Leathers or Pleathers you decide, a little insight in to what can be a nightmare!

leather or pleather

Leather or Pleather? you decide

Leather or Pleather? you decide. Looking for a new sofa? or Ottoman bed? or headboard? Mirrors or even bedroom furniture!! You would be surprised what furnishings come in leather finishes these days

Suddenly launched into the world of leather jargon? Semi- Analine, corrected grain, hide, bonded, split or faux leather or pleather and new to the market, leather look fabrics.

Here is a handy guide to types leathers and sofa coverings for everyone

Leather is a term used to describe a supple and durable material created by the tanning of rawhide skins namely cattle. Faux leather and leather look fabric are made from man-made materials and tend to be much cheaper sometimes even more than half the price.

Real Leather is produced in a wide variety of types, styles and colours and is one of the popular choices for furniture due to its ease of cleaning and upkeep.

The better the leather grade and finish the higher the cost and believe me, there are some really pricey suites out there.  We say aim for the best you can afford, don’t be tempted to scrimp on it, save for a little longer if you have to, or watch for sales and special offers, there deals on all year around these days. A well looked after premium leather sofa will last for years given the correct care.

Different leather types

Knowledge is power and finding out as much as you can will allow you to have some sort of understanding and a better insight into what you may want to purchase.  No-one wants to have to go through buying a suite 3 times more than you should need to its just not cost effective.

Corrected grain leather is an extremely durable grade of leather. This means it has gone through a process of being pigmented and buffed in the tannery, this process will conceal some of the natural characteristics of the leather such as scars and veins. However as leather is a natural product some imperfections will still be visible on the finished piece of furniture.

Natural leather is also a corrected grain, however the selection process used for determining which hides can used means that the leather is not as heavily corrected and pigmented as corrected grains, be assured though it still maintains its durability. This in turn means that the leather is very soft to the touch and is still very hard wearing. As with all natural leather furniture ranges imperfections will still be visible, this is a sign that your quality furniture is made from natural leather.

Semi-analine leather uses only the finest Italian hides are selected for this purpose. The leather has received a minimal amount of grain correction at the tannery, therefore some of the natural imperfections of the hide will still be visible. The leather has been lightly buffed and a micro pigment has been applied to dye the surface of the leather, it is then lightly embossed and the top coat of pigment is applied by a fine roller coating. The finished leather is extremely luxurious and soft to the touch.

Thick semi-analine leather and has gone through the same process and selection criteria as the thinner semi-analine. The main difference between the semi-analine and the thicker version just is the origin and thickness of the hides used. When these hides are used, they tend to be from America and will naturally be a much thicker type with a more pronounced grain than the Italian hides, used for standard semi analine leather. This leather is also extremely luxurious and soft to the touch. You can expect to see life marks such as scars and veins on this top quality hide, these natural characteristics are a sign that this leather is of the very highest quality.

Being familiar with the different types available will allow you to understand exactly what you are thinking of buying and help you to make a more informed judgement on your purchase. That said don’t forget no two pieces of natural leather will be exactly the same.

Sometimes you may see a suite advertised or shown to you as leather/split.  This lowers the price somewhat enabling you to be able to budget for a good quality leather sofa or chairs with split leather generally in the places that are not touched ie the backs and sides.

Bi-Cast or Split leather is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain has been separated from the hide. During the splitting operation, the top-grain and drop split are separated. The drop split can be further split (thickness allowing) into a middle split and a flesh split. In very thick hides, the middle split can be separated into multiple layers until the thickness prevents further splitting. Split leather then has an artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain to match.  The result is a material that is slightly stiffer but cheaper than top-grain leather but has a much more consistent texture. Because its surface is completely covered in plastic, is easier to clean and maintain, but is not easily repaired.

Durable sofa coverings now coming into the market as an alternative to real leather are bonded leather, faux leather or leatherette and pleather (plastic leather)

Bonded Leather or Reconstitued Leather is an economical type that uses leftover pieces leather.  These leather ends are shredded and then bonded together with polyurethane binders on top of a fiber sheet. The varying degree of leather in the mix affects the smell and the texture of such product. Due to its reduced cost it is becoming a popular choice for furniture upholstery, especially for commercial use, where durability is needed; however durability can vary widely, depending on the quality, the more plastic it feels! its likely to be more plasticy

Leatherette or Pleather is a form of artificial leather, usually made by covering a fabric base with plastic. The fabric can be made of a natural or a synthetic fibre which is then covered with a soft pvc layer. Hence leather or pleather.

The newest to the market is the leather look fabrics, these are fabrics made with the sheen, look and feel of leather but definately without the price tag.  Worth a look if on a tight budget or have children who are still young and with sticky fingers,  these look good yet its not so heartbreaking if it does get a mark on it.

So there you go! What did you decide Leather or Pleather? Why not have some fun, go into your local furniture shop and have a look at whats on offer, ask questions and take your time, if you want to spend an hour curled up on a recliner chair then so be it, just don’t forget to ask for a cuppa!!

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