professional detailer applying a hydrophobic windshield coating and glass treatment

Complete Guide to Windshield Coatings and Windshield Treatments

This guide will walk you through the differences between a windshield treatment and a windshield coating, the pro’s and con’s of each, how to maintain a windshield coating or windshield treatment to maximize its performance and durability, and what makes GlassParency stand out from the rest.
Cars today come with many safety features that help to prevent accidents. But there's one part of the car that's often overlooked until there's an issue with it - the windshield. A clear view of the road ahead is an absolute must when it comes to driver and passenger safety.
Night-time glare, bird droppings, heavy rain, bugs, rock chips, cracks, and hard water spots are just a few of the road hazards that can make it more difficult to see the road ahead through a windshield, increasing the chances of an accident. Those problems can be solved by adding a hydrophobic Windshield Treatment or Windshield Coating.
Many brands use “glass coating” and “glass treatment” interchangeably but they are two very different products with different pro’s and con’s to consider. 
Read this guide to learn the difference between them and everything else you need to know to make the decision about whether a Windshield Treatment or a Windshield Coating is best for you.

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Before jumping into the difference between these two products, it's worth knowing a little bit about the windshield itself. What many drivers don't realize is that, although it might look like it, their windshield isn't perfectly smooth. When you look at the windshield under a microscope it looks like a series of peaks and valleys, as shown in this illustration of a magnified glass surface: 
Magnified Glass Surface
Magnified Glass Surface
These peaks and valleys are the reason it's so difficult to remove snow, ice, frost, bugs, bird droppings, and other contamination that sticks to your windshield. These imperfections also cause glare to be much worse because the light is bouncing through these "peaks and valleys" at various angles.  
Over time, contamination also becomes lodged in those microscopic voids which prevents water from "beading" and sliding off the glass quickly and easily. Instead it lays flat.
Hydrophobic Glass Treatments and Glass Coatings exist to fix these flaws in your cars windshield.



A Windshield Coating is a topical chemical applied to the surface of the glass that's hydrophobic and makes it easier to wipe away bugs and other surface contamination. There are two main types of Windshield Coatings: silicones and ceramics.
windshield coating on top of glass
Magnified glass surface with windshield coating applied

Silicone Windshield Coating:

PROS: Easy to apply and low cost, hydrophobic
CONS: Short-term durability, doesn't address glass imperfections or reduce glare
The most well-known example of a silicone windshield coating is RainX, although there are many options on the market. Silicone windshield coatings are a water-based hydrophobic silicone polymer that's quick and easy to apply to glass surfaces. Their primary benefit is that it gives your glass hydrophobic water repellency.
The downside of these topical coatings is that they don’t do anything to help with the negative effects of the "peaks and valleys" in your windshield and they’re temporary so they will wear away in a short period of time. These coatings typically wear off within days or weeks.
As a result, these silicone polymer water-based coatings are often cheaper, can be done at home without any experience or training, and the benefits are immediate. 

Ceramic Windshield Coatings:

PROS: Long-term durability, hydrophobic
CONS: Long Cure time, more difficult to apply, expensive, doesn't address glass imperfections, can cause visual distortion
Ceramic Coatings are also a topical coating applied to the surface of glass but because they are solvent-based resins, they're more durable than a water-based silicone product like RainX and will last longer - typically 1+ years depending on environmental conditions. But ceramic coatings still are not permanent and they also don't help with the "peaks and valleys" in your glass.
Ceramic windshield coatings are more difficult to apply than a silicone windshield coating because they need up to 24 hours to cure and harden before they can come in contact with water or windshield wipers. They also require surface preparation and methodical application to avoid any "high spots" that can cause visual distortions on the glass.
Ceramic coatings were originally designed to prevent corrosion of metal-based surfaces and enhance the glossy appearance of painted surfaces, but they can work on glass as well.
However, because these coatings were intended for use on paint, it's a topical coating that is adding an additional layer on top of the glass.  While this isn’t an issue with paint coatings, an additional layer on glass can lead to visual distortion when looking through it if not applied correctly.


A Glass Treatment is a chemical that bonds to and becomes a part of the glass to permanently enhance it, fix microscopic imperfections, reduce glare, and repel the elements.

PROS: Permanent glass enhancement, no cure time, glare reduction, easy-to-clean
CONS: Water repellent but not hydrophobic, more expensive than silicone windshield coating
Magnified glass surface with a Glass Treatment applied

Magnified glass surface with a Glass Treatment applied

A glass treatment reacts to the silica that glass is made of to form a covalent (a.k.a. permanent) bond with glass. The chemical becomes part of the windshield - this one-time chemical reaction permanently fills those microscopic voids in the glass to smooth out the "peaks and valleys" as illustrated in the picture above.
This smoother surface repels water, makes it easier to remove snow, ice, bugs, bird droppings and other contaminants, significantly reduces nighttime glare, makes the glass appear optically clearer, and increases resilience against chips or cracks.
A Glass Treatment on its own is water repellent, meaning water will bead rather than sheet and sit on the glass as it would if the glass was not treated. It is not, however, hydrophobic so water will not bead and run off as well as it would with a Glass Coating.
A Windshield Treatment requires the proper conditions, thorough glass decontamination, preparation, and application technique to ensure it is properly applied. 
Glass Treatments are typically more expensive than Silicone Glass Coatings and the same price or less expensive than Ceramic Glass Coatings.


GlassParency's Glass Treatment is a multi-step process that combines the benefits of a Glass Treatment with the best parts of a Glass Coating.

The patented Glass Treatment and Glass Coating have been formulated to work together so that once the Glass Treatment has been applied, our proprietary Glass Coating can be applied directly on top to fuse with the Glass Treatment and create an ultra-hydrophobic surface, as illustrated in the images below.

magnified glass surface - windshield treatment chemicals bonding
Magnified glass surface with GlassParency Glass Coating fusing with the Glass Treatment
Magnified Glass Surface fully treated with glassparency windshield treatment
Magnified glass with GlassParency's complete Glass Treatment and Glass Coating applied


Although the Glass Treatment is permanent, the effective life for the Glass Coating - aka how long it will repel water - is anywhere from 3 to 12 months depending on maintenance, abrasion, and exposure to corrosive elements but with our 3-Year Maintenance Warranty, you can either return to your Authorized Installer for maintenance free of charge or we can mail you a Maintenance Folder that has enough of our KEEP Maintenance Solution Applications to refresh your glass 10 times! 

GlassParency Authorized Installer

GlassParency's Glass Treatment is applied by our network of Authorized Installers that have been trained in glass decontamination, proper conditions for glass treatment application, and techniques to ensure a proper bond between the Glass Treatment and Glass Coating. Our Authorized Installers will also activate your Maintenance Warranty so that you receive Maintenance reminder emails and text messages when it's time for a refresh!

GlassParency Glass Treatment Maintenance Kit
GlassParency KEEP Glass Treatment Maintenance Formula


To maintain your glass protection, clarity, and peace of mind once it's been applied, here are a few tips to make sure your hydrophobic glass coating or glass treatment lasts as long as possible:
  • Avoid ammonia-based glass cleaners and windshield washer fluids
  • Clean the glass using an alcohol-based glass cleaner and glass towel
  • Don't use abrasive or corrosive cleaners
  • Minimize unnecessary windshield wiper use
  • Avoid windshield washer fluids with hydrophobic additives - they won't adhere and may cause visual distortion
  • If Glass Treatment is applied by a GP Authorized Installer, keep up with seasonal maintenance using KEEP Maintenance Formula
A quality Glass Treatment or Glass Coating guarantees better clarity, water repellency, and a cleaner, more durable windshield to keep you safe, protect your vehicle, and improve your time spent behind the wheel.

If you have any questions, just contact us and one of our in-house experts would be happy to help out.

Interested in a GlassParency Windshield Treatment, Ceramic Coating, or other professional detailing services?

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Interested in making your business an Authorized Installer of GlassParency? Find more information and apply to join Team GP here