Differences between 1,2,3,4,5 and lifetime coatings

What is the difference between a 1 year coating and a 4 year coating? This is a question that we get asked pretty often here at TGD. I’m going to cover the answer to this as well as some of the myths and misinformation out there about coatings in this blog post. The first thing we have to understand is what makes up a coating in the first place.

A coating when applied to you vehicle starts a chemical reaction. Yes, we have coating products, but they aren’t the actual coating. The coating forms on the surface or substrate as we lay it on the vehicle. Most coatings have what we call a flash time. Once the coating flashes you wipe the excess off to make a mirror like finish on the surface as well as a protective barrier. This is the chemical reaction we are talking about. The chemical reaction is assisted by the carrier solvent. I know, technical terms, so let me break down what that is.

The carrier solvent is literally a solvent in the mixture of the coating that assists the chemical reaction. Some coatings have weak solvents and others have stronger solvents. This is where the magic of how long a coating lasts begins. The quality of the solvent or “carrier” is what lends itself to creating a quality chemical reaction and therefore a weak or strong coating.

Now remember, I’m no scientist, I try to keep it simple because I don’t make coatings. We leave that to the lab rats and intelligent folks. I just make cars shinny, but I understand the basics of coatings and that is what we are talking about here. I have also experimented and used many different coatings and this gives me real life data to share with others.

The difference between a 1 year coating and a 4 year coating has a lot to do with the quality of the chemicals that make up that coating. The carrier solvent and the amount of SiO2 (ceramic) in the coating plays a pivotal role in the longevity of the coating. The more the SiO2 content, the stronger the coating, and the longer it will last.

So don’t get caught up in “layers” and the length of cure times etc. Some coatings take days to cure and others don’t. That is a subject for a different day.

“Lifetime” coatings are a completely different subject that I will cover in our next blog for Top Gun Detail. This will break down more of the marketing approach of a coating company to be honest. No coating on the market actually lasts a lifetime……..YET! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading, Kristopher Mindrum