Using Ceramic Coatings with Windshield Protection Film
Whether it’s windshield protection film, paint protection film (PPF), or ceramic coatings, there are plenty of ways to make sure your ride is protected (and looking great). You may already know that you can apply ceramic coatings on top of your PPF to add features like self-cleaning and hydrophobicity, but one of the questions that we often get from customers and installers is “Can I use a coating on my windshield protection film?”.
Well, the short answer is yes, it is definitely possible to add a ceramic coating to your windshield protection film. But before you go ahead and use just any coating, we wanted to make sure that we’re only recommending products that we’ve specifically tested for their compatibility with ExoShield.
Keep reading to find out what you can expect from ceramic coatings on the windshield, and how the top coatings stood up to testing for use with ExoShield.
What is Windshield Protection Film?
A windshield protection film is a thin film that is designed specifically for the windshield to prevent damage from rock chips (like those times when you’re stuck behind that transport truck on the highway or driving through a construction zone). While it can also provide other benefits like moderate hydrophobicity and UV resistance, the main purpose of the windshield film is to provide impact resistance and strengthen the windshield.
If you’re interested in digging deeper into how windshield protection film works - check out this recent article.
What are Ceramic Coatings?
Ceramic coatings have become a popular way to protect the finish of your car. They’re usually used on the body of a vehicle either as a stand-alone product or in combination with paint protection film, but their use on the windshield isn’t as common (yet).
A ceramic coating is a transparent, polymer-based liquid coating that is applied to your vehicle by hand. The coating will bond to the underlying vehicle paint or PPF to provide a protective layer that keeps the surface looking fresh. These coatings can add a really high-gloss finish to your vehicle, and depending on the coating, has other benefits like hydropobicity, self-cleaning, and UV resistance. When used on painted surfaces, these coatings will keep the paint looking brand new for longer, and can help resist yellowing of PPF when applied on top.
For more about how ceramic coatings work - read this.
The Benefits of Using Ceramic Coatings with ExoShield
Ceramic coatings can be a great way to upgrade your windshield protection package. The following are some of the benefits you can expect of the top-of-the-line coatings out there:
Enhances hydrophobicity. Adding any coating with hydrophobic features will complement your windshield protection nicely. It will do a great job of repelling water, dirt, and grime off the windshield, meaning you won’t be using your wiper blades as often. Hydrophobic coatings can also extend the lifetime of your wipers and windshield protection film since you’re less likely to scratch the surface. If you’re a fan of Rain-X, you’ll absolutely love the long-lasting hydrophobic effect you get from ceramic coatings on the windshield.
Improves self-cleaning. The water/dirt-repelling nature of the coating on your windshield will mean that you spend less time cleaning the windshield since dirt and grime are much less likely to stick to it. This also helps to extend the lifetime of your windshield protection film and reduces the already minimal upkeep needed to keep it clean.
Self-healing effect. Some coatings may have a property called ‘self-healing’. This just means that the coating is made up of a soft polymer material that can ‘heal’ itself from minor scratches in the surface when it’s exposed to moderate heat. While most windshield protection films are topped with a hard nano-ceramic surface to prevent scratching, adding a self-healing coating on top can give you the best of both worlds; the self-healing will resist minor scratches to the surface, while the underlying ceramic surface will prevent deeper scratches from penetrating the film.
Easy re-application. While the hydrophobic effects of the coating will wear off over time, the good news is that re-applying the coating every 6-12 months will refresh the windshield’s hydrophobicity and self-cleaning effects.
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Interested in getting a full protection package for your windshield? Find our more about pricing for your vehicle by contacting a certified installer!
List of Compatible Coatings
At ExoShield, our team has been testing some of the most popular coatings on the market to help you make the best choice for your windshield. Based on our testing, we recommend any of the following coatings for use with the latest version of ExoShield windshield protection film:
Always a reliable name in the automotive film industry, XPEL’s ceramic coating Fusion Plus does not disappoint. Our team tested the latest version of their coating (as of March 2021) with ExoShield, and found that it showed the best performance in terms of resisting scratching and extending the lifetime of ExoShield. According to their website, you can also expect to get great hydrophobicity and chemical resistance out of XPEL’s coating.
- Best at resisting mild scratches
- Best at extending ExoShield lifetime
- 9H protection
Apply at the time of installation, and re-apply on a yearly basis for regular maintenance.
Similar to the Fusion Plus, this coating is also a ceramic coating that will do a good job of resisting mild scratches on the windshield as well as adding a hydrophobic effect. Although the performance was not quite as good as XPEL Fusion Plus, System X will definitely do a good job of resisting scratches, filling in micro-scratches and will keep your ExoShield looking brand new.
- Resists mild scratches
- 9H protection
Apply at the time of installation, and re-apply on a yearly basis.
Unlike the other coatings on this list, this Revivify coating is “self-healing”. This means that it is a little softer than a ceramic coating, but minor scratches in the coating will ‘heal’ when exposed to heat. Our testing shows that self-healing effect works well on top of ExoShield and the added hydrophobicity is also a bonus! Because the self-healing effect requires higher temperatures to work, these coatings are best for drivers who have an indoor space to maintain their vehicle or who can bring their vehicle to their installer every 6-8 months for maintenance.
- Self-healing mechanism to resist scratching
- Higher maintenance than traditional ceramic coatings
Apply at the time of installation, and re-apply every 6-12 months as needed.
In all cases, the above three coatings were fully compatible with ExoShield and had excellent clarity and performance when applied properly.
Disclaimer: the above coating formulations tested by ExoShield are up-to-date as of March 2021.
Adding a ceramic coating to your windshield protection film can be a great way to extend the lifetime and get some added features like hydrophobicity on your windshield. While we saw the best performance out of the XPEL Fusion Plus coating, any of the coatings on this list will do the trick if you’re looking to upgrade your windshield protection package!
Have you tried adding coatings to your windshield? Want us to test any other coatings with ExoShield? Use the form below to let us know!
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