What is Paint Protection Film?
Paint Protection Film is the most effective way to protect your paintwork. PPF is made of polyurethane or urethane film, a relatively thick, durable and transparent film applied to a car’s paintwork, and high impact areas, designed to protect against scratches, swirl marks, stonechips, abrasion, UV degradation, chemicals, harsh weather and other general wear and tear.
Paint Protection Film is often referred to as PPF, clear bra, clear film, car film and paint film.
PPF was originally designed for military applications such as protecting the rotary blades of helicopters in Vietnam from shrapnel and debris. Today, PPF is more commonly found in the automotive market to protect new and used cars. PPF is also used on motorcycles, caravans, mobile homes, aeroplanes, helicopters, boats, mobile phone screens and hundreds of other applications.
Pros and Cons of paint protection film
- Unrivalled paint and surface protection
- Up to 10 years protection
- Self-healing (heat activated)
- Up to 10 years warranty
- Hydrophobicity similar to most waxes and ceramic coatings
- PPF is one of the most expensive paint protection products
- Not suitable for DIY/enthusiasts
- Training is required to fit and remove paint protection film
- Specialist equipment required for application
- Extremely clean and dust-free environment is recommended for application to reduce the risk of catching dust, fibres and other contaminants under the surface of the PPF
Paint protection film or ceramic coating
Paint Protection Film (PPF) is the most effective protection product on the market, but it comes with a price tag to match. Prices start from £1,300 for a front end application or £2,500 for full coverage installed by a professional. Whereas Ceramic Coating can be applied by a car detailer from as little as £300.
Ceramic coatings like Premium Ceramic Coating can be used as a DIY product, with professional training, whereas professional training is required to installed PPF.
Most ceramic coatings last from 2 to 5 years, Ceramic Coating Pro is on of our most hardwearing protective coatings and lasts for 5+ years with proper maintenance. Whereas most Paint Protection Films will last up to 10 years.
Once a car is prepared, Ceramic Coating can be applied to a whole car within 1 hour, whereas PPF may take 1-2 days or longer, depending on the film manufacturer, size and design of the vehicle (more lines and intricate areas – more time).
Some ceramic coatings such as Premium Ceramic Coating and New Era can be applied on top of PPF, to give the surface a glossy wet look, and increase hydrophobicity.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to paint protection film, you may be interested in ceramic coating, our installation packages start at £300.
Paint protection film or vinyl wrap, what’s the difference?
Vinyl Wraps are primarily installed for aesthetic purposes, come in hundreds of different colours and can be designed to promote your brand or product.
Whereas PPF is primarily used for paint protection, and is usually transparent, except for limited matter/satin/black PPF all of which are slightly less common.
PPF has self-healing properties, whereas vinyl wrap is less equipped in this area.
Vinyl wrap is usually thicker and easier to install than paint protection film.
How to choose a PPF installer?
Our top tips for choosing a PPF installed that’s right for you:
- Price – price can vary by location, training, experience, accreditation and PPF brand used so get 2-3 quotes before you pay a deposit or sign a contract
- Experience – ask your PPF installer for examples of recent jobs
- Reviews – genuine customer reviews is one the easiest ways to tell the difference from a professional and a cowboy, take the time to read recent reviews
How long does paint protection film last?
Up to 10 years.
However there are some limiting factors that reduce the longevity of PPF such as
- Poor application technique
- No / poor surface prep, wash or decontamination of the car/surfaces
- Not washing your vehicle regularly or maintaining the PPF i.e. leaving dirt, bird poo and other contaminants to build up on the surface for weeks or months