Paint Protection Film vs. Ceramic Coatings: Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to paint protection, there are only two real long-term options on the market. You can choose between ceramic coating, paint protection film (PPF or Clear Bra), or a combination of both, but which one is right for you? In this guide, we will compare and contrast these two options so that you can decide which type of paint protection is best for your needs.

Is ceramic coating better than film?

The truth is that each of them does different things and provides different benefits. They are both great, but many different factors help to make this decision. In general, if you trade your car in every 2 years, ceramic coating is probably a better bet. If you keep it longer than 2 years, paint protection film is a better investment for you.

Is ceramic coating and paint protection film the same?

No. They are 2 completely different protection options with completely different application methods. They each do things differently.

What is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coatings are a newer technology that has only been available to the general public for about a decade. Ceramic coatings are applied as a liquid after an extensive preparation process. and then cured into a clear, hard shell that bonds with your paint. Ceramic coatings bond at a nanomolecular level via a process called cross-linking. Once cured, ceramic coatings provide a long-lasting barrier against the elements and day-to-day driving hazards.

What are the benefits of ceramic coating?

One of the biggest benefits of ceramic coatings is that they provide superior protection against UV rays, chemicals, bird droppings, brake dust, road tar, road salt, and other corrosive materials. Ceramic coatings also make washing and maintaining your vehicle’s paint easier.

When a ceramic coating cures, it changes the surface tension of the paint on your vehicle – so that means most dirt, grime, and contamination blast away with a pressure washer super easily.

Is ceramic coating scratchproof?

Contrary to popular belief – ceramic coatings do not provide you with scratch resistance. Many shops will attempt to sell you a ceramic coating by stating that it makes your vehicle scratch resistant.” The truth is that it will only reduce the chance of marring induced by the wash process. (We recommend our two bucket wash method or rinse less wash method)

Will Ceramic Coating make my car glossy?

The best part about having your vehicle ceramic coated is the massive amount of gloss that is imparted onto the vehicle. Ceramic coating fills in microscopic pores, reducing the amount of refracted light in the clear coat. This provides magnification of the gloss on your vehicle and the base color of your vehicle will reflect much more light – in short, your vehicle becomes glossy and looks great.

Ceramic coatings are a permanent bonding product, so you no longer need to wax your car, BUT you do need to ensure that you wash it at least twice a month, but once a week is preferred. Again – using the two bucket method.

How to spot a good professional ceramic coating?

A good ceramic coating will only be sold to trained professional installers. There are multiple styles of coatings with different bonding technologies. Anyone who tells you their professional coating is better than someone else’s professional coating is lying to you. Just about all of them perform VERY similarly. We have competitors that will talk down on a multi-layer ceramic coating system because they couldn’t get approved to install Ceramic Pro. What matters is how you take care of it over time and how that vehicle is driven and stored. 

We naturally have nothing bad to say about those competitors, but if a shop immediately go straight to talking badly about a competitor – that should be a red flag. There are a few good ceramic coating manufacturers – Ceramic Pro, Gtechniq, CarPro, System X, FEYNLAB, and Gyeon – Any other brand of ceramic coating hasn’t been proven or tested. (Note, Ceramic Pro is the ONLY Ceramic Coating company that has its own in-house laboratory for testing in their San Diego Headquarters)

We could take any of the above-listed Ceramic Coatings and subject them to abuse, and each of them would fail within a similar time frame.

How do Ceramic Coating Warranty Programs Work?

It can vary based on the shop and the ceramic coating. Most professional grade coatings require you to return for a yearly maintenance visit, usually to do a deep cleaning of the car and application of a topper product. Gyeon, Gtechniq, System X, CarPro all require this same maintenance visit. You really should be choosing a shop that is going to stand behind the product and will be there to help you in case of an issue. Ceramic Pro Pottstown stands behind the coating we install, 100%.

The Ceramic Pro Warranty Program works like this, as per Ceramic Pro’s Warranty Documentation:

Ceramic Pro Gold – Lifetime Warranty if you return once a year for scheduled maintenance. If you decide you don’t want to and want to maintain it your self, it has a 5 year warranty.

Ceramic Pro Silver – 5 Year Warranty if you return once a year for scheduled maintenance. If you decide you don’t want to and want to maintain it yourself, it has a 2 year warranty.

Ceramic Pro Bronze – 2 Year Warranty if you return once a year for scheduled maintenance. If you decide you don’t want to and want to maintain it yourself, it has a 1-year warranty.

You are given a Certified Warranty Document immediately after your vehicle has been entered into the Ceramic Pro Warranty system, so you know exactly what you are getting, with no strings attached.

Ceramic Coating Summary:

  • Ceramic coatings bond with your vehicle at a nanomolecular level via a hand application method.
  • Ceramic coatings protect your vehicle from bird droppings, tree sap, road salt, brake dust, road tar & other environmental contamination.
  • Ceramic coatings make washing your vehicle much easier – often cutting your wash time in half.
  • Ceramic coating makes your vehicle paint very glossy.
  • You never have to wax your vehicle again – but you do need to wash it.
  • Professional Only Ceramic Coatings will have a warranty program.

Paint Protection Film installed on Tesla Model Y At Ceramic Pro Pottstown

What is paint protection film?

Paint Protection Film, also commonly referred to as Clear Bra, is a clear urethane film that is applied to the painted surfaces of your vehicle. Paint Protection Film is 8 to 10 mils thick and is optically clear. Most quality paint protection film is self-healing, chemical resistant, and offers an 8-10 year manufacturer-backed warranty. Some shops can offer you a lifetime warranty on your PPF via the Ultimate Armor package.

What is clear bra paint protection film made of?

Let’s go over the physical layering of paint protection film.

Polyester Release Liner: The Polyester Release Liner is a paper-thin film that is adhered to the adhesive side of paint protection film. It is a release agent to help the film peel off easily from the roll. Without it, the adhesive would stick to the roll of film and be very difficult to handle. The liner also helps protect the adhesive from moisture and dirt, which could cause it to lose its adhesive properties.

Acrylic Adhesive: The adhesive layer is the part of the paint protection film that sticks to the car. It is important for the adhesive layer to be strong to hold the film in place and protect the car from scratches and other damage. The adhesive layer is also important for ensuring the film stays in place even in extreme weather conditions.

Self Healing Polyurethane: This is the thickest part of the film that also houses the self-healing properties of the paint protection film. It is often an elastomeric polymer to help keep its shape once it is stretched.

Top Coat: This is the outer shell of the paint protection film. This provides the optical enhancers that make your film glossy and houses the nano ceramic particles that help the film to be rigid and chemically resistant.

Where is Paint Protection Film Installed on my car?

PPF is typically applied to high-impact areas such as the front bumper, hood, fenders, side mirrors, and door handle cups. However, many enthusiasts choose to apply paint protection film to their entire vehicle for maximum coverage aka Full Car. We offer several packages suck as our partial front, full front, road package and full vehicle.

What are the benefits of paint protection film?

The benefits of paint protection film are that it provides superior protection against rock chips, road debris, UV rays and other environmental hazards. Paint protection film acts as a sacrificial barrier between your paint and the elements – taking all the abuse so that your paint does not have to. Paint protection film is durable and can last for many years with proper care. Most professional paint protection films are also self healing – meaning most mild and light abrasions or scratches will heal and disappear with exposure to heat. (Such as from the sun)

Paint Protection Film on Front Bumper of Tesla Model 3 at Ceramic Pro Pottstown

What is the cost of Paint Protection Film?

The cost of paint protection film can vary depending on the vehicle’s size, the car’s make and model, and the film’s quality. Generally, though, you can expect to pay around $1000-$1400 for a partial front, $1900-$2500 for a full front, $2700-$3200 for a track package (ours is called the Road Package) and $5000-$7000 for most cars to have full body paint protection film.

There are a few things to remember when purchasing paint protection film. First, not all films are created equal – some are much better at protecting against scratches and chips than others. It’s important to research and find a reputable company that will install a high-quality film on your car. Second, installation is key – if the film isn’t installed properly, it won’t do its job. Make sure you choose a company that has a good reputation for quality installations.

Ultimately, the cost of paint protection film is worth it in order to protect your car’s finish from scratches and chips. It can add years of life to your car’s paint job, and is well worth the investment.

What brands of paint protection film are good?

There are many brands of paint protection film (PPF) on the market, but some are better than others. Some popular and well-respected brands include Ceramic Pro, Xpel, SunTek, and STEK. Ultimately the brand of paint protection film isn’t as important as the shop doing the installation.

Is ceramic coating over PPF worth it?

Ceramic coatings have many benefits that can be enjoyed on a car. One of the best reasons to add a ceramic coating is that it can be installed on top of paint protection film. A ceramic coating will increase the life of the film by protecting it from the elements. UV rays, salt, and other environmental factors can take their toll on a paint protection film, but a ceramic coating will help to keep the film looking great and make it really easy to clean.

In addition to its protective properties, a ceramic coating also has a deep gloss that will make your car’s paint shine.

If you are interested in having your car protected with a ceramic coating, contact Ceramic Pro Pottstown today. We would be happy to provide you with more information about this amazing product and how it can benefit your car.

Should I go to a shop that only uses computer-cut film for the installations?

The short answer is no. Some shops are all about high volume and lowest effort possible and only using computer cut film without modifying the pattern files almost ensures you have poorly placed film. You should work with a shop that does a hybrid install – some parts by hand and the other parts with custom-adjusted computer-cut paint protection film kits. Don’t be scared of installers cutting film on the vehicle – the truth is that a skilled shop with highly trained installers isn’t going to damage your paint.

Is hand-cut only paint protection film bad?

It completely depends on who is doing the installation. If a newer installer claims to “wrap every edge” and “custom install everything,” there is a good chance that you will end up with cut marks. A skilled installer will tell you that hand-cutting isn’t bad, but it shouldn’t only be a hand-cut install unless necessary.

Look for a shop that has invested in a computer cutting plotter for paint protection film. That is often an $8000+ investment and shows that the shop is dedicated to installing paint protection film professionally.

White Model Y with Paint Protection Film at Ceramic Pro Pottstown Total Detailing

Should paint protection film wrap every edge?

Absolutely not. Paint Protection Film doesn’t install like vinyl, it doesn’t do what vinyl does. You cannot wrap every edge on any vehicle without taking the film beyond its structural limits or without slathering the vehicle with an adhesive promotor, which will usually pull paint off if the film needs to be removed later.

The overstretched film will peel back and crack. Overstretched adhesive will fail completely. Your installer should be looking out for your best interest by wrapping what they can while also not taking the film beyond its limitations.

Paint Protection Film Summary:


  • Ceramic Coating and Paint Protection Film can be used together

  • Paint protection film is 8-10 mils thick

  • Good PPF has self-healing properties

  • Good Brands are: Ceramic Pro, XPEL, SunTek & STEK

  • Paint Protection Film protects against rock chips & scratches

  • Hybrid Install (both hand cut and computer cut combination) is the best installation approach

  • Paint Protection Film shouldn’t be wrapped around every edge.

  • Not recommended for leased vehicles

    The Conclusion:

    Ceramic coating makes your vehicle very easy to clean by reducing surface tension. Paint protection film is the only protection against rock chips and physical impact damage. A combination of both.

    Complete the form below to request a quote!

    0/5 (0 Reviews)