How to Apply Cerakote : A Complete Guide

To apply cerakote, you must first clean and prepare the surface, and then apply the coating using an hvlp spray gun. Cerakote is a ceramic-based coating that provides excellent rust and corrosion protection, as well as enhanced durability and resistance to wear and tear.

It is commonly used on firearms, knives, and other metal items. If you want to apply cerakote to your own project, there are a few steps you need to follow. Firstly, you need to clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, oil, or debris.

Then, you need to prepare the surface by using a blasting media or a chemical etching process. Finally, you can apply the cerakote using an hvlp spray gun. With proper preparation and application, you can achieve a durable and long-lasting cerakote finish on your project.

How to Apply Cerakote : A Complete Guide


What Is Cerakote And Why Is It So Popular?

Definition And Characteristics Of Cerakote

Cerakote is a brand name of a ceramic coating, developed for firearms but now used widely for other applications. What makes it so special is the way it bonds to the surface of metal or other substrates to provide an unmatched level of durability and protection.

Some key characteristics of cerakote coating are:

  • Ceramic-based coating that creates a hard and scratch-resistant surface.
  • Resistant to corrosion, abrasion, chemicals, and uv light.
  • Available in a wide range of colors and finishes such as matte, gloss, textured, and camouflage.

Popular Applications Of Cerakote

Cerakote is no longer limited to its original application for firearms. It can be used on any material that can withstand high temperatures. Here are some popular applications for cerakote:

  • Automotive and motorcycle parts: Cerakote coating can be used on wheels, engine parts, exhausts, and other metal parts to protect them from rust, corrosion, and scratches.
  • Sports equipment: It is commonly used on golf clubs, archery equipment, and fishing gear to improve their durability and performance.
  • Knives and tools: Cerakote coating not only protects knives and tools from wear and corrosion but also improves grip and durability.
  • Decorative items: Cerakote’s variety of colors and finishes make it an excellent choice for decorative items like jewelry, art sculptures, and household objects.

Benefits Of Cerakote Coating

Cerakote coating provides many benefits over other types of coatings. Here are some of the main advantages:

  • Durability: Cerakote’s ceramic-based coating is tough and resistant to wear, chemicals, and abrasion, making it ideal for high-impact applications.
  • Protection: It provides protection against rust, corrosion, and uv light, which can damage the surface of the material.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: Cerakote is available in many different colors and finishes. It can also be customized to create unique designs and patterns.
  • Low maintenance: The coating is easy to clean and maintain, making it ideal for applications where aesthetics are important.
  • Environmentally friendly: The coating is non-toxic and does not contain any harmful chemicals that can affect human health and the environment.

Prepping For The Cerakote Application

Before you start the cerakote application process, it’s important to prepare the surface properly to ensure that the coating adheres correctly and provides long-lasting protection. Here are the essential tools and materials you will need:

Essential Tools And Materials Needed

  • Safety glasses and gloves
  • Respirator mask
  • Clean lint-free rags
  • Acetone or other solvent-based cleaners
  • Sandpaper or abrasive blasting equipment
  • Cerakote paint

Evaluating The Surface For Coating

Before starting the prepping process, you need to check the surface you want to coat. The following are key points that you should keep in mind.

  • The surface needs to be free from any kind of dirt, oil, rust, or debris.
  • The surface should also be dry to ensure that it is free of moisture, which may reduce the coating’s adhesion.
  • Examine the surface to ensure that there are no cracks, chips, or other defects that may cause the coating to fail.

Proper Cleaning And Degreasing Techniques

Effective cleaning and degreasing are crucial for successful coating adhesion. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Use gloves, a respirator mask, and safety glasses when handling cleaners and solvents to prevent skin or eye irritation.
  • Apply the cleaner to a lint-free rag, and wipe the surface in a circular motion to remove any contaminants or debris.
  • Before applying cerakote, make sure that the surface is dry, and free of any cleaners or solvents.

Sandblasting And Abrasion Methods

Sandblasting and abrasion are two effective methods of surface preparation. Here are the key points to remember:

  • Abrasive blasting removes any previous coating or debris from the surface.
  • Always use protective gear like a respirator mask while sandblasting.
  • The grit size of the sandpaper used during abrasion should be between 120-220 to ensure that the surface is rough enough to promote adhesion but not so rough that it creates unwanted defects.

Proper surface preparation is key to achieving a successful cerakote application. Ensure you follow these guidelines to achieve the best possible results.


Applying The Cerakote Coating

Different Methods Of Application: Spray Gun, Airbrush, Brush, And Hplv

Cerakote coating is a popular firearm finish that is durable, corrosion-resistant, and adds a unique look to guns. There are various methods of applying the cerakote coating, including spray gun, airbrush, brush, and hplv (high-volume, low-pressure) techniques. Here are some key points to consider about each method:

Spray Gun:

  • It is ideal for large projects and industrial applications.
  • A spray gun applies a large amount of cerakote in a short amount of time.
  • The thicker layers of cerakote applied by a spray gun may require longer curing times.


  • This technique is best suited for intricate designs and small projects.
  • Airbrush applications provide precise and controlled coverage of cerakote.
  • This method may require more time and patience but provides a fine finish.

Brush Application:

  • A brush application is ideal for smaller projects and touch-up jobs.
  • It provides greater control for detailed designs and smaller areas.
  • Brush applications can be difficult for uniform coverage, but with practice, a neat finish is achievable.


  • Hplv is a more advanced and quicker application technique.
  • This method uses a compressor and spray gun to apply a thin layer of cerakote.
  • It requires less coating than other techniques and produces a smoother and even finish.

Proper Temperature And Humidity Settings

The correct temperature and humidity settings are critical for applying the cerakote coating. The ideal temperature range for applying cerakote ranges between 60°f – 90°f, while the recommended humidity level is between 20 – 50%. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Maintaining the correct temperature and humidity levels is crucial for the curing process of cerakote.
  • Higher temperatures within the optimal range will significantly reduce curing times.
  • Lower temperatures will increase drying times, resulting in uneven coatings or potential issues with curing.

Layering Techniques To Achieve Desired Results

Using the proper layering technique is key to achieving the desired results of your cerakote application. When applying the cerakote coating, it’s essential to consider these key factors:

  • Always remember to degrease surfaces, sand surfaces before applying cerakote
  • The thickness of each layer applied contributes significantly to the durability of the finish.
  • Applying multiple thin layers is more beneficial than a single thick layer.
  • Ensuring that each layer has fully cured before applying the next layer is crucial for a smooth finish.

Tips For Achieving Uniform Coverage

Achieving uniform coverage is often challenging, but with proper technique, it’s a goal that can be achieved. Here are some key tips to consider:

  • Avoid over-application of the cerakote; this will result in drips and a non-uniform coat.
  • Keep the spray gun, airbrush or brush moving at a steady pace to prevent build-up and uneven coating.
  • Ensure that the cerakote gun is clean and has no loose particles or excess paint which could damage application.
  • Apply thin layers on all surfaces, including vertical surfaces, using a cross-hatch technique to boost uniform coverage.

By following these methods and techniques, you can achieve a professional and uniform cerakote finish that is sure to impress.

Curing And Finishing The Coated Surface

Understanding The Curing Process

After applying cerakote coating, the curing process is crucial for the finish to last long. Here are some key points to understand about curing:

  • Cerakote requires curing at high temperatures, usually around 250-300°f, depending on the product used.
  • The curing process allows the coating to harden and bond firmly to the surface.
  • Too little or too much heat can affect the curing process, leading to problems like peeling, chipping, or cracking.
  • The curing time and temperature vary according to the type of substrate, coating, and equipment used.
  • To ensure proper curing, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Post-Coating Touch-Ups And Corrections

Even after following the manufacturer’s guidelines, some coatings may still require touch-ups or corrections post-curing. Here are some tips:

  • Look for inconsistencies or defects, such as uneven color, thin spots, or drips.
  • Use touch-up pens or airbrushes to fix minor flaws, and re-bake the coated surface for proper curing.
  • Sandpaper can also help to remove any excess coating or rough patches.
  • Avoid using solvents, as they can damage the finish and create more problems.
  • Before starting the touch-up process, ensure that the original coat is thoroughly cured for at least 24 hours.

Finishing Techniques To Enhance Durability

To enhance the durability and longevity of cerakote finish, you can use several finishing techniques. Some of these include:

  • Applying a clear topcoat for extra protection against scratches, abrasion, uv rays, and chemicals.
  • Buffing or polishing the surface with a microfiber cloth or a polishing compound.
  • Using stencils, patterns, or colors to create a unique design.
  • Hydro-dipping or water transfer printing to add texture or contrast.
  • Laser engraving or etching to personalize and mark the surface.

Tips For Proper Maintenance And Cleaning

Proper maintenance and cleaning can prolong the life of cerakote coating and keep it looking new. Here are some handy tips to follow:

  • Clean the surface regularly using mild soap and warm water, and pat dry with a soft cloth.
  • Avoid using abrasive or high-pressure cleaners, as they can damage the finish and remove the coating.
  • Use a silicone-based lubricant or gun oil to lubricate moving parts and prevent rust.
  • Store the coated surface in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Avoid exposing the coating to extreme temperatures, direct sunlight, or harsh chemicals.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Cerakote Application

Applying cerakote to a firearm can be a rewarding project that results in a durable and aesthetically pleasing finish. However, like any diy project, there may be some challenges along the way. In this post, we will look at some common issues that may arise during the cerakote application process and how to troubleshoot them.

Identifying And Fixing Uneven Coating

Uneven coating is one of the most common issues that occur during cerakote application. This can happen when the spray gun is not held at a consistent distance from the surface or when the coating is applied too thickly in some areas.

To fix uneven coating, follow these steps:

  • Sand the affected area with 600 grit or finer sandpaper until the coating is level.
  • Reapply cerakote, making sure to hold the spray gun at a consistent distance from the surface and applying the coating in thin, even layers.
  • Use a heat gun or oven to cure the coating, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Dealing With Clogged Spray Guns

A clogged spray gun can result in an uneven coating or even ruin the entire project. This can happen when the cerakote dries in the spray gun’s nozzle or tip.

To deal with clogged spray guns, try these steps:

  • Clean the spray gun thoroughly, paying particular attention to the nozzle and tip.
  • Use compressed air to blow out any leftover cerakote.
  • Reassemble the spray gun and test it on a scrap surface before returning to the project.

Managing Excess Buildup And Drips

Excess buildup or drips of cerakote can result in unsightly blemishes on the final product. This often happens when the coating is applied too thickly or when the surface is not level.

To manage excess buildup and drips, follow these steps:

  • Sand the affected area gently with 1000 grit or finer sandpaper to smooth out the coating.
  • Reapply cerakote in thin, even layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next.
  • Use a heat gun or oven to cure the coating, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Fixing Cracks And Chips After Application

Sometimes, cracks or chips may appear in the cerakote finish even after curing. This can happen due to an uneven surface, improper curing, or excessive wear and tear.

To fix cracks and chips after application, follow these steps:

  • Sand the affected area with 600 grit or finer sandpaper until the crack or chip is level.
  • Reapply cerakote, making sure to apply the coating in thin, even layers.
  • Use a heat gun or oven to cure the coating, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Troubleshooting common issues with cerakote application is a critical part of any diy firearm project. By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and successful application of cerakote. Remember to take your time, work carefully, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Apply Cerakote

What Is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a durable ceramic coating that protects surfaces from wear and corrosion. It is heat-resistant, scratch-resistant, and can withstand harsh chemicals. Cerakote can be applied to various surfaces, including metal, plastic, and wood. It is widely used in the automotive, firearm, and aerospace industries.

How Does Cerakote Application Work?

Cerakote is applied using a spray gun or airbrush. The surface to be coated must be clean, dry, and free of contaminants. Then, the cerakote is mixed and applied in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.

The coating is then cured at a high temperature to harden and bond to the surface.

How Long Does Cerakote Last?

Cerakote is known for its durability and longevity. When applied correctly, it can last for years, even in harsh conditions. The lifespan of the coating depends on several factors, such as the type of surface, the environment, and the amount of wear and tear on the surface.

Can I Apply Cerakote Myself?

While it is possible to apply cerakote oneself, it is usually recommended to seek out a professional. Cerakote application requires specialized equipment, training, and experience. A professional applicator can ensure a quality, long-lasting finish and avoid any mistakes that could compromise the coating’s effectiveness.

How Do I Maintain Cerakote Coating?

To maintain cerakote coating, it is recommended to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can wear away the coating. Instead, clean the surface regularly with mild soap and water or a gentle cleaner designed for cerakote. Avoid exposing the surface to extreme temperatures or impacts, as this can damage the coating.


With the instructions we’ve provided, applying cerakote to your firearm or other metal objects should be a manageable task. By following each step and taking the necessary precautions, you will end up with a durable coating that will protect your metal surfaces from damage and wear.

Remember to prepare the surface before applying cerakote and allow ample time for the coating to dry. As with any project involving paint, it’s best to work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear. By taking these extra steps, you can ensure your safety and the success of your cerakote application.

With proper care and maintenance, your newly coated item will last for years to come, making your investment worthwhile. Apply cerakote with confidence and bring new life to your metal surfaces.


Latest articles


Related articles

Leave a reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here