Matte Paint Finishes & Matte Vinyl Wrap Protection


Car enthusiasts and automakers are all competing to create the shiniest, most reflective paint finishes possible.  However some have turned to a different type of finish in order to stand out: matte paints. These non-reflective finishes don’t have the shiny, glossy appearance of typical new cars — but on the right vehicle, they can look incredible. This is also true for aftermarket options such as matte vinyl vehicle wraps.

The only problem is that matte paints and vinyl wraps require special attention when cleaning, otherwise they can be damaged irreparably. At LI Detailers we can protect your matte finish or wrapped vehicle with Ceramic Pro 9H surface protection technology.  Ceramic Pro 9H is a Permanent Nano-Ceramic Paint Coating that features a Satin finish, unmatched Super Hydrophobic Effect, Scratch Resistance, Chemical Resistance, UV Resistance, Thermal Resistance and Anti-Graffiti.

Both the Super Hydrophobic and Anti-Graffiti effect combined means the surface coated with 9H will stay cleaner for longer as dirt and grime will not stick to the surface and the super hydrophobic effect of the coating will cause water to bead up and roll of the surface with any dirt and grime while the hard ceramic film also offers superior protection from damaging contamination and harsh chemicals.

9H forms a permanent bond to the paint work or vinyl and will not wash away or break down, 9H can only be removed by abrasion making it a highly durable protective coating to protect your paint work for damaging contaminants.

Who Makes Them?

Matte paint finishes & matte vinyl wraps have long been a staple of the auto-show circuit, used to help make a concept car stand out from the glossy crowd. In recent years, mainstream automakers have brought matte colors to the general public. BMW first introduced its Frozen matte paints for various special editions of the M3, and recently made Frozen Bronze Metallic a $3500 option on the new 6 Series Gran Coupe.  Mercedes-Benz has a far more extensive offering of matte paints, which are called Magno and cost $3950. Magno Night Black paint is offered on the G-Class; Magno Platinum is available on the CL-, S-, and G-Class; Magno Cashmere White can be had on the E-, CL-, CLS-, SLK-, S-, and SL-Class; and Magno Alanite Grey can be optioned on the E-, CL-, CLS-, SLK-, S-, and SL-Class, plus the SLS AMG.

Though there are several ways to create matte paint finishes, most use a different type of clear coat. Whereas regular automotive paint is designed to be shiny, clear, and reflective, the clear coat on matte finishes is hazy and somewhat diffuses the underlying base coat color.  Aftermarket suppliers also offer many colors for owners to repaint their cars in a matte finish, and exotic manufacturers like Lamborghini routinely show off custom matte cars.  This is where the matte vinyl wraps have become so popular.

What Not To Do

The key point is to avoid allowing scratches or damage to the paint surface. Whereas small scratches or swirl marks in normal shiny paint finishes can be corrected with polishing or other methods, damage in a matte paint job is usually permanent. Attempting to fix even a small scratch can start to change the surface qualities of matte paint, making for an inconsistent appearance.

For the same reason, all aforementioned automakers recommend against automatic car washes. The tough nylon bristles of rotating brushes will scratch and damage the matte paint or vinyl, so owners should have the vehicle protected with Ceramic Pro 9H to prevent this damage prior to taking delivery of the vehicle. Finally, all liquid or paste car waxes should be avoided because they include cleaning agents that will change the luster and sheen on the paint surface. BMW, Mercedes, and Hyundai strongly warn against ever using any kind of polish, wax, or rubbing compounds.

Washing & Cleaning

Compared to glossy paint finishes, the surfaces of matte cars need to be washed more often and more gently. The most important step is to avoid creating scratches or swirl marks while washing. Ceramic Pro New York uses high-quality microfiber towels and soft wash mitts, and washing them thoroughly after each car wash. We utilize automotive-specific liquid car wash soap that will not damage the surface and can be used safely.  We use two buckets — one with soapy suds, one with just water — to avoid contamination. After applying the soap through a foam cannon, dousing the wash mitt in the plain water and wringing it out will prevent some grime from being carried back into the clean, soap-filled bucket.

To avoid introducing corrosive and scratching brake dust into the paintwork, LI Detailers also use a separate wash mitt for cleaning the wheels with a separate bucket of water. We begin each wash session by pressure-washing the car. The nozzle should be at least 10 inches from the surface of the car.

Both BMW and Mercedes stress that anything that sticks to the paint surface, like dead bugs, tree sap, or bird droppings, should be removed immediately. Because rubbing aggressively can ruin the matte finish, the companies recommend dousing the item in insect remover or car-wash soap before gently rubbing it away. Water spots should likewise be cleaned off quickly, even if they result from something as trivial as driving past a garden sprinkler.

Once the vehicle is cleaned and properly prepped the application of multiple coats of Ceramic Pro 9H to all painted surface begins.  Once the car has been completely coated the coating is allowed to cure for 24 hours.  Once cured the surface will have provide:

  • Permanent Protection
  • Scratch Resistance (Above 9H)
  • Super Hydrophobic Effect
  • Super hydrophobic Effect
  • Weather & UV Resistance
  • UV & Temperature resistant
  • Thermal Resistance (up to 750°C)
  • Anti-Graffiti

No Warranty Coverage

Matte paint finishes aren’t any less durable than regular gloss finishes, but they simply need more attention to keep them looking new. That could dissuade some people from spending a few thousand dollars on the unique paint, unless of course they’ve got a strong desire to stand out from the crowd. With the vehicle surfaces protected by Ceramic Pro, clients have the ability to easily and safely maintain the matte finish with significantly less risk of damaging it.

There’s one final word of warning to customers considering buying a car with a matte paint finish. Both Hyundai and BMW explicitly state that any damage to the paint caused by improper care or environmental factors is excluded from warranty coverage. In other words, you’re on your own if you ruin the paint. With your vehicle protected by a 5 Year Warranty, matte finishes can stay pristine for years!

Apollo Coatings and Detailing is the preferred Ceramic Pro Distributor & Authorized Application Center for the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Apollo Coatings and Detailing can be contacted anytime at 1 (800) 618-5881 or drop us a line here.  

Paint must be fully corrected before applying a protective coating (nano or ceramic) due to the fact that once the coating is on, it becomes a new surface on top of your clear-coat. Anything left on the paint will be locked in and require a complete polishing process to correct.

To get an accurate quote for your Ceramic Pro Ceramic Coating & Paint Correction, stop by our Walnut Creek location located at: 187 Mayhew Way #C, Walnut Creek, CA 94597