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What’s Best: PPF vs. Ceramic Coating, or Both?

What’s Best: PPF vs. Ceramic Coating, or Both?

What is a Ceramic Car Coating?

Ceramic car coating is a coating process that covers your car surface with synthetic substances that contain the element Si (Silicone). These coatings are primarily used for their hydrophobic (water repelling) and anti-scratch properties.

Although there are different types of liquid ceramic coatings, they all contain at least small amounts of silicone. Silicone is known to penetrate deep into the micro pores of the paint and can be difficult to remove. This makes it problematic to repaint your vehicle even if you can remove the ceramic coating.

What is Paint Protection Film (PPF)?

You may have heard about paint protection film when people refer to “clear bra.” A clear bra is a section of PPF that is used to protect the front, rear fascias, hood, or truck. This special thermoplastic is a urethane that has better durability than the urethane paints that are sprayed onto commercial vehicles. Some brands are better quality than others, however. When shopping for PPF, be sure to look for brands that are non-yellowing and that are hydrophobic.

PPF also comes in different mil thicknesses. This makes it suitable for a variety of various applications and budgets. Most PPF is self-healing and will repair itself if it is scratched or marred. It may heat up in the sun and level out or when using a heat gun. This makes it the perfect addition to any vehicle because it protects the paint job from the damage and absorbs the impact from debris. 

PPF can even absorb the impact of minor hail, stones, and other road debris. This durable “skin” is a shield against the elements, including acid rain, bird droppings, sap, and even wind sediment.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Applying Ceramic Coating to a Vehicle?

Applying a ceramic coating helps seal the paint by repelling water. You can spray liquid silicone onto a snow shovel or the bottom of a sled to achieve the same hydrophobic function. This is hardly a revolutionary concept. Although the thin layer of ceramic coating acts more like a durable Carnauba wax, it does not provide the same warm glow as traditional waxing.

Most people apply a ceramic coating if they want the paint to hold up longer using a low-maintenance regimen that skips traditional detailing needs. Although it does create a very thin layer to reduce micro abrasions on the surface of the paint, it does not hold up to more severe abrasions.

What Are the Key Differences Between Ceramic Coating and Paint Protection Film?

The car paint protection film vs. ceramic coating debate is a bit confusing because they both seem to offer similar paint protection. However, the degree of protection in the ceramic coating vs. PPF debate is critical. The ultimate question is “paint protection film vs. ceramic coating what’s best?

And in answering this question, our lab set out to develop ceramic coating liquid products a year ago. After completing lab research, we reached the conclusion that ceramic coatings fail to provide car surface protection.

What we did find is that paint protection film (PPF) offers superior physical protection. It has the thickness and durability to protect the car paint from scratches, stone chips, and other external elements. 

Car surface and paint protection capability is the critical difference between ceramic coating and PPF. This is due to the thickness of the material, the composition, and how it’s applied. A ceramic coating is either applied as a liquid and wiped on or is sprayed on. This makes the thickness of it inconsistent in many areas. 

PPF, by contrast, is a thermoplastic that molds to fit the entire surface of the vehicle. The thickness is consistent throughout and, therefore, can protect the paint better with a higher degree of surface tension. The surface tension is the same reason why you can skip a rock across the water.

This secret increases the effectiveness at preventing damage to your vehicle even if the paint surface is impacted at high speeds with hail, stones, or other road debris. Think of the surface tension as an invisible shield that the debris must penetrate.

Can I Use a Combination of Ceramic Coating and PPF?

If you are considering applying a ceramic coating over paint protection film, there really is no need. The hydrophobic Creed PPF available from Rayno eliminates the need for a hydrophobic outer layer. Although traditional PPF does not have these hydrophobic properties that repel water, Creed product has it built in. 

No matter how liberally you slather or spray on the ceramic coating liquid, its thickness is too thin to measure. This thin layer of coating cannot protect the clear coat and paint. Although detailers have created videos featuring scratch tests of ceramic coated surfaces, we were unable to replicate these results in our own testing.

Silicone-based products are slippery and may deflect the force of some elements that can scratch and mar the surface. However, you can achieve an even higher level of paint protection by using traditional Carnauba wax. While this may offer a minimal level of scratch protection, it is hardly anything worth noting.

Because the impact of debris is deeper at high speeds, savvy supercar owners choose PPF over ceramic coating every time. In fact, when you consider that PPF was developed initially for the military to protect vehicles that are more expensive than any supercar, it is clear to see why it is the best choice. 

Although ceramic coatings are more budget-friendly and can be applied to all surfaces of the vehicle, including the undercarriage, they are more popular among money conscious consumers. But, for anyone looking for real paint protection, only a film like Creed PPF is worth their time.

Instead of applying ceramic coating on PPF, you can apply it to the areas that are less likely to be damaged from the external elements, such as the trunk. On the undercarriage, it makes sense to apply ceramic coatings to exhaust parts and other places to repel road salt and reduce the chances of corrosion.


Creed PPF is the top choice for your vehicle. It has the surface tension, hydrophobic properties, and full body protection that your paint needs. It is also self-healing, which means it can repair scratches and scuffs. Creed beats the other PPF brands because of its superior anti-staining and effortless washing.

It will always retain its clarity to keep an invisible barrier without diminishing respect for your showroom finish. You may still want to invest in ceramic coatings for other parts of your vehicle to take advantage of the anti-oxidation properties in places that are hard to wax. 

Yet, when it comes to protecting your paint, ceramic coatings are sub-par and may even be less effective than Carnauba wax.

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