What types of clear bra are there?
The vast majority of clear bra or paint protection film that we install here in Harker Heights is gloss. We carry a ton of different brands of film. You might hear people say “Xpel” as it is one of the best marketed brands, but in some cases they just mean PPF or clear bra in general (much like we say Kleenex to mean tissues). In 99% of the cases, even seasoned installers cannot tell the difference in brands if they are put right next to one another. We have had cars that have had different panels in Xpel, Legend, Kavaca (Ceramic Pro), Global, STEK, you name it! Almost all brands carry at least a 10 year warranty, are about 8 mil thick, self-healing, and hydrophobic (repels water).
Probably the second-most popular type of clear bra (PPF) we see is matte finish. Many different brands from STEK, to Xpel, to Kavaca, 3M, and Legend all have matte lines. A matte finish clear bra takes your glossy paint and makes it look like a matte finish as if it was painted that way from the factory. Matte clear bra is also the only option for a matte finish paint job to keep the paint a matte. Matte film is a more expensive installation as we have to conduct a lot more disassembly and use a lot more film to ensure no gloss finish is coming through at the edges or seams. Matte finish is superior to matte paint – matte paint, once scratched, cannot be polished like typical glossy paint. Matte finish clear bra, however, is self-healing, just like the gloss.
STEK Fashion Films
Lastly, we have a lot of options from STEK, the leading “fashion film” manufacturer. STEK makes many cool patterns, such as carbon fiber (gloss, semi-gloss, and matte), Damascus, forged carbon, and much more. We have all of our originally black pieces on our BMW i8 covered in high gloss STEK carbon fiber paint protection film, and it provides the SAME protection as regular film, but gives a really realistic look. STEK PPF also has a gray, matte black, gloss black, and other colors that almost are similar to vinyl wraps in that they provide a color change. Unlike vinyl wraps, however, the STEK clear bra fashion films are 8-10 or more mil thick, whereas a typical vinyl wrap is only around 3 mil thick and provides almost no protection, and certainly no self-healing properties. These films are some of the most expensive on the market, for several reasons. The film and technology itself is more expensive, and like matte clear bra, it usually must be wrapped/disassembled more (if completing a color or pattern change).
A roll of some of the more expensive fashion film can cost us upwards of $2000 a roll just for materials. For example, 3M 2080 vinyl wrap in gloss black, 250sqft, is $615 on Amazon.com (and probably less for regular dealers). The same size roll of gloss black paint protection film is almost $2000. Again, the technology is totally different, but this helps to explain the difference in price.