Can You Apply a Ceramic Coating Over or Under a Wax?


Ceramic coatings can seem a bit intimidating if you’re not familiar with them, and a lot of car owners wonder how compatible they are with other paint protection forms like waxes. So can you apply a wax over a ceramic coating? And can you apply a ceramic coating over a wax? Let’s take a look at the answers!

The Quick Answer

Ceramic coatings should not be applied over a wax as it will prevent the coating from bonding to the paint. This means that the ceramic coating will “fail” and not achieve the maximum durability. Hence, ceramic coatings should only be applied to bare paint.

It is not recommended to apply a wax over the top of a ceramic coating because it will likely hinder the coating’s performance. In some instances, the solvents in the wax can even degrade the coating. Instead of using wax, a ceramic coating should be maintained with a compatible top-up spray.

Considering applying a ceramic coating at home? Check out my in-depth guide to applying a ceramic coating to learn everything you need to know.

Wax Under a Ceramic Coating: The Issues

This is the worst case out of the two possible scenarios where ceramic coatings and waxes could be used together.

Ceramic coatings need to properly bond to the paint and cure to get the maximum durability and best finish. This means the paint should be free from: waxes, sealants, glazes polishing oils and any contaminants.

Applying a ceramic coating on top of a wax will prevent the coating from bonding to the paintwork properly. This means you could be left with a streaky, smeared finish, and very limited durability.

If you’re applying a ceramic coating then you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Wash the car
  • Decontaminate using clay, iron remover and tar remover
  • Polish and use a panel wipe solution to remove any oils
  • Keep the car inside whilst coating to prevent dust formation

It’s not overly complicated, as long as you have a garage or indoor area where you can apply the coating and have prepped the surface properly.

You can coat a car outdoors if you use a coating specifically designed for it, but the weather may present some issues. If you’re not able to do this, then most detailing services offer a ceramic coating package.

wax

Considering apply a coating? Check out my complete guide to preparing for and applying a ceramic coating at home to learn the full process.

Wax Over a Ceramic Coating: The Issues

So what happens if you apply a wax over the ceramic coating? Is this as bad? Well, no, but it’s still not recommended.

Some car owners may want to apply a wax over a ceramic coating in order to try and protect and preserve it. However, this isn’t the best idea, and there are plenty of much better ways to do this (more on that later).

Applying a wax over a ceramic coating is not recommended as it will hinder the performance in terms of the slickness and hydrophobicity. The solvents in the wax can also degrade the coating in some cases.

If you’ve applied a ceramic coating to your car already, you’ll know that it’s a pretty intense process and takes a decent amount of time and money. So the last thing you’ll want to do is hinder the performance by throwing a wax or sealant over the top.

There are a few exceptions though as some waxes are designed for use over ceramic coatings. For example, the Pyramid Car Care ODK Ceramic Wax complements their coating range and can be used to top it.

However most waxes aren’t really designed for this use and are instead intended to be used as stand-alone products. It is always worth checking with the manufacturer if the coating and wax you’re using are compatible.

Check out my guide to ceramic waxes to learn more about this type of product.

How to Protect a Ceramic Coating

So what do you do if you want to maintain your ceramic coating and keep it clean and protected to preserve it? Luckily, there are plenty of options out there that are designed specifically for this purpose that are miles better than applying a traditional sealant or wax. Here are some tips.

How to Maintain and Protect a Ceramic Coating

  • Wash the car at least every 2 weeks.
  • Always dry the car after washing by using a microfiber towel or a car dryer.
  • Top up the protection using a ceramic coating maintenance spray, such as Gyeon Wet Coat or CarPro Reload when necessary.

It’s a good idea to choose a top-up form of protection from the same make and model as the ceramic coating you’ve applied, to make sure they’re compatible.

A really great product to check out, is Gyeon Wetcoat. This product is really versatile and can be applied as a stand-alone product, over a ceramic coating, or on top of a wax or sealant. It contains silicon dioxide so is has ceramic technology and offers a really great water-repellent and slick finish.

Check out GYEON Wetcoat on Amazon.

Want to know how to get the best performance out of your coating? Check out my complete guide to washing and maintaining a ceramic coated car for everything you need to know.

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t worry if you still have some more questions, here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked ceramic coating-related questions.

Are ceramic coatings better than waxes?

Ceramic coatings are more durable, more water-repellent and slicker than most waxes. However, they are often more expensive, harder to apply and do not usually have as much of a glossy/warm finish compared to waxes. Also most ceramic coatings need to be applied indoors, unlike waxes.

It really depends what you’re after. Personally, I prefer to use waxes and sealants as I am constantly trying out new products so durability isn’t as much of a concern for me. However, if you want something that will protect your car for over a year, compared to a few months, then a ceramic coating will be a better choice.

Can you apply a sealant over a ceramic coating?

Sealants should generally not be applied over a ceramic coating unless it incorporates ceramic technology and is specifically designed to be used in conjunction with a ceramic coating. Otherwise it will hinder the performance of the ceramic coating underneath.

Can you apply a ceramic coating over the top of a sealant?

Ceramic coatings should not be applied over any sealants, waxes or glazes as they prevent the coating bonding to the paintwork. This reduces the durability and performance of the coating, and may lead to a streaky or smeared finish.

Check out this guide to preparing a car and applying a ceramic coating to learn all the steps and find out which products are needed.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Don’t forget to take a look around the rest of the website to learn everything you need to know about protecting your car’s finish!

Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 4 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

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