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What is a glaze

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A glaze is special product that can be used to hide surface imperfections without removing them. This oily product will literally fill in the microscopic gaps and make the surface look shiny and without any swirls. It is popular with people who don’t have a lot of time, but do want a good shine.

When to use a glaze

There are a few situations in which a glaze might be a good choice.

  • You don’t have the time, skill or tools to give the paintwork a proper polish
  • You want to achieve a “freshly polished” look in as little time as possible
  • You want to try out the product

A glaze is commonly used before any protective product is used, but if the surface has been prepared properly it can also be applied on top of a protective product. Since the glaze is mostly based upon oils, it is very unstable and has very little durability. This means that the effect won’t last very long, but in some cases that is not a problem. If a car owner is going to a car meet, of his car is on display on a detailing event, using a glaze will give that freshly-polished look in much less time then it would take to polish it properly. In this case it is not very likely that the durability matters much.

How a glaze works

A glaze hides surface imperfections rather then removing them. The surface of an object is rarely very smooth and perfectly flat. When looking at the surface via a microscope, you would see a very uneven landscape of hills and valleys. Some of the slopes of these hills and valleys will be very steep, other will be very gradually. A glaze contains several types of oils that will actually fill in most of these hills and valleys, resulting in a very smooth and flat surface.

For those who have difficulty understanding the principle, I’ll try to illustrate it with a similar situation:
Take a slice of bread. When you look at the surface it has a very uneven and open structure. The surface is not perfectly flat and smooth at all. Now let’s get a knife and some butter, and smear the butter on the piece of bread. The butter fills all the holes and makes it possible to get a very smooth and flat finish.
The uneven surface of the slice of bread is just like the microscopic surface of paintwork, the butter that fills all this unevenness is the glaze.

The results is a nice and smooth surface, which reflects light directly, making swirls and small imperfections much less visible. The big downside is that it has very short durability, and has a negative effect on the durability of any protective product you put on top of it.

Advantages and drawback of a glaze

Advantages:

  • Gives that “freshly polished” look
  • Hides imperfections, which can be useful when you go to a car-show
  • It can be applied on top of any product when needed.
  • Can be layered for better effect.
  • Is very similar to work with as a polish, so it can be used as a safe way of practice before working with polish.

Drawbacks:

  • Has a negative effect on durability of a wax, coating or sealant.
    A wax contains oil, and only suffers from a little bit less bonding because of an oily surface. A sealant will not properly bond with the surface because the polymers aren’t designed to work with oils. Coating need a perfectly clean surface to adhere to, a glaze is not the perfect clean surface it needs.
  • It gives the impression of perfect paint, even when it isn’t.
  • A glaze will perform the best when applied by machine.
  • A glaze on it’s own will offer no protection.
  • Much more then 2 or 3 coats will not give better results.

Common misconceptions

  • A glaze does not offer protection on its own.
  • A glaze does not remove swirls.
  • In almost all cases, it will decrease the longevity of any protective product.
  • The use of a glaze is just a temporary cosmetic fix
  • Some products that have the word “glaze” in the product name, don’t have to be a normal glaze. They often just refer to the shine a glaze might give.
  • A pre-wax cleaner is not a glaze, but can have certain fillers that give a similar effect.

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