Should You Combine Ceramic Coating with Paint Protection Film?

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Ceramic Coating, Paint Protection

Choosing between ceramic coating and paint protection film PPF for vehicle care? Why not use both for superior protection? Ceramic coatings offer exceptional chemical resistance and provide a glossy finish, protecting against environmental pollutants like bird droppings and acid rain. PPF provides a physical shield against rock chips, scratches, and road debris, with self-healing properties for minor abrasions. Combining these treatments maximizes protection, enhancing both the vehicle’s appearance and its resilience against damage. 

What is Ceramic Coating?

Ceramic coating is an advanced protective layer applied to the exterior of vehicles, designed to safeguard the paintwork from environmental contaminants, harmful UV rays, and to elevate the vehicle’s gloss. It’s a liquid polymer that chemically bonds with the car’s factory paint, forming a long-lasting protective barrier.

Its main role is to offer robust protection against fading, oxidation, and chemical etching, while significantly enhancing the paint’s gloss and shine for an extended period, far surpassing conventional wax protection.

Benefits of Ceramic Coating

1. Hydrophobic Properties

Ceramic coatings are renowned for their ability to repel water, making them highly hydrophobic. This characteristic ensures that water beads up and rolls off the surface, carrying dirt and grime with it, which:

  • Reduces the likelihood of water spots
  • Facilitates easier cleaning and maintenance

2. Protection Against Contaminants

The coating provides a formidable defense against a variety of environmental pollutants, including:

  • Bird droppings
  • Tree sap
  • Acid rain

Each of these can cause damage to untreated paint surfaces but are significantly less likely to affect ceramic-coated vehicles.

3. Ease of Cleaning

The slick surface created by ceramic coatings means vehicles are not only easier to clean but remain cleaner for longer, requiring less frequent washes.

Limitations of Ceramic Coating

Impact Resistance

While excellent for chemical resistance and maintaining gloss, ceramic coatings do not offer the same level of physical impact protection as PPF. They are not designed to absorb or protect against:

  • Rock chips
  • Heavy scratches
  • Physical dings

Application Process

Applying a ceramic coating is a detailed and meticulous task that demands:

  • A perfectly clean and contaminant-free surface
  • Professional application for optimal results, due to the need for even application and proper curing

What is  Paint Protection Film (PPF)?

Paint protection film, also known as “clear bra,” is a thermoplastic urethane film applied to the painted surfaces of a vehicle to protect the paint from stone chips, bug splatters, and minor abrasions. The primary aim of PPF is to act as a physical barrier, safeguarding the vehicle’s exterior against physical damage from the everyday hazards of driving.

 PPF is designed to be nearly invisible, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the vehicle while offering robust protection against the elements and road debris.

Advantages of PPF

1. Superior Protection

PPF provides unmatched defense against external aggressors, including:

  • Rock chips
  • Scratches
  • Road debris

2. Self-Healing Properties

Many modern PPFs, like XPEL, come with the ability to self-heal from minor scratches and swirl marks, typically activated by heat, ensuring the film and the paint beneath it stay pristine.

3. Durability

PPF is known for its long-lasting protection, with high-quality films able to protect paint for up to ten years, depending on the brand and quality of the film.

4. Preservation of Car’s Appearance

By shielding the paint from damage and environmental elements, PPF helps maintain the vehicle’s appearance and resale value over time.

Limitations of PPF


One of the main considerations when opting for PPF is the cost. It is generally more expensive than ceramic coatings due to the material cost and the labor-intensive installation process.

Complex Installation Process

Installing PPF requires precision and expertise. The film must be meticulously applied and fitted to the contours of the vehicle, a process that can be time-consuming and requires professional skills to ensure it’s invisible and effective.

Maintenance Requirements

While PPF is durable, it requires proper maintenance to keep its appearance and protective qualities. Improper care can lead to yellowing or peeling, especially in lower-quality films.

Combining Ceramic Coating and PPF

Combining PPF with ceramic coating brings together the best of both worlds in terms of vehicle paint protection, aesthetics, and longevity. Each protection method serves its unique purpose and, when used in tandem, they offer comprehensive coverage that neither can provide alone.

Ultimate Protection

PPF provides unparalleled physical protection against rock chips, scratches, and abrasions, while ceramic coatings offer exceptional chemical resistance, UV protection, and hydrophobic properties. Together, they ensure the car’s exterior is safeguarded against both physical and environmental damages.

Aesthetics and Gloss

Ceramic coatings enhance the gloss and depth of the vehicle’s paint, offering a stunning finish that is further protected by the PPF. This combination ensures that the vehicle not only shines brighter but is also shielded from elements that could dull or damage its appearance over time.


By protecting the paint from a wide array of potential damages, the combination extends the life of the vehicle’s exterior appearance, maintaining its value and beauty for years to come.

Application Process

The recommended order of application is to first apply the PPF followed by the ceramic coating. This sequence is crucial for several reasons:

Foundation of Protection

PPF should be applied directly to the paint to provide a physical barrier against damage. It acts as the first line of defense against impacts that could harm the paint.

Enhanced Surface

Once the PPF is in place, applying a ceramic coating over it (and the rest of the vehicle) not only enhances the vehicle’s appearance with a glossy finish but also adds an additional layer of protection. The ceramic coating seals the PPF, extending its lifespan and adding to its hydrophobic and UV protective properties.


This order ensures that the strongest physical protection (PPF) is closest to the paint, where it’s most needed, while the ceramic coating provides a protective seal that enhances the PPF’s performance and the overall aesthetics of the vehicle.

Enhanced Protection and Ease of Maintenance

Applying ceramic coating over PPF enhances the vehicle’s protection and makes maintenance easier:

Ease of Cleaning

The hydrophobic properties of ceramic coatings make the surface easier to clean. Dirt, water, and contaminants are less likely to stick to the surface, meaning the vehicle can be cleaned less frequently and with less effort.

Improved Appearance

Ceramic coatings add a glossy finish to the vehicle’s exterior, including over the PPF, making colors more vibrant and the overall appearance more striking.

Additional Layer of Protection

The ceramic coating provides an extra layer of protection against environmental contaminants, such as bird droppings and tree sap, which might otherwise damage the PPF or the paint underneath. This dual-layer protection ensures the vehicle stays in pristine condition for a longer period.

Maximize Your Vehicle’s Protection with Ceramic Coating and PPF at Knox Details

For the ultimate vehicle protection, combining ceramic coating and PPF at Knox Details is the way to go. This powerful combination ensures your car is safeguarded against both environmental and physical damages, maintaining its pristine appearance and value over time. With ceramic  coating, enjoy a glossy finish that repels water and contaminants, while PPF offers unbeatable protection against scratches and chips.

Ready to elevate your vehicle’s protection? Reach out to Knox Details for expert application of both ceramic coating and PPF.