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R0909

Ceramic Pro Coatings - Are They Worth IT?

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ibelonginprison

After I've polished and corrected whatever gel coat imperfections I want to have done, here's my "wax / sealant" step.

First: Why sealant vs Wax?
A good polymer sealant is typically easier to apply (can be done by hand or by machine), easier to wipe off, and will last 2-3 times longer than a good carnauba wax. 

Why use an expensive carnauba wax, to begin with, then? Previously when they first came out, sealants protected better - but didn't quite have that "deep gloss clarity" and "warmth" that a high grade carnauba wax had. In recent years, though, sealants have come a loooong way. If I were to use sealant on the front left fender of a black car, and wax on the front right fender of a black car - you would never be able to tell the difference between the two, walking back and forth. If I did two sections side by side on the same panel of a black car - then you stand a chance at seeing a slllllliiiiight difference between the two. Even then a lot of people wouldn't be able to tell in just regular daylight. There would only be the minutest difference between them, at best. Most automotive detailers will do 2-3 coats of sealant, then top it with a coat of a rich carnauba wax. That's kinda the "best of both worlds." I do that on the carbon fiber pieces on my cars, but usually only do a coat of wax on top of the whole car if I'm taking it to a show. For around town - I don't both with it.
On a boat? Not even remotely worth the extra effort. And this is coming from someone that's pretty damn picky for boat detailing.

OK - what I do: First of the season, AFTER I've finished polishing and wiping off the polish and checking for any residue, I take a clean microfiber and wipe the whole boat down one more time to make sure there's no leftover polish residue anywhere, and I go over the whole boat with a work light to highlight any spots that might have a leftover smudge/spot etc. (a bright work lamp up close will show you ever imperfection and smudge that exists on this planet - don't worry, unless you've just done a full "three stage mirror polish" session over several days, you will still see swirls and stuff that will NOT show up in just regular daylight) Once I'm happy that all the residue is gone then I move to applying a sealant.

I use Jescar (formerly Menzerna) Powerlock Sealant, applied with a black applicator pad on my Flex XC3401 polisher. A little bit goes A LONG WAY. Keep in mind, you just want a haze. Don't gob it on there, just a haze my friends. The more you use, does NOT mean "the more that stays on." Anything on top of that first layer of polymer molecules that bond to the surface just get wiped off. So, make it easier on yourself - do just a haze. 

Let that first coat cure for 20-30 minutes or so, then take a clean microfiber and wipe it off. Turn the towel frequently to make sure you're not just smudging it around, and use fresh clothes where necessary. Then go inside and watch a couple TV shows, take your wife shopping for a new bikini, make a Dagwood style sandwich, eat it, take a short nap... doesn't matter - just give it about 2-3 hours before doing another coat. That allows that first layer to bond properly and fully cure, so that when you do your second layer, it's ON TOP of the first layer, not "mixing in with it." 

I usually do two coats, sometimes three if I have enough time in the day, or have a chance to do it the next morning. (I prefer three, but I don't always have time for it.)

Then usually the 4th of July weekend, I'll pull it out - wipe it down really well, then do another coat of sealant. (two if I have time, but most of the time I don't)

I don't wipe down after every outing, for two reasons. 
1. The lake we live on is extremely clean, and I rarely get scum lines unless it's has a huge storm the day before and left a bunch of debris/junk in the water. 
2. I dry stack it, so when I tie up to the dock, usually there's not enough time for me to spend 30 minutes leaning over the sides and wiping everything down.

But I do wipe it down while I'm out on the water every couple of weeks, and I always wipe it down when I trailer it anywhere.
I prefer Chemical Guys V07 Detailing Spray. It mists on, and wipes off, without streaks or smudges (as long as you're using a clean microfiber.) 
https://www.amazon.com/Chemical-Guys-WAC_808_16-Optical-Detailer/dp/B004UPZXQM/

I buy it by the gallon and keep a spray bottle in all my cars/trucks, and on the boat. 
@IXFE has owned a lot of black cars/trucks and can give you an unbiased opinion on it. 

Also, I LOVE these towels. They are soft and plushy, AND - they have pockets sewn at the end, so your hands can slip inside of them and you don't have to "bunch up the towel" while you're wiping. Makes it so much easier to wipe the boat down after pulling it out of the water.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00H72YFTG/ 

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DonT

@ibelonginprison  -  How does this method work in water that isn't necessarily clean - or very hard.  When I go to Lake Powell for a week, we get what we call the bathtub ring.  A ring of red'ish deposit at the water line.  Typically if we take a mix of distilled water, vinegar & spray wax, we can remove it.  How would that affect the sealant.  On hot summer days, by the time we get to the wipe down at the ramp, it's pretty dried on there.  

Other lakes we boat at have pretty hard water, and if you don't get moderately aggressive w/ the wipe down, you're buffing out hard water spots.

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Slurpee

Sealant and ceramics are wear coats at the end of the day.  They're both easier surfaces to clean than gel coat alone.  I've used both.  If you're closer to having just applied sealant than to needing to do it again it's pretty easy to take off the bathtub ring, water spots, etc with just a damp cloth.  We have dirty water and hard water on our lake so it's a rough testing ground.  As your coating of choice wears from being run around in said nasty water it gets harder and harder to clean.  That'll be your indicator it's time to reapply before you end up so far gone that you need to start doing lots of polishing instead of just a little touch up polishing.

I got tired (and negligent) with applying sealants myself with this particular lake I live on.  And since the boat is on a lift I only ever got down under it to detail once a year anyways.  So now I'm trying out the ceramic approach.  Same concept.  Just harder and supposedly lasts longer.  It's too early to tell since I only put it on the sides around July 4th.  And only on the hull around Halloween.  I'll let y'all know what I think after this next summer.

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jjackkrash
1 hour ago, ibelonginprison said:


I use Jescar (formerly Menzerna) Powerlock Sealant, applied with a black applicator pad on my Flex XC3401 polisher.  

How do you like the Flex?

I got a Rupes Mille this summer and have the new Rupes rotary on the way.   The Mille works like magic on my ski boat with the right pads.  I get scuff marks from the ski rope on the top deck and occasionally marks from the towing cover that I can make disappear in a few hours.  I won't go back to a random orbital for gel; there just isn't enough cutting power.  

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boardjnky4

Long Throw random orbitals have quite a bit of cutting power when paired with the correct pads.

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UWSkier
Posted (edited)

My '01 Response needed a bit of love when I got it.  Some scratches, scuff marks, water spot etching, oxidation, etc.  It looks pretty much brand new at this point though.  Scratches I wet-sanded out.  Then I hit the whole boat with Chemical Guys Boat Heavy on a cutting pad with my DA Polisher from Harbor Freight running at WOT.

https://www.chemicalguys.com/Marine_and_Boat_Heavy_Compound_16_oz_p/mbw11116.htm

I then followed that up with Chemical Guys Revive Polish and a polishing pad.

https://www.chemicalguys.com/Marine_and_Boat_Revive_Polish_16_oz_p/mbw11016.htm

I then did the same only with a finishing pad and some lighter touch.

I followed that up with a nice coat of Mothers synthetic wax.

Every other time I pull it out of the lake, it gets a full spray with Meguiars X-Press Spray Wax.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Meguiar-s-Synthetic-X-Press-Detailer-Spray-Hydrophobic-Auto-Wax-Mist-1-Gallon/141139957?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=4368&adid=22222222227057211013&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=161530617548&wl4=pla-268275469386&wl5=9030068&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=113509861&wl11=online&wl12=141139957&wl13=&veh=sem&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1ITqzLXS3wIVih-tBh1VxATcEAQYASABEgLFWPD_BwE

Water spots don't stand a chance, though I'm interested in trying the Jescar stuff with the spray wax over it.

Edited by UWSkier

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jjackkrash
1 hour ago, boardjnky4 said:

Long Throw random orbitals have quite a bit of cutting power when paired with the correct pads.

I'm not a pro and skill might be a factor (or probably is a factor), but I have a much harder time getting the job done on gel with a long throw random versus the gear driven Mille.  I love my Rupes Bigfoots for paint and auto applications, however.   

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Slurpee

+1 on the CG products.  I've had best results with those same ones.  I'll use rotary and DA polishers.  Wool pads and foam pads.  As the situation demands.  I usually follow up with a very fine polish.  Either the CG stuff.  Or since I've been experimenting with Marine Nano's stuff, their SIO2 polish.  That's being extra anal though admittedly.

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boardjnky4
Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, jjackkrash said:

I'm not a pro and skill might be a factor (or probably is a factor), but I have a much harder time getting the job done on gel with a long throw random versus the gear driven Mille.  I love my Rupes Bigfoots for paint and auto applications, however.   

Yeah, the rotary definitely cuts more efficiently. There isn't any denying that.

I have found that Long Throw, with 3M Super Duty and a Wool Pad works pretty well. I prefer this route because the machine is easier to control and easier to get an even result. With a rotary and wool, I find myself missing a lot of spots due to the way that you have to work the pad on an angle.

Edit: I'll also say that it also depends on where you're coming from, in terms of correction that is needed. MOST boats don't really need intense correction done. In most cases, even using the above formula will be overkill. Every situation is unique, and that's why the pros have every single tool from a 6" rotary to a 1" mini-polisher.

Edited by boardjnky4

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ibelonginprison
21 hours ago, jjackkrash said:

How do you like the Flex?

I got a Rupes Mille this summer and have the new Rupes rotary on the way.   The Mille works like magic on my ski boat with the right pads.  I get scuff marks from the ski rope on the top deck and occasionally marks from the towing cover that I can make disappear in a few hours.  I won't go back to a random orbital for gel; there just isn't enough cutting power.  

I'm a big big fan of it. No matter how hard I press and lean on it - it never slows down. 
Not sure if it's actually worth the cost - but now that I have it, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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Sparky450

So all this talk about the gel.

I have questions about vinyl. The water on the "Dirty D" is just that, dirty. It is a very fine peat dirt that will blow if you fart. It gets everywhere. A couple years ago I took a few bad waves over the bow, BAD. We could see how much water was in the boat, by the dirty water line on the carpet next to the helm

What would you guys do to the vinyl, on a new boat, to protect it.

I never thought I would be so glad to get rid of carpet!

I need to take a picture of my hull next time before I wipe down.

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boardjnky4
2 minutes ago, Sparky450 said:

So all this talk about the gel.

I have questions about vinyl. The water on the "Dirty D" is just that, dirty. It is a very fine peat dirt that will blow if you fart. It gets everywhere. A couple years ago I took a few bad waves over the bow, BAD. We could see how much water was in the boat, by the dirty water line on the carpet next to the helm

What would you guys do to the vinyl, on a new boat, to protect it.

I never thought I would be so glad to get rid of carpet!

I need to take a picture of my hull next time before I wipe down.

Ceramic Coating can be used on Vinyl. My dealer has a boat with the interior vinyl ceramic coated. It's amazing how hydrophobic it is. Water beads incredibly well and anything will wipe right off of it.

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05hammerhead
On 1/4/2019 at 11:26 AM, ibelonginprison said:

I'm a big big fan of it. No matter how hard I press and lean on it - it never slows down. 
Not sure if it's actually worth the cost - but now that I have it, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Any recommendations for a cheaper alternative?

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skurfer

Once the gel is corrected. Hydrosilex marine works well.

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ibelonginprison
21 hours ago, 05hammerhead said:

Any recommendations for a cheaper alternative?

Dewalt rotary polisher.

I use my Dewalt for all the heavy lifting, then use my Flex for finishing passes and sealant application. If I could only have one, I'd probably pick the Dewalt, just because it cuts faster, making the job take less time. My Flex makes finessing really easy... but you can do it with a Dewalt as well. Just takes more concentration and practice. 

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Murphy8166

@ibelonginprison Really good info here and thanks for sharing!  So I have  2019 coming with some black gel that makes me a tad nervous about keeping it clean.  Would I be able to get away with a couple applications of the Jescar sealant and after use - wipe downs with Boat Bling?

My plan is to get the sealant on the gel before we ever get it in the water.

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Cole2001
1 hour ago, Murphy8166 said:

@ibelonginprison Really good info here and thanks for sharing!  So I have  2019 coming with some black gel that makes me a tad nervous about keeping it clean.  Would I be able to get away with a couple applications of the Jescar sealant and after use - wipe downs with Boat Bling?

My plan is to get the sealant on the gel before we ever get it in the water.

yes that is exactly what I use and my boat is partially black. Being in Texas you might have to reply more often but it should defiantly be sufficient. Maybe try a sealant spray linked above to use with the hot sauce. 

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gdmatson

I also used Marinenanoshop as my supplier for a brand new black boat. Even new, the correction process was brutal. After a year of experience, I haven’t found another process or product that comes close to the protection and extremely low maintenance it provides. That said, you will still get water spots, but they just easily wipe off. I’m absolutely sold on ceramic from the results. Although, I’ll never do it again as a diy project. I will happily pay the 2500 to a Ceramic Pro dealer, but that’s at least 5 years down the road with a 6 month seasons in Michigan. 

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Cole2001
1 hour ago, gdmatson said:

I also used Marinenanoshop as my supplier for a brand new black boat. Even new, the correction process was brutal. After a year of experience, I haven’t found another process or product that comes close to the protection and extremely low maintenance it provides. That said, you will still get water spots, but they just easily wipe off. I’m absolutely sold on ceramic from the results. Although, I’ll never do it again as a diy project. I will happily pay the 2500 to a Ceramic Pro dealer, but that’s at least 5 years down the road with a 6 month seasons in Michigan. 

The part that Im worried about/not knowledgeable about with ceramic coatings is durability. How do they hold up being left in the water, do spots wear down, can you easily touch them up, or must you start fresh?

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gdmatson
7 hours ago, Cole2001 said:

The part that Im worried about/not knowledgeable about with ceramic coatings is durability. How do they hold up being left in the water, do spots wear down, can you easily touch them up, or must you start fresh?

I had the same concerns. Decided against it at first. After just scooting up into the boat on the hoist a few times, the black was really showing the scratches from our butts sliding up the side. Almost instantly, I pulled it back off the lake, fixed the scratches and ceramic coated it. Not one more scratch the rest of the season. Think of it as a rock hard microscopic sheet of glass covering the gel. The water spots and anything else wipes off usually with just water.  Durability and maintenance is amazing. I’ve spent 25+ years taking care of boats with a anal retentive attention to detail. There’s nothing else I’ve come across that compares. 

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ahopkinsVTX
1 hour ago, gdmatson said:

I had the same concerns. Decided against it at first. After just scooting up into the boat on the hoist a few times, the black was really showing the scratches from our butts sliding up the side. Almost instantly, I pulled it back off the lake, fixed the scratches and ceramic coated it. Not one more scratch the rest of the season. Think of it as a rock hard microscopic sheet of glass covering the gel. The water spots and anything else wipes off usually with just water.  Durability and maintenance is amazing. I’ve spent 25+ years taking care of boats with a anal retentive attention to detail. There’s nothing else I’ve come across that compares. 

Now there is an understatement! :rofl:

When do you want to do my boat? It has much less surface area than yours ;)

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gdmatson
3 hours ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

Now there is an understatement! :rofl:

When do you want to do my boat? It has much less surface area than yours ;)

You welcome to borrow my tools, I’ll get a six pack and a lawn chair to help. Knowing you, you’ll want to do it in February if the sun comes out for 3 minutes. LOL

Yes I did see the pics of you guys on Lake St Clair in January. Certifiably crazy!!! Must be something in our water🤪

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ahopkinsVTX
8 minutes ago, gdmatson said:

You welcome to borrow my tools, I’ll get a six pack and a lawn chair to help. Knowing you, you’ll want to do it in February if the sun comes out for 3 minutes. LOL

Yes I did see the pics of you guys on Lake St Clair in January. Certifiably crazy!!! Must be something in our water🤪

Pack your snow pants!

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jjackkrash
On 1/8/2019 at 9:36 AM, ibelonginprison said:

Dewalt rotary polisher.

I use my Dewalt for all the heavy lifting, then use my Flex for finishing passes and sealant application. If I could only have one, I'd probably pick the Dewalt, just because it cuts faster, making the job take less time. My Flex makes finessing really easy... but you can do it with a Dewalt as well. Just takes more concentration and practice. 

I have a hard time getting holograms and swirls out during the finish process with just a rotary.  I think if I had my choice for just one it would be the Mille (gear driven orbital like the Flex) but having options is sure nice.  

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boardjnky4
28 minutes ago, jjackkrash said:

I have a hard time getting holograms and swirls out during the finish process with just a rotary.  I think if I had my choice for just one it would be the Mille (gear driven orbital like the Flex) but having options is sure nice.  

Same here. The Long Throw DA or forced rotation DA is really nice on finishing it off.

If anyone is looking for a low-cost alternative DA that actually cuts, this machine is 21mm of throw and super powerful. Runs strong and doesn't bog down. Best used with Lake Country HDO pads (which are designed for Long Throw DA polishers): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y2BTGYT/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Bonus: The Torq 22D backing plates work on it (meaning, it's probably a Torq rip off), so you can swap on the 22D 5" backing plate which is what I did.

Edited by boardjnky4

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