Ceramic Coating VS. PPF: Which One is Better?

If you care about the physical appearance of your car and want it to keep its showroom luster for as long as possible, you’ve probably done your homework about what products are available to protect and preserve the vehicle’s paint. During your research, you’ve most likely come across information about two products, including paint protection film (PPF) and ceramic coatings. 

But what are the main differences between these products? What will they accomplish for your car? And which one is right for you?

Let’s take a deep dive into these two products to learn more.

What is Paint Protection Film?

Paint protection film (PPF) is a thermoplastic polyurethane material that can be directly applied onto your car’s exterior painted surface. It is 100% optically clear, so it can showcase the freshly polished paint that lies beneath. It helps to preserve the quality of your vehicle’s paint job by reducing the risk of damages, including:

  • Scratches caused by debris and dirt on the road
  • Swirl marks from car washes
  • Chemical stains or etch marks from acidic contaminants
  • Hard water marks caused by mineral deposits
  • Oxidation (fading) from exposure to UV rays
  • Dings, and minor impact paint damage
  • Shopping cart damage
  • Track wear and tear
  • Key damage or key vandalism 

Paint protection film, or clear bra, is extremely resistant to acid-based contaminants, such as bug splatters, road grime, and bird droppings, as well as corrosion. It’s also crafted from elastomeric polymer material that is extremely pliable, enabling it to maintain a natural shape after installation. Paint protection film can also “self heal” if light scratches or swirls do occur to your car’s surface. This means that it can return to its original form after suffering scratches.

What is Ceramic Coating?

In the automotive industry, ceramic coating is a liquid-polymer that is utilized to provide a microscopic layer of protection to your vehicle’s paint. Made from silica and other special ingredients that infuse directly onto the clear coat, it chemically bonds with the car’s factory paint, creating a protective layer and hydrophobic surface. This makes it tough for contaminants to bond with your car’s paint and helps it stay cleaner for longer.

A ceramic coating can also protect against:

  • Chemical staining
  • Chemical etch marks
  • Fading from UV exposure

Ceramic coating is a great entry level protection to help keep the paint glossy, free from UV damage, easier to wash and more chemical resistant.

How Are These Two Products Similar?

As you can see, both a paint protection film and a ceramic coating will keep your car’s paint looking newer for longer.

Additionally, these two products have some overlapping performance features, including:

  • Protecting against harsh element exposure
  • Preventing paint fading
  • Keeping paint looking fresh
  • Blocking chemical stains

Despite which product you choose, you will be adding instant value to your vehicle.

What Are the Differences Between Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating?

Despite the aforementioned similarities, paint protection film and ceramic coating do have some significant differences.

Firstly, paint protection film is much thicker than ceramic coating. PPF is 8mil or 8 thousandths of an inch whereas ceramic coating is about 10-20 microns thick AKA under paper thin.  PPF can also “self heal.” Ceramic coating does not have this ability, therefore not eliminating the risk of scratches, chips, or water spots. PPF is the ONLY way to prevent physical damage, rock chips and scratches from happening to your car! PPF is the KING!

However, ceramic coating does have its strengths. This is greatly in part to its hydrophobic surface. It makes the car easier to clean and enhances the gloss.

Which One Should You Choose?

The good news is that you can have both applied to your ride! However, it is best to have paint protection film applied first to protect your car from scratches and chips caused by road debris. Once these vulnerable spots are covered, you can have ceramic coating applied later on down the road. We always recommend our customers spend their hard earned money first on as much PPF coverage as possible upfront. Ceramic coating requires full paint correction and polishing prior to installation. This means that say a year after the purchase of your new car and the PPF install we can resist your car to do a full paint correction and ceramic coating. This is of course if budget is a concern and the costs need to be spread out over time. At the end of the day doing a combo of both PPF and ceramic coating from the beginning is the best option but we understand everyones individual needs and are here to help!

If you have any further questions or want to schedule an appointment, contact American Wrap Company today. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tyler O'Hara