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PSA: Paint Coatings and Clear Bra/XPel

Discussion in 'Model S: Interior & Exterior' started by Corvo, Sep 28, 2013.

  1. Corvo

    Corvo Member

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    I know that since the clear coat paint is very soft on all of your Tesla's that a number of you are considering options like Xpel or Clear Bra as well as a professional coating like GTechniq and Opti-Coat (Go with GTechniq :wink:)

    I want to put an end to the order of applying these products once and for all:

    DO NOT PUT DOWN YOUR COATINGS LIKE GTECHNIQ OR OPTI-COAT BEFORE THE FILM!


    The idea behind having a coating put on your paint is to add a certain hydrophobic level to the surface you are applying it to. This quality comes from creating a surface that does not allow industrial (such as XPel adhesive) or environmental elements to stick as easily to your paint surface. If you put your coating on first, you are sticking the clear film to a surface that is meant to NOT have stuff stick to it.

    You do want to have the paint corrected and smooth before you apply to film, however. The process, when you decide to go with both a film and a coating should be:

    1). Paint Correction.
    2). Film Application.
    3). Coating application.

    If you are having paint correction work done, a reputable detail shop should be able to coordinate getting the film applied after they do the paint correction and then apply their coatings.

    Any questions, please PM me.
     
  2. LV2SF

    LV2SF Member

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    Curious as to why you prefer GTechniq over Opti-Coat. I don't know much about either but it seems like Opti-Coat is discussed far more often here. Opti-Coat Pro that is.
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    My understanding is that the film needs to breath, so doesn't the coating cause long term problems with the film? I was told you're only supposed to use products designed for film.
     
  4. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    Agree with OP abut the steps of process.

    I don't see any material advantage to applying a coating when the clear film will be doing a better job in the first place, not to mention, you may run into issues down the road with the adhesive counter-reacting and possibly lifting from whatever was applied prior to the film.

    The most important aspect is proper prep before applying film. Cannot speak for other installers but at our studio we:

    1. Wash entire vehicle
    2. Clay to decontaminate any paint surface we'll be applying film
    3. Machine polish with various polishes to remove all imperfections, safely, from paint surface
    4. Remove anything that will get in the way of a seamless install..ie. bumper, fog lights, front grill, etc.
    5. Apply the film
    6. Put everything back together
    7. Apply a nano coating to the film to further protect
    8. Final inspect entire vehicle
     
  5. pdx

    pdx Member

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    What product do you recommend for protecting XPel?

    Thanks
     
  6. Corvo

    Corvo Member

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    Opti-Coat has just been around longer. Personally I feel that Gtechniq Crystal Lacquer topped with EXO Hybrid Coating gives you a much higher level of protection as well as a greater look of depth in the paint. And I feel it's easier to use.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have never heard that the film needs to breath. We usually leave the film overnight before we coat it so the adhesive has time to cure properly. Even coating vehicles that were just wrapped for commercial use, the companies that did the wrapping have never mentioned any of it needing to breath. I will look into it though.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Are you talking about putting the nano-coat down BEFORE the film? If so, there is NO advantage and it WILL cause problems.

    Personally, I am not a fan of the protective films, I feel that they take away from the overall appearance of the vehicle, but to each his own. One of the reasons why I don't like them is because you can cause the same micro-marring on the plastic itself as the paint. Applying a nano-coat like Gtechniq aids in preventing this from happening. Also, with prolonged use, we have all seen film that has started to yellow from exposure to environmental and industrial contamination. A Nano-coat will prevent this as well.
     
  7. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    If any of the posters expressing their opinions are professional detailers or in the business of selling car care services or products it would be very helpful if you posted something to that effect in your signatures.

    Thanks.

    Larry
     
  8. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    I was meaning that there's no advantage of putting a coating on prior to clear film install.

    As for not liking the "look" of clear film, I was in the same camp until we started using XPEL Ultimate. The film is very clear and the self-healing aspect of it sold me.

    Unfortunately, nano coating do not protect against rock chips...so until then, clear film is the ansewr

    - - - Updated - - -

    Great point Larry. I just didn't feel comfortable putting a signature like that as I'm here to help and educate, and obviously that has a positive result for us on a business level. But, I can see it would be beneficial for members here to know if we are professionals doing this for a living.

     
  9. jacobp

    jacobp Member

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    This discussion is very helpful to someone like me who is about to get their P85 and wants to get it protected immediately. I live in the Washington, DC Metro area and I'm having a hard time finding someone who can prep the car, is an authorized XPEL dealer, and an authorized GTech dealer. If anyone knows of anyone that can do all of these services in my area please let me know.
     
  10. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    Have you tried looking up on each manufacturer website for an authorized contact?
     
  11. Corvo

    Corvo Member

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    I am a professional detailer and a rep for GTechniq. Just like MoeMistry said, I didn't want to come on here and have it seem like I was promoting my services or products, but there are other threads where other members have discussed my work if you would like to look at them for clarity. Also why I have not started publicly promoting other GTechniq detailers and prefer to keep references through PM only.
     
  12. jacobp

    jacobp Member

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    I have looked them up and it is very hard to find someone who does both detailing and XPEL and gives me a sense of confidence and is local. Ugh.
     
  13. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Thanks Guys!

    As you will see there are many folks on this forum that have no problem expressing their opinions. Most of them are very knowledgeable, but a few are merely opinionated. :biggrin: For those of us who are merely owners without background in this area it is helpful to know if someone expressing an opinion has professional credentials.

    Thanks again for participating in this thread and on this forum.

    Larry
     
  14. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    Appreciate the opportunity to serve you and other Tesla members on this forum.
     
  15. caddieo

    caddieo Member

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    If Opti-coating before film application is not advisable, what about paint sealing? Optimum makes a sealant (Optiseal) which appears to be distinctly different in function from Opticoat.
     
  16. Corvo

    Corvo Member

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    The point of any products, paint sealants, waxes, coatings, etc, is to provide a protective layer between your paint and the environment. You do not want to put any product UNDER the film, because you will only be sticking it to that product, and not the paint itself, which will make the adhesive not as effective.
     
  17. beng

    beng New Member

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    X-Pel Costs?

    Can other owners/members give me guidance on what the cost to wrap the entire car in X-pel ultimate should be? Here in San Deigo, I have bee quoted $1,200 to as high as $3,800! What should I realistically expect to pay and what could possibly explain such a crazy price difference?


    Thanks in advance.
     
  18. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    uh that seems really cheap. so much so that sounds like a rip off of some sort...most if not all full wrap prices I've seen for XPEL Ultimate are $4800-$8k. Anyone giving you $1200 for that I would think has to be a scam...
     
  19. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    My full wrap was $7,500 in January of 2013.
     
  20. MoeMistry

    MoeMistry Local Vendor - SoCal

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    #20 MoeMistry, Oct 4, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
    A typical front xpel wrap, by that I mean full hood, fenders, headlights, mirrors, and custom/semi-custom, should be around $2200-3400...why such a big range?

    PREP/INSTALLER SKILL/POST PREP

    PREP:

    Pre-prep is crucial. Most shops simply wash and clay prior to install. That's fine, but imperfections such as swirls, chips, scratches, etc. will be there once film is applied. You will not see imperfections such as swirls and light scratches once film is applied, but for some, knowing they're there is just as bad. An installation that addresses these imperfections and removes them, adds time and labor, yields you a pristine finish forever as long as film is applied. Once film is removed down the road, that surface underneath has been frozen in time and will be immaculate every time you remove/replace the film. Excellent value.

    Also, is it important to you to have a seamless install. A proper install in my opinion means you cannot see the install. This requires certain parts like the grill, lights, plastic trim, emblems, bumper, etc. to be removed so the film can tuck inside without any exposed edges. This, again, requires time, and more importantly, a skilled technician to remove/replace back to the way factory put it together.

    Install:

    Not all installs are created equal. It's like saying, I bought a car. Well, did you buy a $20K Kia, or a $120K Tesla? Both will get you from Point A - Point B, but the latter does it in a completely different manner. It's all the in the details. A proper install takes time. The film may need to be customized to wrap around certain body panels to make for a seamless install. The skill of the installer is crucial as the film needs to be trimmed by hand. Last thing you want is someone cutting the film with a blade and also cutting the paint due to inexperience. Trust me...we see it all the time. Also, some shops do a pre-cut install and you have exposed edges of the film. Over time, the exposed edges will attract dirt, accumulate wax/polish, etc. This means you'll have to re-apply the clear film sooner down the road. Shops that do semi-custom/custom will demand a premium as the install will be cleaner and more precise. For the most part, the more invisible the install, the higher the cost.

    Post Prep:

    Finally, what's being done as a final inspection? Does the shop simply wipe down the vehicle and send you off on your way? Or does a shop include a detail service to clean up the overspray of solution on glass, other paint surfaces from the installation. Applying the clear film can be a messy job. It's good to know a qualified shop will properly wash the car, vacuum interior, maybe apply a spray wax to complete the job. At our place, we actually do a proper renewal service and apply a nano coating to further protect the clear film install.

    Hope this helps shed light to the process. Please let me know if you guys have further questions. In the end, remember with services that require someone to do it, you're paying for the technician's ability and experience. The material is constant. The more skilled, more experienced, and more detail-oriented the technician, the higher the cost. But, you didn't purchase just any car to put a clear film on, or apply window tint to, or have properly enhanced...you purchased a unique and exclusive product. Seek out those that care more about working on your car and producing something they're passionate about, than someone wanting to do it to just make money and underbid the competition. Because, when all's said and done, if you seek out someone based on price for a service like this, you may actually get what you paid for. Often, the effects of a job done poorly, cost far more than the premium paid for a skilled craftsman doing his/her trade.
     

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