Vehicle Wrap Technology makes reflective graphics possible

Which Matte Finish Is Right for Your Car, Paint or Vinyl?

A few years ago, there was nothing cooler than a matte painted car. It was unusual and expensive, which quickly made it a status symbol. “Frozen Gray” was an instant winner even though it could add up to $10k to your price tag. Roll forward a few years, and now almost every single car on the market is available in matte colors. A matte finish has become somewhat ordinary and like dice hanging on the rear-view mirror, it just might be a fading trend. 


How Matte Paint Works

But before you shell out a handful of dough on a custom paint job, know what you’re getting into. Here’s why: matte finish paint jobs can be difficult to maintain. Believe it or not, a matte finish car typically uses the same paint as a gloss finish car. The magic happens in the clear coat applied after the paint. This clear coat has micro dimples in the finish to help spread the light rather than reflect it back, thus giving you that attractive matte appearance. 


Cascade Wraps applies reflective vinyl for Source Automotive


Caring for a Matte-Painted Car

The difficulty lies in maintenance. You can’t wax a matte finish car. You can’t run it through the car wash. Rain can speckle it. Bugs and bird droppings can etch it. And you can’t buff out any scratches — not even the small ones. 

You must wash a matte painted car gently, more often, and with special soap. (Most car soaps include wax or polish of some sort.) Meguiar’s recommends using a two bucket wash system: one with soap and one with clean water for rinsing so you don’t carry any grime back onto the car, as it will scratch the finish. Brake dust can scratch the finish as well, so they also recommend a separate wash mitt for the wheels. Once you scratch a matte paint job, the only way you can fix it is to repaint. 


There’s an easier way to a beautiful matte finish!


Matte Vinyl Wrap Options

Consider a less expensive option with matte vinyl. Matte vinyl is a much easier solution and looks just as stunning. See swatches of all the colors available — the many options just in black might surprise you! You may find that a satin vinyl looks just as captivating while also hiding small scratches and finger prints more easily. Matte vinyl is easier to care for than matte paint, and if for some reason it gets scratched, you can replace just that section of vinyl, not the entire car wrap. You can customize the look even further: leave the roof with the painted gloss finish, or add colored accents.


Matte finish vinyl wrapped vehicle


Matte Finish Vinyl Wrapped Car Care

Caring for a vinyl wrapped car isn’t quite as fussy as caring for a matte painted car. With a vinyl wrapped car, you still need to hand wash. The powerful jets of a car wash can loosen the vinyl at the seams, and brushes and bristles can scratch the vinyl. But you just need mild detergent and a soft sponge or rag. And no, you don’t want to wax your matte vinyl finish. 

All things considered, a vinyl wrapped matte finish will serve you well, and protect the original finish of your vehicle. It’s easy to care for, easy to maintain, and easy to replace is a section becomes scratched. AND it’s often less expensive when you consider the high maintenance required and easy scratch ability of a matte paint job. Call us — we’d love to talk about your options!

Micah Dear