Leather shopping can be confusing. The terminology is confusing and mistakes can be costly. There are many advantages to purchasing leather but you should definitely be an informed consumer.
Terms you should be familiar with when shopping for leather;
- Full Grain – Top layer of the hide including the entire thickness. It is not buffed or sanded to remove imperfections. It has its full grain and is very durable.
- Top Grain – Has the split layer with imperfections removed. This is thinner and easier for manufacturers to use. It is sanded and given a finish which makes it stain resistant but not as breathable.
- Corrected Grain- The layer that is used after the top layers are split off. An artificial grain is applied to the surface then it is sprayed with stain or dye.
- Bonded Leather- This is made of leather scraps ground down and mixed with latex or polyurethane to create a sheet or bolt. The actual leather content in this category varies. It is inexpensive but not long lasting. Buyer beware, its prevalence and poor performance has given top grain leathers a black eye.
Good quality leather will last for many years. Leather is easy to clean and maintain and should only get better with age. Be sure to protect your leather from direct sunlight and heat sources to prevent fading and drying out. Leather doesn’t retain dust so it is terrific for anyone with allergies. Purchase a style that has loose seat cushions to rotate so that your favorite spot doesn’t show wear prematurely.
As a general rule, leather will cost double the price of the same sofa in fabric. The next time you see a leather sofa on sale for $1099 you are really looking at the quality equivalent of a $549 sofa. How long would you expect that to stand up?