As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” The simple truth is that any ceramic coating, whether it’s a professional nano-ceramic coating or a DIY boost spray, will amplify the condition of the paint underneath. Paint correction is required to optimize automotive paint’s depth, shine, and gloss. Professional detailers and DIY enthusiasts will use a Surface Prep Spray to ensure the coating properly bonds before ceramic coating installations.

Like all detailing supplies, some are OK and will “WORK” – and others that are optimal. This is a chronic problem, especially when determining the best products to use for a specific task.

So – let’s explain what a surface prep spray is – what its primary job is – and what product currently on the market is formulated to clean better, is easier to use, and will save you time during your ceramic coating prep work.

Let’s get started.

What is the Difference Between a Surface Prep and Panel Wipe?

A surface prep spray – or panel wipe, is essentially the same. They are wiped on the surface with a microfiber towel – or you can spray it on the car and wipe it off. Both products are typically isopropyl alcohol infused with heavy solvents. They are designed to remove oils, residue, and other contaminants from a surface. This leaves a clear coat, windows, wheels, and other materials you wish to coat surgically clean.

Now, some products are of higher quality than others. And when it comes to surface prep sprays or panel wipes, it breaks down into a blend of ingredients. Most products advertised as panel wipes are straight isopropyl alcohol blended with water. While IPA does a great job of diluting oils and grease, the higher concentration typically leaves streaks.

On the other hand, a surface prep spray will contain surfactants and solvents that work with IPA to break down oils and grease and will not leave a residue. It simply cleans better – and leaves the surface completely debris-free.

Why is Using a Surface Prep Spray Important Before Installing Coatings?

It’s time for a bit of a lesson on how ceramic coatings work. There are two types of coatings:

  1. Mechanical Bond: The sprayable version is the most common DIY type of coating. This is essentially a blend of ‘ceramic’ ingredients – that can range from Teflon to Silicone – or version/variants of Silica. These ingredients are blended with cleaning agents or tiny percentages of solvents. When sprayed on the surface and buffed off, it physically sticks on top of the substrate or material. This is known as providing a mechanical bond.
  2. Chemical Bond: The other ceramic coating uses nanotechnology and carrier solvents to penetrate the microscopic imperfections found on all porous materials. As it’s bonding, electrons in the chemical and the surface are shared – and bond together. This creates a chemical or electrical bond – meaning the two are fused.

With each type of coating, the successful adhesion occurs ONLY if the surface below is completely free of any toxins or debris. This includes those tiny imperfections that are penetrated by nanocoatings. If there is debris on the surface, the coating will not bond as well as it should. The result – is premature wear and tear, reduced protection, and a coating that will fail sooner than it should.

When you use a high-quality surface prep spray, you’ll have the ability to remove those oils and grease that seep into the minor cracks on all materials. This gives the coating the best chance of bonding to the material, hardening as it should (without contamination), and providing an ultra-flat and hydrophobic surface.

What’s the Best Surface Prep Spray for Coatings?

Now we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of the article. We explained above what makes a good surface prep spray. It can’t simply be isopropyl alcohol. It needs to include cleaning agents that will break down contaminants and some solvents that will allow the materials to be removed with ease – without leaving a residue.

One of the best products is Americana Global’s surface prep spray. It’s a product recommended by Ceramic Pro Americas – as the one that each installer should use before applying any of their coatings. It’s a product that works on glass, clear coatings, PPF and vinyl, and matte finishes.

Before paint correction, you can use it to remove any excessive soaps left behind by clay bar treatment. It’s also recommended to be used during a ceramic coating maintenance wash and inspection – as it will remove older layers of wax left behind by many car maintenance shampoos and detail sprays.

It is designed to remove existing waxes, polymers, oils, and residue – leaving your substrate surgically clean and prepped before and after paint correction. We recommend using this product BEFORE buffing or polishing and AFTER paint correction – to ensure an ideal surface.

Perfect for PPF & Vinyl Installation

This oil and residue remover is exceptional for prepping a surface for paint protection film and vinyl. These products depend on adhesives to bond to paint clear coats. When you use Americana Global Surface Prep Spray as directed, the vinyl or PPF will bond easier, quicker, and more integrity. This helps ensure longevity, extends your product lifespan, and saves time.

Ready to Use Surface Prep Spray

We formulated our Surface Prep Spray is a ready-to-use product – meaning there is no wasting time trying to find that perfect dilution ratio to mix yourself. This not only saves you time and money – but also reduces the potential of damage to soft surfaces like window seals and exterior trim pieces. Spray it on the surface, wipe it clean with a fresh microfiber towel – then flip the towel over to remove the excess.

Safe for Indoor or Outdoor Use

Unlike full IPA or paint strippers, Americana Global’s Surface Prep Spray is safe to use indoors (with proper ventilation) or outside. While we don’t recommend using the product in direct sunlight or on a surface that is warm to the touch, it can be sprayed and applied in outdoor conditions. This makes it convenient for professional detailers with auto salons, mobile technicians, or the DIY enthusiast.

Suppose you’re going to install a ceramic coating. In that case, whether it’s a spray or nanocoating, or if you’re going to protect your boat, airplane, off-road vehicle with any product, Americana Global Surface Prep is the go-to product to use. If you’d like to try our Surface Prep Spray in our 16oz bottle – click the link below and save 20% on your first order.