Maintenance

How Long Does It Take To Ceramic Coat A Car? [See Tables]

Ceramic coating technology requires skill and experience to provide excellent results while requiring a reasonable amount of time for good results. It typically includes preparation, application, and curing; all are necessary.

On the whole, a ceramic coating application can take two to three days to complete. The necessary preparation steps typically take 1-2 days to complete; however, applying the coating itself should just take an hour or so, while the curing should last 12-24 hours. 

However, the actual time frame can vary depending on many factors, and it is necessary to learn how to manage the time and those factors properly to make it more efficient. Keep reading to learn everything regarding ceramic coating!

What Is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating is a type of silicon dioxide-based semi-permanent auto-body protection. It doesn’t need to be applied as frequently because it forms a strong bond with the vehicle’s surface. 

As a result of its hydrophobic properties, which allow water to compress into beads and slide off the surface, it is especially helpful for the windscreen. It is a substitute for waxing and remains stable under typical climatic circumstances. 

How Long Does It Take To Ceramic Coat A Car?

Many car enthusiasts often wonder can ceramic coating be done in 1 day. The short answer is No; the process of ceramic coating a car can take between 2-3 days if done right. But it also depends on a few factors (I’ll discuss these in this guide’s next part). 

But, in this section, I want to tell you the different steps involved in the ceramic coating, the time required for each step and phase in the process from beginning to end, and more. The following are the steps, along with the respective times they are required.

Preparation 

The secret to a high-quality ceramic coating is preparation, which is the longest part of the procedure in terms of the time it requires. Usually, the preparation process takes 1-2 days. 

Here are all the steps and the approximate times (if you don’t take any breaks) for various-sized cars that are included in the preparation phase.

Preparation stepsSmall carMid-size carLarge car
Car washing 60 minutes75 minutes90 minutes
Clay bar cleaning 20 minutes25 minutes30 minutes
Polishing 3-4 hours4-5 hours5-6 hours
Total 5 hours, 20 minutes 6 hours, 30 minutes 8 hours 

Application 

The time taken for each process of ceramic coating can vary depending on the size and condition of the vehicle, as well as the specific products used.

Application stepsWaiting Period
Applying the coating1 – 3 hours
Drying it off1 – 2 hours
Wiping the coating 30 minutes – 1 hour
Applying the silica spray 30 minutes – 1 hour
Total 6 to 7 hours 

Curing 

After the application of the ceramic coating, ensure the vehicle remains in your garage for a minimum of 24 hours, allowing ample time for the coating to form a strong bond with the surface; this is the answer to how long does it take for ceramic coating to cure

From what I have experienced by applying ceramic coating compounds from various brands, it may take 1-2 hours to 1-2 days or even a week to cure. It is all about how much moisture is the premise and what the temperature is in the surroundings. 

Driving remains allowed during this time, but make sure to get rid of any surface debris very away. Avoid washing or keeping the car in the sun while it cures. 

Moreover, you may be one of the people who often ask, how long after ceramic coating can I drive my car? It is recommended to wait for the initial cure period, which is usually around 24 to 48 hours, before driving your car so it can bond properly.

Here is the ceramic coating cure time chart: 

Curing stepsTime needed
Initial Cure Time1 to 2 hours
Avoiding Water Exposure24 to 48 hours
Full Cure Timefew days to a few weeks

Note: The exact curing time can vary based on the specific ceramic coating product used. I suggest you refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the curing process.

Can Ceramic Coating Be Used To Cover Scratches? 

I strictly DO NOT RECOMMEND applying ceramic coating on a surface with visible scratches. It doesn’t matter how premium ceramic coating someone applies, it is not the solution to fill and/or remove the scratches. 

But why? Well, I’ll tell you about the purpose of ceramic coating to answer this question. Ceramic coating aims to protect a vehicle’s surface from potential scratches; it is not made to cover the existing one. 

If someone recommends you to use ceramic coating to cover scratches, do not listen to them. In my years of experience in the field, I can tell you this is 100% false. Want to know how to cover scratches? Here is the solution!

How To Ceramic Coat A Scratched Surface?

ceramic-coating-cure-time-chart

Many car enthusiasts come to me with their favorite cars and want me to ceramic coat the scratches to hide them. Although I don’t immediately apply a ceramic coat, as it is not the right solution, I follow these steps. 

Get Rid Of The Scratches.

The only way to coat a ceramic coat on a scratched surface is by removing the potential scratches first and making the surface smooth. To do so, I use a special compound, like Nasiol’s Clearub 305.

How Does The Compound Work?

This compound cuts the top layer on the car’s paint, called “clear coating”. Clear coating is like a shield that protects the paint. I use a buffing machine to further assist the compound in smoothing out the surface and making it look scratch-free.

Be Careful With The Buffing Machine>

Here’s the tricky part. Using a buffing machine can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. I suggest you only let a trained professional handle this part. If you use the machine wrong, you might make things worse.

Apply The Ceramic Coating.

Once I’ve removed the scratches and made the surface smooth, I apply the ceramic coating compound. I put it on the car, which needs some time to set and cure.

What Factors Affect Ceramic Coating Time Frame?

Several factors can influence the duration of the ceramic coating process for a car:

Vehicle Size and Complexity

Larger vehicles or those with intricate designs, such as sports cars or vehicles with many crevices and curves, may require more time to properly apply the ceramic coating.

Condition of the Vehicle

If the vehicle’s paintwork requires extensive surface preparation, such as paint correction or removal of scratches, it can add to the overall duration of the process.

Number of Coating Layers

Some ceramic coating applications involve multiple layers for enhanced protection. Applying multiple layers will naturally take more time compared to a single-layer application. 

The person who is applying the ceramic coating will need to wait between each layer to let it dry and let the existing layer be ready for the next layer.

Expertise of the Applicator

The skill level and experience of the person applying the ceramic coating can impact the duration. Professionals with ample experience in ceramic coating may complete the process more efficiently than those who are less experienced.

Environmental Factors

The ambient temperature, humidity, and ventilation of the application area can affect drying and curing times. As per what I have seen, ideal conditions with moderate temperatures and low humidity can facilitate faster drying and curing.

Product Characteristics

Different ceramic coating products may have specific instructions regarding application and curing times. I always pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the particular product being used.

Additional Steps

Additional steps such as paint correction, polishing, or applying a sealant may be included depending on the specific detailing package or desired results. These extra steps will naturally extend the overall duration of the process.

How Does Ceramic Coating Type Affect Coating Time?

can-ceramic-coating-be-done-in-1-day

The type of ceramic coating you pick can change the time it takes to put it on your car and for it to become fully effective. How? I have added these examples.

Short-term coatings are less powerful but quicker to apply and cure. They are often spray-on products that take minutes to install. Once installed, these only need a few hours to cure. 

On the other hand, long-term, harder ceramic coatings ((like 10H hardness)) are more potent and protective. They take several hours to apply and need at least 12 hours to fully cure.

How Long Does A Ceramic Coating Last? 

On average, I have seen ceramic coating compounds lasting anywhere from 1 to 5 years, with some high-quality coatings potentially lasting even longer.

Well, the lifespan of a ceramic coating depends on the quality of the coating, maintenance, driving conditions, and environmental factors. 

Tip: I suggest you regularly maintain your car and take care of the ceramic coating to help prolong the lifespan of the coating.

How Much Does It Cost to Ceramic Coat a Car?

Generally, professional ceramic coating services can cost from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. However, it depends on the vehicle’s size and condition, the coating’s brand and quality, and the service provider’s location and expertise. 

What Are the Benefits of Ceramic Coating?

ceramic coating is a strong option that is both permanent and simpler to clean. Several benefits are discussed below:

  1. It offers protection against damaging UV rays, chemical stains, hydrophobicity, cleaning simplicity, and shine that resembles candy.
  2. It also avoids water and does not mix in with the paint of the car.
  3. Unlike conventional waxes or sealants, ceramic coatings can last many years, preserving the car’s paintwork long-term.
  4. Ceramic coatings offer resistance to stains, bird droppings, minor scratches, and swirl marks.
  5. It also keeps the car’s exterior in good form and maintains its resale value.

Overall, the ceramic coating provides long-lasting protection, enhances the car’s aesthetics, and reduces maintenance efforts, making it a popular choice among car owners.

Conclusion 

It takes about two to three days to ceramic coat a car. But it depends on the vehicle’s size and condition, the expertise of the applicator, and the specific products used. 

While ceramic coatings can be a significant investment, their longevity, and enhanced protection make them a popular choice among car owners looking to preserve and enhance the appearance of their vehicles.

FAQs 

Is Ceramic Coating On A Car Worth It?

Yes, ceramic coating on a car is worth it for many car owners. It provides long-lasting protection against scratches, UV rays, and environmental contaminants. 

The enhanced appearance, easier maintenance, and potential increase in resale value make it a valuable investment for those seeking to protect and maintain their vehicle’s exterior.

How Many Layers Of Ceramic Coating Does A Car Need?

Typically, one to two layers of ceramic coating are recommended for a car. This provides a sufficient protective barrier against UV rays, contaminants, and minor scratches.

Additional layers can be applied for increased durability or specific preferences, but the optimal number depends on the specific product and individual requirements.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Ceramic Coating?

A few potential disadvantages of the ceramic coating are

  1. Higher cost compared to traditional options.
  2. A time-consuming process, taking hours or even days.
  3. Removal or change of the coating can be difficult and expensive.
  4. Limited protection against major physical damage.

How Long Until I Can Drive My Car After Ceramic Coating?

Many car enthusiasts often ask how long after ceramic coating can I drive my car, but the answer is simple. You can drive your car once the ceramic coating is cured, which usually takes 1 day to a few weeks, depending on the product used.