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Protective Wrap/Ceramic Coat Option in Hampton Roads VA (Norfolk/VB)

Howdy all. Last time I posted was for advice when my new Model 3, Newmoon, got broken into--though it turned it it hadn't been broken into, just left unlocked due to bluetooth losing sync. [facepalm]

But now, I get to post something positive. I searched around for a good way to partially wrap and ceramic-coat Newmoon after getting a couple of rock incidents on the highway, and learning that having a black car with no garage is a recipe for a bird-poop, acorn-dropping, pollen-soaked apocalypse. I saved money buying the car by doing my own electric installation and giving up a few options I wanted, and so I had enough left over to invest in some protection to maintain the resale value and make her easier to maintain. (And out of respect for her sensitive feelings.)

I'm sure there are dozens of threads on this already, but I'm new to the boards and haven't seen many about places that do wraps/coatings in the Hampton Roads area, which is a more leisurely market than the big metropolitan areas. So I figured I'd document it in case anybody would enjoy a play-by-play or want to know where to go in this area. After calling around and talking to a very friendly and knowledgeable guy name Ocean (yes real name), I settled on "Premium Auto Films" in Virginia Beach. I dropped her off yesterday, and they gave me a tour of the place and showed me the fancy equipment, and they've been sending me occasional pics of the progress. It's a bit nerve-wracking. It felt kind of like dropping a kid off at a new day care for the first time. Which is only a guess. I don't have kids yet. Anyway.

Dropped her off. Got a picture of the sign because they've been super nice and deserve a free plug:

Dropoff.jpg
They had just recently moved to a new location and created a sealed indoor tent where they do their wraps and coatings in a clean environment; they gave me a peek at it:
TentInside.jpg
And this is the amazing cutting machine which cuts the protective film (in this case, Xpel Ultimate) into precise shapes to match the car:
FilmCutter.jpg
They also gave me a sneek peek at the software which controls it; it's a custom Xpel-branded design package that I'm sure comes along with whatever licensing or equipment Xpel-approved providers have to get. It had dropdown lists for dozens of cars, and had cutting templates ready to go for "partial," "full," and all kinds of individual pieces and options; in some cases there were little cutouts for car emblems (for example the hood template had a cutout for the T logo), but it allowed loads of customization to create whatever protection package the customer might want. For example, the guy at Premium Auto Films (Ethan, another smart and super nice guy) said they remove the "T" logo cutout because they feel it's better protection to wrap it with no holes and then just reapply the emblem.
Workstation.jpg
They include paint touchups as part of their packages; some other places charge extra for that, so that was another selling point for me:
PrepWorkPaint.jpg
Anyway, that's all I've got so far. Like I said, they've been sending me occasional updates so I'll post what I get. Some quick useful notes:
  • Lead time was negligible, just a couple of days. I'm sure at busy times there may be a longer wait to get into the shop.
  • It generally takes a full day to do a partial wrap; drop off early AM, pick up the next morning. There are specifications for how long it needs to settle and dry and whatnot in an undisturbed environment. Overnight is apparently typical?
  • Same with ceramic coat, and the dry times are consecutive, not simultaneous. So if you're doing both, you'll have to Lyft for two days instead of one, or just drive your backup Ferrari.
  • The ceramic coat, at least with this installer, goes on AFTER the wrap, so it's dropped right on top of it.
  • Some ceramic coats only cover the paint areas. This place includes the glass too, which given the Model 3 roof, was another big selling point.
  • Places generally seem to charge a bit over $1000 for a basic partial front wrap, but it jumps to over $2000 to get the full hood and a bit more front coverage. I don't even WANT to know how much it would be for the full car. Ceramic generally seems to be around $1000, which I think is a bit much considering the materials are cheap, but I think you're paying for the extensive prep, the clean-room installation, and of course the expertise. And some places offer a price break if you do them both at the same time, which is what put it within my reach.
  • The wrap has a 10 year warranty, but the ceramic coat only lasts a couple of years.
One of the coolest things is that you can give them the keycard in valet mode and have no worries. Plus, at one point they needed the frunk opened so they texted and I popped it from the app. Thank you, Tesla. You're a modern miracle.

That's all I know so far, y'all. Hope that helps. More to come.
 
Anyone else have experience with these guys? I plan on meeting Ocean on Monday to make arrangements. Seems like a good guy and a great company.
I had a couple of vehicles done at Simple Details in Virginia Beach. Yohance Fleming is the owner and primary detailer. He and his crew definitely do quality work. Highly recommended. Just be aware their standard procedure is to use computer cut PPF sheets. So, there will be a few seams that will be visible when viewed up close. Not visible when looking at the vehicle from more “normal” distances/angles. If you think seams will bother you, then just ask to see some of the vehicles that are currently going through their shop so you can see the typical/final results for yourself. They may also offer a more custom wrap option with no seams, but I’m not sure.

Note: Small air bubbles and peeling at the edges (called “fingers”) are a sign of poor quality work, but do happen on occasion after the install. If you notice anything like this after you take the vehicle home, report it and these guys will correct it without hesitation or additional cost to you.

Good luck!!

 

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