How to protect paintwork: options, pros and cons, prices

We have already partially raised this topic . But since then, even new products have appeared on the market for protective films. And in the very service of protecting the paintwork – fresh technologies, which were enough before that to get confused. What can be applied to the bodywork? What properties will the coating have? How long will it last? Finally, what budget should be included in the procedure?

Vinyl: relatively inexpensive and relatively unreliable
In fact, vinyl is polyvinyl chloride, PVC. In fact, it is plastic, and this is its main advantage and disadvantage. It is relatively inexpensive.Can be not only transparent – have a variety of colours. And only it can be printed in colour.

You just need to understand that “vinyl” has certain limitations. For example, it dubs in the cold and turns yellow over time. A jet of water under pressure (Karcher on the sink) can both “pry” the edge of the film and cut it flat. The main thing is that the vinyl covering does not resist shock loads typical for Russian roads. That is, “processing” stones from under the wheels. This is a consequence of the structure and small thickness of only 100 microns. Recently, “thick” “vinyl” has appeared, up to 400 microns, but it is two to four times more expensive. It is used mainly on moto and quad, where increased protection is needed and there are no large areas.

At the same time, vinyl can protect against casual influences – from tree branches, vandals with nails, etc. How long does it last? The answer to this question depends on the production method. There is a so-called calendered film, which is made by rolling the PVC paste through rollers. The output is a vinyl layer with a specific molecular structure. Alas, he categorically does not want to fit snugly to the inner corners. It immediately sticks, but then it straightens out and lags behind the base. Therefore, it is mainly used on flat surfaces and where seams can be made, such as in commercial and passenger transport. Service life – up to three years.

The second method of production is cast film. A similar one lasts up to seven years and longer, but again twice or four times more.

Polyurethane: rubber, that says it all
The rubber structure and thickness of 150-300 microns (200 for most manufacturers) together give rise to good protective qualities. Will resist the stone shot! In addition, polyurethane transmits ultraviolet light, which is important when it is necessary to paste over individual body elements, for example, the hood and bumper. Together with other panels, they will fade in the sun and after removing the film they will not stand out against their background. The large thickness in comparison with “vinyl” allows after some time to polish the film – to remove some damaged microns, returning the shine to the body. On “vinyl” this is also available, but not to the same extent.

To a minimum, it will be possible to polish the second generation polyurethane film, which appeared about three years ago. It is a layer of material 150-180 microns thick with varnish applied on top. The latter gives an additional gloss and, in addition, with shallow scratches, it has a self-tightening effect (under the sun’s rays or when watering with boiling water). However, the varnish layer is thin, and if polished carelessly, it is erased – spots remain on the body that are clearly visible to the eye.

By the way, together with the gloss, the varnish plays the role of protection – this time for the polyurethane film itself. After all, without it, it turns yellow just like “vinyl”, which reduces its service life to three to five years.

Polish: almost always!
Several years ago, somehow imperceptibly, first in large cities, and then in the provinces, detailing entered our life. The concept is broad, in our case it means bringing the body polish, returning the car to the look “as from the factory” and even better.

What does it include? First of all – thorough cleaning of the paintwork from the traces of road works, tree buds, insect remains.

Of course, this can be done at the sink or on your own. But for a person who is scrupulous about the state of the body, the result will certainly be at least contradictory. The bitumen will be removed, but streaks and minor scratches will remain. Well, if only in the “lesion focus”. Often over a much larger area. Because there was no proven and specialized “chemistry” at hand, but in my head I understood how, where and how intensively it is necessary to “rub”.

The “deep cleaning of the paintwork”, as it is called in the brochures, is followed by polishing. There is a huge number of products on the market, the name of which contains the key word – “polish”. For example, shampoos.

Or the polish itself.

It is clear that the first need to be washed, the second – to apply and rub. In both cases (when using “separate” polishes, naturally, to a greater extent) the body acquires shine. Due to the fact that wax, silicone, epoxy resins in the composition of the funds “putty” small scratches. In addition, these drugs have hydrophobic properties – they repel water, and with it dirt. Alas, they have a very limited period of work. Which one is hard to say for sure. It depends on the specific means, the operating environment (for example, the presence of reagents and dirt on the roads), as a result, on the frequency of washes, at which the “covering” layer is washed off. But, of course, the fact is that the hydrophobic component allows you to reduce the number of calls to water with a rag or Karcher.

So, by polishes, professional detailers understand abrasive pastes, which are processed using polishing machines. As you know, pastes differ in different grain sizes. Therefore – in serious structures – it is imperative to measure the thickness of the paintwork. This is necessary in order to understand which layer of varnish can be removed and which paste to use. If this is not done, the body is sometimes exposed during polishing not even to the paint – to the ground.

For car aesthetes, polishing is an ordinary procedure. As a replacement for ATF in automatic transmissions or wheel alignment. Is that longer in time and more expensive. For child-lovers – in most cases, a mandatory operation. It is even preceded by the process of pasting the body with transparent films, no matter which ones – vinyl or polyurethane. The client, of course, can refuse – they say, I will defend what is, but the best is not needed. And according to the technology, careful leveling of the surface is not necessary. However, some damage to the paintwork may be visible under the films. Another thing is not film protection. In this case, the alignment of the varnish is not necessary for aesthetic reasons – for technological reasons. “Covering” material simply does not lie on an unprepared surface.

“Liquid glass”: the magic of words
In general, you can stop at polishing. This is usually the case with body repairs. We painted, polished the varnish and gave it to the client. Shines, and okay. But we’re talking about protective coatings. One of them is “liquid glass”. Let’s make a reservation right away – such a name is rather arbitrary. No, in construction and interior work, these are quite definite materials. Sodium or potassium silicates (Na2O (SiO2) n and K2O (SiO2) n), which form a protective layer and are used on external and internal surfaces. Sometimes instead of epoxy resin as a finishing treatment for countertops.

But in the detailing industry, “liquid glass” is a magic phrase that does not in any way indicate the composition of the drug. For example, in America, under the Liquid Glass brand (translated exactly as “liquid glass”), shampoo, cleaner and silicone (that is, washable over time) polish are offered.

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