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Hi all

I've been trying my hand at detailing my prized new possession to keep it looking it's best.  Not got round to snow foam yet but intend to clay the whole surface when I get a day to myself.  In the meantime I've hand washed it a couple of time (2 bucket method, sheepskin mitt, microfiber cloths etc) and also use Sonax brilliant shine detailer and a carnauba wax at various times.  My question is, water beads beautifully on the paintwork but sits there all day, long after it's stopped raining. Surely it would be better if it sheeted away after a while so the beads don't dry on the paintwork? Am I over thinking it?

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Ah! The sheeting versus beading debate...

Beading simply shows the water adhesion to the paintwork protective coating very low. This used to be the evidence of a good wax coat protecting the paint.

Sheeting would be the opposite to the above and would denote a car that hasn't been 'well looked after'..

Nowadays it's perfectly possible to protect the paint surface but with a film that has very low surface tension, resulting in water/rain sheeting off the paint.

Paintwork thus protected will not suffer from water spots, as there are no beads to dry. shrink and leave a deposit.  On the contrary the water will form a film, perhaps just one molecule thick and dry quickly and evenly, leaving an extremely thin even deposit behind. This even coating may appear. to dull the paintwork's shine but is relatively easy to wipe away with a quick detailer spray, leaving a spot free gleaming surface. This is providing the paintwork was properly prepared before the final 'sheeting' coating is applied.

I personally prefer the look of a well waxed car. Mine will still have water/rain beads on it hours after my neighbour's cars are all dry.

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I believe some of the Meguiars products allow you to choose between sheeting or beading. IIRC the NXT stuff sheets, the Gold Class stuff beads.

Another issue is the water in your area when you wash. Up here we have really soft water so beading is fine after a wash and there are never any deposits left behind. In a hard water area I can imagine that would be a problem and have read stories of white marks left behind almost immediately.

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Am I right in thinking that if the paintwork has been properly corrected and then sealed then the beads shouldn't sit on any surface that is a few degrees above the horizontal like a car bonnet? I guess it's all down to reducing the surface tension between the top/clear coat and the water? 

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