What Temperature is Best to Apply a Ceramic Coating?


There are many considerations you need to make when applying a ceramic coating, one of which is the environmental conditions. The temperature that a coating is applied in will affect how it spreads, dries and cures so it’s important to stick to the recommendations. This article aims to address all the questions you might have about applying a ceramic coating in hot or cold conditions.

The Quick Answer

Most ceramic coatings need to be applied in temperatures between 10°C-25°C (50°F-77°F), with 20°C (68°F) being the optimal application temperature for most coatings. The car should be kept out of direct sunlight to ensure the panels do not get too hot. If the temperature is too cold then the coating may not cure.

It Will Depend on the Specific Coating

Different coatings are designed to work in different conditions. Some coatings work well in lower temperatures, whereas others need to be applied in warmer conditions to ensure they bond and cure properly.

Here is a table showing the recommended temperature ranges to apply some of the most popular ceramic coatings on the market.

Keep in mind that the temperature ranges refer to the ambient temperature, and not the temperature of the panels on the car. You should always ensure that the car is out of direct sunlight when applying a ceramic coating so that the panels do not get hot.

Ceramic CoatingTemperature Range (°C)Temperature Range (°F)
CarPro Cquartz 3.03-26.5°C37.5-80°F
Carbon Collective Range5°C and above41°F and above
Artdeshine Ayicon5°C and above41°F and above
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light/ C15-25°C41-77°F
Nanolex Si3D HD5-30°C41-86°F
Adam’s UV Ceramic10°C and above50°F and above
Autoglym Ultra High Definition10-25°C66-77°F
Excel Detailing Exclusive10-30°C50-86°F
Feynlab Ceramic10-30°C50-86°F
Liquid Elements Eco Shield11°C and above52°F and above
Gyeon EVO Range15-25°C59-77°F
Ideal temperature ranges to apply ceramic coatings

How Does Temperature Affect the Coating Application Process?

Okay so what if you’re applying the coating towards the extreme ends of the recommended temperature range?

Well we need to consider three things here.

  • Spreading
  • Buffing
  • Curing

When you apply the coating, you will usually spread it using a cross-hatch pattern, leave it for the recommended time (coating dependent but usually 30-90 seconds) and then lightly wipe the panel with a microfiber towel to remove the residue.

If you apply the coating in a warmer environment then it will dry faster. This means you may need to work in smaller areas to ensure the coating doesn’t dry up too quickly, and you may need to leave it for a shorter time before wiping with a microfiber towel.

If you apply the coating in a colder environment, it’ll take longer to “flash” meaning you will be able to spread the coating for longer before it dries up and you should leave it longer on the panel before wiping.

Most manufacturers will give a range for the amount of time you need to leave between spreading and buffing the coating. The colder the temperature, the longer the time will need to be and the warmer the temperature, the shorter the time will need to be based on the given range.

The final thing we need to consider is the curing time. This refers to the time that the coating takes to fully harden. It is important that the car does not get wet and shouldn’t really be driven either during this curing process.

The curing time varies for different coatings (see the table below) and although a range is not given for all examples, it can vary slightly depending on the temperature. The same rules apply as above, the warmer the temperature the shorter the cure time will be. It’s worth factoring in the temperature during the first several hours after applying the coating as this will affect the overall curing time.

Ceramic CoatingCuring Time
Pyramid Car Care Range4 hours
Autoglym Ultra High Definition4 hours
Infinity Wax Synergy8-72 hours
Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light/ C112 hours
Nanolex Si3D HD12 hours
CarPro Cquartz 3.012-24 hours
Adam’s UV Ceramic12-24 hours
Liquid Elements Eco Shield12-24 hours
Gyeon EVO Range12-24 hours
TAC Systems Quartz Power Plus24 hours
Curing times for popular ceramic coatings

Humidity Matters Too

As well as the temperature, humidity will also affect how the ceramic coating spreads, buffs and cures. In very humid conditions the ceramic coating will take too long to cure which can cause issues especially if the coating is being applied in colder conditions. In most cases, it’s best to apply the coating in less than 70% humidity.

Can You Apply a Ceramic Coating Outdoors?

It is possible to apply some ceramic coatings outdoors, however the majority of coatings are designed for indoor use only. If you are applying a ceramic coating outdoors then you’ll need to make sure that it is one that is formulated to do some.

Some examples of ceramic coatings that can be applied outdoors include:

  • Pyramid Car Care Premium, Pro and New Era
  • Gyeon Evo Range

As well as looking for a coating which explicitly states it can be used outdoors, you’ll also want to select one with the shortest drying/ curing time possible, and one which suits the temperature range you’ll be working in.

For example, although the Gyeon Evo range is designed to work indoors and outdoors, you need to wait at least 12 hours before it can get wet and it should be applied between 15-25°C. If you live in the UK like myself, this can present issues because it’s hard to guarantee that it won’t rain within 12 hours and it’s typically only above 15°C for a few months in the year!

The Pyramid Car Care coatings on the other hand are more forgiving. The coating is dry after 20 minutes, and can get wet after 4 hours. It can also be applied in lower temperatures without any issues. I personally have used the New Era coating when it was 10°C.

All in all, it is possible to ceramic coat a car outside. You just need to:

  • Select a suitable coating for outdoor use
  • Choose a day where is it as unlikely to rain as possible
  • Apply the coating in the correct temperature range
  • Do not apply the coating in direct sunlight

Will a Ceramic Coating Cure in Cold Weather?

Even if you apply the ceramic coating in the recommended temperature range, you should be mindful of the temperature in the next several hours to ensure the coating cures properly. When a ceramic coating is applied, it takes a bit of time for it to harden full in a process known as curing. If it is not allowed to properly cure, the ceramic coating will fail sooner than anticipated.

Colder temperatures increase the curing time for the coating and it’s why it’s recommended that most coatings are applied indoors and the car is kept indoors for at least 12 hours in most cases.

However, if you are using a ceramic coating designed for outdoor and indoor use, then it will be more forgiving of the conditions. With that said, you should still consider the ambient temperature in the 12 hours after coating application to be on the safe side.

For example, if you apply the coating when it is 10°C and it’s designed to be applied between 5-25°C, then you ideally don’t want the temperature to fall below 5°C within 12 hours after application to ensure it can cure.

It’s difficult to give exact guidelines as all coatings vary, and you should contact the manufacturer for more instruction if you are concerned. However, you should use a common sense approach and avoid exposing the coating to high or low temperatures outside the recommended application range during the curing process.

Can You Ceramic Coat a Car in the Sun?

It is not advisable to apply a ceramic coating in direct sunlight. The panels on a car will heat up very quickly if it is parked in the sun, which can make the coating application difficult. In hot temperatures, the ceramic coating may become difficult to spread and flash off too quickly causing the application to be inconsistent. It is recommended to park the car in the shade if you are applying a ceramic coating outdoors.

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

Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 3 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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