The Shine Shop
Why choose a coating installation over a synthetic wax application?
(An extremely simplified history of the automotive paint and finish industries):
Single Stage Paint and Natural Wax: Initially automobiles were painted with a single coat of solvent based paint - the color that you saw (single stage paint) was applied thickly and unevenly. It was then sanded to a smooth texture and thickness and 'nourished' with wax, a full natural substance that 'fed' the paint giving the color the shine that you wanted to see. The downfall was that if it got wet, or even after a short amount of time, it was gone, just dissipating into the air and the painted surface had to be polished again and the wax reapplied. Not a big issue then - a lot of work but you had plenty of paint to work on.
Synthetic Wax Sealants: Then people got tired of having to 'feed' the paint on their automobiles so often and 'synthetic wax sealants' were formulated. Still with natural wax ingredients to nourish the paint but blended with synthetic polymers as carriers that would allow it to last longer. You could wash it, let it get rained on and leave it out in the air for several months before it was gone. Good but still a lot of work.
The automotive paint industry also started investigating 'base/clear' two stage solvent based paint - meaning you got the 'base coat' of color topped with a 'clear' coat to protect that color and give it the shine you wanted - without all of the work.
In theory - that should have worked except the clear coat still needed to be 'fed and nourished' to keep it smooth and shiney. You still had to polish out the small scratches that occur from daily use and washing and replace the synthetic wax sealant on a regular basis. This process removes a small amount of that protective clear coat each time it is performed and when done every six months as needed over the course of years the protective clear coating on your paint will at some point no longer exist.
Easy - don't have it polished and waxed so often! But failure to clean and 'feed' it will cause the clear to become cloudy from all the micro marring of daily contaminates, the clear coat will shrink, crack and peel from not being properly 'nourished' leaving your color coat exposed - 'clear coat failure'. Then you were off to the body shop to have it completely sanded down and replaced - expensive. Regular maintenance with synthetic wax sealant was still the way to go to protect the painted surfaces of your vehicle.
Modern paint and paint coatings: In recent years the automotive paint industry (for many good reasons) is moving out of solvent based paints and creating new, environmentally healthier, 'water based' paints. A plus for the automotive industry is that these paints are lighter than their solvent based predecessors to help the bottom line for the GVW (gross vehicle weight) of modern vehicles and it can also be applied very thinly saving the manufacturers' dollars. On the downside of that - they are damaged beyond repair much more easily.
What does that mean for the modern car owner? The paint on your car, primer, color coat and clear coat all together is now less than the thickness of a sheet of paper - and the clear coat which is the one that you need to polish and protect twice yearly is only one third of that thickness - and you remove small amounts of it every time you polish and wax your car to protect it which eventually could cause 'failure' of that clear coat especially if not measured before each polishing or if they are incorrectly or aggressively polished.
Enter the modern automotive coatings, glass like coatings made to protect that thin layer of clear on the surface of your vehicle.
The coatings by nature are harder than the clear coat on your vehicle and in fact chemically bond with it to protect it rather than just mechanically bond, or lay on top of it, like a synthetic wax does.
Most important is the protection that they afford your vehicle - think of them as a 'sacrificial layer' for your vehicle's painted surfaces - you basically cannot touch (wash, dust off, wipe down) new paints without causing damage no matter how careful you are. You might not be able to see it at the moment, it may have to build up until it just all looks hazy from micro scratching, or you may need to see it in the right light, but it is there.
The coatings are harder and will resist this outcome longer than synthetic waxes. Coatings will resist damage from bird droppings etc. longer than synthetic waxes - hopefully giving you time to carefully remove it before damage is done. Coatings are extremely hydrophobic by nature, they shed water off of the surface of your vehicle resisting hard water spotting that occurs when beads of water dry and deposit minerals on your paint. The glass like surface they create will attract and attach to less dust, pollen and dirt which means washing is necessary less often. They stay clean longer and need less time and effort on your part to maintain saving you time if you maintain your vehicles yourself, or saving you money if you pay someone else to care for them.
More importantly polishing and replacement of the coating can be at intervals of one, two, five or even up to 10 years depending on the coating chosen not every few months- meaning you are saving that thin clear coating by polishing it less often and removing less of it over the lifetime of your vehicle.
Coating installations are much more expensive to have done but if you think it out a little it becomes apparent that they save both time and dollars - and your clear coat! - in the long run.