Installing Butterfly Graphene on GM Black

By Kael Knight

Our team recently collaborated with Auto Appearance Kansas City to coat a Chevy Silverado in our ultra-slick, high gloss Fireball Butterfly Graphene coating. In this blog post, you can follow us through the daunting process of correcting GM Black Paint, and get an inside look at how Fireball Installers apply one of our best selling ceramic coating, Butterfly Graphene.

GM Black paint is notoriously one of the softest factory paints out there, which means it is prone to scratches, swirls and other defects. The paint is so porous and non-resistant that installers are at high risk of exacerbating existing issues or creating new ones during paint correction processes. Working with GM Black is always a challenge, but the end result is worth the effort. A GM Black vehicle without ceramic coating won’t get far without all kinds of scratches, swirls, abrasions, and all kinds of other marks. That’s where Butterfly Graphene comes in. 

Before installation could begin, we needed to decontaminate and paint-correct the truck. Auto Appearance’s inspection sheets allowed us to recognize multiple areas of concern, which we treated with Fireball Iron Burn. 

Iron Burn or a similar decontamination product is essential in any detailing shop. Iron Burn is a gentle acid specially formulated to break down dirt and other contaminants without damaging the surface underneath. Iron Burn gently lifts these contaminants away from your paint, and holds onto them as you rinse the formula off. Standard procedure for Fireball Installers is to use Iron Burn on all of the body panels of the vehicle, as well as the wheels, tires, and glass elements. We apply Iron Burn as a preventative step to remove potential hazards before the general vehicle wash. Due to the motion and pressure applied during washing, contaminants can embed themselves in the surface of the vehicle if not removed first, leading to further, long-lasting damage, and in extreme cases, coating failure. Iron Burn makes short work of the decontamination process, and rinses off easily.

Iron Burn is a great decontaminant, but you can never be too careful, especially with GM Black. For extra decontamination we used Fireball PH3 Shampoo, a mildly acidic shampoo that rejuvenates the paint while eating away any micro contamination that we missed the first time. We gently hand washed and towel dried the pickup truck, leaving it primed and ready for paint correction.

For paint correction, we used a selection of Rupes and Flex rotary polishers. Paint correction is where GM Black causes a lot of issues for installers. A little too much pressure and they could burn through the paint; not enough pressure, and they won’t be able to remove the scratches. Paint correction was slow going, as our experienced partners Auto Appearance KC showed our trainees the exact amount of pressure needed to buff out the defects, swirls, and water spots. 

With paint correction completed, we finally got started on coating. We selected Fireball Butterfly Graphene for the Silverado. We know the owner of this car enjoys muddy off-road trails, so coating this truck in the extremely hydrophobic and incredibly tough Butterfly Graphene coating was the obvious choice. Butterfly Graphene is rated 9H on the mineral hardness scale, meaning that it’s tough enough to resist any and all micro abrasions and minor scratches it might otherwise get on the trail. Butterfly Graphene is also one of our most hydrophobic coatings, which will be a game-changer when it comes to washing congealed mud off of the truck at the end of the day. Butterfly Graphene is also rated for seven years of full protection, so the owner won’t have to worry about erosion, water spotting, discoloration, or paint defects for a long, long time. 

Installing a coating onto vehicles can present several challenges, one of the greatest being applicator hardening. As it dries onto the block, the ceramic coating begins to stiffen and make applying much more difficult – risking scratches on freshly corrected paint if an Installer doesn’t switch in time. Our installers had to switch applicators for every large body panel in order to avoid ruining all their hard work, especially on the notoriously finicky GM Black paint. Our team of trainees coated the entire vehicle from bumper to bumper, from under the running boards to the middle of the roof. Once the Butterfly Graphene coating was set, our renovation of the Chevy Silverado was done.

All of our installers have been factory trained in an environment much like the one outlined above, so when you come to a Fireball Installer, you know they’ve been properly and thoroughly trained. You’ll get a thorough, top-to-bottom inspection and correction like the one outlined here, and your detailer can help talk you through our product lineup to find which coating is best for your specific vehicle. If you’re looking for a ceramic coating, don’t wait, choose Fireball for a company who delivers quality in every detail.