You may be researching the various ceramic coating options and quickly notice the market is flooded with a variety of options. From inexpensive to high-end products, all claim to offer effortless shine and protection. It is confusing for the majority of boat owners to distinguish amongst the crowd of ceramic coatings.
How can these companies back up their unbelievable claims? What factual data can you use to measure the performance of the coating? Does a higher cost actually provide better results?
Our answer: A Gloss Meter
A gloss meter is a measuring device for the determination of gloss on different materials. During measurement, the gloss meter emits a light, which reflects off the surface. Depending on the level of gloss, the surface absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest. The gloss meter measures the reflected light, calculates the degree of gloss, and displays it clearly on the screen.
Gloss meters are commonly used in manufacturing as a quality control measure to ensure that individual products have the same appearance. In this way, complaints and associated costs are avoided. In addition, the external reputation of companies with consistent quality and consistent products is respected or improved.
Since 2015, the Glidecoat service team has been applied our coatings to a wide variety of boats, from a 14′ Bass Tracker to 100’+ Mega Yachts. In the early stages of developing our ceramic coating, our customers wanted to measure and validate the effectiveness of the coating.
For most ceramic coating companies, the typical response is to use qualitative measures, such as, check the water beading or sheeting (dependent on the type of ceramic coating) and the shine levels. Both are valid and easily identifiable points; however, everyone will have different expectations and views on the product’s performance. We wanted a better system to reassure our customers and provide actual data that would eliminate personal interpretations.
After thorough research, we discovered that using a Gloss Meter would provide us with a numerical representation of the surface shine levels. We continued to go a step further by utilizing the gloss meter in our 3rd party independent laboratory testing to re-enforce our product warranty.
During our product development, we subject our ceramic coatings to a variety of tests. These include Salt Spray Testing and Accelerated Weather Testing to ensure the coating meets our company standards. By utilizing the gloss meter in our testing procedure, we could quantitatively understand how our marine-grade ceramic coating performed over time after exposure to the harsh marine environments.
Having laboratory test results is great, but the true test has been our real-life customers. The positive feedback we have received has led us to compile 40+ case studies on our website. Each one showcases before and after photos, gloss meter readings, and documents the entire restoration process.
The video below shows one example of the exceptional performance of our professional-grade ceramic coating over 30 months here in South Florida, complete with gloss meter readings.
An unexpected benefit of using the gloss meter has been to help simplify our proposal process with new clients and our certified dealers. We highly recommend inspecting the boat to provide an accurate quote. As part of the inspection, the certified detailer will take numerous paint gloss meter readings across the entire boat to give a snapshot of the boat’s starting condition.
During an initial conversation with a boat owner who is evaluating a marine ceramic coating application, the topic of pricing will typically come up early in the conversation. Because the majority of time is spent preparing the surface for the coating, boats with extremely low initial gloss meter readings and severe oxidization will pay a higher rate per foot than a factory new boat with minimal to no oxidization present on the surface.
Having accurate measurements at this stage drastically improves the accuracy of our quotes and helps gauge the necessary level of restoration before applying the ceramic coating.
After completing over 100+ ceramic coating applications by the Glidecoat service team and 1,000’s through our detailer network, we notice a consistent trend in the level of preparation required based on the varying gloss meter readings.
Here is a helpful chart that demonstrates the typical level of preparation required based on the various gloss meter readings:
|Gloss Meter Reading||Level of Oxidization||Estimated Restoration Steps|
|1-15 GU||Severe||4+ buffing steps|
|16-30 GU||Heavy||3 - 4+ buffing steps|
|31-50 GU||Medium||2 - 3 buffing steps|
|51-70 GU||Light||1 - 2 buffing steps|
|71+ GU||Minimal to no oxidization||1 buffing step|
Following the application of our surface coatings, we take multiple paint gloss meter readings across the entire boat. Routinely, these final gloss meter readings show shine levels that are back to or better than factory new. Because we have these final gloss meter results, we can provide a product warranty that guarantees gloss meter readings will not decrease by more than 30% in the 18 months following application. Realistically, the gloss meter readings will only drop by approximately 10-20% in 18 months, but this is highly dependent on boat usage, maintenance, as well as other factors. As shown in the video above of the 29′ SeaVee, the gloss meter readings only dropped 15% after 30 months here in South Florida!
We hope this article shares insightful commentary into our thorough approach to providing a professional grade ceramic coating to protect your boat, automotive, airplane and/or RV. If you continue to investigate other options in the market, consider asking the manufacturer or company for their position on how they measure the effectiveness of their ceramic coating!