A sealant, also known as a top coat, is a great way to protect the beautiful finish of your paint from stains, scratches, chips and scuffs. The top layers are dried to create a much harder finish than most paints, making it more difficult to damage. You can apply polyurethane over both latex and oil-based paint, but before doing so, the paint must be dry and fully cured. The curing time varies depending on the type of paint, but is usually less than a week.
Before applying the polyurethane, use 220-grit sandpaper to scrape the paint off by hand in order to create a bond. Ceramic coatings are scratch-resistant, not scratch-proof. While they offer some protection against minor scratches, swirl marks and marks caused by washing, they won't completely eliminate the risk of your paint being scratched. Many of the same objects that can scratch your car can also scratch it even if it's covered with upholstery. Most car bodies also have a primer which gives the paint a smooth and shiny surface.
If a scratch cuts through the transparent layer and reveals the primer, the solution becomes more complicated and you'll likely need professional help and touch-up paint. One of the most common misconceptions about ceramic coatings is that they make the paint as hard as the Earth's crust due to their 9-hour hardness. The truth is that applying a Si-02-based coating will not magically make your paint job resistant to scratches. If you want the best protection against scratches on your car, stop looking for the right ceramic coating and start investing in protective paint film. Each option has its intended use, and while coatings are great for easy cleaning and maintenance, protective paint film will be your best defense against scratches. Before understanding the major complications that accompany scratches in paint, it's important to understand the different types of scratches.
Waxes, sealants, and especially enamels are much more likely to fill in minor paint imperfections. Some people have asked me if I think a scratch or defect is “only on the coating” several times. Remember that a ceramic coating is so thin that it usually can't even be measured with a paint depth gauge (although some select coatings that exist are a little thicker). If a scratch compromises your car's clear coat or paint primer, the outside will be exposed to the elements. Most cars have a thin layer of transparent outer layer which protects the paint from sunlight, rain, dust and more.
Whether you're driving a new or used car, scratched paint will decrease both its value and aesthetics. While you may find many “home remedies” for scratch marks circulating on the Internet, using the wrong treatment on your car can make the paint look worse. Self-healing paint protective film started out as a high-end luxury item but is now much more common. Technically, anything you clean on your car's paint has the potential to fill in small scratches and spiral marks.