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Home > Pro Detailer Product Review & How-To Guides > BLACKFIRE Pro Ceramic Paint Coating Black Edition How-To & Review by Mike Phillips

BLACKFIRE Pro Ceramic Paint Coating Black Edition How-To & Review by Mike Phillips

BLACKFIRE Pro Ceramic Paint Coating Black Edition



What is it?
A 9h hardness ceramic paint coating that can last up to 5 years.

What does it do?
Seals and protects car paint while adding incredible gloss, depth and shine. The super hydrophobic effect creates a self-cleaning effect anytime it rains and washing and drying are faster and easier. This ceramic coating also offers superior chemical and corrosion resistance.

When do I use it?
After first washing and drying paint in new condition or after first doing any paint correction to older cars.

Why should I use it?
To protect your car's paint from anything that would attack it while give it a show car looking finish that washes and dries faster plus has a self-cleaning effect when it rains.

My comments... Out of all the coatings I've tested this year, this is without a doubt the hardest coating I've used. The next day after coating the car, the suede microfiber cloth I used to wrap around the foam block, after the coating in the cloth had fully dried, the cloth was harder than I've ever seen. I include some pictures of it at the end of this article.

Victim Car - 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray

In order to really test out any product I need a car. Here's is a brand new 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray. Looks good here huh? Let's take a closer look with the Speed Master Swirl Finder Light.



It takes the right light to accurately inspect paint

Water spots and road film from driving in the rain. Not as clean as you thought after looking at the picture above huh?



See the "film" where the swirl finder light is lighting up the paint? There's "spots" but there's also a FILM.



And because she was driven in the rain, the spots and road film are everywhere....



Here's the roof....



After washing - Water Spot IMPRINT RINGS



These spots or rings did NOT wash off. That's because they are actually an ETCHING that is IN the paint, not ON the paint.



And light swirls



The Baggie Test

After washing the car, I inspected the paint using a clean, plastic sandwich baggie. There was LIGHT contamination that did not come off when I washed the car so before polishing I clayed the paint.



Detailing Clay

Anytime you can feel little bumps on the surface using the baggie test AFTER washing and drying the car, this is a sign of above surface contamination. Whatever these contaminants are - they have a strong enough bond to the paint that they did not come off during the washing process. So in order to remove them, the safest option is to use an fine or ultra fine bar of detailing clay. For this I'm using the BLACKFIRE Poly Clay and the BLACKFIRE Clay Lubricant.

Spray a section of paint with the clay lube...



For the bar of clay into a patty and then rub it over the lubricated section of paint.



When you feel the clay glide effortlessly over the paint - wipe of the residue and then continue this process over the rest of the car.



Paint Correction

My own personal rule is to always do at least one machine polishing step anytime I use detailing clay on a car. This ensures there's no marring left in the paint from the claying process PLUS it removes all the swirls, scratches and other surface impurities. Also, remember the Water SPOT IMPRINT RINGS in the previous pictures? Machine polishing will also remove these defects.

Medium to soft paint

Historically, Corvettes are known for having very had clearcoats. I found the clearcoat on this latest model to be on the medium to soft side of the paint hardness/softness spectrum. After some testing I found a light cutting polish with a foam polishing pad on my trusty FLEX CBEAST was more than enough to remove all of the paint defects and leave a crystal clear finish.

Always shake standing products first...



Apply some product directly to the face of the pad...



Then machine polish the paint breaking larger panels up into smaller sections.



It took me about 3 hours to machine polish all the paint on this old 2-door Chevy....











Clean, soft microfiber towels

It is SO important after investing hours of your time in the machine polishing step to only use clean, un-contaminated microfiber towels to wipe off any polish residue.





Secondary Paint Inspection

It's so important to be sure the paint looks right before installing the coating. Here's a few shots showing swirls-free, water spot free flawless black paint. Polishing paint is an art form but as long as you're using great abrasive technology you can't help but get professional results.







That looks tight and that looks right!

How to install the BLACKFIRE Pro Ceramic Paint Coating Black Edition

One of the key differences between installing a ceramic paint coating versus applying a coat of wax or synthetic paint sealant is the step where you wipe the paint down with what is called a

Panel Wipe

A panel wipe is a clearcoat safe solvent that removes any polishing oils off the paint after polishing or any other substances so the coating can make a proper bond. For this Im using the BLACKFIRE Paint Prep and some clean, soft Cobra 530 microfiber towels.

Step 1: Mist a section of paint with the BLACKFIRE Paint Prep.



Step 2: Spread the product over the section and then flip to a clean, dry side to make the final wipe.

The goal is to leave perfectly clean and clear paint. For this step you'll need at least a half dozen towels. Repeat this process over the entire car.



Step 3: Install the coating

Fold a MicroSuede Cloth around a BLACKFIRE Coating Applicator.



Dribble a strip of coating in a line down the middle of the MicroSuede Cloth like this,



Spread the coating over a section of paint no larger than 3' by 3' using a crosshatch pattern.





Sweating

Most coatings lay flat on the surface and you'll see a rainbow color appearance as the solvents evaporate or "flash" off the paint. With this coating, you'll see the rainbow appearance and you'll also see the coating coagulate into beads and strips of product as it's flashing. Kind of the same way perspiration appears on you skin when you start to sweat.





This is normal for this coating. I'm not sure what causes this but it could be a high concentration of solids. The solids being the nano size particles of silicone dioxide. I've never seen this with any other coating I've used and my FIRST use documented how-to article for using coatings dates back to 2011 - maybe not as long as a few people in this industry but definitely longer than most.



LONG WORKING TIME

The reason you work up to a 3' by 3' area at one time is because this coating has a long working time, or slow flash time. This makes this product incredibly USER-FRIENDLY. This give you plenty of time to wipe the section coated to smooth out the coating and to also remove any excess. Coatings that dry fast become sticky on the surface and when this happens they can be difficult to remove.

The sweating appearance

When you see the sweating beads appear on the surface, this usually only takes around 45 seconds to a minute - it's time to gently wipe the area. When wiping the coated section the goal is to,

A: Continue to spread and smooth the coating over the surface for a uniform layer of coating.

B: Remove any excess coating before it sets-up.



Continue installing the coating to the rest of the car.

Here are the results...

First - let's inspect using a swirl finder light Inspection - the goal is no swirls or water spots left in the paint and no high spots











Beauty shots...

And here's the final results....





















Nice....



Products used

Just as important as telling you about a new product is also sharing what I needed to actually use the product correctly. It won't do any good to purchase any brand of ceramic coating if you don't also have all the other components needed to properly install it.

Pictured below:

• 6 each RUPES 7" Yellow Foam Polishing pads
• Behind the pads is a FLEX CBEAST or the FLEX Cordless 8mm gear-driven orbital polisher - part number - FLEX XCE 8-125 18.0
• BLACKFIRE Poly Clay and the BLACKFIRE Cay Lubricant
• BLACKFIRE Polish
• BLACKFIRE Paint Prep
• MicroSuede Cloth & BLACKFIRE Coating Applicator





Cobra 530 microfiber towels & Cobra Storm Gray Edgeless Microfiber Polishing Clothes





Super hard drying coating

Normally, these small patches of microfiber suede are soft and limp.... look how stiff it is after the coating has fully dried.



This soft, limp MicroSuede Cloth is so hard it stands up on edge!







Take my word for it - you really don't want to leave any high spots anywhere on the paint. Make sure you inspect each panel after final wipe-off to ensure there are no high spots. This is where a hand-held swirl finder light will save you.

Car in focus - Looks great!



Coating in focus - this Corvette is now protected for up to 5 years!



Everyone LOVES the Water Beading Pictures!

The next day I came into work and tested out the hydrophobicity.

Check out the surface tension this pro grade coating creates!



What do you think? Use this picture for Mouse Pad art?





Tight, tall and small, just how we like our water beading!











With this kind of surface tension this car is going to wash fast and dry fast and anytime there's a hard rain - the rain will do a Mother Nature's Wash Job for the owner.

Review

Super easy to use. Incredible gloss, clarity and depth-of-shine. Easy application. Super easy to spread and wipe-off. And super long working time. Plus up to 5 years of protection as long as you use common sense and wash carefully. There's simply no downside to this coating. You get professional grade results but it's so easy anyone can use it. Even if it's your first time installing a ceramic coating.

Most coatings are easy to apply. A ceramic coating is basically a think liquid product that you spread over a section of paint using a crosshatch pattern going over each section 4 times. You go side to side and the front to back and repeat this twice for each direction. So there's really not a lot of technique required for the actual application. What separates some coatings from one another is the working time or the flash time. The flash time is simply how people describe the evaporation rate of the carrying agents for the solids.

Carrying agents = solvent

Solids = the actual coating component or nano sized particles of silicone dioxide

Now the wipe-off is where ceramic coatings can differentiate. A coating wit a very short flash time MUST be wiped off quickly or the solvents will evaporate so fast they leave the solids behind on the surface and they do what they're supposed to do and that's bond to the paint. If they are bonding and you are wiping, the feeling you get is the product is sticky or smeary, as it's going to be hard to wipe off the surface. That's where the BLACKFIRE Pro Ceramic Paint Coating Black Edition shines. Because it has a long flash time or working time, there's no complications for the installation process. Of course you should follow direction and work within the recommended window-of-time for wipe-off. But even if you lingered for a minute or two, the excess coating, also called high spots, will still wipe off easy as the product remains wet on the surface longer than most coatings. This makes it easy to use.

Strong Personal Recommendation

Even though this coating is super easy to use, I highly recommend having a great hand held light that you can use to inspect EACH panel after you wipe-off the coating to make sure you have not left any high spots behind on the paint. The reason why is because this is a CLEAR liquid - it can be difficult to see trace residues without the light. AND - if you don't remove these trace residue or high spots - after the coating fully dries, bonds and cures to the paint - in order to remove the high spots you're going to need a compound, maybe a polish to mechanically abrade the paint and thus abrade and remove the high spots. So when making the switch from traditional car waxes and synthetic paint sealants - I recommend you not only purchase the ceramic coating but also budget for a quality swirl finder light.

There are a number of excellent quality swirl finder lights on Autogeek.com including lights from FLEX, ScanGrip, Griot's, RUPES, SONAX and Speed Master.

Parting shots....

There's nothing like full sun, directly overhead to showcase and/or reveal the true condition of the paint. As the owner was driving his car out of the garage I snapped these Sun Shots.





Argh!!!! there's a Palm Tree growing out of the hood!


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