Applying a ceramic coating outdoors if you don’t have access to a garage can be challenging, but it is perfectly possible as long as you work in the correct environmental conditions and choose a coating which is suitable for outdoor application.
In this article, I’ll explain all the considerations you need to make if you are planning to apply a ceramic coating outdoors so you don’t run into any issues.
How to Apply a Ceramic Coating Outside (Quick Guide)
- Select a ceramic coating which is suitable for outdoor application (e.g. Gyeon Evo or Pyramid Car Care)
- Choose a day where it is extremely unlikely to rain and the humidity is forecast to be low-moderate for 12 hours after application
- Ensure you are working in the correct temperature range for the specific coating and that the temperature is unlikely to dramatically change within 12 hours after application
- Make sure there is little to no wind
- Do not apply the coating in direct sunlight
Choose a Suitable Ceramic Coating
The first thing you need to do if you’re planning on applying a coating outside is to choose a suitable product.
Most ceramic coatings on the market are designed to be applied in an indoor space which is temperature and humidity controlled. Many will explicitly state on the instructions that they must be applied indoors.
However, there are plenty of great ceramic coatings which are designed to be applied both indoors and outdoors. These types of coatings will still last as long as “indoor only coatings” and are usually a bit more forgiving to apply making them good options for beginners.
Ceramic coatings which are suitable for outdoor use typically have a short cure time. The cure time is the time it takes for the coating to fully harden after application. It’s important not to get the car wet during this period otherwise the coating may fail.
Ceramic coatings which can be applied outside:
- Infinity Wax Synergy Coating
- Pyramid Car Care Premium Coating
- Pyramid Car Care UBV New Era Coating
- Pyramid Car Care Professional Coating
- Gyeon Q2 One Evo
- Gyeon Q2 Pure Evo
- Gyeon Q2 Mohs Evo
|Ceramic Coating||Maximum Durability||Price in USA||Price in UK|
|Infinity Wax Synergy||2 years||N/A||£39.99 for 30 mL|
|Pyramid Car Care Premium||2 years||N/A||£59.99 for 50 mL|
|Gyeon Q2 One Evo||2 years||$47.99 for 30 mL $62.99 for 50 mL||£26.00 for 30 mL £37.00 for 50 mL|
|Pyramid Car Care UBV New Era||3 years||N/A||£79.99 for 50 mL|
|Gyeon Q2 Pure Evo||3 years||$59.99 for 30 mL $85.99 for 50 mL||£46.00 for 30 mL £65.00 for 50 mL|
|Gyeon Q2 Mohs Evo||4 years||$64.99 for 30 mL $89.99 for 50 mL||£46.00 for 30 mL £65.00 for 50 mL|
|Pyramid Car Care Professional||5 years||N/A||£99.99 for 50 mL|
Consider the Environmental Conditions
If you are applying a ceramic coating outside there are four main things you need to consider about the environment:
- Chance of Rain
- Wind Speed
Chance of Rain
It is vital that a ceramic coating does not get wet soon after it has been applied (usually at least 12 hours) and that the panels are completely dry during the application process.
Hence, if you are applying a coating outside you must be as close to certain as possible that it will not rain during the process and within the recommended cure time following application.
This can be difficult if you live in the UK like myself as the weather is very unpredictable. However, it is possible and selecting a coating with a short cure time gives you the best chance for success.
Pyramid Car Care offer three coatings which all have a 4 hour wait period before the car can get wet which is a definitely benefit if you live in the UK!
Most ceramic coatings work best when applied between 10°C-20°C/ 50-68°F. Applying a coating in hot weather will make it difficult to buff off and can make the coating flash too quickly. Conversely, applying the coating when it is too cold can prevent it bonding to the paintwork.
It’s very important that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to the appropriate application temperature.
For example, Gyeon Evo coatings should only be applied when the ambient temperature is 15-25°C/ 59-77°F.
You also need to consider the temperature of the panels. The paintwork on the car can get very hot in certain conditions. It is vital that you do not use a ceramic coating in direct sunlight as this will cause huge issues with the application process. Instead, make sure the car is parked in the shade or it is overcast.
If you want to learn more about how the temperature affects the ceramic coating application process, check out this article.
It is recommended that you make sure the humidity is moderate-low when applying the coating. Ceramic coatings should not be applied in humid conditions as this can cause problems by slowing down the curing process.
As a general rule, it’s best to ensure the humidity is less than 70% when applying the coating. It’s also best if the coating can cure for as long as possible when it’s not very humid (over 70-80%).
When applying a coating outdoors it is important to factor in the wind. If you apply the coating when it is windy, dust and debris will settle on the paintwork. This can affect how the coating spreads and bonds, and even cause swirl marks if you run the applicator along a dusty panel.
It’s best to ensure that the wind speed is below 10 mph (16 km/h) and the lower it is the better. You should also park the car next to a building to block the wind if possible. Also make sure there are no trees near the car!
Keep in Mind the Cure Time
It’s one thing getting the right conditions during the application process, but you also need to get them right for the curing process as well.
All ceramic coatings need to cure, which is the process by which they fully harden after they are applied. If the conditions are not acceptable during this time, the coating will fail.
The first 12-24 hour period is the most important for most coatings. During which time the car shouldn’t be driven, and shouldn’t get wet.
Conditions Required for the Coating to Cure:
- No rain
- Ideal temperature range. Usually 10°C-25°C (50°F-77°F), but make sure you check the manufacture’s instructions.
- Low-moderate humidity (less than 70%)
If the temperature is too low then it can increase the time needed for the coating to cure. It is vital that the coating does get wet during this period either.
That doesn’t just mean checking the forecast for rain. You also need to consider any condensation or dew forming on the paint which can happen later in the evening and through to the morning.
That’s why I’d recommend applying to coating in the morning or before midday (when the humidity has increased slightly) to give you the best conditions where condensation is less likely to form and the temperature will be warmer for the majority of the curing process.
The “cure time” varies for different coatings. For outdoor application, you should look for the shortest cure time, especially if you live in a region with less predictable weather conditions.
The Pyramid Car Care range of ceramic coatings all have a 4 hour curing time before they can get wet which makes them great for applying outdoors.
The Gyeon Evo range is suitable for outdoor application but the curing time is 12 hours which may present some issues depending on the climate in your region.
After this initial curing period, the coating will be sensitive for 7 days before it fully hardens. During which time you should not wash or use any other chemicals on the car.
Check out my article on ceramic coating cure times to learn more.
Tips for Applying a Ceramic Coating Outdoors
- If you have the option, using a gazebo or canopy can really help you out. It’s well worth checking with a neighbour if you don’t own one yourself and borrow it for half a day to ensure you can apply the coating without any issues.
- Choose a day with very low wind and chance of rain. Ensure the temperature and humidity are in the correct range to apply the specific coating.
- Use a good light source to inspect the panel after buffing the coating. The lighting outside makes it harder to notice any “high spots”, so taking more care to inspect each panel after application is a good idea.
- Keep replacing your applicator and microfiber towels after after a couple of panels to ensure dust does not accumulate on them.
In some cases, you can “waterproof” a ceramic coating after application by applying a quick detailer or light sealant over the top of the product. The purpose of this is to shield the coating from the elements during the curing process.
This is not recommended for all coatings and the time you need to leave between the coating application and the application of the QD/ sealant will vary depending on the product.
I’d advise that you contact the manufacturer of the coating you are interested in to see if this is an option if the car must be stored outdoors during the curing process.
If you want to see the process of applying a coating outdoors, check out my YouTube video where I use the Pyramid Car Care UBV New Era coating.
Check out my complete guide to the pros and cons of ceramic coatings so you know exactly what to expect.
Consider Using a “Lite” Coating
If you are concerned that you live in a region where you cannot guarantee the correct environmental conditions to apply a ceramic coating but still want to add durable protection to your car, then consider using a “Lite” coating instead.
Many brands offer light ceramic coatings which have shorter cure times at the expensive of being less durable. However, they still offer outstanding protection and are a great option if you don’t have a garage.
Infinity Wax Synergy Lite is a great example of this. It lasts for 1 year on the paintwork and has a unique formula which means you can drive the car and get it wet straight after application.
This is because it leavers a polymer over the coating to protect it. The car must then not be washed for 7 days to ensure the coating has time to cure underneath the polymer. After 7 days, the car can be washed to remove the polymer and reveal the true characteristics of the coating.
Keep in mind that note all “light” coatings can be applied outdoors. You should always check the required conditions for the application of each coating.
Note: there are two packages available of each coating in the Gyeon Evo range, the standard package which includes an applicator, and Gyeon Cure and the “Light” package which does not include Gyeon Cure. The coating itself is the exact same, it is not a “light” version like the example described above.
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.
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