectively?
There are two ways to apply PPF to your vehicle. The first one is called "Bulk Fitting" where a giant piece of PPF is applied to your vehicle directly then trimmed to fit based on your vehicle type. The other way of fitting is called "Template" where the roll of film is precut using a plotter from a database that stores all relevant vehicle information. Template fitting is considered more precise and time efficient. However, traditional bulk fitting is still being used throughout the industry where a new vehicle type has not made to the vehicle database.
Unlike PPF, ceramic coatings are applied like a wax. Apart from the extensive cleaning process prior to apply ceramic coating, it is applied using a polisher with a lot of labour involved. Typically there are 3-5 coatings need to be applied to complete the coating process.
What is the difference between PPF and Ceramic Coating?
Simple answer: PPF offers physical protection whereas ceramic coating offers chemical protection. PPF offers protection against physical abrasion such as scratches, stone chips, scuffs, bird droppings and marks. PPF can be applied partially or to the entire car. A good balance between the two is applying PPF to the front section of the vehicle such as bumper bar, bonnet, and side mirrors) to prevent stone chip damage from everyday drive and applying a ceramic coating to the rest of the vehicle against UV, sunlight and other harmful substances.