Permagard vs Ceramic Coating

Permagard vs Ceramic Coating

ceramic coating

This article will compare ceramic coatings and Permagard in detail and showcase why Permagard is the better option for your paint protection needs.

Permagard Facts

  • Anyone with aviation, automotive, or marine polishing experience can be taught how to apply Permagard in as little as two hours. Ceramic coatings require years of experience to learn how to apply them correctly, with very unforgiving standards.
  • Permagard can be applied to any aircraft, car, or boat in a fraction of the time it takes to apply a ceramic coating to the same vehicle.
  • Permagard has been owned and operated by Luc Lefebvre d’Argencé for over 25 years. Ceramic coating manufacturers are owned by various different investor groups based overseas.
  • Permagard can be applied to newly painted surfaces, without the requirement for paint correction. All ceramic coatings require paint correction before applying them.
  • Without the need for paint correction, Permagard protects 100% of your paint’s clear coat and original specifications to provide a depth of shine that cannot be replicated by a ceramic coating. Due to maintaining the integrity of the clear coat, our gloss readings average in the mid to high 90s over the life expectancy of your paint.
  • By providing 4 microns of flexible thickness, Permagard produces a slick, wet-look effect on painted surfaces resulting in an exceptional, bright gloss, that enhances your paint’s vibrancy and contrasts.
  • Maintaining your paint’s original thickness is what gives Permagard the depth of shine that it’s famous for. This cannot be replicated by competitive products, due to the requirement of paint correction before applying their products.

The Truths About Ceramic Coatings

History of Ceramic Coatings​​​​​​

Ceramic coatings were originally called, “glass coatings”, and were introduced to the market back in the 1970s.

Glass coatings originated in the Asian automotive market and were rebranded in 2010 as a “ceramic” coating for the U.S. market with no significant changes to the glass coating ingredients.

Recently, ceramic coatings have started to adopt, “Graphene”, as a tag on their brands. Ceramic Graphene coatings are essentially the exact same formula as glass and ceramic coatings. Next, it will be, “Nano-Graphene”, or, “Graphene Plus”. These changes to the marketing terms without any significant changes to their products’ ingredients are marketing tactics to convince customers that they are purchasing a more durable coating than the original formulas, which is simply not the case.

Freshly painted 1996 Porsche 993 being Permagarded

Marketing

Ceramic coating distributors prefer to market packages where up to 4 coats of a ceramic coating are applied to a vehicle. The reality is: there is zero benefit to having more than 2 coats of a ceramic coating applied to painted surfaces. It is virtually impossible for one coating to bond to another. The only instance two coats would be applied would be for the original coat to provide protection, while the second coat (such as a wax) provides increased hydrophobicity. These packages are undoubtedly marketed to customers that want maximum protection and gloss for their vehicle when they are actually just taking advantage of their customers’ wallets.

Ceramic coating manufacturers claim the benefits of 9H, 10H, 11H, and 12H coatings being applied multiple times to the same vehicle, but they are virtually the exact same formula with no actual increased, “hardness”, added. In fact, adding multiple layers to the same vehicle increases the potential for error and failure. If one layer isn’t applied correctly, the whole vehicle has to be compounded (paint corrected) again, which results in massive amounts of time and money wasted, and most importantly, an even further reduced thickness of your original paint.

Marketing for ceramic coatings has never been more competitive. Simply take a look at Amazon with over 2,000 different choices of “ceramic” products. You can even find ceramic window cleaners and ceramic shampoos. With attractive packaging and flashy logos, consumers are quite drawn to manufacturers’ stylish designs. It’s all a distraction at the end of the day to convince customers of their coatings’ exceptional, almost exclusive-like, product specifications and benefits. Even though ceramic coatings come with warranties, these 9-year, 10-year, or even “lifetime” warranties that manufacturers offer are definitely marketing ploys to get a customer’s foot in the door. Not only are warranties often voided due to the accusations companies make of their customers (such as taking their car through an automatic car wash), but warranties can actually be downgraded. For example: If an annual service appointment is missed to maintain their coating, their “lifetime” warranty is downgraded to a 5-year warranty. If another annual service appointment is missed after that, it downgrades to a 3-year warranty. Continuing on until the warranty is voided entirely.

cermaic coating
Freshly painted Falcon 7X, treated with Permagard (as approved by Dassault)

Quality of Products

Almost all ceramic coatings are manufactured in China and other parts of Asia. Unfortunately, this means that quality control for these products is generally poor. Permagard’s products are manufactured under the ISO-9001 Quality Management System and are proudly made in the U.S.A.

Many installers are not properly vetted by ceramic coating distributors, or they simply buy their products online, resulting in low-quality applications being done for consumers who purchase a ceramic coating package. These mistakes cost customers thousands of dollars to fix, and distributors are constantly having to settle refund requests and warranty claims.

Ceramic coatings with high concentrations of silica are also toxic for the environment and installers, meaning they are definitely not environmentally conscious products. Ceramic coatings’ durability are also not as strong as manufacturers claim, as automatic car washes, bird droppings, acid rain, and corrosion, can severely damage a coating or even destroy it.

Difficulty of Applying Ceramic Coatings

Before any ceramic coating can be applied to a painted surface, the paint must be decontaminated with a clay bar and/or wet sanding, followed by compounding to prep and polish. This is the case for all painted surfaces, including brand new painted surfaces. These processes severely thin the delicate clear coat and decrease its thickness over time. This means that if you want a ceramic coating applied to your vehicle, whether it’s brand new or older, you have to thin the valuable and essential clear coat that you are supposed to protect. The first microns of brand new paint’s thickness are the most important to protect. So essentially, it is impossible for ceramic coatings to protect this crucial aspect of original paint specifications, due to the requirement of paint correction before applying them. Ceramic coatings lock in any imperfections once they are applied to a painted surface, which is why these steps must be done before applying them. That is why Permagard is exceptional and unique as it protects 100% of your paint’s clear coat, without the requirement for clay barring, wet sanding, or compounding, before applying.

Ceramic coatings are hazardous to an installer’s lungs, so applying them must be done while wearing the proper protective gear to prevent the development of serious health conditions. Without the correct PPE, installers risk developing Silicosis (a lung disease caused from inhaling silica particles), which can result in bronchitis, lung cancer, tuberculosis, lupus, and chronic kidney disease, while applying ceramic coatings.

Unforgivable flash times are also an issue when applying ceramic coatings. When the product is applied to a painted surface, it produces a rainbow-like effect when it starts to bond to the paint. If the coating isn’t buffed off during this time, it can cause high spots and streaking, creating an ugly, smeared finish. This is why timing is imperative when applying a ceramic coating as you risk having to remove the entire coating from the surface and restart the application. This is also usually why vehicle downtime is so high when you leave your car with a professional detailer to have a professional coating installed. Ceramic coating finishes are incredibly difficult to get just right, so a lot of time is required to work on a vehicle to ensure the coating is applied correctly. Not to mention, ceramic coatings are also very sensitive to temperature changes so they must be applied indoors in a controlled environment (such as a paint booth) to avoid premature flash times and potential debris dropping on the vehicle and sealing itself into the coating. When an installer has to remove the ceramic product due to imperfections, they inevitably remove more of your original paint, as there is no margin between leaving ceramic on your paint or removing paint, which over time will create patchiness.

Maintenance

The laundry list of maintenance products needed to maintain ceramic coatings is extensive and exhausting. Iron removers, water spot removers, PH-neutral ceramic-safe shampoo, and spray coatings, are just a few of the products used. For how durable ceramic coatings are marketed as, they sure do require a lot of complex maintenance products that only serve a singular purpose to maintain the coating. Professional detailers recommend that you use a ceramic spray coating every 3-4 months to top up your coating, in addition to the annual service maintenance that must be done to maintain the warranty validity. The amount of money and time spent to maintain a ceramic coating doesn’t compare to the ease of maintenance and quality of products that Permagard offers.

Honda with With permagard polymer paint protection
Brand new 2022 Honda Civic Sport, treated with Permagard (as approved by Honda)

Costs

Ceramic coating applications can cost anywhere from $800 to $5,000, or even more, when having a detailer install one on your car. Those prices are only for the application as well and they do not factor in the additional costs required for paint decontamination and paint correction. Not to mention, the potential hundreds or thousands of dollars that must be spent on maintenance products, toppers, and annual service appointments to maintain your ceramic coating. Compared to the cost having Permagard applied to your aircraft, yacht, or car, as well as maintaining your Permagard coating, the difference is night and day.

The Truths About Permagard

History of Permagard

Permagard has been around for a quarter of a century, since 1998, and is still owned and operated by founder Luc Lefebvre d’Argencé. Luc started as a small-time independent detailer in his home state of California and spent years acquiring extensive detailing experience. After relocating to France to pursue his university studies, he developed Permagard and spent many more years detailing with his team, applying Permagard to supercars, yachts, and aircraft, before establishing Permagard’s headquarters of today in Miami, Florida. With over 40 years of industry and detailing experience, Luc knows the aviation, automotive, marine, and detailing industries, better than any ceramic coating manufacturer or distributor in the market.

Costs

Permagard is an aviation product first. The aviation industry has much stricter quality standards than the automotive industry and that is why we are approved by some of the biggest OEMs and MROs in the world. Ceramic coatings were born in the automotive industry and unfortunately, the standards set for product quality aren’t nearly as strict. We want our customers to know that when they have Permagard applied to their aircraft, car, or boat by one of our professional installers, they are purchasing an aviation-grade coating of the upmost, exceptional quality. Our prices are far more reasonable than ceramic coating distributors without sacrificing the strict quality standards set by the ISO-9001 QMS, and the aviation industry.

Quality of Products

Permagard is ISO-9001 certified, meaning our products adhere to the strict standards set by the Quality Management System (QMS). Luc still manufactures every product personally and our distribution team produces every bottle of product by hand. This is to ensure that every single bottle of product that our company produces is handled with care and precision to provide the absolute best product quality with zero defects.

Ease of Applying Permagard

Permagard can be applied to any newly painted surface. Without the requirement for paint decontamination and paint correction before applying, Permagard can easily be applied to any aircraft, car, or boat. Any detailer with modern detailing tools can apply Permagard after undergoing our meticulous training process. We also vet our installers extensively before training to be absolutely sure the quality of work being produced using our products fits the brand and image of not only our business, but all of our applicators as well.

Maintenance

Our maintenance routine doesn’t require countless products to maintain your Permagard coating. We require only a cleaning of the coating called, “Service Treatment”, to be carried out at intervals between 12-24 months. Due to the chemical composition of our Reactive Polymer coating, its slickness makes cleaning your vehicle very convenient using only water to wash the coating of debris. Permagard is also much better at protecting against clear coat etching caused from water spots, insects, and bird droppings, among other environmental factors, than ceramic coatings are capable of.

Permagard vs. Ceramic Coating – How Are They Different?

Permagard and “ceramic” coatings are both paint protection solutions. The differences lie in the maintenance routines, protection, performance, and application processes. Permagard requires Service Treatment to maintain your Reactive Polymer coating. Depending on the manufacturer, ceramic coatings tend to rely on 5-10 products to maintain and protect your coating.

Permagard protects against extreme temperatures, oxidation, corrosion, salt laden air and water, tree sap, bird droppings, insects, icing, and acid rain, among other environmental factors. Ceramic coatings don’t even protect your paint from an automatic car wash. By protecting 100% of your paint’s original specifications, Permagard’s depth of shine products a wet-look effect that cannot be replicated by ceramic coatings. Due to the requirement of paint correcting before applying a ceramic coating, the process thins your clear coat, so it is only capable of producing a shine similar to a good quality wax. Automotive manufacturers have transitioned their painting systems in the past 40 years from solvent-based paints to water-based paints for cost savings and environmental benefits. Also, for even greater cost savings, many automotive manufacturers apply less and less paint, year after year, on newly manufactured cars. Therefore, new cars are being delivered with thinner, water-based clear coat. Water-based clear coat is softer and more delicate than solvent-based clear coat. This is the reason why Permagard is so vital for protecting those valuable first microns of your car’s original paint system.

Permagard also enhances the smoothness of treated surfaces, bringing a silky, soft finish. Ceramic coatings tend to require a second layer (such as a wax) on top of the protective layer to produce a smooth finish. This is due to the general tackiness of most modern protective ceramic coatings.

Applying Permagard is simple for anyone with aircraft, car, or boat polishing experience. Simply wash the vehicle with Permagard Shampoo, prep the surface with our pre-treatment, and then apply Reactive Polymer to seal in the beautiful finish. Ceramic coatings require washing the vehicle, performing paint decontamination and paint correction, prepping the surface with a panel prep product, making sure the temperature and environment are precise for application, and then applying the ceramic coating. Followed by another coat of wax for a slick finish to the touch. The difference in time spent applying Permagard versus ceramic coatings cannot be overstated enough. Permagard can be applied in hours. Ceramic coatings can take days to apply correctly. All of this and more is why Permagard is the best paint protection solution available for your paint protection needs.

Speak With A Permagard Expert

​​​​​​If you would like to know more about the differences between Permagard and ceramic coatings, give us a call today for more information at 305-662-5070 or contact us online. It’s time to shine and see yourself in your brand.

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