COATINGS | A TRUTH AND DISCLAIMER
Of all the principles that I hold dear to my business, it's delivering the most precise and factual information to my clients with respect to car care protection. Speaking in generalities and outlining vague terms doesn't gain me any satisfaction, nor will it garner any respect for the industry that I continue to show a great deal of passion for. This blog is meant to legitimize and substantiate the claims, or preconceived notions that one may have about the category of protective coatings. So, without further ado, let's begin.
First and foremost, one must understand the functionality and the practical application of a coating. Coatings, in essence, are meant to serve as a sacrificial layer. This sacrificial, semi-permanent layer is specifically formulated to protect against a bevy of harmful variables that we experience as we continue to drive (i.e., UVA/UVB rays, tree sap, bird droppings, water-spotting, ice, snow, rain, road contamination, etc.). Depending on the manufacturer and length of warranty, any legitimate coating (which will be covered in its entirety later) acts as a clearcoat on top of your existing clearcoat.
As a one-man band, I have to research and cross-reference data from colleague to colleague to determine it's worthiness, while ultimately deciding if it carries the highest standards for my own operation. There are three criteria that have to be met in order to receive the Blackstone stamp of approval (hydrophobicity, gloss, and overall protection against the elements).
While these criteria waver from manufacturer to manufacturer, the biggest takeaway of any coating is to protect or "shield" the existing clearcoat from anything that your climate can throw at a moment's notice. As a native of both New York and Chicago, I would hold no reservation when it comes to applying one.
The other hard truth that many have to face is that of maintenance. Do not, I repeat, do not be fooled by those who have a particular "air of confidence" by suggesting that a one-time application is all that's needed. Much like any other facet in life, everything requires some form of maintenance and the same concept rings true with a protective coating. In general, if any existing coating goes left untreated for months at a time, the degradation process accelerates at a rapid pace. You know what that means, right?
Your investment was wasted because someone wasn't informed, or the installer decided to equivocate because they wanted a quick dollar from your pocket. The reason being is that as you continue to expose your vehicle to the elements, contamination whether light or heavy, will build to such a degree that it will eventually cloud the molecular structure, which in turn will adversely affect the coating and will no longer showcase its protective properties as it did when it was initially applied.
A periodic hand wash, in conjunction with a compatible maintenance solution will help to ensure that the molecular structure stays intact so the coating continues to perform as it should. This is considered standard operating procedure for my business, and is a prerequisite at Blackstone Detail.
Make no mistake, coatings are not impenetrable shields that last 100 years. Within the past 5 years, coatings have flooded the marketplace with new faces making outrageous and outlandish claims that are synonymous with crooked politicians and the promises they make to their constituents throughout the campaign trail. "Testing" on social media has been blown out of proportion that it's almost comical (i.e., lighting hoods on fire, indiscriminately gouging the paintwork with a sharp knife, throwing buckets of watered-down mud, etc.).
As I digress, let's shift gears for a moment and find a silver lining to this category. If you value your vehicle to any degree, coatings are always going to be a wonderful long-term investment because it continues to pay great dividends month after month and year after year.
There are some that may be of the opinion that coatings are cost prohibitive, being that there's additional cost associated with maintenance and upkeep. At the end of the day, that's their prerogative and I don't blame them because they are absolutely right. It's also a simple cost to benefit ratio. While there may be sticker shock associated with any coating, you also have to take into consideration the labor required to ensure optimal adhesion against the clearcoat, which means that the surface has to be prepped accordingly (i.e., removing swirls, scratches, oxidation, water-spotting, love marks, etc.).
However, if you value the aesthetics of your vehicle's exterior, because we're not just limiting ourselves to just the paintwork (i.e., plastics, trim, chrome, automotive glass, etc.) and you have a desire to ensure that "new" stays looking "new", coatings are truly a thing of beauty and it may be your saving grace if and when those aesthetics start to fail. Trust me, it's only a matter of time before they do. Chronologically speaking, your paintwork will fail before your transmission does (that is, if you stay on top of the routine maintenance associated with your manufacturer). This all comes into full circle, so it stands to reason why protective coatings are a means of preventative maintenance. So, with that being said, if you are of the coating persuasion, let's have a brief consultation so that I can help you find a perfect solution that best facilitates your needs. Now you know the unfiltered truth to the category.