Ceramic Coating vs. Wax? Read This Before You Buy

VD March 03 2022

Both ceramic coating and waxes are popular types of paintwork protection and preservation. But what is actually better? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both coatings? Can I also apply wax to a coating? We will answer all these questions and more here and hopefully make it easier for you to decide whether to use wax or ceramic coating.

Ceramic coating or wax?

First of all, both a car ceramic coating and a wax are means to protect, preserve and improve the look of the paintwork. The big difference is that a wax rests on the paintwork, while a ceramic sealant bonds firmly to the paintwork through a chemical reaction. Therefore, both have very different service lives and effects.

A ceramic coating is characterized by a very long service life, excellent protection, and a high degree of hardness. It repels environmental influences such as water, insects, dust, and dirt from the paintwork.

What is special here, in comparison to wax, is that a ceramic seal also protects the paintwork from chemical effects and includes slight scratch protection.

A wax is comparatively easy to remove and has a significantly shorter service life. It is also rather soft and therefore protects more against dirt and water than against mechanical and chemical agents. 

But it is precisely this soft structure and short service life that can be an advantage. Especially with vintage cars or similarly sensitive vehicles, owners often do not want any functional changes to the paint itself.

Applying every 3-6 months is more work, but you can get used to doing it by yourself at regular intervals. In the case of a ceramic coating, applying is usually impossible for the layperson. To remove it, grinding with sandpaper is required.

In addition, natural carnauba waxes have an incredible shine, which leads to a so-called wet look.

How can I maintain a ceramic coating?

Due to the long-lasting effect, the ceramic coating requires very little work, especially compared to waxes, which have to be renewed every few months. Nevertheless, it makes sense to take care of them from time to time in order to maintain the effect for longer or to refresh some properties. There are several ways to maintain a ceramic seal.

A popular way to care for them is a so-called topping. Toppings are additional agents that are applied to protect the seal or to give it additional abilities. You can think of it as an extra layer that is sacrificed first before the actual seal is attacked. 

A topping can be a wax, a spray wax, a quick detailer, or some other sealer. You can find everything about toppings a little further down in this article.

You can also reapply every few years (in most cases about once every 2 years is enough) to ensure lasting protection. The advantage here is that hardly any preparatory work is required, such as polishing, since you are not working on the paint itself.

Another good way to care for your coating is to give a little help to some parts that are particularly stressed. Especially with the front parts, it makes sense to reseal them, as these are always exposed to the greatest environmental influences. Here, too, most of the preparatory work is eliminated and thorough pre-cleaning and degreasing are the only steps.

Combining ceramic coating with wax

Toppings are used to protect the actual coating or to add or refresh certain properties. Topping a seal with wax, for example, can significantly improve the gloss of the paintwork. The annoying problem with water stains can also be dealt with very well in this way since waxes do not have these problems. Applying a normal hard wax to a ceramic seal provides an incredible shine and combines this with the protective effect.