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Carnauba Waxes vs Paint Sealants

Old 11-15-2013, 04:52 PM
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Default Carnauba Waxes vs Paint Sealants

Carnauba Waxes

Carnauba wax is the preferred car wax of collectors and concours enthusiasts because it creates a rich, warm glow. It doesn’t appear to sit on the paint. It transforms the paint into a deep, liquid pool that shimmers under changing light conditions. The more carnauba wax, the more shine.

The wax is produced by the Brazilian Tree of Life, a palm tree, in order to coat its leaves. The wax provides protection from the sweltering sun and it sheds water so it falls onto the ground and is absorbed by the tree’s roots. If you think back to junior high science class, you might remember that plants release oxygen through their leaves. For this reason, carnauba wax is breathable. Good for the tree and good for your paint.

Carnauba is rock hard in its natural form. When the leaves of the Tree of Life are harvested, the wax flakes off as the leaves dry out, or they are put into a machine that removes the wax. It comes off in hard flakes. Car Wax makers have to blend the wax with oils, petroleum distillates, or a solvent called naptha (commonly used to thin wood varnishes and paints) in order to make the wax workable. The very best carnauba-based car wax is only about 1/3 natural carnauba. It’s probably for the best since the price gets higher and higher as the concentration of carnauba rises.

That brings us to grading. Carnauba is harvested and then graded according to color, purity, and where it was grown. Trees grown in the northern area of Brazil produce the highest grade carnauba. The yellow wax is the most pure and therefore receives the highest grade. This is the grade most commonly used in high end car waxes and in the pharmaceutical industry as a pill coating.

Some manufacturers refine the yellow wax again into an ultra-pure white wax to ensure that the wax produces the clearest, most reflective gloss once applied to the paint. Such is the case with Pinnacle Souveran and Pinnacle Signature Series II.

As you’ve already read, carnauba protects the leaves of a palm tree from the intense heat and humidity experienced in Brazil. The carnauba car wax repels water and, consequently, most contaminants. When applied to any surface, carnauba retains these characteristics. Therefore, an application of a carnauba-based car wax to your vehicle will protect it from UV rays, heat, moisture, oxidation, and environmental contamination. And it looks like a million bucks!

The drawback of carnauba waxes, if you can call it a drawback, is that it does not last as long as a synthetic sealant. A carnauba car wax finish will wear off in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. It depends heavily on the climate in which you live and whether or not your vehicle is garaged. Daily commutes in a hot, humid climate mean a shorter life span for your carnauba wax coat. If you enjoy regular waxing, then the life span of a carnauba wax is just one more reason to indulge in your favorite hobby!

In a nutshell, carnauba car wax is the wax of enthusiasts. It appeals to people who want the absolute most stunning show car shine available and are willing to spend a couple of hours every month or so to get it. Most of them will tell you it is time well spent.


Paint Sealants

Paint sealants are kind of the anti-carnauba. They last a lot longer, they are easy to apply, and there’s nothing natural about them. This is surface science at its best.

A paint sealant is made of polymers, which are composed of tens of thousands of synthetic particles that are linked together. When a sealant bonds to your vehicle’s paint, it forms a rigid shell. It is not the warm carnauba that seems to melt into the paint. Paint sealants sit on top of the paint like a transparent chain metal suit. They are glossy and slick, but carnauba lovers will tell you they do not have the warmth and depth of a carnauba.

Paint sealants have gotten progressively more popular as time goes on. Some people really love the hard-as-glass look. In an industry that is driven by technology, it seems appropriate that an engineered paint protector is the new favorite among many detailers. Pinnacle Black Label Paint Diamond Paint Sealant lasts about 12 months.

However, the real selling point of a paint sealant is the durability. A premium paint sealant can last 4 to 6 months, sometimes longer. For people that spend more time driving than detailing, the paint sealant is the way to go.

Paint sealants are extremely easy to apply. They are always in liquid form and they spread easily by hand or with a polisher. This time-saving feature makes paint sealants an attractive choice for those who like instant gratification, and who doesn’t?

As you've seen, there are a lot of differences between paint sealants and natural carnauba waxes. Glassy, hard shell or deep, liquid shine? Six months or six weeks? These are the basic questions you have to answer before selecting your paint protection. A premium paint sealant can last 4 to 6 months, sometimes longer. Pinnacle Black Label Diamond Paint Sealant, for example, can last up to 12 months. That is awesome.

However, a growing number of enthusiasts simply refuse to choose. Instead, they coat their vehicles with a layer of sealant for long-lasting protection and then top it with a layer of carnauba for the dazzling shine. Even if you forget to reapply carnauba in 6 weeks, your paint won’t suffer.

Remember, paint protection is one of your vehicle’s basic necessities.

What do you guys use??? Paint Sealants, Waxes, or Both?
Old 12-04-2013, 09:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 62

For the exact reasons outlined in your well-written post, I use sealant on lighter colored and heavier metallic paints. Paint sealants used to be dull and almost hazy after final wipe. In the last 10-12 years, chemistry has made them much better looking and more durable products than the best of decades ago.

I like how sealants allow the sparkle of the metal flake to show. I like how modern sealants are easy to work.

On white, especially after refining essentially every last imperfection from the paint surface, I really enjoy the reflection offered with a sealant. Carnauba mutes it a tiny bit.

If I am polishing a car for someone who simply wants durability, regardless of color, they get sealant. Most people don't notice the difference. It's dull or rough before, and then it is shiny and slick when I finish. This is the difference between the viewpoint of the enthusiast and the person who just wants the car polished.

Given time constraints and the right color paint, I will apply sealant first, wipe, then allow it to set overnight. Next day I will coat with carnauba for the warm/rich look.

Does anyone layer either their sealants or wax? For example, do you apply one coat of sealant, allow to dry, then apply another coating of sealant?
Old 12-06-2013, 04:40 PM
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One coat of sealant is sufficient enough for me. Especially the new Pinnacle Black Label Paint Sealant that uses nano-polymer technology that will last 1 year with one coat alone. Consistent wax usage typically extends the life span of a sealant also.
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