We’ve used Lizard Skin ceramic insulation (CI) as a thermal barrier on painted metal surfaces on a few past project vehicles, especially those with custom engines, exhaust, and drivetrain close to the firewall and floor. And after a few years using the product, we keep going back to it.
The product is easy to install, really, and effectively creates a thermal barrier and even adds some sound control to painted metal surfaces where it has been applied. Once applied and dry, the texture is about like some spray-on bedliners, and while the coating isn’t quite as scuff resistant as most bedliners, it is fairly durable, all while being lighter weight and much more effective at thermal insulation than rubber- or polymer-based bed liners, or tar-based sound control mats.
The product uses air-filed ceramic microspheres to prevent heat transmission. When cured, the product can withstand sustained temperatures up to 375 F (177 C) and spikes up to 500 F (260 C) and is Class-A fire rated, inflammable. The microspheres are held in place using a water-based high-grade acrylic binders that creates a sealed membrane when cured. The product is easy to spray on with the company’s Lizard Skin SuperPro spray gun kits (PN 50125, $79.99 from Summitracing.com) and is easy to clean up with water until dry. The product can then be topped with Lizard Skin Sound Control, Lizard Skin Top Coat, or any automotive-grade paint.
The product comes in black (we’d call it a dark gray) and white and can be applied inside and out of your 4×4’s firewall, wheelwells, foot wells, floors, metal roofs, and more. The topcoat product is black. Pricing is as follows from our source Summit Racing. The full line of Lizard Skin products is available here.
Here are a few tips and tricks to applying the Lizard Skin CI on your next 4×4 project.
Applying Lizard Skin CI
This stuff seems to stick pretty well to any painted metal surface, but as always, some surface prep is a good idea. You will want to get rid of any dirt or oily residue for sure. We use acetone or another cleaning agent to get oils and greases off the surface. We also like to scuff the shine off factory paint with a red (very fine) scuffing pad. We like the red pads over the green or gray ones, which offer finer scuffing. Any iron or ferrous-based metals will need a coating of primer prior to the application of Lizard Skin CI. You will also want to tape off any surfaces that you don’t want Lizard Skin splattered on when applying it. We’ve used blue painter’s tape and paper over painted surfaces and glass. You can also wrap oddly shaped objects with aluminum foil, cling wrap plastic, or even an old grocery bag. You will also want to cover the threads of any bolts you hope to use after application with tape and plug any holes with threads in them if you need to install bolts into them after coating. You can ball up some aluminum foil to fill holes.
Prepping the Lizard Skin CI and Cleanup
Lizard Skin CI comes in 1- or 2-gallon buckets. A 2-gallon container of Lizard Skin CI will cover 45 to 50 square feet at 0.040-inch (40 mils/1mm) thickness dry. You will need to calculate the amount of surface area you want to coat using this info.
The first step with the product in hand is to open the container and mix the product using the mixing paddle included in the SuperPro spray gun kit and an electric drill. Place everything on some scrap cardboard or a dropcloth so the product doesn’t get all over your garage floor. We also like to have a half-full 5-gallon bucket of warm water close by for cleanup during and after application. You will need to set your air compressor’s pressure regulator to 50-70 psi. Mixing the product should take about two minutes with your drill on low speed, and once the material reaches a smooth consistency you can pour some into the paint pot on the SuperPro spray gun. Put the cover back on the bucket of product and put the mixing paddle in the bucket of water.
Application is simple, with the product spraying on like a bed liner. We also suggest cleaning the SuperPro spray gun in the bucket of water between coats unless you are doing a large area and can do the second coat starting right when you finish the first coat. Generally two coats are required. You don’t want the product drying on the spray gun’s nozzle. Once done, we disassemble the spray gun and let the parts soak in the warm water.
Top Coating Lizard Skin CI
Once the Lizard Skin CI product has dried for 24 to 36 hours, you will either want to topcoat it with the Lizard Skin Sound Control, Lizard Skin Top Coat, or any automotive-grade paint. Lizard Skin CI and Sound Control both have expiration dates, so don’t buy early and wait to apply; order and apply the product as soon as possible. Lizard Skin can also be applied to non-ferrous metals, scuffed plastics, wood, concrete, and more. The product can also be sanded to a smoother finish if desired.