How to remove a ceramic coating
Written by: Vinnie van Rooij
Ceramic coatings are very strong forms of protection, but they are not eternal. Eventually they need to be removed in order to prepare the surface for a brand new application of protection. This means the entire layer of ceramic coatings need to be removed.
Why remove a ceramic coating
A ceramic coating is very hard, and unlike a wax or sealant is capable of offering a solid form of protection for a very long time. Several manufacturers claim a level of protection that will last longer then a year. However, they will not last a lifetime. This means the product will need to be removed eventually in order to prepare the surface for a new form of protection. Not removing the worn layer of ceramic coating can prevent the new product from adhering or bonding with the surface properly, which negatively effects the durability. Before applying a new form of protection it is advised to remove the old product completely first. Most products work best on bare paintwork.
Potential problem when removing a ceramic coating
A ceramic coating has earned its name because some of the ingredients used in the manufacturing are similar or the same as ingredients that are being used in the creation of pottery glaze. A very common ingredients is SiO2 and Si3D. These silicates are know for being very hard once fully cured. This offers a very strong form of protection for any surface it is applied on. This level of hardness is also the problem when removing. Because most regular clays and finishing polish have very little effect on the hard surface. Certain chemicals (especially acidic ones) don’t have much effect on it either. This makes the removal of the product a bit more difficult. Wax and sealant can generally be removed with nothing more then clay and a finishing polish, but ceramic coatings often need a medium polish at minimum to be removed.
Different ways to remove ceramic coatings
There are a few different ways to remove a coating. This is mainly dependent on the level of dirt and contamination. In some cases the manufacturer can give advise on how the product can be removed in the best way. A few manufacturers have designed products especially to remove their products.
Although ceramic coating have very good chemical resistance for most chemicals, they are not very strong against alkaline products. It is not clear if these are capable of removing the entire product, but they are know to damage the surface layer and negatively effecting their performance. It should be noted that a product that is chemical enough to remove a ceramic coating, can be strong enough to damage the paintwork underneath as well.
Claying alone is not likely to be enough, but it should have an effect on the coating. Especially when the coating is a bit worn, it should be possible to remove a large part of the product from the surface.
It is widely believed that polishing is the most trusted way to remove a ceramic coating from the surface. This will also help to prepare the surface for the new product and remove certain imperfections.
On of the largest downsides with any protective product, is that it is not possible to visually see whether a product has been removed completely or not. Even water behavior that would indicate the absence of a product could just be due to certain oils being left on the surface.
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