You may have heard that your car’s paintwork requires protection from the damaging effects of the elements (including the effects of UV radiation from the sun). This is true. Water damage and sun damage can age your car and leave the paint work looking worn and uneven. This is important because you are unlikely to own your car forever, meaning that when you come to sell the car, the resale value may be affected where the paintwork is less than perfect.
A ceramic coating provides perhaps the most cost-effective and durable option when it comes to protecting your car’s paintwork. The reason behind the high-performance properties of ceramic coatings comes down to the hardness of the finished coating. For example, if you imagine painting your walls at home with paint that sets hard, compared to a paint that dries but is likely to flake and break away if touched, you will begin to understand the importance of the hardness rating assigned to a protective coating that may be used on cars. Ceramic coatings have a 9H rating. But what does that mean?
What does 9H mean?
Hardness can be measured in multiple ways. Take, for example, the Mohs Hardness Scale, which gives an accurate representation of the hardness of a solid object. Diamond is the hardest with a rating of 10. Somewhere in the middle we find glass, and talc sits at the bottom of the scale with a hardness of 1. But what about things that cannot be measured in the same way but still require a rating? What about ceramic coatings, sealants, and waxes used to protect a car’s paintwork? For this measurement we use the pencil scale of hardness – that’s right, the exact same scale you are used to seeing printed on the side of pencils.
Ranging from the softest possible rating of 9B on the far left side of the scale, we increase the hardness moving to the right, moving through 8B and 7B etc, until we get to finally, 2B, and then HB in the centre of the scale. Beyond HB, we start to encounter harder material, progressing through 2H and 3H, all the way up to the hardest possible rating at 9H. Ceramic coatings are rated as 9H, offering superb protection for your paintwork.
What are the alternatives?
As mentioned, sealants and waxes are also available as means of protecting your car’s paintwork. The popularity of these alternative treatments tends to come down to owner expectations on how long they plan to use and care for the vehicle, and how much they wish to spend to protect the resale value of the car once they wish to upgrade.
Whereas sealants and waxes may offer slight savings in comparison to ceramic coatings, they offer a considerably lower durability and a reduced life expectancy that shouldn’t be ignored by anyone serious about protecting their paintwork. For example, sealants may last up to one year and waxes may only last six months, whereas ceramic coatings are expected to last years.